Father of Compassion

Eyebrow hair reaching out like tendrils to grasp

a hearty but trembling students eye–

Guruji, why do we fear your awesomeness?

You are the Father of Compassion,

you will not waste our time. 

Vajra-like bolts of geometric wizardry

ricochet off the cement floors of the institute

and the grill bars,

where pre- and post-surgical magic dazzles.

We are stupid,

our bodies uneducated, broken and dull,

uncultured and rigid.

And you accept us all:

blind, crippled, and confused,

drowning in the whirlpool of samsara.

You throw out a thread, a Brahmin’s thread,

Yoga Sutra threads–

Will our hands be strong enough to take hold?

All the while, you are grounded in ascension,

intelligence flowing steadily through your toe roots,

fingernails, and up through the central channel.

You are dog, cobra and lion–

Bark, hiss and roar!

Anahata chuckle and mischievous smile,

Let us not miss your playfulness.

The wrinkles of disapproval on your face

are blasted away suddenly by your luminescent Self

as you coil backwards over a rope swing.

Your feet seeking, no, arriving

at freedom.

The skin of your chest as smooth and taut as an adolescent’s–

90-something year-old bones?

Probably your marrow also denies the passage of time.

You stay in that backbend,

arms outstretched, elbows firm, 

armpits radiating like the sun for an indeterminable time,

invisible in your stillness.

Elemental man:

nostrils of fire, earth, air, water and ether–

Like mercury, your body pours 

from the chalice of sirsasana 

into dwi pada viparita dandasana.

Light as the peacock feather that adorns Krishna’s headdress,

You are also the weighty one,

who churns the seas and oceans

of our complacency and comfort. 

You prick, penetrate, cut and deepen 

with the sword of discrimination–

Yours is the art of transcendence.

Your eyes open–ekagrata!

You say with sadness from the yogi’s trapeze

that the art of yoga will die with your body.

Oh Father of Compassion,

while every cell of your body dances in delight,

we are obsessed with mechanics and semantics and 

ignore your transmission.


With the long arms reminiscent of Hanuman

you distribute the gifts of awareness and wood blocks.

True relinquisher,

even your name has been an offering to us.

108, 1008, 10800 pranams are not enough–

We are indebted…

– Krisna Zawaduk

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