To my most beloved soul-kin
For Christmas 2014 and new year
St.John of the Cross sang of the night when he, like the Buddha, left all cares behind and his ‘house’ was all stilled. He sang in eight stanzas.
En una noche oscura con ansias en amores inflamada
!Oh dichosa ventura! Sali sin ser notada,
Estando ya mi casa sosegada
On a dark night with intense love burning
Oh good fortune!
I departed unnoticed
My house was all stilled...
... leaving all cares forgotten among the lilies.
Three thousand years before St. John the Rishi of the Veda sang also a hymn to Night
That Is Dawn, in eight stanzas.
रात्री व्यख्यदायती पुरुत्रा देव्यक्षभि: ।
विश्वा अधि श्रियोऽधित ।।
(Paraphrased from Vedic hymn)
Night with myriad eyes in all directions
Has come bearing us the gift of Discerning Wisdom1;
O, how many glories has She be-sparked.
This expansive and immortal one
Has flooded the lower and higher places2 with light;
She dispels, wards off, all that is of darkness within us.
When this celestial Lady comes forth
She makes emerge Her sister Dawn,
And darkness flees in terror far.
She is ours today, and we are Hers;
We settle in Her ways as we are led;
She settles us into Her shelter
Like trees settle birds down.
All the nomadic groups3 have settled;
Those with feet, with wings, have settled.
The hawks that fly hunting have settled too.
Drive from us the violent beast (lioness?)
And thief4; O Thou who ever come in waves5.
Be Thou our own more beauteous self!
Darkness has shaped us into its forms,
And black manifestation6 called the world;
Blow it away, O Dawn7,
Like a debt forever discharged.
I compose these words unto Thee.
Do accept my gift, Heaven’s Daughter!
They are my paean sung for Thee Victorious.
Hymn to the Night (Ratri Sukta)
I wish for you and yours such a Silent Night when your entire inner house is stilled and you leave all
Your cares among the lilies.
I send you the fruits of my loving meditations
So you can make an eternal fruit cake
Swami Veda Bharati
1 Final realization comprising the discernment between matter and spirit; that all my faculties constituted of matter are non-self; I am spiritual self.
2 Lower and higher centers of consciousness.
3 Wandering senses, unsettled faculties, perturbed states of mind. They have feet and wings, and fly off to hunt like hawks.
4 The beast and the thief within us, esp. the thief who has stolen our very self from us.
5 The Great Mother is called Tri-pura-sundari: She the Beauty of the three universes who touches us in spiritual waves. The primary text extolling Her is Saundaryalahari, Wave of Beauty.
6 Tamas, one of the three constituents of our Nature (prakrti), is synonymous with that “heaviness” and inertia that turns energy into forms and keeps them such. Its symbolic colour is black. The energy of our Nature is so subtle that it is intangible but tamas keeps it in the “heavy” manifest dark shapes and forms, including our own. The Night that is Light is being asked to dissolve this darkness of shapes and forms, to return energy to its primordial state of consciousness.
7 Because this Night is the Night of profound spiritual silence that is light, She is addressed as Dawn.
Silent Night is that state of the soul wherein all disturbing glitter ceases, senses are abandoned, and the word night becomes synonymous with spiritual light. Only then God’s manifestation can be born in the poor manger of your body and personality.
At first, Dawn of knowing seems to emerge from Night, till we realize that here Night Herself may be sung to as Dawn.
To understand this, do read, in preparation for the celebration of the silent night: St John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, and his own commentary on the same.
Then read the hymn from the Veda again.