Emily and Kabir
The other night, I watched a PBS special about Emily Dickinson. The filmmaker made her out to be an enigmatic gothic pervert that was obsessed with violence and death.
Emily it seems was very much an introvert.. Very sensitive, and very much in touch with the Lord - but without Christian rhetoric. It made me realize that the filmmaker was spiritually bankrupt and had not the slightest clue what Emily was all about. Emily reminds me very much of Kabir. She even uses the same words. I wonder if she had encountered Kabir somewhere in her brief education. Kabir was first translated into english by Evelyn Underhill, and the Bengali poet, Rabindranath Tagore in the early 1900’s.. long after Emily’s death. Which makes her common experience with Kabir the more remarkable.
—This is Emily Dickinson 1309—
The Infinite a sudden Guest
Has been assumed to be -
But how can that stupendous come
Which never went away?
The Soul that has a Guest,
Doth seldom go abroad,
Diviner Crowd at home
Obliterate the need,
And courtesy forbid
A Host’s departure, when
Upon Himself be visiting
The Emperor of Men!
—And this is Kabir—
The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;
you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling;
none of us have gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.
The blue sky opens out farther and farther,
the daily sense of failure goes away,
the damage I have done to myself fades,
a million suns come forward with light,
when I sit firmly in that world.
I hear bells ringing that no one has shaken,
inside “love” there is more joy than we know of,
rain pours down,
although the sky is clear of clouds,
there are whole rivers of light.
The universe is shot through in all parts
by a single sort of love.
How hard it is to feel that joy
in all our four bodies!
Those who hope to be reasonable about it fail.
The arrogance of reason has separated us
from that love.
With the word “reason” you already feel miles away.
How lucky Kabir is, that surrounded by all this joy
he sings inside his own little boat.
His poems amount to one soul meeting another.
These songs are about forgetting dying and loss.
They rise above both coming in and going out.