These poems are reprinted from The Oxford Book of Modern Verse 1892‒1935 which was edited by W.B. Yeats.
I KNOW that I am a great sinner,
That there is no remedy,
But let Thy will be done,
If my Lord wishes He need not speak to me.
All I ask is that of His bounty
He walk by my side through my life.
I will behave well
Though He never embrace me—
O Lord, Thou art my Master
And I Thy slave.
(From his own Hindi)
SHALL I do this?
Shall I do that?
My hands are empty,
All that talk amounts to nothing.
Never will I do anything,
Never, never will I do anything;
Having been commanded to woo Thee
I should keep myself wide awake
Or else sleep away my life.
I am unfit to do the first,
But I can sleep with open eyes,
And I can always pretend to laugh,
And I can weep for the state I am in;
But my laugh has gone for good,
And gone the charm of tears.
(From his own Urdu)
A MIRACLE indeed!
Thou art Lord of All Power.
I asked a little power,
Thou gavest me a begging-bowl.
(From his own Urdu)
By Shri Purohit Swami
This book was originally published in 1932 as An Indian Monk: His Life and Adventures. This new edition, published in 1992, includes the original contents plus a 16-page biography by Vinod Sena.
This wonderful book is the first autobiography of a yogi ever written. After a university education and years of wandering as a renunciant in his native India, Purohit Swami came to England in 1930 where he became friends with the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats, who encouraged him to write this book. (The two men also collaborated on a translation of the principal Upanishads.) With artful prose and intriguing stories, Purohit does a remarkable job of communicating the experience of becoming a yogi. He also provides vivid glimpses of aspects of Indian culture (such as renunciation) that are particularly valuable for Western students of yoga.
We recommend this book highly.
Translated by Shree Purohit Swami and W.B. Yeats
There are translations for the heart and for the head; those that recreate the poetic, literary greatness of the original, and those that aim at academic fidelity. This may be the best English translation of the first type that has ever been made of the Upanishads. Shri Purohit Swami was an enormously talented yogi who came to London in 1930, and W.B. Yeats was one of the greatest English poets of the twentieth century.
This page was published on June 20, 2017 and last revised on June 20, 2017.