Selections from ...

Odes to the King of Hearts

Ghazals by Aude Gotto


You are set on wiping out my so-called personality 1
You shot an arrow at my heart 2
Unable to forget ourselves we forget You 3
How infinite is Your patience 4
This path is one of constant failure 5
I sit there deaf and dumb 6
Our minds cannot stop seeking explanations 7
One thing at least is beyond doubt 8
Worry is like a weed 9
Other people 10
Life is not about deserving 11

Odes to the King of Hearts


You are set on wiping out my so-called personality

Oh Meher, You are set on wiping out my so-called personality
and I no longer know who I am.
Even though You have stolen my heart
and my tears flow when I see Your face,
I will not consent to be called Your lover:
who can love the Lord as He should be loved?
And how could I call myself Your disciple
when all I offer You daily is mistakes,
foolishness and disobedience?

Oh friends, perhaps I am just a blunt and rusty tool
which the Master has taken back to His workshop
to clean and sharpen.

Oh people, you see how I have been removed from the world
and stripped of my contribution to it.
You are expecting me to return soon
and be the same.
How could I be the same after the Beloved's treatment?
I don't know what will be left of me
after His cleaning and sharpening.

Oh Namo, why do you complain under the Beloved's treatment?
Do you not trust that He is All-Knowing,
and Infinitely Compassionate?

29 January 1998

line 12 ("clean and sharpen"): "Just as an instrument has
  a tendency to get out of order while being put to use,
  the aspirant is also likely to go wrong during his working
  in the world. From time to time the instrument has to be
  cleaned, overhauled, repaired, and set right. In the same way
  the aspirant...has to be put into working order so that he
  can move ahead."
(Meher Baba, Discourses, The Dynamics of
  Spiritual Advancement.)
line 14 ("contribution"): These poems were written after a period
  of illness which forced me to give up an absorbing full-time job.



You shot an arrow at my heart

Oh Meher, You shot an arrow at my heart
and Your aim was true and sure.
My heart started bleeding and singing
all at the same time.

Oh Beloved, You have set fire to my house,
but I have no wish to escape.
I stay there to be consumed
so that nothing will be left
to separate me from You.

Oh friends, you call it madness
when a man falls to the ground and screams
because all of a sudden he sees God everywhere.
I long for this madness, but the Beloved
will not give it to me.
He keeps me firmly in the world because, He says,
He has use for me there.

Oh Namo, you are the handmaid of the Lord,
so you must see to His pleasure
at the cost of your own desires.

line 12 ("sees God everywhere"): This incident happened during
  the celebrations of the 29th anniversary of Meher Baba's death,
  January 1998, in Meherabad, India.

1 February 1998



Unable to forget ourselves we forget You

Oh Beloved, how we ignore You!
Your smile touched our hearts once,
and we wept,
but now, unable to forget ourselves,
we forget You.

Oh friends, the Lord has come to our world
to offer us the Infinite Ocean,
but we turn away and get absorbed
in our own reflection in puddles.

We worry about our warts and pimples
or adorn ourselves with achievements;
endlessly we concern ourselves
about whether we are good or bad.

And all the while the Lord stands and waits,
in His infinite patience,
for us to get tired
of our crazy ways.

Oh Namo, dare to turn around
and gaze into the Perfect Mirror
of the Beloved.
He will show you the simplicity of your true Self
and wipe away the complications of your personality.

2 February 1998



How infinite is Your patience

Oh Meher, how infinite is Your patience!
Again and again You stop me when I go wrong.

Oh Beloved, my mind produces endless tricks
to evade Your orders;
again and again I try to get out of doing Your Will:
I am so attached to my own ways!

Oh friends, how fortunate we are
that our Beloved is even cleverer than our clever minds
and more stubborn than our stubborn wills.
In spite of our reluctance He nudges and urges
and pushes and pulls us
on the path to Reality.

Oh friends, we say we want happiness,
but instead of trusting in the Beloved's guidance
we foolishly take pride in following our own desires.

Oh Namo, you are impatient with yourself
and ashamed of your mistakes.
But your Beloved doesn't mind
how long He has to wait
or how many times He has to forgive.

5 February 1998



This path is one of constant failure

Oh Meher, this path of Yours is truly impossible!
When I started on it, I thought
I would acquire wisdom and virtue
and become peaceful as a frozen lake.

Oh Beloved, as I spend time in Your company,
I do not become wiser, just more aware of my foolishness.
As for virtue, I am stripped of what little I had,
as You unveil the pride and self-righteousness
lurking under my ‘goodness’.

Oh friends, this path is one of constant failure,
as the limited self must be utterly defeated.
And the peace of the frozen lake
seems totally out of reach
as I wage war against my millions of wants.

Oh Namo, only the impossible has divine meaning,
and only the Beloved's grace can carry you on this path.

line 4 ("frozen lake"): "If you have the peace of a frozen lake,
  then you will realize me."
(Meher Baba, Twelve Ways
  of Realising Me; No 2, Peace of Mind.)

12 February 1998 , Meherabad



I sit there deaf and dumb

Oh Meher, the world has no idea who You are.
It doesn't even know of Your existence.
How come this secret is known to me?

Oh people of the world, you worry and hurry
about your own affairs,
ignorant of the stupendous fact
that the Word has been made flesh,
and has lived among us,
radiant with Love and Truth.

Oh friends, I don't know what to do
with my knowledge of the Beloved:
I cannot speak of His beauty,
or say how He touched my heart;
such things are indescribable.

Oh people of the world, you wonder why
I sit there deaf and dumb
while you discuss important matters.
I fear I will forget my Beloved,
if I take part in your debates:
you are filled with your own importance,
and this is a very contagious disease.

Oh Namo, you have not yet found a way
to live in the world and remain detached.
The only solution is to persevere
in remembering your Beloved
constantly and silently.

line 9 ("Love and Truth"): "And the Word was made flesh,
  and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth."

  (Gospel according to John.)

13 February 1998 , in Meher Baba's Samadhi



Our minds cannot stop seeking explanations

Oh Meher, Your ways are truly unfathomable
and I cannot know Your purpose for me.

Oh friends, our minds cannot stop
seeking explanations for what happens to us,
and we produce theories about our Lord's intent
at every accident of our lives.

Oh Beloved, we cannot accept the simple solution
to all our problems:
to love You and remember You at all times.
This simple remedy is so difficult to apply
that we prefer to create complications
and get lost in the mazes of our worried minds.

Oh friends, we say to each other importantly:
"This is what the Lord wants from me,
I understand what He is getting at."
Clever fools that we are,
to think we know the mind of God.
The more we try to understand Him,
the more we misunderstand Him.

Oh Namo, replace understanding with trust,
and you will find peace.
Know that nothing happens outside the Beloved's Will
and His Will expresses His Love.

line 19 ("misunderstand Him"): "The moment you try to understand God
  rather than love him, you begin to misunderstand him."
  (Meher Baba)

15 February 1998 , Bombay



One thing at least is beyond doubt

Oh Meher, You tell me You are everywhere
and in everything,
Yet in the confusing manyness of this world
I lose sight of You.

Oh people of the world, you are so engrossed
in the play of duality,
you believe so firmly that Illusion is real,
that in your midst I find myself doubting
the Reality of God.

Oh Beloved, one thing at least is beyond doubt:
You have awakened my love.
On the reality of this one fact
my heart refuses to give way to my mind.

Oh friends, I may wonder about the Universal Manifestation,
and the advent of the New Humanity;
but the Lord has manifested in my heart
and is busy making it new.

Oh Namo, become deaf and blind
to the sounds and sights of the world,
but sharpen your inner sight
and you will see your Beloved smiling
like the sun behind the clouds.

16 February 1998, Bombay



Worry is like a weed

Oh Meher, Lord of inner and outer gardens,
You will understand me when I say
that worry is like a weed
with a vast underground root system.
When I clear a patch
it looks lovely for a few days
and I feel pleased.
But there always seem to be bits left in the ground
and after a while,
it all starts sprouting afresh...
So it's back to the toolshed, grab the fork,
and dig it all up again!

Oh friends, worries and attachments
are the nettles and bindweed of my garden.
However conscientiously I try to uproot them,
they seem indestructible.

Oh Beloved, in this work of tending the garden of my heart
for You to rest in,
there are sunny days in which everything shines and sparkles,
foggy days when I can't see the Sun or even the flowers,
days when the winds and rain of disordered emotion
beat down so hard that I can't do anything
except wait.

Oh Namo, perseverance and patience
are qualities needed in great measure
to be the Lord's gardener.



Other people

Oh Meher, how lovely life would be
if there was just You and me!
In a world full of stars and trees
with a few birds and flowers and bees,
I would be free from irritation
and dedicated to contemplation.
It is other people who cause complication.

Other people have wants and needs and faults;
they talk and talk about themselves
and they expect me to listen.
Blind to their obvious shortcomings,
they don't hear what I try to tell them.

Other people are critical
intolerant and judgemental.
They have no empathy and lack understanding,
and they have so little insight
they can't even see that I'm right!

Oh friends, don't laugh at me too soon.
Do you recognise this angry mood
when anything and everything
irritates like a nettle sting?
It comes from trying to be good
– and failing.
To save ourselves from shame
everyone else gets the blame.

Oh Namo, here you are like a hedgehog,
nothing but prickles.
When you are in this sort of state
even God
has to wait.



Life is not about deserving

Oh Meher, this path is full of wonders.
Life can be transformed beyond recognition
without anything having changed at all.
I trudge along, sweating and cursing,
in the hot sands of a desert stretching to the horizon, getting
nowhere, just battling on,
with nothing to help me but my obstinacy;
and without warning,
undeserved, Your Grace descends,
the oasis of Your presence surrounds me
and I drink from the pools of Your eyes.

Oh friends, I am learning that life
is not about deserving.
God's gift is sometimes suffering
and sometimes bliss,
but it is never punishment or reward for our deeds.
Our part is to keep going.
It is when we hold on to Him,
against all odds and appearances,
that we discover that He is always there.

Oh Namo, what a relief to know
that we don't have to deserve God's Grace:
how could we, anyway?
But it comes when we persevere,
and that is within our power.


Namo is the Sanskrit name given to Aude by Bhau;
it comes from the same root as the Indian salutation,
"Namaskar", and expresses reverence for the divinity within.

Copyright © 1998 by Aude Gotto