By Swami Yogananda

(Inspired by "The Hound of Heaven," by Francis Thompson.)

Like a wild, cruel hunter

Sure of my prey,

I chased for the Heavenly Hart

Thru forests of dark desires,

Maizes of my passing pleasures.

Thru corridors of ignorance

I raced for Him,

The Hart of Heaven.

Farther, farther He fled,

Driven— afraid of me,

(Equipped with spears keen of selfishness.)

As He fled ...the Earth echoed,

"I am more fleet

Swifter than thy feet

Of fiery passion's greeds

Which vainly rush at Me.

None reach Me

Who frighten Me

And thus make Me wise."

Then I flew on the planes of heavenly prayer

In pursuit of the Deer.

But crashed to Earth;

—Of restlessness I fell.

The Deer yet flies,

The echo replies:

"I am fleeter

Than thy noisy plane of prayer.

Thy loud-tongued noise of hollow prayer

In the earliest hour of the chase

Startled Me.

I fly beyond thy sight."

My spears, my dogs, my plane ...I left;

Stealthily I crept,

Holding my dart of concentration.

Ah, all sudden

Lo! There I spied the Hart of Heaven

Grazing peacefully,

Fearlessly, before me.

I took aim ...and shot—

But, my hand shook with unsteadiness.

Look! The Deer bounded

And the Earth resounded:

"Without devotion

Thou art a poor, poor marksman!"

Though I shot again and again

At the Heavenly Hart,

It fled, crying:

"I am beyond the range of thy mental dart.

I am beyond!"

In despair I gave up the chase

And finding a secret lair of Love me

By strange intuition and in curiosity led

I strolled ...deeply within.

Lo! There came my Hart of Heaven

Willingly walking in.

Eager, devoted,

Steadily I shot ...again and again

With my concentration-dart;

Afraid It might again fly.

I missed many times, yet

It stirred not, moved not, fled not.

There my Heavenly Hart

Wounded by devotion's dart

Lay gasping, dying in me.

And Its vanishing breath

Sang thru the silent Earth

Echoing within me:

"None can seize Me

Save with the help of Mine.

Save only Mine!

I am thine! Receive Me!"

Return to Index