What I Miss

temple with incense
February 12, 2019

In an age of faux teachers
and the professionally aloof

In a yuga of brags and blame

When career debunkers
earn twice,
teaching desiccated versions
of your play

In this field of
initiations as promos
and realization looks—
cold and greedy simulations
of your wide awake love

When so-called teachers use
your skillful means deceitfully
and thwart
sincere desires of
young and old

When worshippers must rise
from cushions to unseat
your more ignorant forms
and even your disciples
hold their skepticism dear

You are here, in this too,
but still I long
for the time of the devotees.

I miss the time of honoring you in
all that comes and goes.
I miss the everyday palaces of mantra and song.
I miss the sandalwood smoke
filling towns,
the neighborhood dakini dance, and
the ringing to worship
when all had ears.

In the age of
belief and disbelief,
of overstatement and brand,
you’ve tasked me with
this ancient invisible way,
with greater confidence in
your word and subtle touch
than halls of
reasonable means.

My daughter’s hand rests in yours.
Your feet on the threshold are
the refuge where 
I place my head.

I know arisings of the
hearing and the deaf, the seers and
the blind are all equality’s way.
But still I stubbornly mourn
your glory days,
traced in the cave of my heart
echoing through linear time.

Finding you everywhere and in all,
Lord, tell me: why must I miss you just
the same?

—from Mother Poems by Shambhavi Sarasvati