The Song of the Poppadum

In 1914 or 1915, Bhagavan was living in Virupaksha Cave with his mother, who did most of the cooking. He himself was a skilled cook and both then and later often helped to prepare the food. On one occasion his mother was making poppadum, a thin round cake made of black gram flour fried crisp, and she called him to help her. Instead of doing so, however, he composed this poem giving instructions for spiritual development under the symbolism of making poppadum.

Try and make some poppadums.
Eat them and your longing satisfy.
Don't roam the world disconsolate.
Heed the word, unique, unspoken
Taught by the teacher true who teaches
The truth of Being-Awareness-Bliss.
Try and make some . . . satisfy.
Take the black-gram, ego-self,
Growing in the fivefold body-field[1]
And grind it in the quern,
The wisdom-quest of `Who am I?'
Reducing it to finest flour.
Try and make some . . . satisfy.
Mix it with pirandai-juice,
Which is holy company,
Add mind-control, the cummin-seed,
The pepper of self-restraint,
The salt of non-attachment,
And asafoetida, the aroma Of virtuous inclination.
Try and make some . . . satisfy.
In the Heart-mortar place the dough.
And with mind-pestle inward turned,
Pound it hard with strokes of `I', `I',
Then flatten it with the rolling-pin
Of stillness on the level slab (of Being).
Work away, untiring, steady, cheerful.
Try and make some . . . satisfy.
Put the poppadum in the ghee of Brahman [?]
Held in the pan of infinite silence
And fry it over the fire of knowledge.
Now as I transmuted into That,
Eat and taste the Self as Self,
Abiding as the Self alone.
Try and make some . . . satisfy.

(Translated by Prof. K. Swaminathan)

1The Hindu philosophical doctrines recognize the existence of subtler bodies of the human being, each functioning in a finer realm. The five sheaths mentioned in the text are included in the three human bodies -- material, subtle, and causal. These sheaths are: the physical, vital, mental, intellectual, and the blissful sheaths. For a description, see the Vivekachudamani.

Referred Resources:

Virupaksha Cave


Who am I?

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