The holy name can not be spoken.
It disappears from the mouth
and takes form in the space between syllables
where silence widens, becoming a sky
unto itself.

In that sky
a name too formal to be used is forgotten.
Why call someone who is always here?

Does the husband call his wife to the bridal bed
when she is already there waiting?
When the wife’s mouth is on his
does he stop to ask for a glass of water?




for Carol




I don’t remember you.

You are always here as breath and as circulating blood.

Cover my face with a blanket of dirt and I will be with you in the sudden sky

sky with no stars, only our four eyes there



I am homeless.  You are the alley way I dream and wake in.

I  follow the curbs of your body looking for a hand

out in blessing.

Your voice is with me as tidal horns of traffic

and as drunk men in empty parking lots cursing God because they have lost another tooth.

Your voice is with me as  wings of pigeons leaving these magnolia trees

then returning.


Nothing is hidden from you and you are not hidden from me.

You stand in front, behind, on every side, alert as barrels full of fire.

From the corner of my eye I see your reflection in standing water

arms open to the murky sky, a dollar bill at your feet someone has thrown down

in disgust.


You tell me that on both sides of every struggle there is unbroken faith.

You say I am surrounded by mirrors

and that every mirror is an open grave where you are willing to lie down naked

to finish this struggle in my arms.


I cannot die

until my body remembers its relationship with the space between stars.

That’s when the dead let go, floating out of their graves, dressed for a wedding!

I am not afraid to love you as a human being, as something less than an angel

and more trust worthy than a God.

I have known your waves of love.

They carried me here

where I walk in  these gutters running with rain

where I wait for you and for your last wave.

I did not come here to capture light, to hold it prisoner

then release it finally into night.

I did not come here to whisper “OM, OM…”

I came for you.


In my sleep I dream of wheat fields

bordered by pines and poplar trees in a river of wind.

Startled wood doves are bleeding into dawn.

Two hawks circle me

their shadows cutting through  the grain  like curved scythes.



66 years gone now.

I am not a young man ripe with love.

I do not follow the road that likes to rise between a young man’s legs.

Now I wake from my dreams in a bed, long married

happy, learning the bliss of contentment, the bliss of being satisfied.

I see you coming

sometimes with your hands raised in blessing, sometimes with a butcher’s knife.

Either way my love.


I like to go out walking, greeting strangers as if they are Rama

and I am Hanuman, his servant and friend.

The sky is not a wall for me. The grave is not a promise.

It is the marriage bed.

All that is left of me now is the outline of a body taut with emptiness.

But there is also a subtle joy

that does not much disturb itself with laughter or with tears.


I wait for you

to lay my head upon the shoulderless curve of you.







The holy name cannot be spoken.
It disappears from the mouth as you try
to form it.
The space between syllables widens
becoming a sky unto itself.

In that sky
a name too formal to be used is forgotten.
Why call someone who is always here?

Does the husband call his wife to the bridal bed
when she is already waiting there?
When the wife’s mouth is on his
does he stop to ask for a glass of water?



Shivabalayogi Maharaj 1935-1994

Shivabalayogi Maharaj

“The lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shouts for joy. Water gushes forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.”
Isaiah 35:6

“To live in the world and yet to keep above the world is like walking on the water.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan

you have made my heart a place of worship
an unfenced pasture where creeks stream together in a confluence
of laughter.

My heart is a drum beat for singing your name
and you are its drummer.
Your voice is released in waves and I go walking on its water
bones becoming light under the skin
the hollowness inside them filled with laughing gas.

There is no one above me now, no one below
only you.
You say I hear your voice when I listen well to my own.
I am listening now. I am listening.

You say
I came because you waited all your life for me.
Now everywhere I look I see your face as fire
and its green radiance.

You tell me
The falling bird remembers how to fly.
The heart works well, once it has been broken.
Now the ground opens under my feet and I find myself suddenly in air!

you take me to the limits of the sky
where there is nothing left to leave behind.
Out where there are no names and no in coming breath
is the dome of a sky
black as polished obsidian and full of stars.
This sky seems infinite in all directions but is not.

What seems to be an endless sky is only the pupil
of your right eye.



bridge over the white salmon river

“Stand by me.” Ben E King

Stand by me in the water while we sing the names of the Lord.
Through the narrow gorge of the little White Salmon River
the echo of his name is a thunder.

Where it is not allowed to sing God’s name, we will sing it loudly.
Where his name is commonly spoken
we will keep an obstinate silence
as if we know nothing.
Who we are now is acceptable now.
The only truth is the name of the Lord
a name that can only be sung, never spoken.

The bridge across the White Salmon has been burned.
To reach the other side we would have to climb high walls of the gorge
where swallows build their nests in safety
or follow the snow melt river down to its mouth.
So clear is that water we may read the dates stamped on pennies
thrown into its wishing pool.
Take my hand while we wade in the water.

I don’t know if He is one or many.
I don’t know if He exists or does not exist
but I exist
and I find Him knocking at my door, calling my name as I am
calling His.

The Lord of my being, the one who beats my heart
knows the name of every leaf and every drop of rain.
He is my Lord, She is my Lord.

They say the White Salmon is too cold to endure for long
but we will endure.
We will wade in the river until the cold rise up our spine
to the back of the head
until the head open like a blooming
and the color of the mind becomes a yellow rose.

Let us go down in the river and pray.
We will study no more on differences between you and not you
between I and I am.
We will let the river carry us.
Even if we drown, we go on breathing in the water!



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






Every spoken word is a lie but the same words being sung are true.


I find myself laughing for no reason

cry when there is no cause to cry.

I go out when moonlight is sharp as a woman’s slap

to see a round face that is not my own

but find I am looking into my own right eye!

I don’t know who I am not.

I am all places, all people, every seed and every open blade of grass.

I am what you are.


I keep a close watch on this heart

see my mind look for and find

no answers.

I watch the heart let go of everything and look to itself


You are my heart

a sky in all directions.

Above and below you are my heart.


All we know is what we can never be told.

But we are not forgotten when we forget ourselves.

Someone is close

someone kneeling in water whose breath is a spiral.


There is a yellow light the color of peach flesh

laid across everything alive.

There is a naked awe in being here

whether in bolts of happiness

or in grinding or sudden suffering.

Whether I move with those who are moving

or stand in shadows as a thief of breath I am with you.

I am you.


The silence after a question that has no answer goes on forever.

Our minds stop

when we are not afraid to be completely alone.

The sky cracks open

the crown of the head is born from the womb.

We see the whole blue body come

between the Mother’s legs like a mountain of sky!


Alone or together

our hearts are gathered into one.

We are carried up like farm dogs in a funnel cloud.


The heart is a spring of water.

To reach it we must kneel and put our mouths near the mud.

We have to smell the mud and taste it in ourselves

to know.

Kneel if you dare.

Drink only if you are brave.


All night long thunder with lightning!

Earthquakes open canyons in the sea!

Inconsequential hills are lifted up as mountains.

Cities fold in waves of salt that are red as blood!

But by morning, the tidal flood receded

I smell the Gulf drying in nets of your hair.

Quail are ticking in the fallen leaves

and you are spread across everything like the sky suddenly awake!

Twenty-three years ago you shouted

“Every word you say is a lie!”

Between untruth and total silence I became your husband.


Now my teeth are going one at a time

as the petals of our ornamental cherry tree are pulled

by gusts of wind.

Connective tissue in the joints, eyesight, hearing, all are going.

There is a darkness in my heart

the dark of springs deep in earth

of water too cold to drink that must be warmed first in your hands.

Words come to me one at a time

like leaves torn from pin oak trees sixty years ago in Texas

that were carried underground in a torrent

and rise to surface in this spring of water.

As the poor make windows out of bottles, I make a bed for you

of these leaves.


I don’t know what love is.

There are no objects and no relationships.

Only one being like a sky that has no mouth but speaks anyway

no arms but we are all embraced by it!

I am the one behind the mirror

who sees without being seen.

I could line my driveway with the skulls

of every body I have been.


I am alone

in a house with no stairway to an upper room

no back door out.

In the quiet where a cricket rubs his legs together

I sit in this chair instead of working

knowing I am not a body

not the chair the body sits on

not the floor that supports the chair.

This house is mortgaged and I look around with rented eyes.

There is no sadness in a fact

and no rejoicing in what is simply true.

I am alone and like the cricket I make a song from what

I am.


I have followed you through all the veins of the body

and come back alone to the knot

of the heart.

All words end in the silence.

They vanish!

The heart never even forms a thought.

No words come from there

and none can reach it that are not first changed to fire.


Sometimes I wake up in the cold

and there is no face in the mirror

no voice

only a dry leaf for a tongue

and emptiness like a handful of fire!


If you walk in a spiral through this city

following lines of power, drawn by your own intelligence

you will find a place where I am already waiting

arms full of flowers buzzing with bees.

I wait for you in every cell.

There is a happiness coiled inside me

tightly folded as the wings of meadowlarks!


I follow you

wind blowing through me all the names

of the dead I am.

There is one name I answer to, so much like silence

that I answer it with silence.


Some believe in the quiet between two words

God can be heard breathing.

My faith is never to believe.

My prayer is not to speak the first word.


You told me

don’t resist the rising breath

even if your lungs are filled until they break your ribs.

Don’t stop

until all this sky is breathed inside you!