In Sri Chinmoy’s poem “Between Nothingness and Eternity” we see expressed a sense of helplessness, negativity and frustration.
“Barren of events,
Rich in pretensions
My earthly life.”
It suggests that a life of ordinary worldly activities ultimately gives us no satisfaction.
“I am all alone
And frustration. “
At some stage in our spiritual evolution we become aware of the limitations and the futility of ‘earthly pretensions’. It is a reminder that even the most powerful and wealthiest individuals with an abundance of material possessions can feel a sense of loneliness. When we live in the ego we feel a sense of separation and from this separation comes loneliness and depression.
Sri Chinmoy has written many Bengali songsand English poems which express similar states of helplessness and negativity. However Sri Chinmoy says that these songs and poems can actually contain a sweetness. By becoming aware of our current incapacities and difficulties we become more receptive to the grace of the Supreme. The grace which wishes to transform our nature and offer hope from despair.
The last word of the poem ”Between nothingness and Eternity’ is the first indication that these emotions are transitory.
” I am the red thread
And Eternity. “
Suffering is maybe a state we have to pass through but even the most bleak of circumstances is but a stage in our never ending journey. Like many other poets the poetry of Sri Chinmoy is like a journey; to read just one poem is to only get a fraction of the whole.
For example If we read this poem alone we would be unaware of Sri Chinmoy’s belief and direct experience of an ecstatic spiritual consciousness. There are many other poems that express alternative more positive views of life ‘Immortality‘ strikingly offers a glimpse of the highest meditation.
” My eternal days are found in speeding time;
I play upon His Flute of rhapsody.
Impossible deeds no more impossible seem;
In birth chains now shines Immortality. “
The poem is like a mantra it does not argue or cojole it merely states, it is written with confidence and and a reverential majesty we become aware the poet is writing from direct personal experience and not imagination.
In Between Nothingness and Eternity the ego suffers because it is alone and is stuck in the limitations of the world. In Immortality the light and delight come from the Grace the soul now receives.
” I feel in all my limbs His boundless Grace;
Within my heart the Truth of life shines white.
The secret heights of God my soul now climbs;
No dole, no sombre pang, no death in my sight. “
Commentary by: R.Pettinger 2/1/06