Back when the world was new and souls were still
finding their way into their bodies, all
the creatures of earth and sea and sky approached
Lord Brahma, the Creator, for instruction.
“Teach us,” they pleaded, “how it is that we,
so new to these forms, new to this world,
can act in righteousness.”
The Lord was pleased,
and beckoned each to come alone to Him.
To each He whispered—softly, so that none
but it could hear—that sweetly rumbling Word,
the cosmic AUM.
Contented, one by one,
they left Heaven, returned to their homes
in forest and field, in sea and sky,
and in devotion, took their Lord’s advice.
The snake, its nature sinuous and stretched,
heard in that Word a slithering, a sudden
bite. This it practiced.
But the elephant,
thundering in its confidence, had known
in that same call a majesty of tusks
and trumpets, of tree trunk limbs. Boldly thus
And so it goes throughout creation.
The tiger prowls and kills its prey, the bird
hears melodies and sings them bright and clear,
fish swim, the deer, caught grazing, bounds away,
but all obey that inner voice they hear.
Thieves follow the sound to rich men’s purses,
sailors to the sea, soldiers to war,
and kings to Dharma.
Every being finds
its nature in this sound, and honors it,
and in the honoring draws closer to
And after countless ages, then
at last, the sage, his spine held like a rod,
controls his senses, draws within, and finds
he hears again, complete, the Word of God.