"Twelve Months of Separation"

The Bara Maha of Kirpal Singh

Poems addressed to Baba Sawan Singh
translated from the Punjabi by Harcharan Singh

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: Following his initiation in 1924, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji made rapid inner progress. In 1927— twenty-one years before the actual event— he had a vision of the passing away of his Master. This anguished experience inspired the twelve eclogues in Punjabi translated here. From that day on the thought of impending separation was like iron in the soul. When he sent the poem to his Beloved, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj is reported to have remarked, "So he has already come to know what is to happen." In private, on more than one occasion the disciple begged his Guru to let him go first, only to be told, "Such is the Will of God—you have work to do."

The twelve months mentioned in these eclogues follow the Indian Calendar. Chet, the first of the months listed, concludes on 12th April — the month in which Hazur was to go. In reading these verses we are put in mind of the intense love of the true disciple for his Master. We also find in them an image of our own sorrow at the loss on the physical plane of our Beloved Master.

With the dawn of Chet, my heart grows sad,
It is so since I lost my Beloved;
I prayed and prayed, but to no effect,
And all my efforts were in vain;
The Beautiful One did not turn back but went away,
He did not listen to all my entreaties and persuasions.
Woe betide the day I loved You, O Beloved,
The day when our eyes met.

Vaisakh has come and You are not with me.
The fire of separation is all-consuming,
Love has only brought travail
And no happiness for me.
As a separated dove cries in pain,
So do I over my lot.
Without You the homestead has grown desolate,
And fear stalks me within and without.

With Jeth the separation has been quite long;
The eyes grow weary looking for You.
O give me a glance of grace
And bless my humble dwelling with Your presence;
Or else send word when You would come,
For day and night I keep a vigil for You;
Without You there is none to befriend me
And I have no other support or anchor.

With the coming of Haar the world looks dreary
And my heart is ravaged with anguish.
Meet me but once, O Beloved!
I have long been suffering from separation
Had I known I would be cheated thus
I would have kept away from love.
You have made me desolate, O Love!
Such is the cruel decree of God.

Sagan has come, and the separation is unbearable—
In anguish, I perpetually call on You;
Restless like a fish I suffer day and night.
My life has been a prey to Sorrows—
Will no one suggest a cure?
As I lie desolate on your threshold,
O Beloved, I vainly call on death
To free me from the tyranny of separation.

With Bhadon, providence continues me on evil days
And I can find no cure or remedy.
All my hopes remain unfructified.
My fate is cruel and it has not befriended me.
Living in bliss, My Beloved has been taken away from me
And none has found for me a remedy.
I have tried a thousand ways, O Love,
But there is no escape from the chains of sorrow.

In Asuj, I live yearning for You
And I burn in the fire of separation.
Having enmeshed me in Your love, wherefore have you gone?
O my Beloved, You have proved a great cheat.
I am restless like a half burnt thing
Consumed thus with the flames of separation.
Who can alter the Writ of God, O Beloved?
I am stricken with the pen of Fate.

In Katik, I spin out my days wailing in sorrow.
None have I to befriend me in this plight.
When my Friend has left for His Eternal Home
Life for me has become a great burden.
I find my life beguiled into sorrow
And I am as one who is neither living nor dead.
I wander asking of You, Beloved,
And they treat me as one who is crazed.

In Maghar, my life is in torment
For my Beloved has gone, leaving no clue.
All my hopes being singed, I know not where to go.
I seek for one who can give me His address.
You have left me a cripple, a prey to all torments.
I could hardly dream that I would be a wretch like this.
Attend to my condition at once, O Beloved,
For my life now hovers on the brink.

Poh has brought in its own misfortunes.
In deep sorrow I am crying in separation.
Whosoever has lost his all He bewails his loss continually.
Those who weep away all the time,
Restlessly they wander the world over.
O my Lord, wistfully I wait for You
And sitting with my sorrowing fellows look for You.

In Magh, I painfully await You, O Beloved!
Broken, I have lost all hope of meeting You.
Day and night I yearn to see You—
Why don't you call me unto You?
In utter despair, I pray for death.
Yet through these tortures I see death nowhere.
With whom can I share what I suffer, O my love,
Now that You are no longer with me?

Phagan has bled me white
And there is no hope for me to survive.
I still dwell on You—O come but once
For life now seems bereft from the body.
When the angel of death comes to take his toll
He would not grant a moment's respite!
When dying, let me behold You but once, O Beloved,
Let me see your radiant face, whether I am deserving or not.

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