How To Go To The Tao Temple Poem by Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

How To Go To The Tao Temple

Don't lock the door.
Go lightly like the leaf in the breeze
along the dawn's valley.
If you are too fair,
cover yourself with ash.
If too clever, go half-asleep.
That which is fast
will tire fast:
be slow, slow as stillness.

Be formless like water.
Lie low,don't even try to go up.
Don't go round the deity:
nothingness has no directions,
no front nor back.
Don't call it by name,
its name has no name.
No offerings: empty pots
are easier to carry than full ones.
No prayers too: desires
have no place here.

Speak silently, if speak you must:
like the rock speaking to the trees
and leaves to flowers.
Silence is the sweetest of voices
and Nothingness has
the fairest of colours.
Let none see you coming
and none, going.
Cross the threshold shrunken
like one crossing a river in winter.
You have only a moment here
like the melting snow.

No pride: you are not even formed.
No anger: not even dust
is at your command.
No sorrow: it doesn't alter anything.
Renounce greatness:
there is no other way to be great.
Don't ever use your hands:
They are contempalting
not love,but vilolence.
Let the fish lie in its water
and the fruit, on its bough.
The soft one shall survive the hard,
like the tongue that survives teeth.
Only the one who does nothing
can do everything.

Go, the unmade idol
awaits you.

(Translated from the Malayalam by the poet)

Bijay Kant Dubey 24 October 2018

Will he turn into a Taoist preacher? Reminding us of Sankrityayan and Baba Nagarjuna. The Lotus Temple not, the Tao temple is his last refuge.

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Unnikrishnan E S 29 April 2018

Marvellous poem. Quite profound. Inimitable imagery and construction.

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Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

Koyamparambath Satchidanandan

Pulloot, Thrissur district, Kerala, India
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