Sacred poets take us to new realms of being by helping us to take off our blinders and to see the presence of God in all people, places, animals, and things. They put us into the precincts of the ineffable and the holy, encouraging us to honor the Mystery. They open our eyes to the wonders of the world which we take for granted. They challenge us to shine with the light that is within us. Ravi Nathwani, who teaches at Tufts University, and Kate Vogt, who teaches classical Yoga and Yoga philosophy, have assembled a top-drawer collection of 108 sacred poems from many of the great mystics, seers, and sages. The number is the same as the sacred beads of a mala which connect the body with the spirit.
The poets in this volume are from many traditions and different countries yet all share a common interest in the ardor of the heart. Nathwani and Vogt conclude their introduction with these words: "We hope that this collection will be one that you treasure forever. Rather than serving as a poetic vacation from worldly life, our wish for you, the reader, is that the reading and rereading of a poem will invite an ever-deepening awareness of your true nature." Short biographies of each poet appear at the end of the book along with a note that proceeds from Mala of the Heart will go to nonprofit organizations around the world.
These poets chart the grace and the grandeur of the spiritual journey. Rumi advises us to "keep walking, though there's no place to get to." Kabir warns us that controlling our anger is more important than circumambulating every holy shrine in the world. Lalla counsels us to "meditate within eternity." Meister Eckhart states that it is our destiny to see as God sees. Hafiz tells us to listen to others as if they were our Master speaking his last words. Angelus Silesius makes it clear that our ego is an obstacle to God's visits to us. St. John of the Cross admonishes us to take seriously the fleeting nature of everything in the world.
We are mightily impressed with Mala of the Heart and know it will be a companion on our journeys for a long time!