How to go to the Tao temple

Attempted translation from Malayalam of-

Satchidanandan’s “Tao kshetratil pokendathengane?”

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How to go to the Tao temple

Do not lock your house
Go via the subtle slope of dawn with-
the lightness of a leaf
in a gentle breeze

If you be too fair, apply
a little ash on your skin
If you are too intelligent
go when you are half asleep

Go slow
The faster ones fatigue fast
Go slow
as slow as stillness
as formless as water is

Stay in the pettiest of places
do not even try
to move to higher places

Do not circle the deity.
Emptiness
has no left and no right
no front and no behind

Do not call his name
His name has no name
no rituals for him
Carry an empty pot.
Easier than carrying a full pot.

Do not pray
It is not a place for people-
with desires

Talk if you want
but talk in silences
like mountain ridges talk
to trees and trees talk
to flowers

The sweetest sound is
silence
The most brilliant colour is
nothingness
let no one see you coming
let no one see you returning

Enter the gate of the tower, crumbled
to one fourth
like crossing a cold river in winter

You only have a moment like
a melting snow flake

Never pretend
You have not yet attained
your form

Never be angry
You do not control even
a drop of dust

Never regret
You do not change anything
with regret

If fame calls, walk away
Never leave even a
single foot print
Hands are of no use
they always contemplate violence
So do not use them

Deny greatness
there is no other way-
towards greatness

Let the fish in the river
remain in the river
Let the fruit of the tree
remain in the tree

The tougher ones will break,
the softer ones will survive.
As the tongue survives the tooth

Only the one who does-
nothing
be able to do everything

Go in now.
Waiting for you is an idol, the one -
That was never made.

- K Satchidanandan

The poet himself (supposedly) has a blog where you can read the poet’s translation of his poem. Or read the Malayalam poem directly here.

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4 Responses to How to go to the Tao temple

  1. KL January 16, 2009 at 1:08 am #

    great one!

  2. bombaydosti January 16, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    Buddy, what a soothing poem, and so is your translation.Thanks to that, I could read the original. take care

  3. ravi January 22, 2009 at 10:13 am #

    good one …wld ve loved to read d malayalam version but appo n puvam just won’t help : – )

  4. Achu Ayyappan December 6, 2012 at 2:20 am #

    congratulations! I am searching 4 dis poem!A very gud one1

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