I sat on a suburban hillside
And watched, across a small valley,
The opposite rise of land,
Covered with low gray houses.
Where I was in the grass,
By a Black Birch tree
With Branches good for toothbrushes,
Two pheasants slowly picked
Their way through the dry leaves.
Across on the other hill,
Dim noises crackled from the roads
And rooftops. Robins whistled.

It gently faded into brilliance.
I held the light back from me,
Not desiring the Void any more,
Only trying to understand it.
Seven years ago used beer
To hold Revival Meetings.
Six years ago I used a lunatic system
Of "Time and Energy" to forget God.
Five years ago I used Bartok
To make a window disappear.
Four years ago I used logic
To prove everything was nothing.
Three years ago I used film
To eliminate the blood problem.
Two years ago I contemplated mist.
One year ago I saw the Void.
Brittle, metallic stupidity.
The buzzing crash of electrons.
But now Swami told us
Something more that included
The mute impersonal glare.
Swami told us the truth,
And this was just illusion.
Swami told us about people,
And this was just physics.
Swami told us about love,
And this was just eternity.
God takes care of this, somehow,
All this ignorance.

Why was it illusion?
It appeared to be all-inclusive.
There was first the physical,
Then the rattling of the physical,
Then the dissemination into light.
But it didn't include
What Swami told us.
And he told us the truth.

I remembered the crashing electrons.
I paid attention and realised
The crashing was in this body,
Not in the hillside over there.
In my sense of it, the sight of it,
The sound of it, smell, touch, taste.
It appeared to be all-inclusive
Because this body was a network
With a beginning and an end.
Void-consciousness was body-consciousness.
And the hillside didn't give a damn.
The hillside was still there,
Going about its business,
And I was wrapped up in this body.
My senses only wanted to sense themselves.
To get to the hill I needed faith.
God made the hill and it was not Void.
He put it there,
I couldn't deny it.
I relaxed beyond my senses,
I relaxed into faith in God.

Staring at a hillside,
Gathering sense impressions,
Arranging them on a sheet of
Celluloid in front of me,
Pulling it, stretched,
Away from the hillside,
Forced up to me.
Then it burned and disappeared
In a hard shining fire.
But the hill was still there.

I went to the temple that night
Only because I wanted to.

Dancing there was Swami;
Chanting, there was Swami;
Sitting, there was Swami;
Who else told us the truth?
The truth is
Swami told us that.
Everything else is extra.
Swami told us that too.

Damodara Das Adhikary
(Dan Clark)