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Copyright 2001 Realization.org.



Prayer to My Guru,
Sri Sri Sri
Shivabalayogi Maharaj



For Carol


Hey Swamiji

I followed you by rivers of phlegm and blood.

I followed you by rivers of gas and strong digestive juices

and found you in my heart.

What I call my heart is you

There is no other.


Now I want to hear you sing and play the flute the Virgin played

when she danced before our Lord in pious circles

as the moon does in her orbit.

I want to see you consulting with widows about their hemorrhoids

and with men my age asking for money.

I am more than 50 now

more than smoke of memory gone in fire

more than what is left when bones are splintered ash.

When not even the echo of my voice is left

there you are.

With these hands I am listening for your voice spread over me like a flag of sky

open and let go of     carried in wind snapping like a prayer shawl

the mind without end or beginning

the heart alone with itself

the heart alone

I listen for that.


Whatever prayer is, this is prayer

the prayer a redbird makes shot through the wing with a pellet gun,

the prayer of a buzzard falling from the forehead of an oak tree

in Stephen's Creek, Texas

shot from an amazing distance with a 22 rifle when I was 12.

The arc of it falling beautiful in memory as the breast of a woman

or the flared nostrils of a muley cow in labor.


The arc of falling is my prayer and the memory of hitting the ground

still trying to breathe when I reached it.

My own red face in the shaving mirror is my prayer

when I am feeling old and bitter and used.


There is no burden greater than breath used against itself

but if you are who I say you are

then you hear these words before I do.


Hey Swamiji

they say you are God but you are not God.

God is just another person who doesn't listen when people

have gone down on their knees crying in public.

You are more than God and I am laid bare to you!


The coarse hair over my heart

you know it well.

When I call your name you see the gap between these crooked teeth

I want to hide behind my hands.

I have the tongue of a crow slit by peanut farmers' sons

and taught to speak the words of men.

If I couldn't lie there would be nothing left to say.


I am poor poor poor poor poor. I am poor.

I can't earn your love

only stalk you like a crow who stalks a slice of wonder bread

that fell from your high window to this ground.


I tell you that my heart is a decorated doorway*

that my ribs are sanded smooth and lacquered with mantras

chanted in the remains of a Texas accent.

But the face I show you only you can see

who see through walls and time before emptiness becomes a man.


Once I heard you telling someone on the street:


Abandon every face see only sky.

You are not a whore whispering behind a window blind.

God is not your client or your pimp!

If you must kneel     kneel completely through the earth.

You will find yourself carried underground

to the unconceived beginnings of a river.



I am the decorated doorway

the one you pass through walking with an arm of moon

around your waist.

I will kneel before you like a man

or I will wear a long white skirt that drags the ground

with a red hem.

I will dance for you with honeysuckle in my hair.

Tell me what you want.


Shree Maa said


Who am I?

I am nothing, zero!

If you want to see God, look in your mirror.


I can't say who I am

only go round you like a hawk who circles a wild magnolia tree

in which a red winged black bird sits.


Our minds stop when we are not afraid to be completely alone.

Then the sky cracks open.

The crown of our head is born from the womb.

We see the whole blue body come between the Mother's legs like a mountain of sky!

Then we stand in wonder at this birth of who we are!

Then we lift hands to this light!


Sometimes when the moon rises

our blood follows the limping heart and flows in a spiral through the body

like the mob that followed Jesus through the winding streets

of Jerusalem when the cross was on his back, the sun setting on the crown of his head

followed by thunder, followed by rain.


Sometimes we may feel that a wing has been torn out our spine.

Shree Maa told me that with only one good wing we can fly in a circle

around our Lord

that a circle is good as a straight line when all we want

is to be here with him.


Before I came to rest in you whose breast is white

and fragrant as magnolia

I ate the flesh and drank the blood of memory.

My heart was a bible with verses marked by sticks of chewing gum.


I can't say who you are

can't contain you in a rib cage of words.

Words are boxes of arthritic light painful where they join us.

Words are the failure of mind to let silence be enough.

I know that when I see your face in the shaving mirror

I am the one behind the mirror.

To see you I must look deeper than I believe in my own eyes.


I remember years when I knew God wanted to kill me.

Now he stirs my ashes with a stick.

Now in early morning I kneel by streams of breath

with the moon as my witness admitting to you


I know nothing nothing nothing.


Now when I walk in a spiral through this city

following lines of power drawn by my own intelligence

I do not find a place where I am not

already waiting with arms full of flowers buzzing with bees.**

In every cell of the body happiness is coiled

and tightly folded as the wings of meadowlarks.


Swamiji, you told me


Don't resist the rising breath

even if your lungs keep filling until they break your ribs.

Don't stop until this world and all this sky

are breathed inside you!


I am all ash now the color of sky.

No words come from where I am and none can reach me here

that are not changed first to fire.


Jai Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj!

Jai Swamiji!


This is my prayer.


Quotations in this poem attributed to Shivabalayogi were heard in meditation or in dreams. The first quote attributed to Shree Maa was actually said by her, the second was heard in a dream.

*"The Decorated Doorway" is an English translation of one of the thousand names of Lord Shiva found in Siva Puja by Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Devi Mandir. (Back to poem.)

**Guru Gita, Verse 51. Translation by Swami Satyananda Saraswati. (Back to poem.)

Copyright 2000 Charlie Hopkins.

Charlie Hopkins is a wallpaper hanger and devotee of Sri Shivabalayogi Maharaj. He lives in Hood River, Oregon. All his poems and prayers are addressed to his wife, Carol, who is happy when other people read them too. Carol is a Vedic astrologer and counselor. You can email them here.





Charlie Hopkins is a devotee of Shiva Bala Yogi. This website offers more information about him.




Devi Mandir is the ashram of Shree Maa who is quoted in this poem.




by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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This page was published on September 6, 2000 and last revised on September 7, 2000.

Copyright 2001 Realization.org. All rights reserved.