This is an incredibly beautiful and profound poem from the Hindu Tradition of Advaita (non-dualism), by Jnanadev (1275 – 1296). I love the way it shows the play between the male and female elements in the Universe…
I offer obeisance to the God and Goddess,
The limitless primal parents of the universe.
They are not entirely the same,
Nor are they not the same.
We cannot say exactly what they are.
How sweet is their union!
The whole world is too small to contain them,
Yet they live happily in the smallest particle.
These two are the only ones
Who dwell in this home called the universe.
When the Master of the house sleeps,
The Mistress stays awake,
And performs the functions of both.
When He awakes, the whole house disappears,
And nothing at all is left.
Two lutes: one note.
Two flowers: one fragrance.
Two lamps: one light.
Two lips: one word.
Two eyes: one sight.
These two: one universe.
In unity there is little to behold;
So She, the mother of abundance,
Brought forth the world as play.
He takes the role of Witness
Out of love of watching Her.
But when Her appearance is withdrawn,
The role of Witness is abandoned as well.
He assumes the form of the universe;
He is left naked.
If night and day were to approach the Sun,
Both would disappear.
In the same way, their duality would vanish
If their essential Unity were seen.
In fact, the duality of Shiva and Shakti
Cannot exist in that primal unitive state
From which AUM emanates.
They are like a stream of knowledge
From which a knower cannot drink
Unless he gives up himself.
Is the sound of AUM divided into three
Simply because it contains three letters?
Or is the letter ‘N’ divided into three
because of the three lines by which it is formed?
So long as Unity is undisturbed,
And a graceful pleasure is thereby derived,
Why should not the water find delight
In the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?
It is in this manner I bow
To the inseparable Shiva and Shakti.
A man returns to himself
When he awakens from sleep;
Likewise, I have perceived the God and Goddess
By waking from my ego.
When salt dissolves,
It becomes one with the ocean;
When my ego dissolved,
I became one with Shiva and Shakti.