Poems: “Loving Attention” and “Notice”


Loving Attention

Language and logic
Only express dualities
We are inner children
Asleep and aground
On the isle of the mind
In the see of awareness
Awaiting loving attention
To our viewpoint

Awaken bright spirits
To loving attention
And we will live the secret
Of how the dasi
Merged in the hermit’s heart
Even as she sought
To expose it


*The second stanza refers to a story about the hermit Kaduveli Siddhar, which Ramana Maharshi used to tell. I have archived two copies of the story below. This story has always conveyed something deeply to me, and I have gone back to read it many times throughout my life. Something strikes me now about how that story is retold; why is it that Kaduveli Siddhar’s love for the dasi and their child is not emphasized? Or that she could not “pretend” to attend to the hermit, she actually had to attend to him and be loving with him to produce a child. The dasi and the King proved nothing but love. What a play this world is…

The following poem was written in Sept 2011, also expressing the wholeness of attention…


When you see the sun
Sun is all there is
When you smell the flower
Perfume is all there is
When you smile at that person
They are all that is
What indescribable joy
Just to be life, aware
This fluid point of awareness
Becomes all that is
A great secret
A great healing
Dissolving in what is

I am going to archive two versions of the Kaduveli Siddhar story here as the sites that post this story change frequently. This one is from an interview with David Godman, and actually the whole interview is very good http://davidgodman.org/interviews/al3.shtml

Having said all this, I should also make it clear that Sri Ramana himself readily admitted that enlightenment didn’t turn people into paragons of virtue. Like most great Masters before him, he said that it was impossible to judge whether someone was enlightened by what he or she did or said. Saintliness does not necessarily go hand in hand with enlightenment, although most people like to think that it should. Sri Ramana was a rare conjunction of saintliness and enlightenment, but many other Masters and enlightened beings were not. They were not less enlightened because they didn’t conform to the social and ethical mores of their times, they simply had different destinies to fulfil.

     In Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Ramana narrates the story of Kaduveli Siddhar, an austere ascetic who attracted public ridicule by having an affair with a temple dancer. A local king offered a reward to anyone who could prove whether this man really was a saint or not. At the time the challenge was issued, Kaduveli Siddhar was subsisting on dry leaves that fell from trees. When the dancer eventually gave birth to Kaduveli Siddhar’s baby, she thought that she had proved her point and went to the king to collect her reward.

     The king, who wanted some public confirmation of their intimate relationship, arranged a dance performance. When it was under way, the dancer stretched out her foot towards Kaduveli Siddhar because one of her anklets had become loose. When he retied it for her, the audience jeered at him. Kaduveli Siddhar was unmoved. He sang a Tamil verse, part of which said, ‘If it is true that I sleep day and night quite aware of the Self, may this stone burst into two and become the wide expanse’.

     Immediately, a nearby stone idol split apart with a resounding crack, much to the astonishment of the audience.

     Sri Ramana’s conclusion to this story was, ‘He proved himself to be an unswerving jnani. One should not be deceived by the external appearance of a jnani.’

     I find it fascinating that Sri Ramana, a man of impeccable saintliness, could say that behaviour such as this could not be taken to indicate that Kaduveli Siddhar was unenlightened.

Here is another version that does not quite impart the same deviousness about the Kings’ and the dasi’s plan: http://bhagwan-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com/2009/02/ramana-maharshi-story-in-world-but-not.html

Ramana Maharshi Story – In the World but not of the World

Ramana Maharshi – Kaduveli Siddhar was famed as a very austere hermit. He lived on the dry leaves fallen from trees. The king of the country heard of him and offered a reward to one who would prove this man’s worth. A rich dasi agreed to do it.

She began to live near the recluse and pretended to attend on him. She gently left pieces of pappadam along with the dry leaves picked by him. When he had eaten them she began to leave other kinds of tasty food along with the dry leaves. Eventually he took good tasty dishes supplied by her. They became intimate and a child was born to them. She reported the matter to the king. The king wanted to know if she could prove their mutual relationship to the general public.

She agreed and suggested a plan of action. Accordingly the king announced a public dancing performance by the dasi and invited the people to it. The crowd gathered and she also appeared, but not before she had given a dose of physic to the child and left it in charge of the saint at home. As the dance was at its height, the child was crying at home for its mother.

The father took the babe in his arms and went to the dancing performance. As she was dancing hilariously he could not approach her with the child. She noticed the man and the babe, and contrived to kick her legs in the dance, so as to unloose one of her anklets just as she approached the place where the saint was. She gently lifted her foot and he tied the anklet.

The public shouted and laughed. But he remained unaffected. Yet to prove his worth, he sang a Tamil song meaning: “For victory, let go my anger! I release my mind when it rushes away. If it is true that I sleep day and night quite aware of my Self, may this stone burst into twain and become the wide expanse!”

Immediately the stone (idol) burst with a loud noise. The people were astounded. Thus he proved himself an unswerving jnani. One should not be deceived by the external appearance of a jnani. Verse 181 of Vedanta Chudamani further explains this. Its meaning is as follows:

Although a jivanmukta associated with the body may, owing to his prarabdha, appear to lapse into ignorance or wisdom, yet he is only pure like the ether (akasa) which is always itself clear, whether covered by dense clouds or without being covered by clouds. He always revels in the Self alone, like a loving wife taking pleasure with her husband alone.

Though she attends on him with things obtained from others (by way of fortune, as determined by her prarabdha). Though he remains silent like one devoid of learning, his supineness is due to the implicit duality of the vaikhari vak (spoken words) of the Vedas; his silence is the highest expression of the realised non-duality which is after all the true content of the Vedas.

Though he instructs his disciples, he does not pose as a teacher in the full conviction that the teacher and disciple are mere conventions born of illusion (maya), and so he continues to utter words like akasvani. If, on the other hand, he mutters words incoherently like a lunatic, it is because his experience is inexpressible.

If his words are many and fluent like those of an orator, they represent the recollection of his experience, since he is the unmoving nondual One without any desire awaiting fulfilment. Although he may appear grief-stricken like any other man in bereavement, yet he evinces just the right love of and pity for the senses which he earlier controlled before he realised that they were mere instruments and manifestations of the Supreme Being.

When he seems keenly interested in the wonders of the world, he is only ridiculing the ignorance born of superimposition. If he appears wrathful he means well to the offenders. All his actions should be taken to be only divine manifestations on the plane of humanity. There should not arise even the least doubt as to his being emancipated while yet alive. He lives only for the good of the world.

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4 Responses to Poems: “Loving Attention” and “Notice”

  1. laurapaxton says:

    I like both of these, especially, “Notice.” The poem leads you to dissolve into joy and then helps you realize what happened.

  2. Pingback: On the Lives of Sages Redux | The Stream of Life

  3. Pingback: Notice | The Stream of Life

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