Pura Tirtha Empul

by Subhash Kak

Moral law is upheld here
in the center of the Island
the domain of Vishnu
of atonement
by the drink of the amrita
in the purifying pool.

But freedom from past
is no path to freedom
for that one needs exile
not just from one’s place
but one’s own being
and skin
and be born again
and again
all at once.

Can one be of the city
and not
of land
and water
at the same time
be under waves
and outside.

One could use the slope
of the fire mountain
for a place
to reach up to the sky.

Tanah Lot*

Or one could go to Tanah Lot
and build a temple on the rock
in the sea
where wading through the surf
the pilgrim invokes the Great Yogi.


~ From Arrival and Exile: Selected Poems, 2016

See also: A Sanctuary of Peace Atop a Bangkok Hill

*Tanah Lot photo by James Mason-Hudson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, commons.wikimedia.org

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