Karen Lynn Sterkin

2001 © Karen Lynn Sterkin


Black Hole
Perfect Mother
Single File
Meeting Again
Clothing Fine
Ready to Sing
Two Saris
A Reprieve
Want of a Wife
Love Sick
Dialog with Passion
Christmas Eve

Black Hole
September 15, 2001

O God, they’ve blown a black hole in Your creation,
When we’re all One – how can anyone kill His own Being?
Now where have they gone?
How to comfort them in this Night without Song.
They wage war whenever God-man comes rather than yield.
Forced both Krishna and Mohammed onto the battlefield.
Stubborn men who won’t surrender
Find Love cannot be stormed by violence
Rather than bow at His Lotus feet, sweet innocence
They kill themselves and others in hate.
I am weeping alone – for terrorists who’ll repent too late.
They’ve blown a hole in Your creation,
World Trade is a burial ruin in my nation.
We invited those here for freedom
Like children rivals for a better song
We played, battled, like cubs in a lair,
But not with Jihad demons of despair.
Why start a holy war for Armageddon
‘Cause no one listens to your Song?
Those who build golden calves and Camelots
Dot coms with stocks, politics now called patriots
Clamouring for yet another World’s End?
O God, they’ve blown a hole in Your creation
They’ve buried innocents in my nation.
Where we’re all One under Beloved’s Sun
How can anyone kill another in God’s Ocean?
Where have they all gone? – Firefighters – father & son?
Lovers, daughters, of liberty nation.
No comfort in this Night without Song.
God gave him an inheritance of $300 million
Amd he rains curses and sorrow on everyone!
His Muslim brothers hide their eyes in shame
God-man came again but with a different name.
Each time He’s the same, but with a different name.
Whatever hope for World Peace
Did we lose it with this sacrifice?
Whatever prayers for World Peace
For the New Humanity of God’s Grace
For us whom God-man made His sacrifice.
Is it shattered forever from our dream?
Or is this just the Night before our Souls’ awakening?
We are all One in His creation;
Saint or sinner, loser or winner.
Beloved they’ve blown a hole in Your creation
Like tearing a sacred painting in my home
I am weeping, I am restless, grieving in sadness.
Is every black hole in outer space,
Where not even a photon of Light can escape,
Paradise Lost where some fiend blew up such a place?
Have we offended You, Master of all Grace?
Now Americans blow up the poorest land of all
Afghanistani refugees starving – what disgrace!
And in every one, I see Your darling Face.
Meher have You left me here alone?
In this nightmare without God-man?
In this madness and sorrow
Where can we find comfort now?
Those I sing with and laugh
Tho’ once, laughter and rivals for a song,
I hug them now in my heart all day long.
For last week lying dead in my path
I found the sweet, white cooing dove
Message of Love from above
That the time of peace is gone?
The father has no time to teach his son.
Music or war – all is in Your hand O Saki.
My only hope whether in prayer or in bazaar,
Beloved, is that your loving Nazaar
Remains on me - no matter my destiny. O Saki!
Karen weeps "Keep me with You, Meher."


Perfect Mother
Dialogue with Baba in India - October 24, 1986

O Meher, I’ve heard tales of so many of your lovers.
Some build pilgrim centers and hospitals.
Some work all the time, others serve or clean or cook.
Some sing songs to your Brightness from our dark world.
Others help the poor, with the latest technology and science.
What am I doing here?
O Karen, if I did not call you, you’d not have come here.
Don’t listen to these thoughts of your mind.
My lovers are really great, but I don’t need anyone to do My work.
O Karen, are you afraid to commit yourself?
You’ll have to travel the Path anyway some day.
Why not come now while I have called you?
O Meher, am I truly ready?
So many times I’ve fallen, great falls from high places, and I’m afraid.
Like a babe once dropped from her mother’s arms.
O Karen, I am the Perfect Mother and I’ll never fail you.


Single File
From O Beloved I’m Yours, 1986

Last night my dear the rain was fallin’
I went to bed so sad and blue
I was thinkin’ I could not follow You
I dreamed I was strolling in the evening underneath the harvest moon.
I was thinking about you.
Then we met out in the moonlight the stars were shining in your eyes.
But (I saw that) another was there too.

(1) There’s room for only One on Love’s Path, more narrow than a needle’s eye,
I was too discouraged to reply
Baba took my hand and told me, "We’ll just travel single file."
I was still wondering how.

(2) Your arm was resting on my shoulder, You smiled at me
I smiled at you. Your eyes were shining filled with victory.
"Let Me lead and just obey Me,"
and then my heart was filled with ease
I knew that You would always stay with me.
Your eyes were shining filled with victory
I know that Meher will stay with me.


Meeting Again
India, 1972

I’d forgotten — so long ago
I’ve been sleeping fitfully
Lonely dark sorrow dreams
Over the centuries
In so many different costumes and bodies.
I studied so many different arts
And played the various parts
Opposite sets, the unmerciful law
Of my own actions.

I went to meet you — curiously
For I thought this was the first time!
Not remembering this was again,
Inside Your room at Meherazad,
Inside Baba’s room.

Mehera took your right arm
As if she were rubbing away
Your world weariness and earth pain
As she’d done when you’re in the body.

I felt embarrassed, what a silly game!
There’s no one here.
Lying there on Your bed
Imagining Your back to me
I started to massage
Your left side and arm.
Gingerly, I felt unworthy and afraid,
You might really appear — be here!

Mehera kept stroking You
"Baba — Baba"
I want to stroke Baba too!
But I couldn’t see or feel You.
"Baba! — it’s me, Karen, do you remember me?"

So sweetly You slowly turned
Your head to look my way
So softly Your eyes — your look of Love
Eternally (Eternity)
Of meeting You again!


From The New Humanity Collection

O Money, you make so many enemies
Even before careful consideration
Slay more potential partners than Hercules
Without a second’s deliberation.
Wreak havoc among treasured true allies
Turn brothers into despicable ill-will spies.
The path narrows to a razor’d edge
Cuts careless hearts that bleed,
For Love thru greed or need.
In a desert you cannot drink gold or coin
Electronic banks don’t give bread or wine.
Money’s a concept we all share
For work or service offered at this faire.
What’s wealth and prosperity?
Self-esteem measured by how much?
Rather than how well the Singer can touch
Love, beauty and harmony?
True abundance is the freedom and intent
to sing one’s best to God – in joy
In whatever form one’s led
By passion, attraction, or glee.
The discriminating seek refinement and delicacy
The passionate want rhythm in the dance
True wealth comes from God’s intimacy
O Karen, seek His pleasure only in this Divine Romance.


Clothing Fine
Traditional Gaelic, 26 November 1982

Tagore tells us clothing fine
Holds us back from Love Divine
Keeps us from the blessed dust
Wherein we sing your (blessed) praises best.
Pride’s chicanery dressed me in shame
And now longing to strip it in vain
Fearful that love already came
To reclaim me with His blessed Flame
While yet unprepared at heart
To give myself totally.
I prayed to God to keep me wholly.
True love never keeps anything apart.

If I’m lucky and the face of destiny
Turns the other way
Perhaps He’ll clean me inside out
With warm, fireside eyes.
In turning to you joyfully
I thought I heard you say,
"The fancier they get the more’s the trouble
— the farther apt to stray."

And I scampered back into Your open loving arms
Full of dust and dirt and shame
But, oh Baba, Baba, happy once again!


Ready to Sing
From The New Humanity Collection, India, 3 December 1986

Oh Beloved, I’ve tried to obey, as You should be obeyed
To Love and serve as You should be loved
But I’ve failed.
Ob Baba I have tried to discipline this little self
That dominates my days on earth;
What precious time left to run to You!
And I’ve wailed.
Oh God, I’ve tried to bed early
Rise early and still I’m always late.
Oh Meher I’ve tried good thoughts,
Good words, good deeds and still
I’m selfish and hate.
O Beloved I’ve tried to give and still
I can only take.
Even when I sing Arti to You,
I lapse and make mistake.
But when I help a brother or jump up and dance,
Then I can celebrate Your joyous romance.
And when I see all friends as You – only One Being
Only then am I really ready for Your singing.
Wake up --- Wake Up -- Wake up Baba in me
Only then am I really ready for Your singing.


From White Flowing Sadra, 1998


Let’em think I’m a mug,
Quite a useful costume,
Quiet room for a private hug,
And Peace to weave a tune.
Most can’t even hear if I’m singin’ in tune.
They lack the robust ear an’ displined passion.
Universal Laws like gravity ‘n karma
Remain the same for every singer’s dharma.

Fortune may smile on me awhile
But with fame I’ll have no guile.
Neither Mother Theresa nor Mussolini
Can escape the laws of gravity;
Or cause and effect (even) with fame.
No matter the singer or musician,
Both Sa and Sum remain the same;
Coming to "sum" with the drum,
Reaching in perfect pitch to every "Sa."

I’d rather sleep with a thug,
Than flattery from hypocrites who hate,
Think they’re pious as a bloody saint.
Harbor ill-will and no fun,
So a girl has to hide in isolation.
Not allow the contamination -- to breed.
I say mug, my sister (Ilona) says "dweeb"

Either way it’s a good disguise
From the Master whose eyes
Inspire Love Songs and bliss.
I won’t let fame rob me of His kiss.

In gardens buzzing in full bloom,
Scents of jasmine an’ rose perfume
Tipsy tots greet me eye to eye,
Puppies, bunnies playing romp by.
Fresh streams of unseen secrets make me giddy,
Even in the city
Harming no one -- loving everything.
Enough to eat -- free time to sing.

Fame plugs into soap operas,
Fries circuits in dramas.
Mind can only hold one thing at a time.
And my job’s song-weaving in pretty rhyme.
To entertain the Master of Song – all day long.
I won’t let fame rob me of His hug,
Let’em call me a useless ole mug!

Enough to eat and free time to sing,
Harming no one – (while) loving everything.
I won’t let fame rob me of His hug,
Let’em call me a useless ole mug!


Two Saris
From The New Humanity Collection

She stands straight and proud
Gleaming like a new fishing rod,
A jug of water on her head,
A child on one svelte hip,
And a village song on her lip.
God’s sister Mani says "Two saris,"
Looking at her nodding
One’s for work in the fields
The other’s for festivals or a wedding.
So many shopping malls we have in the West
But ladies can’t find anything to wear to look their best.
On our daily commutes – do we still sing songs to God?
At the well, long ago he tossed a stone and her jug broke
Water splashing all over her bright gulabi sari
Squeeling in protest she loudly scolded the bloke
But secretly in her breast, her heart soared in ecstasy.
The millet and sugar cane fields may hide a cobra
But we eat cows in stress, Big Macs watching Oprah,
With less nourishment, more danger and no joy.
They arranged her marriage (later) to that same boy
She fell in love with when she was only seven.
Then he went to America for his education.
But he came back to fetch her for his wife.
She’d told no one she’d loved him all her life.
And they brought to my country this bit of village life.
Now he re-routes routers in the Information Age.
With all of our websites and programming language
We still can’t communicate; "we’re all natives here."
From heart to heart and eye to eye is SO much faster,
Than the fastest router, huge bandwidth, and a good webmaster.
Does anyone remember computers were going to bring more leisure
Instead of The Terminator and Darth Vadar’s nightmare?
Where 90% on earth go to bed hungry and scared.
How to let women choose not to have to give birth
Over-population, pollution, keeping helpless animals encaged,
To feed the unwanted children who grow up violent, wildly enraged.
In this Kali Yuga Age of chaos and strife
Can we import these "two saris" into our life?
Make technology heart’s hand-maiden
And bring down on earth the Garden of Eden?
When I go on Pilgrimage to Meher’s samadhi
I take my old clothes – I’m too tall for a sari
And there’s no closet room for "things" up there.
But I’ve more in common with village women
Gossiping at the well – than my sisters here
Nagging me all the time to go shopping with them.
I hate noise, traffic, shopping, and commotion
My soul longs for the peace of those days by the well
In a bright cotton sari before the blazing sun.
Love’s glance is all I’ve ever known of heaven and hell.
Dear God, is there still time to import these 2 saris
To bring Your Songs of Love and Peace on earth?

1) Written for those who’ve come to my country with these 2 saris in their hearts.

2) Mani S. Irani was Avatar Meher Baba’s sister and served Him faithfully all her life. She was also a consummate musician who played several instruments (violin and sitar) and entertained her God-brother and His family.

3) Avatar Meher Baba’s Tomb is outside of Ahmednagar (near Arangaon Village) in the state of Maharashtra, India.


A Reprieve for an Encore
From White Flowing Sadra, 1998

Eternity is lending me some borrowed time,
To change my gig; to dance a jig,
At long last to tune my verse to rhyme.
Only those who know they’ve nailed it,
Achieved wonders after so many vain attempts,
Can understand the addiction to Song,
That keeps me riveted to song-weaving all day long.
Each break a day, I go out wayfaring,
When evening falls I lug home the nets that need repairing.
The dark dome pierced with holes of starlight
Summer sounds of crickets throughout the night,
Keep me company as I sow and weave
Preparing for the dawn before I leave.
"You came for all in creation exept for me!
I’ve never had time to sing my songs; I’ve never been free
Of poverty, worry, dishes, kitchens and working for others
Who took my youth, beauty, dreams, and strength for granted.
The Lord of the Universe heard my heart break,
And gave me a reprieve for my mistake.
With the anguish that I’ve not enough time left
So I would not leave His world disappointed and bereft.
Meher the Fair granted my fondest wish come true
How can I thank you Lord Meher Baba
For this gift of my dream coming true?
I will sing to your world of my impossible dream
That You were true to me -- so I could be true to You.

Tired, rejected back up on the shore,
I thought love hopeless and not anymore.
When the Master of Love and Song
Glanced at me sidelong,
And called for an encore!


Want of a Wife
India, December 1998

If you are lonely and need a wife
Tell Meher of your sorrow and don’t hide
Instead of attacking His lovers in (bitter) strife
Humiliating your Lord and those He has called to His side.

This hypocrisy for a woman or for coin gain
Is the business of Maya and her con-men.
You are deluded in serving Meher the Fair
If you humiliate and grieve those He calls here.

Far better a simple life on this earth
A wife, a home, in honesty and mirth
Than hypocrisy and hatred in Meher’s lane
Becoming Maya’s servant, causing grief and pain.

When a woman loves a man
He has nothing to do but honor her love.
When a woman does not love a man,
There is nothing he can do to win her love.

God inspires and ignites love in a woman’s heart,
Whether prostitute or nun, laundry woman or queen.
And no man can come between
God’s will awakening
Such a love in every woman’s heart.

You may earn it from Meher the Fair
This gift of a woman’s tender care.
But attack a woman in His home,
And you disgrace the One to whom they’ve come.
And you disgrace the One from whom you come.

This hypocrisy for a woman or for coin gain
Is the business of Maya and her con-men.
You are deluded in serving Meher the Fair
If you humiliate and grieve those He calls here.


From O Beloved I’m Yours, July 1997

Oh Meher, at every turn, I offend your creatures.
And this damn sleeplessness has ripped the beauty off my features.
Without a job, no friend, no sleep,
While for the realms of music I weep.

Why is there no peace in my heart?
Why at every turn must a bargain be pledged for learning the art?
The skinny violonist can play her strings all day
And she can study tabla at night.
But I am cursed with worries about money, about men,
about offending your gurus at every turn.

Help me Hafiz and those who tread these pathways to find my place
A small haven of peace where I can learn to play my song and sing my piece.
Oh Beloved Meher, you want to hear me Sing?
Then find me a place in your universe not in prison like Sing Sing
spending my precious time earning money and worrying
About every problem I have not caused, that makes me sick.
Or find me a home in your creation with a friend where I can study music

And if I have not earned Your Grace to have such a place
Then lay me to rest outside of this world, so I can sing in the next!


Love Sick
Written during the visit of Bhau Kalchuri, July 1997

I am sick for Love of the Friend
Oh Summer Breeze, full of sweetness
and hope of Youth's promise
Bring my greetings to His poet Nightwatchman
Because Karen is ill and cannot come in person.
The cure? One glance under His Eyelashes
To enflame the dying embers now in ashes.

Do you know my illness and the cause?
I am lovesick and heaving with sorrow
my heart has taken flight to find another
Too restless to pay heed or pause
O Blessed Peace, why have you left me?

Oh you meditators and peace makers
On this path, there is no resting place.
A dog and pony frey at best
To see who sings a better song -- no rest!
Fierce are the rivals at the palace gate.
More than beggars waiting for a plate
Spies and betrayal are the norm,
No comfort or peace of hearth or home.
Oh sweet domestic dreams of peace
Harmony in home with a garden - Youth's promise
What price paid for this Path?
and Nothing gained but reprimand.
I am shunned at home, in the market,
Betrayed by spies and rivals on the path
Oh You meditators and peacemakers,
Beware the spiritual path!

Sweet evening breeze, whisper to my Beloved
I am ill and restless for His shining face
Even one glance can still my heart from my bed
Quiet the frantic beating, like a sparrow's fall from Grace.

Do you still love me? How can I know?
Ask me for a Song and then give me back my voice!
All is in Your hand, O Saki
But tho I find myself in the Tavern tonight
There is no sight of You Sweetheart
And no peace is my plight!


India, December 1998


Jealousy's an old hag sittin' by the road pointing
To a bend on the path for our own sanskaric unveiling.
Don't bother to greet this hag,
Poverty of heart's in her bag
Pay the price; so Meher grants
What you covet in your brother.
If He ups the ante, pay quickly
He'll give what you envy in another.

Chorus: No need for jealousy's hold
Baba gives as much as we can hold.


If you want to be happy
at least don't make others unhappy
The Beloved knows more than we do
who to invite and who's to stay.
It's not our job to judge and disobey,
Or make each other sick on the way.

Chorus: No need for jealousy's hold
Baba gives as much as we can hold.


The doctor gives each a unique medicine,
Each disease requires a different prescription.
If you serve without love and gratitude,
Mind your own business is not your platitude,
Instead of goodwill and gentle care,
Then Maya is your guru, not Meher the Fair.

Chorus: No need for jealousy's hold
Baba gives as much as we can hold.


Don't judge another's behavior; don't criticize their art,
Encourage and cheer each other in your heart.
Meher gives what jealousy covets,
When ya' pay the price for His gifts.
Stop spying and judging each other's pain,
Stop driving yourself and others insane.
With good-will seek the joy of each other,
Precious wares found in heart's lane,
Find in Meher what you lacked in your mother,
Or sought in your lover in vain.

Chorus: No need for jealousy's hold
Baba gives as much as we can hold.
For the Beloved is most generous
And wants to see us all joyous!


Dialog with Passion
From The New Humanity Collection, March 1982

Passion, why do you come at such awkward moments, Fire of Earth,
Disturbing the peace and agitating the breath --
Which would but for shame be singing easily in proper prayers?

Daughter of Earth, don't waste precious time.
I am the prodding instigator
Neither good nor evil - His force
For initiating and opening all which burns.

You could not walk without my fire.
Do you see a value in burning desire?
Then serve all and fear me not.
Nor Anger my brother
But turn and hold us deep within
To burn and melt the cold stones of the past
In Love's service.

When there's nothing left to burn,
Then this you call Passion
Will prove only His Light.

Would you fear anything, it'd better be False Pride,
Who'd have you imprisoned in frozen propriety
And stony separateness;
Rather than abandoned passionately
And freely to God's Will -
Or prone in peaceful, selfless bliss at His lotus feet.

Then Passion, instead, to bide my impatient wait,
May I serve watchfully the Friend - His Gate?


Christmas Eve
India, December 24, 1986 (last stanza from Baba)

In the cool breezes the flowers' heads are nodding
Flickers of pink, yellow, violet heads bobbing.
While rose scents and frangipani fragrance fill the air,
The singer sings her melodies for love of the Fair.

When trees move their branches swaying in an azure sky,
The robins chirp and hop below, but eagles fly soaring on high.
The brook's sweet murmuring waters complain not
As they glide rippling over rock.
The fire's bright dancing flame dwindles not
As the Shepherd stirs its embers while guarding his flock.

In the moonless dark, the sheep call out Baa-baa, Baa-baa
Though the blanket wrapped shepherd watches o'er them all night.

In the Beauty of the Rose, too
Is also hidden the thorn;
When the heart is broken in two
It feels bereft and left forlorn.
Tho' you pine and weep in despair and hopelessness,
The stars in all the heavens must wait eons for human consciousness.

The love of God in human form ignites a flame
Kept alive burning by repeating, calling out My name;
If the heart is torn in longing for My kiss,
Or for just My company which you sorely miss,
Then remember the shepherd watching his flock in the night,
While the sheep call out Baa- baa in sorrow and fright.

At dawn's break they'll see in the morning light,
That their shepherd has not left them in their plight.

"I came in Man form to give you your parts
To awaken your rosebud hearts.
In this love for God I was sent
To wake you to divine enlightenment."

"So sing Jai Baba and be happy
Serve, tend and love; be snappy!
Don't make long face and all day moan,
While I watch you in the night alone.
Please Me now in thought, word, and deed,
And soon you'll know I take care of every need."


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