Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Voice of the Stream

Voice of the Stream was written about 15 years ago as part a program of words and music I called, In the Garden. Voice of the Stream is a dialog between the lover and the Divine Beloved. (The Beloved always appears in italics.)
For those of you who have been reading my previous posts on Meher Baba's Divine Theme, Voice of the Stream will be seen as a poetic mystical expression of the stages of the path -- the higher planes of consciousness. The story at the end is a Sufi story; it speaks about the final leap of consciousness from illusion to reality...

Voice of the Stream
by Michael Kovitz

My heart was so full that day as I walked in the garden
my body could not contain its swell.
Joy rose within me. My eyes filled with tears.
“Why do I love this garden so much?” I said aloud..

“Because, I made it for you.”

I turned and saw him, arms held wide,
standing beside a tiny stream amidst a stand of white jasmine.

“I have known your father and your father’s father and his father too,
before the mighty tree of your lineage had yet become a tiny seed.
I knew you then and I have loved you forever — before creation —
before the time of time itself.
Long ago, I revealed to your father seven times removed
a hundred thousand shapes that clothe my mystery. In me he glimpsed
the universes of form and energy and mind and all the worlds beyond
the universe also. To him, I revealed my infinite colors, countless
forms, and my attributes divine. Now see! The gift is yours.”

“There is darkness. I see nothing.”

“This darkness will fade. Can you see yourself?”

“I see a man, small and weak. His eyes are open yet do not see.”

“That man you were has ceased to be. You are all life now, life from
stone to tree, every creature, humanity.”

“Yes! I am towering mountains and raging seas. I am mighty rivers
and endless plains stretching past the reach of my eye and beyond the
grasp of my mind.”

“You have become the earth, its firmament and depths — and you are
the source of its life also. But what is your source, and where is your
home? Your journey has only just begun.”

“I am light and fire bursting: planets encircle and adore me.
Earth, dearest of all bows reverently at my feet.”

“Now you have become the sun — the source of life to every planet
whirling in your sight, but like the moon, you shine with borrowed
light. Continue on, for all you are and all you see are merely shadows
of Reality.”

“That great and mighty sun I have ceased to be now appears a tiny
sphere lost in the vastness of the firmament. Eighteen thousand
blazing worlds I have now become. Nothing is beyond me!”

“Oh arrogant one, you say that nothing is beyond you? I am beyond
you. Your Self is beyond you. To become the universe is neither
knowing you nor me — hidden still is Reality. Close your eyes to these
worlds of form and time and enter the subtle sphere of dreams, where
things are and are not what they appear to be.”

“I am awake, yet still asleep, and in the distance I hear sounds of
chiming bells and from some far away shadowy realm glimpse etheric
cathedrals where echo harmonies of sweet melodies that sing, ‘the
essence of life is beautiful and free.’
“But now, what is happening? What is all this? The song has changed
and waves of desperate cacophony overwhelm its sweet tune. My
dream is now a nightmare. I cover my eyes but to no avail, for what I
see I see within me and I am terrified. Light submits to shadows. The
sea is bound within the drop and happiness bows to sorrow in an
endless chain of births and suffering and death.”

“Be not frightened by what you see! This dream proceeds by my will. Souls inform
themselves to know me, become drops to find the sea and don the
cloak of darkness to realize the light.”

“My Lord, your explanation eludes me and I remain sickened and
confused, haunted by all the pain and suffering I see.”

“Oh my dear one, listen closely to what I say. All suffer who know me
not, for suffering is the remedy for forgetfulness. Suffering stirs the
seed to awaken from its earthly cradle and don the tender form of
shoot to thirst for light and glimpse the face of the sun. Nurtured in
darkness, its destiny has always been the light. I am that glory and I
wait for you to see me and know me as I am. I wait beyond time for all
life to come to me. In me all suffering is extinguished; in me the dream
ends. See now what have you become.”

“I have become energy itself and that sphere of dreams that once
seemed so vast and terrifying appears to be no more than a single
stitch on an endless tapestry of power. By your grace, dream and
dreamer I have ceased to be. I am enfolded in unspeakable bliss. But
who am I and what have I become? I no longer know my name.”

“Your name is spirit and you have reached the pinnacle of angelic
existence. The entire universe and the sphere of dreams that contain it
are less than a speck of dust compared to you. Were I to give the
order, you could take that speck upon your tongue and in one swallow
it would be gone. You are indeed great! Yet angelic existence with all
its intoxicating power are merely shadows of the infinite knowledge,
power, and bliss of God. Go forth! You must now become mind.”

“Oh master, is there any respite in your gift? No sooner do I become
one thing than you push me on again to another. First I was an atom
on the sea of light and then became that sea. I saw life flicker in the
light of the earthly sun and as that solar blaze I drowned in the
effulgence of the starry universe that just as quickly disappeared
within the sphere of dreams and passed like a shadow before me. I
became the mighty domain of power. Now power bows powerless
before me.”

“My dear, there is no enduring rest upon this pathless path to truth.
Only when the endless beginning and the beginingless end are both
extinguished in eternity is eternal peace achieved.

“My lover, you have become the mind, the master of thought and
feeling and arrived at the chamber of the heart. Remove your shoes
and enter this holy abode.”

“Oh beloved, now I seem to be everywhere at once and can no longer
discern what is me and what is not me. Inner and outer have no
distinction; I am everything and dwell in my own ipseity of shifting
feeling colors and ever changing feeling forms. No constant exists for
me — but you! You are everything and I am nothing and I do not even
exist — except in you!”

“Hear me now! You have reached the abyss that stands between us.
You must cross this abyss of non-existence.”

“I cannot! I cannot even glimpse the other side. For all I have become,
illusion I remain, while you dwell beyond and in Reality reign. You
are the measure of my unendingness. In you alone I am contained. In
your reflection I am revealed, my features defined. In the blinding
effulgence of your divine light my own radiance quakes with fear of
non-existence. How can I cross this abyss? My eye sees no way. My
foot finds no holds.”

“You say you see me everywhere, in everything, and you exist in me.
Listen carefully when I say that in reality I too do not exist beyond
you. Neither do I contain you, nor do you contain me, for in reality
You and I are one — not we — come!

“I cannot. I am terrified and fear for my life.”
“Remember my dear one; nothing real can ever be lost. When you
awaken from sleep, only the dreams are gone. This final step of your
journey is called Mahapralaya — where pure consciousness is
retained after annihilation of the limited mind. Here you must trust me
completely. Fear not for I will help you.
Hear now my story:
You are like a stream that flows through all of time seeking union with
the sea. Nearing journey’s end, the stream flows into a vast desert and
is trapped in the sands. Weakening more and more, it tries to struggle
on, but finds its way to the sea blocked by a great mountain. Hopeless
and helpless, its life ebbing away into the sands, the stream cries out,

‘Oh help me Lord!’ and is answered by the voice of the wind.

‘I am the wind; you must give yourself to me. In my arms I will carry
you over the mountain as a cloud and as rain you will merge with the

‘But I will cease to be a stream. I will die!’

‘You will not die,’ whispered the wind. ‘Only your dream of yourself
as stream will end. Besides, where is your choice? A stream you can
no longer be. Give yourself to me, or be lost forever in the sands.’
And so, totally helpless and without hope, exhausted beyond belief, the
stream gave itself up into the arms of the wind and was carried as a
cloud beyond the mountain’s peaks. The cloud drifted over the sea
where seeing itself reflected in the water below, began to weep.

‘I await you. Come,’ welcomed the sea.

And the cloud released itself as tears of joy
and fell as rain into the sea.

‘We are not we, but one,’ spoke the golden sea and the stream, being
no more, heard the voice and recognized it as its own.”

Copyright © 2005 Michael Kovitz


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