Spiritual-Mystical Poems and Prose

Poems, prose poems, pseudo-essays (which I call imaginessays), and other writings (sometimes humorous) expressing different aspects of some of our deepest experiences as human beings–at least, that is the intention.

The Death of Swami Vivekananda, a poem about one of the greatest Indians and human beings, who was the chief disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, perhaps the greatest Indian saint of the last two hundred years (he lived in the 19th century). Swami Vivekananda was the greatest, and probably the first, Indian spiritual leader to visit the United States. He was a pure nondualist, believing that no distinctions exist between beings, whether lower or higher–our soul and God are one. Maya is the illusion–the false belief–that they are separate. He was a brilliant speaker (you can listen on YouTube to his presentation at the 1893 Parliament of World Religions in Chicago) and a writer of extraordinary depth and clarity (publications of his teachings are too numerous to list here).

The Forlorn Young Woman, a recently discovered fragment of the Zohar.

Here I Seek You: Jewish Poems for Shabbat, Holy Days, and Everydays, a book of liturgical poems that can accompany the prayer service or be read or recited on their own. Click here for an online version showing the poems in their liturgical context.

Inside Abraham’s Tent, written after the first Jewish class I ever attended, a Torah study session led by Rabbi Mordecai Twerski in Denver.

Jagadanandakaraka, the first of the Pancharatna Kritis (pancharatna = “five jewels”), five famous devotional songs written by Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847), the beloved South Indian composer. This kriti honors Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu and the hero of the Ramayana. This one is written in Sanskrit; the rest, in Telugu. Two excellent recordings of Jagadanandakaraka are on YouTube by M. Balamuralikrishna and M.S. Subbulakshmi. If you like this composition, you can search for other recordings on the Internet or at the library or in a music store selling recordings of Indian music.

The Play, something for the Christian in many of us.

The Salt Doll of Sri Ramakrishna, a poem based on a teaching of the great saint of 19th-century India, whose legacy continues in teachings, organizations, and good works.

Troubled Sleep, an imaginessay kind of prose poem.

Wheel of Fortune, an imaginessay kind of prose poem having something to do with Buddhism, Indian mythology, and mystical Judaism, inspired by a trip to Angkor Wat.

Who Are You, a poem inspired by Jewish mysticism.

The Word That Was Lost, a prose-poetic response to a concept of Sufi Hazrat Inayat Khan.

Zero-Sum Nirvana, an imaginessay kind of prose poem.