Posted in honor of the twelfth visit to America by His Holiness, Baba Shiva Rudra Balayogi Maharaj, Shivabalayogi’s only monastic disciple.

Baba and Shivabalayogi

Baba and Shivabalayogi

There is a happiness
like a bee hive humming inside the black locust tree
where an orphaned squirrel makes his home among thorns.

No one can fill what has never been empty
nor displace what is always full
but when love sits down in your heart
it will overflow.

Some look at my face and see a slammed door
locked against the cold
but inside this empty room I am always calling your name.

In rapture, the little white dog watches his master’s face
wondering if the light around her head is edible.

Now in the middle of the night I am awake
watching the moon blossom in that cloud shaped like the palm of an open hand.
Between two locust trees where someone has strung a clothesline
a thousand ants are walking.
Each one carries in its jaws a white petal round as the moon.







Swamiji, Shivabalayogi Maharaj 1935-1994

Swamiji, Shivabalayogi Maharaj

April 6, 2014

We are looking at a photograph of Shivabalayogi
his smile just as I remember it.
The nipple of his right breast showing through the shawl,
the breast beginning to swell as a mother’s will
between feedings.

Shivabalayogi tells me
every moment this world is both a wedding feast and a crucifixion.
Sometimes I am a baby calling for his Mother
sometimes a Mother whose child was lost
but ready now to be found.


Swamiji's Bio 022

Shivabalayogi Maharaj

Shivabalayogi Maharaj 1935-1994


I followed you by rivers of phlegm and blood
followed you by rivers of wind and strong digestive juices and I found you
in my heart.

What I call my heart is you.

Now I want to hear you sing and play the flute the Virgin played
when she danced before our Lord in pious circles
as the moon does in her orbit.

Once more I want to see you consulting with widows about their hemorrhoids
and with men my age asking for money.

I am more than 60 now
and less than the smoke of memory gone into fire.
Less than what is left when bones splinter and become

When not even the echo of my voice is left
there you are!

With my hands I am listening for your voice spread over me like a flag of sky.
Open and let go of,  carried in wind and snapping like a prayer shawl!

The mind without end or beginning.
The heart alone with itself,  the heart alone.
I listen for that.


Whatever prayer is, this is a prayer:
the whistling a redbird makes shot through the wing with a pellet gun.
The cry of a buzzard falling from the forehead of an oak tree in Stephen’s Creek, Texas
shot from an amazing distance with a 22 rifle when I was twelve.

The arc of it falling still beautiful in memory as the breast of a woman
or the flared nostrils of a muley cow in labor.
The arc of falling is my prayer and the memory
of hitting the ground still trying
to breathe.
My own red face in the mirror is my prayer when I am feeling old
and bitter and used.

There is no burden greater than breath turned against itself.
But if you are who I say you are, you hear these words before I


They say you are God but you are not God.

God is just one more man who doesn’t listen when we go down crying on our knees.
You are more than God and I am laid bare to you!

The coarse hair over my heart
you know it well.
When I call your name you see the gaps between the crooked teeth I want to hide
behind my hand.

I have the tongue of a crow slit by a peanut farmer’s son and taught to speak
the words of men.
If I couldn’t lie there would be nothing left to say.

I am poor poor poor poor. I am poor!

I can’t earn your love.
I can only stalk you as a crow will a slice of wonder bread
that falls from your high window to this ground.

I tell you my heart is a decorated doorway
that the ribs over my heart are sanded smooth and lacquered with mantras
chanted in the remains of a East Texas accent.
But the face I show you only you can see
who see through walls and time before emptiness becomes a man.

Once I heard you talking to someone on the street
in front of a rich man’s house.
“Abandon every face, see only sky.
If you must kneel, kneel completely through the earth.
You are free! You are not a fallen woman and God is not your pimp.”

I kneel and I feel myself carried underground to the unconceived beginnings of a river.

I am the decorated doorway
the one you pass through walking with an arm of moon around your waist.
I will kneel before you like a man
or I will wear a long white skirt that drags the ground with a red hem.
I will dance for you with honeysuckle in my hair.


Shree Maa said to me
“Who am I? I am nothing, zero! If you want to see God, look in your mirror.”

I can’t say who I am
but I go round you like a red tailed hawk around a wild magnolia tree.
A wild magnolia tree in which a red winged blackbird sings.

Sometimes when the moon rises, our blood follows the limping heart and flows
in a spiral through the body.
Like the mob that followed Jesus through the winding streets of Jerusalem
when the cross was on his back, the sun setting on his head,
we are followed by thunder, followed by rain!

Sometimes we feel a wing has been torn out of our spine.
Shree Maa told me that with one good wing we can fly in circles around our Lord.
A circle is good as a straight line when all we want is to be
with you.

Before I came to rest in the one whose breast is white and fragrant as magnolia
I ate the flesh and drank the blood of memory.
My heart was a bible with verses marked by sticks of chewing gum.

Now in early morning I kneel by streams of breath
and with the moon as my witness
admit to you
I know nothing nothing nothing.




Baba Shivarudra Balayogi

Baba Shivarudra Balayogi

Written out of love and respect for Baba, the sole monastic disciple of the great Yogi, Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj, from whom I received initiation in 1989. After the Mahasamadhi of Shivabalayogi in 1994, Baba underwent a five year Tapas, in which he sat in deep meditation for twenty hours per day, never leaving his room. He reached Self Realization during this period and has since carried on the spiritual tradition of Shivabalayogi. For the past nineteen years, I have been blessed to know Baba as a devotee knows his spiritual guide and also as a dear friend. These sentences below flow from that connection, from the deep love I feel for him.



for Baba

Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha
Om Namah Shivaya

1. To Shivarudra Balayogi, born in Kolar whose Mother was the first Guru.

2. Whose Mother told her son never to bring shame upon Himself or forsake His chosen path.

3. To Shivarudra Balayogi, graceful as a handful of flowers, I offer my respect and devotion.

4. Whose elder brother was Seenu’s hero, teaching Him sacrifice and self respect.*

(Baba’s childhood name was Seenu.)

5. Whose Father was a healer, recognizing no enemy.

6. To Shivarudra Balayogi, whose heart is always open to the poor, I offer my respect and devotion.

7. Whose mind was suddenly illuminated when His sister sang Bhaja Govindam.

8. In whose Being this world and a million others are fireflies in the night sky.

9. To Shivarudra Balayogi, whose silence ignites the silence in others, I offer my respect and devotion.

10. Who says, “If you want to love Baba, love others.”

11. Who says, “If you want to serve Baba, live for others.”

12. To Shivarudra Balayogi who says, “There is no prestige in service, only work.” I offer my respect and devotion.

13. Whose devotee says, “If you don’t want to know who you are, don’t have Baba’s darshan.

14. If you don’t want to see the Infinite Space, don’t look in Baba’s eyes.”

15. To Shivarudra Balayogi, wise as a serpent but gentle as a dove, I offer my respect and devotion.

16. In whose presence the strong lean their swords in a corner.

17. In whose presence the mild fight with shadows, trying to subdue their minds.

18. To Shivarudra Balayogi for whom opposites do not exist at all, I offer my respect and devotion.

19. Whose devotee says, “If you don’t want to love Baba, don’t come near.”

20. In whose presence the sorrowful are lifted up, the blissful go beyond bliss.

21. To Shivarudra Balayogi for whom joy and sorrow are the same, I offer my respect and devotion.

22. Whose devotee says, “If you don’t want to know your own name, don’t call Baba’s name.

23. If you don’t want to remember what exists before birth and death, don’t remember Baba.”

24. To Shivarudra Balayogi for whom silence is the answer to the question, “Who am I?” I offer my respect and devotion.

25. To whom the goodness of the wicked is revealed, the impurity in the good man known.

26. Whose code of conduct can stand the light of day.

27. To Shivarudra Balayogi, the one devoured and digested by the Infinite, I offer my respect and devotion.

28. To the boy named Seenu who was loved by all but could not live without God.

29. To the one named Seenu who was burned to ash during Tapas.

30. To Shivarudra Balayogi, satisfied with what remains when the “I” is burned away, I offer my respect and devotion.

31. To the boy named Seenu who wanted Swamiji* more than family.
(Swamiji is Shri Shivabalayogi Maharaj, Baba’s Gurudev)

32. To the boy named Seenu who wanted Swamiji more than money.

33. To Shivarudra Balayogi who wanted Swamiji more than God, I offer my respect and devotion.

34. Who for twenty years worshiped the Guru’s form with total focused attention.

35. Who for twenty years was burned in Swamiji’s fire to make Him detach from the Guru’s form.

36. To Shivarudra Balayogi, Swamiji’s spiritual son, I offer my respect and devotion.

37. Whose every breath in was a sadhana to draw in the Divine.

38. Whose every breath out was a hymn in praise of the Divine.

39. To Shivarudra Balayogi who traveled through the heart and came to rest in endless Now, I offer my respect and devotion.

40. To the one who cleaned His Guru’s toilets as a sadhana.

41. To whom His Guru’s shouted insults were mangos ripe with bliss.

42. To Shivarudra Balayogi, who is the silence after a question that has no answer, I offer my respect and devotion.

43. To the one who began to teach only when His Guru gave permission.

44. To the one who gives instruction as a Guru only after being asked.

45. To Shivarudra Balayogi for whom surrender means “Let go of mental agitation.” I offer my respect and devotion.

46. To the one for whom ego, mind and world are only thoughts to be let go of.

47. For whom no sensory objects exist: no sight, no sound, no taste, no touch, no smell.

48. To Shivarudra Balayogi, composed entirely of silence, I offer my respect and devotion.

49. From where no words come and none can reach, unless they first are changed to fire.

50. Whose presence clears all doubts and fears and makes the mind stand still.

51. To Shivarudra Balayogi who gives the Initiation of the Friend, I offer my respect and devotion.

52. For whom this world is Imagination and all our lives are dreams within dreams.

53. For whom the creation happens when God becomes involved in thoughts.

54. To Shivarudra Balayogi, whose hands are human hands not flowers, I offer my respect and devotion.

55. To the one who says, “Keep watching, keep watching, keep watching…”

56. Who says, “Don’t analyze thoughts in meditation. Look to the vanishing point.”

57. To Shivarudra Balayogi who is the space between thoughts, I offer my respect and devotion.

58. To the one who is kind but will not be crucified.

59. Whose response to an insult cannot be seen or heard.

60. To Shivarudra Balayogi, for whom silence is the only honest answer, I offer my respect and devotion.

61. To the one whose reprimand is like a Mother’s kiss.

62. Whose guidance is a Father’s arm around the shoulders of his son.

63. To Shivarudra Balayogi who does not abuse His devotees and call it love, I offer my respect and devotion.

64. Who does not flatter His devotees for their money.

65. Whose robes are not made of hundred dollar bills.

66. To Shivarudra Balayogi, who is now what we aspire to be, I offer my respect and devotion.

67. To whom Swamiji gave Sanyas standing in the Ganges River.

68. On whose head Swamiji sprinkled water, gave Him a pat on the back and said “Don’t make a show of what you have become.”

69. To Shivarudra Balayogi who brings only honor to His Guru’s name, I offer my respect and devotion.

70. Who says that when the mind stands still, it ceases to exist.

71. Who says that when the heart is open, it is Infinite.

72. To Shivarudra Balayogi, the lotus at the Guru’s feet, I offer my respect and devotion.

73. To whom the gods said, “You cannot pass…” But He passed anyway.

74. To whom gods offered the rule of kingdoms, but He politely refused.

75. To Shivarudra Balayogi, who says, “I am a Yogi. I am not a god.” I offer my respect and devotion.

76. Who had the physical darshan of Shiva and Parvati in the form of Ardhanarishwara.

77. Who said respectfully to Shiva, “I only want to serve my Guru.”

78. To Shivarudra Balayogi whose life is simple as a breath of air, I offer my respect and devotion.

79. Who will give a fool chance after chance to change himself.

80. Who, having been insulted by Swamiji, is unaffected by the insults of others.

81. To Shivarudra Balayogi, who is like a mountain blue with Awareness, I offer my respect and devotion.

82. Who says, “Only God works miracles.”

83. Who says the greatest miracle is that people don’t believe they will die.

84. To Shivarudra Balayogi, who answers silence with silence I offer my respect and devotion.

85. Whose laughter joins with His devotees’ like a confluence of rivers.

86. In whose presence even a sparrow is incredibly beautiful.

87.To Shivarudra Balayogi who makes rocks pour out clean, clear water, I offer my respect and devotion.

88. Who is tall, broad shouldered and strong as any man.

89. Who walks like Shiva on the holy mountain.

90. To Shivarudra Balayogi, the Ideal of His devotees, I offer my respect and devotion.

91. Whose face is a sunburst when someone wants to know the Truth.

92. Who smiles when the heart’s desire of His devotee is fulfilled.

93. To Shivarudra Balayogi who says, “Wake up, you are dreaming!” I offer my respect and devotion.

94. For whom the Recommenced Goal is Peace.

95. In whose presence we find a staircase spiraling into Quiet.

96. To Shivarudra Balayogi with whom we are gathered into Silence, I offer my respect and devotion.

97. Who says that truth used as a weapon, becomes a lie.

98. For whom it is shameful when gurus claim to be God.

99. To Shivarudra Balayogi who abandoned His face in Tapas and now His eyes are everywhere, I offer my respect and devotion.

100. Who says, “Give the mind nothing to do in meditation and it will go introvert.”

101. Who says, “Keep striving until the last breath of life.”

102. To Shivarudra Balayogi who says, “Keep going! You can do it!” I offer my respect and devotion.

103. In whose presence we believe that we can let go of selfishness.

104. In whose presence we believe that we too can know the Pure Consciousness of Existence.

105. To Shivarudra Balayogi who walks with Shiva’s arm around His waist, I offer my respect and devotion.

106. Who found the doorway to the Infinite and walked through it.

107. Whose devotees become drunk with gladness.

108. To Shivarudra Balayogi who does not desire respect, who has no need of praise, I offer my respect and devotion.

Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Sakshat Param Brahma
Tasmai Shri Gurave Namah

om shanti shanti shanti




for Carol

Forgive me when I tell you I am lost.
Even though you hollowed out the rock
and made a temple in my chest
my heart is still sometimes a slaughter barn
where dogs fight over ribbons of blood.

Though I have heard angels singing clear syllables
that can change a stone into a man
and bring him crying to his knees
I am lost.

So many times I have been saved by Grace
heard the ringing of invisible bells that covered the laughter of demons
and drove them away.

I have killed demons by the thousands with a sword
baptized this world in their blood
but I don’t know for sure what my own name is.

Mother Mary smiles at me using the faces of grocery clerks.
The Mother and Father of the Universe tell me
I am their child.
But I am lost because I can’t remember every moment
in whose arms I am held.

Two times I felt a presence behind me
turned to see a god seven feet tall
whose open face was a shotgun blast to the heart!
But twenty-three years later I come to your door
like a boy crying with a fish hook caught in his hand.

I need your help to go deeper.

I have seen Jesus Christ laughing inside an oval of light
the color of lavender.
Seen Lord Krsna dancing in a conch shell that was clear as ice
saw him floating over the Gulf of Mexico
while seagulls mimicked his name
and mullet leapt out of waves to reach him.

But I could not reach him.

Shree Maa told me, “I am you. I am nothing.”
Shivabalayogi said to me, “I am who you are.
You can never forget your own Self.”

But every moment I don’t remember I am in love with you
is like living in a bombed city.
There is an emptiness in rooms where you lived
then left behind
that hurts like a pulled tooth.

I need your help to go deeper.

For a long time I was afraid to give myself to you
knowing I would be eaten alive.
Now the sound of my bones snapping between your teeth
is salvation.

I want to walk in the perennial garden
want to gather into my wide face the light of the sky
coming down at sunset to kiss me on the mouth
leaving my lips red as a girl’s.
I want to give back light to you like the moon.

My beard is white.
My belly like a woman’s three months pregnant
but in my heart I am a lover.
I am a bridegroom with a handful of flowers.

If the one I love is Shiva
let him be the groom and I will be three months pregnant
with his child.
Take these flowers from my hand and put them in my hair.

I am talking to the God who lives in the body of Carol.
I am singing these words to my wife.