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Chapter 1: Gorakh: The Foundation Stone

Neither emptiness nor fullness,
Neither isness nor no-isness -
So unfathomable, and beyond the senses.
In the inner sky of the crown chakra,
It is the innocent voice of a child,
How can it be named?

Laughing, being playful - the knack of meditation.
Day and night, sharing this divine inspiration,
He laughs, he plays, his mind untroubled.
This unwavering one is always with God.

Day and night dissolving mind into no-mind,
Dropping the knowable, speaking the unknowable.
Discarding hope, living without hope:
Brahma the creator says, “I am your servant.”

What flows down, he channels up,
A yogi burns up his sex.
He releases his embrace and shatters illusion:
Vishnu the sustainer washes his feet.

Die, O yogi, die! Die, sweet is this dying.
Die this death that Gorakh embraced and awakened.

The great Hindi poet, Sumitranandan Pant, once asked me, “Who in the vast sky of Indian religion, in your opinion, are the twelve brightest shining stars?” I gave him this list: Krishna, Patanjali, Buddha, Mahavira, Nagarjuna, Shankara, Gorakh, Kabir, Nanak, Meera, Ramakrishna and Krishnamurti. Sumitranandan Pant closed his eyes and slipped into thought.. “Making a list is not easy because the Indian sky is filled with so many stars! Who to drop, who to include?”

Sumitranandan was a lovely man - extremely soft, extremely sweet, feminine. Even in old age a freshness remained on his face - just as it should remain. He had become more and more beautiful.

I began to read the expressions appearing and disappearing on his face. It was difficult for him too: some names that should naturally be included were not there. Rama’s name was missing! He opened his eyes and said to me, “You have excluded Rama!”

I said, “If I am allowed to choose only twelve, many names will have to be dropped, so I have chosen those twelve people who have made some original contribution. Rama has made no original contribution, but Krishna has. This is why the Hindus also call Krishna a complete incarnation, but not Rama.”

He asked me further, “Next, could you give me seven names?”

Now the question had become more difficult. I gave him seven names: Krishna, Patanjali, Buddha, Mahavira, Shankara, Gorakh and Kabir.

He said, “The five you have deleted, on what basis did you drop them?”

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