Utpaladeva, the author of ‘Sivastotravali’, was a mystic from the 9th century Kashmir. He was one of the most important visionaries belonging to an extraordinary line of Saiva Yogis that started around the 7 to 8th century and lasted up to the 11th century of our age.
Utpaladeva`s mix of profound philosophical thought and ardent devotional love is rarely found in a single person. This has made him one of the brightest stars to shine out from the Indian mystical firmament.
So far, there has only been few attempts to translate his devotional poetry into modern language. Fired up by a desire to get ‘closer to the source’ I asked a dear friend of mine endowed with infinite patience and a great knowledge of Sanskrit, for help. Without his expertise I would not had been able to have started my own attempt (in a very ‘loose’ and creative way, not scholastic) at a new rendering of some of the verses from Utpaladeva`s collected works entitled the ‘Sivastotravali’.
At a time where ‘objective scientific intoxication’ is building up to an unprecedented climax, Utpaladeva`s devotional verses can seem just like another archaic form of sentimentality. After all, how much practical profit one can gain by reading and meditating on his work ? The answer would have to be : None whatsoever, but then, I do not think he himself had aimed his work for that type of a mindset.
Utpaladeva was a magician of the spirit, a lover intent on dwelling in the deepest secret of the Heart…….the ubiquitous Siva.
Hope you will enjoy these few selections….
” Oh Dear One,which direction can I turn
that is not leading to your presence ?
Which form can I see, that is not Your form ?
Which softness can I touch that is other then Your body ?
Which sound can I hear that is any different
from the sweetness of Your voice ? ”
” I had fallen into a great abyss of pure darkness…
but found myself swimming in an endless ocean of joy.
Oh Blissful One, this is indeed the great truth , that only those who have this great love, can be immersed in Your transcendent consciousness. ”
“When the dark clouds of afflictions prevent my eyes from seeing the sunshine of life, I feel even closer to You. Where in this world or another world could anything manifest that would prevent me from loving You ? Both existence and non-existence, emptiness and fulness, are nothing else but a variety of paths all leading inevitably, to Your heart`s essence. ”
” I have memorised and studied, I have understood so many wonders, but still all that, has never seemed as sweet as just the simple utterance of Your name. Oh Dear One, I weep alone. Had my tears not emerged from this great pain of my love for You, their touching on my lips, would taste like sour wine. ”
” During this ritual of love
I have sunk deeply into the centre of Your Being. Who are You ? Who am I ? Fused in oneness, distinctions have vanished, Your essence is the only reality for those who have gone into this infinite sky of bliss. ”
” In dreams that vanish like wispy clouds in the vastness of infinity, in weightless fantasies spinning out of control, in the fading beauty on the twilight of forms, even in all this evanescence, lovers can see further into Your true nature, but for those with unmoving hearts, what are not veils that prevent them from even acknowledging Your existence ? ”
” All forms shine with Your presence, oh Friend, I see the entire universe dancing to Your ecstatic music. Either in joy, sorrow or in the vacuity of total nothingness, may the essence of Your Being be clearly revealed to me, always. ”