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Articles from Pre-1998 Issues 

Brahman
An Introduction

by Susan Walters

My friend Mira at the time of the Durga Puja in October 1992 went with two close friends from college days on a six-day holiday to a village not far to the north of Calcutta. This holiday proved to be a very happy one. The three friends talked together for hours, sang, recited poems, and took long walks along the quiet village roads. A river that flowed through the village lent an air of serenity to the occasion.

When they returned to Calcutta, Mira told me everything about the holiday, and then described a very special experience she had one evening when the three were seated on the roof of t house they were saying in. She also told me she had written a poem in Bengali about this evidently a beautiful poem with rhyme, rhythm-ever thing. As unfortunately I don't know my Bengali, she gave me the gist of the poem in English.

I was so moved, I felt inspired to try to capture her experience in English. The poem Brahman is the result.

BRAHMAN

'The space in the universe is negated in Brahman, who is Omnipresent.

How can I forget that night?
The night I saw the sky dissolve into Nothingness The Nothing-ness that
is All-ness.

There were three of us-old college friends on a six days holiday in a
village three hours by train from Calcutta, sitting on the roof of our
temporary home in the midst of a thick grove.
 

The trees' branches
rustled around us,
making a little gap now and then
for the sight of the river below.
We sang song after song
and ended with Rabindranath, who else ?
Then sat silent. gazing at the sky.
Gradually the sky itself disappeared
And all that is-- was Nothing-- the Void. Then I understood:
 
All those I had ever known, and loved, and lost, were there.
They, and the stars, the trees, the river, and we three friends, were all
part of the same Reality,
with only a little gap between.
Nothing is ever lost.
Peace descended on me, and Bliss--
that little gap was closing up.
I felt I was dissolving in the Void.

Afraid to lose my little self,
I grasped the nearest arm
And came back to earth.

Foolish me ! To cling to maya at such a time as this

But maya won't last forever.
Once again I'll see that Truth,
the Immensity that is Brahman-(No gaps then!) And know for sure that I
am That, That Bliss, that Joy-- That Nothingness that is All.

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