English version by Lex Hixon
Original Language Bengali
Is there anyone in the universe,
among heavenly or earthly beings,
who can understand what Kali is?
The systems of all traditions
are powerless to describe Her.
Is Mother a feminine being
or greater than Being itself?
More than Creator and creation,
Mother is sheer Creativity
beyond the notion of duality.
Universe and Father-God
are thrilling glances
from Her seductive Eyes.
Always pregnant with ecstasy,
She gives birth to manifest Being
from Her Womb of primal Awareness,
nursing it tenderly at Her Breast,
then playfully consumes Her Child.
The world dissolves instantly
upon touching Her white Teeth,
attaining the realization
of Her brilliant Voidness.
Is Mother simply a Goddess?
Does She need a male consort
to protect or complete Her?
The cycle of birth and death
bows reverently before Her.
Is She simply naked
or is She naked Truth?
No veil can conceal Her.
Her naked radiance slays demons
not with weapons but with splendor.
If Mother is a conventional wife,
why is She dancing fiercely
on the breast of Shiva?
Her timeless play destroys
conventions and conceptions.
She is primal purity,
Her ecstatic lovers are purity.
Purity merges into purity,
with no remainder.
The wealth of world-emperors
and the richness of Paradise
are but abject poverty
to those who meditate on Her.
To swim in a single Glance
from Her three Cosmic Eyes
is to be immersed
in an ocean of ecstasy.
Not even Shiva, prince of yogis,
can focus upon Her dancing Feet
without falling into trance.
Yet the worthless lover
who sings this mad song
aspires to conscious union with Her
during waking, dream, and deep sleep.
-- from Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna, by Lex Hixon
Poetry Chaikhana | Ramakrishna - Is there anyone in the universe
Ramakrishna was one of the great spiritual teachers of the 19th Century, and perhaps of any age.
The first book i fully read and fully enjoyed on meditation was written by followers of his followers. It is called Mediation.
He is famously known for having "converted" from worship of Kali, to Islam (Sufism), then to Chrisianity, then back again to worship of the Goddess. During the short periods of time that he was a Moslem and a Christian, he seemed to be totally committed these paths and had no interest in going to Hindu temples.
My first exposure to this information (via Lex Hixon's Coming Home) was met with skepticism.
Christianity and Islam each claim to be the "one true path" to "Truth." I finally had to conclude that, at least in my pretty firm opinion, Christians and Moslems who don't believe this are better Christians and Moslems than those who do. Thomas Merton once said that he wanted bo be the best Buddhist that it was possible for him to be. I say Amen to that, and i also want to be the best Chrisiian and the best agnostic that it is possible for me to be.
In transcribing "Is there anyone in the universe," i included those portions that i felt had a more universal acknowledgment and excluded those that seemed to be more exclusively "Hindu." I now regret having done that (Hixson's version of the full poem is behind the link.)
The poem (and any mystical teaching and perhaps any poem) cannot be understood from a dualistic perspective.