The Hafez Collection


Poems dictated from Hafiz of Shiraz
(2000 to 2008)


Copyright ©2008 Karen Lynn Sterkin


I attended another singer’s concert in California in 1996.  Jamie put his Hafiz renderings into country western and blues songs.  One particular song, “The Tavern Keeper’s Daugher,” enflamed my jealousy to such an extent that I became passionate. I heard an inner voice ask me “What do you want my darling?” I could only scream back in frustration and rage that I wanted to sing my songs, compose poetry and perform in my classical style but that I was ruined because I’d been born a woman and lived in such poverty. I said I wanted a ghazal in English from Hafiz of Shiraz that was as good as his Persian poems. I was screaming in my car and became frightened when a neighbor knocked on my window and asked if I needed a doctor. I prayed that night to both Meher Baba and Hafiz of Shiraz for help.  I was awakened at four in the morning by such sweetness in my heart that ice cold tears fell and my mind became very still and peaceful.  I heard a sweet voice say get paper and pen.  That began a ten year period of “dictation” from Hafiz of Shiraz in English.  Except for the first poem where I invoke Hafiz’ help, these are his English poems given to me over these past nine years in an altered state of poem channeling.  By God’s grace may this love affair continue and may I hear Hafiz clearly. 

Hafiz, the 12th century Persian Sufi, was Meher Baba’s favorite Persian poet.  I was inspired by Hafiz to depict my experience of Meher Baba and the spiritual path in the ghazal poem form in English.  Merwan Sheriar Irani, known as Avatar Meher Baba was born in Pune, India in 1894 of Persian parents.  He asserts that He is the same Ancient One come again to redeem man from his bondage of ignorance and to guide him to realize his true Self as God.  Meher Baba is acknowledged by his many followers all over the world as the Avatar (Messiah) of this Age, who came as Zoroaster, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and now Meher Baba.

I dedicate this volume of poems to:
      Avatar Meher Baba who inspired them and
      Hafiz of Shiraz who dictated them.

Meher Baba’s own words about Hafiz:
“Hafiz never actually wrote poetry.  He only spoke it out loud when in the mood, or sang it.  Shams-e-Tabriz, too, did not ever write, as did Jalal-al-dun Rumi.  In his odes, Hafiz describes planes, the path, and reveals secrets.  Hafiz not only excelled in spiritual writings, for he was perfect, but also in poetic meters and style.  The poets and spiritual Masters Tukaram, Kabir, Saadi, Shams, and Rumi were all God-Realized and said splendid things, but none so splendid as Hafiz in language and poetic diction. …
“At present, there are hundreds of thousands of people in Persia and India who rely upon his work for divine guidance.  There are numerous instances in history when momentous decisions were arrived at after consulting the Divan-e-Hafiz (the entire collection of Hafiz’ poems).  The practice of referring to it for advice is still very common to this day . . . . “ The last three poems are from Francis Brabazon (Meher Baba’s Australian poet) this Summer 2007.


Hafez of Shiraz Collection

New Year’s Blue Heaven for 2007
Help Me Hafiz!
His Anklet-Torn Garment
White Flowing Sadra
Shiraz for You
A Bird without Breath
Invitation to Shiraz
Hummingbirds & Rainbow’s End
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
So Hum
Be Wise like an Owl
Full of God’s Grace
The Path will Follow You
Watching the World Go By
The Pageantry of the World
Lonely in Front of God Only
Nusrat’s Fate and Mine
Tsunami Suffering
Get a Hat
Other Masters
Determined to be Happy.
Upasni’s Place
Moon in a Sea Sky
Guru Purnima
In Praise of Satguru Swami Shankara Guruji Shri Shri 1008
Gone to the Crows
Like Gold
Fighting for Seats
Lucky to be Here

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New Year’s Blue Heaven for 2007

(from Hafez Jan. 2007)     ©2007   Karen Lynn Sterkin

I’m getting older and fatter
Too blue for yoga or exercise
But still unable to sleep
Where’s the lover who won’t make me weep?
Who’ll feed me love
So I don’t need the food
To fill the emptiness.

Inspired by His Holiness
The Mumbai film singer
Produces her Sufi lyrics.

Why hasn’t he given me these gimmicks?
To produce my songs to Eternity?
’cause I don’t do sadhana
Or work as a slave for a week in Bali
With His Holiness 1008 Shri Shri?

Such is my fate!
I’m always too early or late
But Hafez knows the cure
Surely as sinecure
As he whispers in Karen’s ear
Never fear — true love is here
And your fate is shining
While this Yogi my dear
Still seeks a palace for reclining.

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Help Me Hafiz!

By Karen Sterkin (Jan. 1997)
©2005  Meherkaren Sings

Lest I throw myself off the steep embankment
From frustration wailing at my imprisonment,
So steep the stony passages and canyons,
Tone deaf ears to mewing complaints,
O Hafiz, lend me your tongue and rogue companions!
Pass me your love song’d pen without restraints!
And rejoice at my learning and at my art
Which is only to please
And to all who journey the inner road impart
In our trials, your gifts of joy and ease!

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His Anklet‑Torn Garment

Dictated on 1 June 1997 from Hafiz
©2001 Karen Lynn Sterkin

The Morning Breeze has spread the news throughout Love City.
That the Beloved has come — now all are getting ready.

Each vying to display a better tune with pipe and drum,
Waiting near the gate look‑out, “Has He come, Has He Come?”

Last night, lying captive in Hesperian’s Light
Sleepy householders awaken in fright.

With His garment torn asunder
Do they come Love City to plunder?

Like wild men and thieves
Their screams awoke us in the night
Beloved has come — take flight, take flight.

With His white sadra flowing in the wind
The prayer rug is now forsaken,
And all job and household chores forgotten. 

Oh run pilgrim, sinner, saint
To meet Him at the garden gate!

Do you think He’ll want a tune?
A pipe, a drum, a sweet song in June?

How can we bear the heavy burden of care
The isolation and out of time
Of heavy out of tune and unfettered rhyme  —

Lest He come and cock His Head with hand on chin
And wave His arm to let us IN.

One glance of that One’s Eye
And to sweet repose and peace say good‑bye!

When will I sleep again?
And how to stay in tune?

The Beloved has come
But just a glimpse in His white flowing sadra has left Karen in ruin.

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White Flowing Sadra

©2001 Karen Lynn Sterkin
(Song title of CD)

1)         The Morning Breeze has spread the news throughout Love City.
           That the Beloved has come — now all are getting ready.

            Each vying to display a better tune with pipe and drum,
            Waiting near the gate look‑out, “Has He come, Has He Come?”

            Do you think He’ll want a tune?
            A pipe, a drum, a sweet song in June?

2)         Last night, lying captive in Hesperian’s Light
            Sleepy householders awaken in fright.
            With His garment torn asunder
            Do they come Love City to plunder?
            Like wild men and thieves
            Their screams awoke us in the night

            Beloved has come — take flight, take flight.

            With His white sadra flowing in the wind
            The prayer rug is now forsaken,
            And all job and household chores forgotten. 
            Oh run pilgrim, sinner, saint
            To meet Him at the garden gate!

            Do you think He’ll want a tune?
            A pipe, a drum, a sweet song in June?

4)         How can we bear the heavy burden of care?
            The isolation and out of time
            Of heavy out of tune and unfettered rhyme
            Unless He come and cock His Head with hand on chin
            And wave His arm to let us IN.
            Oh Meher Baba’s come!

            Do you think He’ll want a tune?
            A pipe, a drum, a sweet song in June?

5)         One glance of that One’s Eye
            And to sweet repose and peace say good‑bye!
            When will I sleep again? And how to stay in tune?
            The Beloved has come
           But just a glimpse in His white flowing sadra has left Karen in ruin

            Do you think He’ll want a tune?
            A pipe, a drum, a sweet song in June?

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Shiraz for You

From Hafiz 14 Dec. 2003
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

I will make Shiraz here for you, my love.
To make you happy,
Gardens, perfume, lovers, and songs. 
The whole city will speak of.

Do you know these secrets
You men of karmic duality?
Back and forth, your greed produces calamity.

The Beauties get drunk in despair
On your worldy wine.
Because you have forsaken Meher the Faire.
The children, well dressed in front of the TV, pine
Because you have forsaken your job
Your responsibility to father and care.

Beneath the level of the animal is man
Without the love of God
And Earth will not support
Fire and rain in this land
That has forsaken His Darshan.

Your lovers of the vine,
True lovers of mine.
Weep not – I have not forsaken you.
Jesus did not die on the cross,
Nor Mohammed at Medina.

I live forever in your hearts
Think of Me and I am there
So says Meher the Faire.

Keep me in Your mind and heart
Your time has come at long last.
To dance the Song of the New Humanity.
One World Family – Unity in Love of Meher the Faire.

O Saki from the South,
You speak Mayalayam and Sanskrit1
But I hear Your Voice in my heart;
And your obedient slave has a mouth.

My songs from Hafiz I sing for world peace.
To bring Shiraz garden songs
To these barbarians who know no peace.
Salaam Alekim or Shanti OM
The heart enthroned with God is at home.

Hafiz loves Meherkaren so much
That He will give His gift
The Golden tongue, the perfumed pen,
And the Houri’s Voice to Meherkaren.
Who like Gandhi will sing her songs only for world peace.
So says Hafiz of Shiraz in this place.

1   Amritananda Mayi Devi (Ammachi) is considered a Sadguru by her devotees. Meher Baba’s term for a
    God‑realized Guru is a Perfect Master (Qutub‑e‑Alam in Sufi terminology). Meher Baba told his disciples that
   Hafiz of Shiraz became a Perfect Master from his guru (Attar).

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A Bird without Breath

From Hafiz of Shiraz 3 Jan.
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

My heart is like a bird without breath
I am robbed of health, wealth, and death!
By a pretty face, a smile, and a never ending school!
But I am not so easy to fool.

I’ve met so many others with my begging cup.
This cup of my heart is so thirsty
But the palette can discriminate
Even before it hits my throat;
Whether from Wine seller or a turncoat,
In a white robe who can beguile
The innocent and lonely
Who seek Beloved’s smile.

O lovers of the Path, listen to Meherkaren
Better a bitter taste from Saki
Than bereft and forlorn in scorn.

Unfulfilled longing requires Saki’s lip.
Be patient, Karen under the hen;
He’ll fill yours to the tip.
So says Hafez to Meherkaren.

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Invitation to Shiraz

From Hafez of Shiraz ‑ January 2004
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

A woman needs a man who has a heart
Whose generosity cannot be bargained
In marketplace or seller’s art.

Do you want to know the secret of the Way?
Never harm the heart of any woman
For money, pride, or lust.
For her self‑esteem shattered
Shames God and all His saints.
Leads to infinite revolving universes of complaints!

A woman is the gate to God’s house
Whether the garden on moonlit night to walk in
Whether her womb for children
Or her heart for love.
Even the highest of saints
With infinite patience
Cannot beguile God as much
As a woman in love.

The heart of a woman tender and pure
Innocent and sweet ‑ Is God’s gate.

Please her and God is pleased
Shame her and God is shamed
Harm her and you are no more.

Meherkaren, do not feel old, ugly, without love.
Who must you be ‑ that
God sends you to the Highest saints;
To test their hearts in Love?

So who then must you be – O Meherkaren?
You say you want to be wealthy and a
Singer of my songs in my place1.

This is your invitation
plane ticket, and reservation ‑ to Shiraz.
Do not worry about economy,
Job, family, age, or money.
Who must you be that at best
You are sent by Saki to test
These white robed saints?

You say you are jealous
Of Tavernkeeper’s daughter2.

Come my darling, Hafez beckons
You to His tavern to see Meher’s face.

For your heart is so pure
That Saki now seeks your grace.
So says Hafez of Shiraz to Meherkaren
With this invitation to His birthplace.

1    Hafez was born and lived most of his life in his beloved Shiraz a city in Persia (1320‑1389).
2    Those protected by and/or those who live with or close by the Master.

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Hummingbirds & Rainbow’s End

From Hafiz of Shiraz 20 January
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

The Hummingbird glitters sipping
From every Tulip’s lips;
But he finds no resting‑place
No haven, hearth, or home
To breathe in peace.

Riotous colors shimmer off his wing
How light and quick he dips and probes
Into the delicate petals that cling.

To draw him near the fuchsia thrilling sings
Flowers ache for his thin, beak’s tingling stings.
Every anemone in the garden feels slighted
If he passes her by uninvited!

Each flower waits for his probe
Hoping to blossom in her best beauty robe.
Karen’s delicate song beckons into ear lobe.
Did he pause to bend in his white robe?

Do you love me?  As I do you? 
This New Energy
Has no more frequencies,
No more vibrations,
Between two polarities;
Just expands in all directions.

So if you don’t want me
Say so to set me FREE.
For I intend to have a buddy
In the New Energy.
For passion, play, and prosperity.

To sing my Hafiz songs
In front of amorous throngs.
Whose palettes are mature
For True Wine’s ardor.

Be still Meherkaren,
In this VOID ‑ you are safe.
Your journey has come to an end.

That pot of gold at world’s end.
Has become your friend.

See how even Rainbow’s bend.
Coming to show off their shimmering colors.
Hafiz says, “Look Meherkaren
What’s hidden at Rainbow’s End.”

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Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

From Hafiz of Shiraz (January 27, 2004)
  © 2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Saki why did you leave us in such poverty?
Why so powerless before our enemies?
We are slaves here in calamity
To cyclops and carpetbaggers greedy hands..
Even the Gurus hold out their begging bowls
Seeking gold here with marketing plans. 

All I want is a small Rose garden, a view
A place to sing a song or two.
Why this slavery Hafiz?
Why this lack of fulfillment – dear Friend
If the journey has come to an end?

I am a slave in the richest nation on Earth.
A slave to fat men who have no soul.
My father did not care for his children.
A nation in ruin, threatening our survival on Earth.

I am seething with resentment over the ruin of my life.
By fat, stupid men with no soul and prostitutes for wife.

O Meherkaren, now this slavery will end
Because it is the Will of God
You do not have to do anything
God comes to You – Meherkaren.

You want freedom, free‑time, free money
To sing your songs
Express yourself in your music.
Stop asking permission from Gurus
Promising marriage but who give no fulfillment
In the NOW.

You don’t need their permission
God comes to you in the NOW.
What do you want?  A home?  A Life?
A husband? A lover? A Supporter?
Time to write your SONGS?

What good are the Gurus
Who don’t give freedom
To create and express?
Who only judge, take your money
And make you more of a slave?

Beware the hypocrites in white robes.
That fat man you work for is just a fool.
But beware the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Do you want to marry?
All the Angels on this side of the Veil
Will bring you a lover, a friend, to hale
And support your music with song
Someone on the beach to walk along
Someone who loves and honors you
Produce your songs and publish your poetry
It comes to you dear one effortlessly. 

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So Hum

From Hafiz of Shiraz
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Do you love me?
This “Who cares” and “So Hum”
Has made me numb!
But except for the angels
You’d have my whole wallet’s sum!

I may be dumb
Just a woman who wants a husband,
But the Angels and Ascended Masters
Watch over this blessed One. 

And now about “So What?”
The Earth is ascending in this New Energy.
And this one called Meherkaren
Needs to stay alive to conduct electrically
The Divine Symphony in Meher’s New Energy,
For a musical epiphany. 

So be careful with whom you keep company
For this one named Meherkaren is protected by all angels
And even God who you call Home
Will protect Her Song from all Harm.

She is determined to stay incarnate and healthy
For her Mission on Earth in this New Energy.
And all Angels, Devas, and even Rakshas that kill
Bow to Her Divine Will. 

So says Hafiz of Shiraz in code blue
She is Safe but what about you? 

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Be Wise like an Owl

From Hafiz of Shiraz  (Oct. 6, 2004 Concord,CA)
©2004 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Dear Meherkaren, I too worked for tyrants and bullies;
Men with no soul – thieves and pigeon stoolies.
Do you feel bitter and filled with hate?
A woman with no future for her fate?
With nothing on her plate
But love for God
And hope for Fortune’s succors?

Be not grieved Meherkaren
Your money’s in the bank all right
And soon you’ll leave this state so barren
Of joy and of delight.

Do not stay awake at night
Cringing in fright!
You have many friends among the angels and poets,
Who will not permit one more day of useless suffering.

Be wise like an owl
O Meherkaren, when a fool attacks
And shows only what he lacks,
Know well you have not been forgotten;
And soon your troubles will dissolve like candied cotton
Soon they’ll also be forgotten.

Hafez says, “More shame on men who attack women
Than all the dark angels of Hell.
Fire will rain upon the land
But you will not be there.
No harm will come to even one hair
Of your pretty head.
Throw your doubts to the wind
Laugh with me and call me Friend.
I am Hafiz of Shiraz and I love you Meherkaren.”

“I will dictate in a new land
Poems and songs all your days.
When your hair is white,
I will sing to you at night
Of Spring’s youth and joy,
So you will not be lonely in this new land.

Come, the angels are finding a way
You have given them your promise
Next poem in a new land dear Meherkaren.”

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Full of God’s Grace

From Hafiz of Shiraz (Jan. 23, 2005 Concord, CA)
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

He has a beautiful face
Full of God’s Grace
But will he heal me?

Can he heal my spinal nerve
This tired aging body?

I’ve met so many gurus seeking God’s place.
Oh have compassion Infinite One.
I am too sad to remain incarnate
Too many sorrows to stay
And no one to share love with on the way.

This pathless path has led me astray.

Are you true with your beautiful face?
Or just another guru in this dog‑eat‑dog market place?

I am too sad to remain in this incarnation
Without a guru’s grace!

Who in all creation can heal
Meherkaren’s torn spinal disk and nerve?

If it is you the healing guru
Then how fortunate are you
To give Meherkaren back her place.
In this dusty world, that needs a strong body
To walk the way,
Are you a True Guru or just another fake?
Will you heal this Meherkaren for God’s sake?

O Saki bring wine, Meherkaren is in trouble.
Running to every guru in the market place.
Shower upon her God’s healing Grace!

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The Path will Follow You

From Hafiz of Shiraz (Jan. 23, 2005 – Concord, CA)
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Dear Meherkaren,

The Path will follow you
If you are True.

The young Swami heals bodies
Energetic yogis and swamis
But who do you love?

If he goes from city to city
Starts an ashram, gets publicity,
Do you want to help his cause?
Or follow your own journey home?

Follow your own heart Meherkaren to go home
Why do you worry about these Gurus?
And pass the time wondering about their point of views?

Follow your own path – be True
To the Divinity within You.

Go to the trees and buy a home by the sea
Retire and publish your poetry

God will see to your finances and your companions.
Don’t worry about health, wealth, or friend
The path will follow you Meherkaren.

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Watching the World Go By

From Hafiz of Shiraz June 11, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

I am watching the world go by
As Amma gives Her Darshan
Weeping I know not why
The musicians sing in Malayalam
Pretty couples with angel babes
Hippies dance and smile at me
But Meherkaren is inconsolably lonely.

Amma honors me with the best jobs
Thousands have swept the floor
With their eyelashes
Shedding blood tears for such sweet seva.

My heart is a bird who’s forgotten how to fly
From an open door cage.

The Master, sugar cube in hand, coaxes
The bird from its golden cage;
Where youth and beauty never age –
Where Hafiz pitched his tent
There’s the scent of incense
Among the Revolving Universes.

Meherkaren wants to marry
With kittens curled in her lap so cozy
Dreams of youth and home
A husband to bring home
The rent or mortgage money.

This desire to marry
Meherkaren, spawned the Milky Way
Super nova space clash with energy
Such are the dangers of feeling lonely
For the One who is God only.

Like Gandhi this one yearns for world peace;
Lives on airplanes flying from place to place.

Why yearn for a home and romance
For five minutes of his glance?
Marrying a homeless man
With millions on his payroll.
How to console women with such fantasies?
Meherkaren feels she’s missed her chance.

When a woman is in love
Even God the only One ‑
Feels lonely  ‑
Until her heart finds peace.

Those who know the Vedas and Gita
Do japs, meditation and yoga,
Cannot reach the goal
Meherkaren needs sugar to come out of her gilded cage.
She feels so old, that life has passed her by with age.

And this Guru – Empress of Spades
And Queen of all Hearts
Has all the parrots singing in her court
Serenading the lonely at heart.

See what Hafez of Shiraz is whispering
In her ear where wisps of hair are curling?
Seeking God’s Grace.


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The Pageantry of the World

From Hafiz of Shiraz June 11, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

This is the pageantry of the world
Where all races, colors, nations gather
Whirling like dervishes of Maulana Rumi
Chanting bhajans and quawalli
Songs of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan1
Coming to take Her Darshan.

The poet night watchman of Meher Baba2
Today blessed me and
Passed his golden pen to Meherkaren.

In the Court of the Empress of the Universe3
Like a shy maiden at her first ball
I call upon Hafiz, Merwan4, and Allah
Mirror Mirror who’s the Fairest of them All?
The One we call Amma.

Then I called out, invited Avatar Lord Meher Baba
To come with me to this Devi Bhava
And protect my own energy.

They hailed Amritananda Mayi Devi Ki Jai
In this Hall of Mirrors
Who’s the Fairest of the Fair?
The One I call Meher.

Mirror Mirror, who’s the Greatest of them all?
Amritananda Mayi Devi – the One they call Amma.

1   A great quawalli singer from Pakistan who became well‑known in the West. 
2   Bhau Kalchuri wrote a biography of Meher Baba and served as his Night Watchman. He serves now as the
    Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust, Ahmednagar, M.S. India
3   Amritanandamayi Devi (Ammachi) is considered by her followers to be an incarnation of the Divine Mother.
4   Merwan S. Irani was the family name given to Meher Baba by his parents at birth. Meher Baba’s first early disciples
      gave him the name of Meher Baba (Compassionate Father).

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Lonely in Front of God Only

From Hafiz of Shiraz June 11, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Meherkaren is lonely
Even in front of God only.
Why does she feel apart
Like an old lady left separate
Abandoned by her lover for another?

What are these mysteries
On the Path to the Only One?
Why does Meherkaren feel alone
In Amma’s ocean?

Will marrying a man who’s lovely
Make her feel less lonely?
Less old, less left, less bereft
On this Pathless Path to God only?

What is this loneliness
In the middle of these masses
The waiting thousands for Her Darshan?
And will marrying another lovely
Make you, my darling, feel less lonely
On the Path to God only?

To make you happy on the way
Hafez will sing you his songs
In English, will pass you his honeyed song‑winged pen
Because Hafez of Shiraz loves Meherkaren.

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Nusrat’s Fate and Mine

From Hafiz of Shiraz‑June 11, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

Even offense in this court proves a blessing
A beggar in rags too short leaves in a film star’s dressing.
One cannot serve selflessly until one attains God only.

Four a.m. and Amma has sacrificed
More than Jesus nailed to the cross.
I’ve seen no other selfless seva like this.

The darshan queue is over 5400 ‑ a short evening
Where in India she hugs a cool ½ a million.

I have the bad manners
To be jealous of her musicians.
They serenade the Queen of Heaven
Her lovers and her children
In Sanskrit, Telegu and Malayalam.

But this envy proves a boon
Spurns me on, encourages and entunes
Inspires these flower tunes
With God’s Grace to publish soon.

After darshan hugs, pearls of tears
and diamond glints in their eyes
rival the stars and dew kissed anemones.

Some whirl in ecstasy
Like planets round the sun
Some just weep in solitary ‑
Imagining they’ve lost or won.

I slept in my car wheezing
Waiting for the 4 a.m. curfew freezing
To make it back into Her Temple of Love.
I don’t even know why I’m here among
Begging Hafez to give me his golden tongue.
I have no job other than this word praising.

Some lie sick on the floor
Exhausted waiting the eons of birth’s
To make it to Her Door.
O Saki, your darshan
Is like the Darbar of Merwan
Quawalli just after dawn
Where once we sang Baba Hu
Here your children sing Allah Hu.

Bhau1 penned Nusrat’s2 songs
For Meher’s quawalli parties
And here in Her Darbar
Again I hear Baba Hu
I know the song in English and in Urdu
But while they sing, I hear only Amma Hu.

The Passion for the Divine
Has injured my spine
Was I searching in vain for Meher’s Wine
Because He left the Tavern in ’69?
Passed the key to this South Indian Saki?
But my fate is sealed with His Kiss and Her Hug.

Who taught us to be afraid of joy?
Of laughing and dancing in innocent glee?
This constant critic and judge
This fear and guilt that won’t budge
Making life on earth a hell state.

Nusrat, we sang your quawalli
At Meher’s Samadhi in tremendous ecstasy,
And now they’re sung inside Amma’s palace gate.
Please God grant me Your Grace for such a fate.

O Nusrat, that my fate shines like yours
By God’s grace to publish these poem flowers
And remain in my body to serve
If only to write what I observe.

1   Bhau Kalchuri wrote a biography of Meher Baba and served as his Night Watchman. Bhau has also written
   many published books of poetry.
2   A great quawalli singer from Pakistan who became well‑known in the West.

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Tsunami Suffering

From Hafiz of Shiraz‑June 11, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

The passion of sex takes these children to the skies.
And drunk with laughter is the light in Saki’s eyes.
She’s working on her hugging throne
To bring wealth to her children at home
Where tsunami floods left so many in ruin.

She’s pledged millions on the love of Meher’s wine.
Bringing thousands searching for
They know not what ‑ into her darshan line.

I am content and grateful to capture Hafez’ runes
I’ll wait a life or two to sing quawalli party tunes.

The price of one delicious meal
Gives a child one year in Her school
Massage, espresso songs so many nights
In this Tavern with Hindu temple lights.

She sits on Her hugging throne
Amidst the revolving universes – all alone
Crucified eternally but giving only bliss
Why did God make coming Home
Entail so much suffering and pain?
For Creator and Creation?

Where is the charm in so much harm
To Her Universal and physical bodies?

Meherkaren is dumb in God’s ways
Feeling helpless and hopeless
Wishing God’s suffering is not always. 

So many have taken birth from other worlds
Bhau says they exploit and plunder other species and the seas.
How to explain the tsunami’s destruction
As Earth adjusts to this over population?

Why does God make it so hard on Creator and creation?

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Get a Hat

From Hafiz of Shiraz‑June 12, 2005
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

I feel lonely and in poverty
Running after gurus hoping for delivery.

Who can give financial liberation
To this woman musician?

I ask the handsome darling
Men in holy robes about liberating
The role of artistic women
Earning a living singing.

Maybe I should just “Get a hat”
Instead of being a door mat
I am looking for a hero to take me home
Because now I am helpless, hopeless and alone.

How can we have world peace meditating ‑
Without ridding the Earth of women’s suffering?


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Other Masters

©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin (from Hafez on June 13, 2005)

Merwan warned His lovers
Not to go to other Gurus.
The Path of Love is dangerous without
Discrimination and determination.
So now I have this guilt and doubt
To give to the Creator in creation. 

He dropped His body in 1969
And I’ve wept since in this land
Like a rose dying on the vine
Too much of a coward to withstand
The storms among His groups’ wraths
I went seeking peace in another land.
I sought relief in other spiritual paths. 

All I ever wanted was a quiet home
To compose my love songs in peace
A simple hearth to share with a friend
To sing together in harmony and joy.
Good fortune the Real Friend to please
To win Beloved God’s precious Grace.

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Determined to be Happy

16 June 2005 from Hafiz
©2005 Karen Lynn Sterkin

I am in love, I am in love helplessly
With cypress and water lily
Anemone gossips about me
And tongue of lily scolds me.

And no matter how I drive carefully
People tailgate and crash into me.

But I’m determined to be happy!
Dance and sing to Baba playfully.

I’m exhausted today
My body’s too old for this energy outlay.

Before I die O Beloved Meher
Please grant I publish this poetry
For ‘tho I find no market for it anywhere
It is all that‘s left of me!

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Upasni’s Place

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
 18 June 2006 from Hafiz

She has Upasni’s place in the hierarchy
But She flies from place to place
Making everywhere Her Sakori1

The blue blood turncoat sufi
Hooded serpent of hypocrisy
See how Meher’s Poet Night watchman2
Has become a beggar – bowl in hand.

Do not weep for those who serve the Master
Keep earth in balance – world’s end waylaid,
They circumvent mirrored halls of disaster.
Meherkaren, are you afraid
To end this pathless path alone
Seeking a mate for land and a home?

The Sweet Ones who sing in your ear
Will not leave you long in fear
A husband can’t protect from Earth’s shaking

Hurricanes, floods, fire and rain
So be content Meherkaren in Song‑making
Your poem songs lessen the Guru’s pain.

Be an obedient slave to no man
See what the angels and devas bring
Continue to take Amma’s darshan
And sing Meherkaren while awakening.
Your longing for a wedding ring
Brings only more suffering.
Instead strive to make others happy
Sing your Love Songs to entertain
Like the birds – not caring for praise or misery
Sing all day before evening’s rain
Leave the critics in their blue coats
Along with the hypocrite sufi turncoats!

1   Upasni Maharaj was a Sadguru (Perfect Master). His ashram is still at Sakori in Maharashtra India.
2   Bhau Kalchuri wrote a biography of Meher Baba and served as his Night Watchman. Bhau has also written
    many published books of poetry.

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Moon in a Sea Sky

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
 18 June 2006 from Hafiz

Butterflies with rainbow wings
Gossamer spider web and veil
Such is the delicacy of sanskaric unwinding
So be careful Meherkaren who you hail
Worship no man or woman for wealth
The angels will guide you to perfect health.

The moon cuts through a sea sky askew
Dipping low in a silvery glow
To escape the Sun’s blazing hue,
The stars vie for her attention
While huge waves crash below,
But the quiet moon’s anchor ship
Refreshingly steals the show.

You feel ill, caught a bad cold
Makes you feel feeble and old
It’s the tourniquet’s unveiling
Afraid to lose more body parts
In this subtle unwinding
Hafiz to Meherkaren imparts
Sublime songs for her arts.

You’ll not die or drop your body too soon
For there are too many of us over here
Who enjoy a fresh and lively tune.

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Guru Purnima

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
Silence Day 10 July 2006 from Hafez

Never mind the Guru Om
This lass needs a home
Rose garden and a fruit tree
Some peace to sing a song
Not running after every Guruji
Promising wishes to the hungry throng. 

Earth is in trouble no doubt
Massive death is what it’s all about –
Meher sent you Meherkaren
Again to woo and befriend
Now you know why it was only a hand shake
This darshan from a fake!

Do not worry Meherkaren
Hafez will not let harm
Nor sleeplessness affect your health
As you chase gurus asking for wealth.

O Saki this lady is in a mess and muddle
Send her a True Fakir for her trouble
Hafez will protect you until then
Giving to Meherkaren the wealth of His Pen.

Why did Meher send me again? 
I wished I’d asked what was His wish, His will and His whim!
Covering the memories from my past fling
With Art of Living’s darling
When I sing and serve only Meher my King? 

“Because you said ’I love him’
When Meher asked you Meherkaren.”

What mysteries lie in this romance?
For in truth he loves you too
You charm birds from the trees
With your fresh innocence
And yes you can sing stupidities
For how many women seek a mate
With a man whose fate
Is hotel and airplanes always late?

Do not weep Meherkaren or look askance
At this Shiva dance
It started long ago
You were married to him then you know.

What cannot be repeated now
Will come out right in the end somehow
Meher the Faire will never forsake you
Nor His servant the one called Amma1.
Be grateful Meherkaren that he loves you too.
And don’t expect miracles in a zoo!

Don’t grieve for him or his choices
The earth needs his Art of Living voices
And what better way to heal the politics
Of a country gone mad with no more tricks.

No way to feed the poor
Or help the old and ill when health cares falter
Soon there will be no food or drinking water
But Hafez warns Meherkaren
You are safe holding fast to Meher’s Damaan.

Give the man a kiss good‑bye
And thank him for his love
Born out of your lullaby
Now go to sleep my friend
Meher will not forsake His Karen.

1   Amritanandamayi Devi (Ammachi) is considered by her followers to be an incarnation of the Divine Mother.

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In Praise of Satguru Swami
Shankara Guruji Shri Shri 1008

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
11 July 2006 from Francis Brabazon

I am on vacation
From the world
This Shri Shri has given me
Some compensation
To see what my hat can hold.

Instead of Hafez’ teasing and libel
He’s going to Washington
To tame the Tower of Babel
With Meher’s Silence – this is done.

I was so happy to see
On the Silver Jubilee DVD
So many classical musicians
As Divine Mother Saraswati
Celebrates Shiva’s missions.

I have to say I’m so proud of anyone
Who goes to conquer Washington
Stave off the massive starvation
Due to ignorance of a barbarian nation
And before World’s End bring celebration
When Meher the Faire grants salvation.

May Lord Meher and His daughter Kali
Send the most powerful in Shiva’s army
To still the barbarians battling tongue
And bring Shanti Om to everyone.

He brings Lord Shiva’s sadhana to replace
This so‑called progress of indolence.
His mission a world without violence.

This calamity they call prosperity
Will bring us all to World’s End
Sooner than Meher Baba’s Final Declaration
When ¾ of the world will be destroyed
To wipe out sanskaras Gaia cannot balance to avoid
The transition of millions to make a clean void. 

So Meherkaren sings “He’s a hero”
And prays the money will be a go
Whether from Bill Gates or some other bloke
This time raising the money is no joke.

But under Shri Shri’s hat
Is a secret Meher begat
The story of Big Bird Garuda
Who saved Lakshman and Lord Rama
In the forest long ago
From the enemy’s poison’d arrow.

This same doubt makes Karen worry
Makes a hole in expressing her art
How can one save 1008 Shri Shri
And still remain a disciple at heart?

So Meherkaren has flown to visit the crows
Accept the slings of critics’ poison’d arrows
And serve Meher the Faire in her art
Because she loves Shri Shri with all her heart.

Meher’s Australian poet Francis knows
That nothing makes ink flows
From the other side of the veil
As much as a woman
Hopelessly in love
To weave a merry tale.

It is the charm in the telling
Makes Gaia want to stay around
So keep weaving poems darling
Environmental global warming
Will keep for awhile to hear the happy ending
To this merry tale so enchanting.

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Gone to the Crows

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
 12 July 2006 from Francis Brabazon

Karen’s gone to the crows
Like Big Bird Garuda
To learn humility
Worries of global warming and money
Have ripped the sleep from her eyes
And heavy lidded with hair flying
She frightens both the new ones and the old guys’ spies.

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 at this fair
And for creative songs to Meher.

How can I save the Lord of All?
Or keep earth from dying from pollution?
How will we eat or drink clean water

These doubts have put a pause in Karen’s play
Shiva’s black crows sing “Dum dum dum dum duma duppa day”
While Karen feels rejected old and ugly.

But rosy cheek’d dawn brought news today
That Lord Shiva needs a powerful army
Not nightingale’s enchanting notes
With amorous tales of the Rose
From sweetly pining reedy throats
In delicate petal shows.

O call Mother Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh
Karen’s in trouble and needs more cash!

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©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
(at Amma’s) 19 Nov. 2006 from Hafiz

Grief has eaten a hole in me
I have to move to another city?
I will miss my friends in the City of Love
Hafez whispers, Karen coo like a sweet dove
Your sadness will not last
Fame will come to you at last
You will find new companions
Full of your song
And your heart will sing all day long
God sees to your health and wealth
Keep singing Meherkaren in stealth
So says Hafez, "Take the bird in hand
To a better land."

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Like Gold

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
(at Amma’s) 20 Nov. 2006 from Hafiz

You are like gold
Always new and never old
Ever young and ever fresh
Juice ras passion in flesh
The bees are drunk
My heart is sunk
Happy or gay
Always at play.

Multi‑tasking Kali‑Durga
Mohammed Buddha and Shiva
Bow prostrate at your lotus feet
And Hafez keeps Karen company
So she won’t feel defeat at Amma’s feet.

How precious and how sweet
Nectar of gold ever young never old
Whether you praise or scold
In heat, in fire, ice and cold
Karen you will never grow old
The angels will fly to your rescue
To hear your songs and sing on cue
In each and every place
Where you show your face
God sheds His abiding Grace
In this holy place.

Abiding gold, every fluid, never old
Never rigid never fear
You are protected here my dear
We love you so we adore you oh
Take us with you Karen
Your life will never be barren
To keep you company in this place
Where God’s abiding Grace
Rains down from every space
Meherkaren don’t worry at the pace.

You will never grow old
For you are ever young, never old
Karen, Hafez loves you
You are Meher’s gold
Fear not illusion’s hold
The angels will keep you
Ever young and never old
Fear not the strife
Your inheritance is guaranteed
Money in the bank; you’ll succeed
Where before you failed all your life.

O Karen the angels adore you
And want to be of service too
May we bow and worship you
Bring gifts and flowers and songs to you
Give you abundance, grant every wish
So you will never by Maya be vanquished?
"Yes" ‑ oh how thrilling co‑creation
Together fulfilling the prophesies of old
Rivers of stories we once told now behold
Where one such as Amma would unfold
Her lotus flowers into rivers of gold

Do not fear Karen global warming
Watch what you’ll see no harming
The angels of Amma are charming
This New Energy so alarming
To the duality religious arming
Terrorists of death and destruction
Armageddon threatening annihilation
The New Energy will swallow whole
Like Seesha the snake of Shiva and Kali
This illusionary threat of Earth’s calamity
The New Energy will swallow whole
Like a giant galactic black hole
At the Center of the Central Sun
Where Hafez pitched His tent
Among the revolving universe
Meherkaren cannot make sense
Of Hafez’ stanzas pitched inside His tent
From where the birth of stars rent.

From where are born suns and nebulae.
To keep the dogs of war at bay
Amma’s children pray, fast
Chant mantras all day
Hafez says Karen at last
Take courage and play
Call in the angels to protect you
This New Energy swallows duality around you.

The aurora borealis and rainbows
From elemental play fellows
Hafez will send to you
So you won’t feel blue
I will paint you into gold
To make you young never old
So says Hafez to Meherkaren
My dear companion and friend.

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Fighting for Seats

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
(at Amma’s) 20 Nov. 2006 from Hafiz

We’re also fighting for seats in Her court
Drawing straws that we hope aren’t too short
All the planes, seen and unseen worlds, I see
In the darbar of the Queen of All that is, I see.
Every color shimmering on display, I see
Friends greeting each other are happy, I see.

Forgotten political religious brawling, I see
Verbal dueling of duality silenced, I see
From arch of that One’s Eye, I see.
Arrows from Eternity, I see
Hafez vying with Francis poetry, I see
Showing off English ghazals for academics, I see
Drunk on Meher’s wine in ecstasy, I see
Whirling dervishes around the sun, I see
Dazzling the nebulae and stars, I see
Amma’s darshan streaming down, I see
God’s effulgent Grace flowing, I see.

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Lucky to be Here

©2006 by Karen Lynn Sterkin
(at Amma’s) 20 Nov. 2006 from Francis Brabazon

I was more fortunate than you my lass
In Meher’s darbar the die was cast
In stone Meher hued my colors true
Cast me adrift on His Ocean of blue
Without a rudder or a mast
With lunatics for bed fellows and a mad crew!

But in every age the Masters of the Universe
Cast nets for gopis canting in verse
Their love songs dancing to tom‑tom drums
While Big Fist insurance tax assessors
Cash in their sums.

It must be my fault if I’m the Creator
Of my life, my world, since I’m the maker
Law of Attraction says no one else is to blame
So don’t waste time on judgment and shame
Better to dance and whistle a tune
Seek the company of poets whispering a rune
In my ear from behind the Veil
Far better a song than a tearful wail.

Fresh pine needles green on the blue
Where rolling hills of golden hue
Sun light sparkles on the green lagoon
Preening white swans
Glide where lily pods float
Like lotus blossoms among fronds
And Meher left me on a ruddy boat
Oarless hopeless without a sail
With mad men as sailors daily to hail.

They lost one of the pea hens last year
Her devotees throw out compost for the deer.
How lovely Saraswati’s abode here
How lucky I am to be alive here!

Inside Her Temple of Love
Where Hindu lamps shine bright
Brighter still the gleam in her eye
All knowing all seeing Saraswati
Brahma Creator and Creation’s Naad

Her Eternal Love melody playing
On the strings of every heart
In perfect tune the boy plays a sarangi
In every corner paintings for Her art.

How lucky am I to be alive here
What wondrous destiny
Hear the boy his sarangi play
Her curling locks round every ear
What wondrous love to be alive here!

But Meher left us wailing at the moat
Too late to cross into Her palace
I sailed rudderless and oarless in a boat
But ah the Captain Meher Baba alas
Has passed the key of destiny
To this South Indian white clad lady
No yogi or swami this is Saraswati
Francis whispers in Karen’s ear.

How lucky for us dear
That Meher led you here
To open Her palace gate
For us and those who came late
To this Temple where creation
and Brahma the Creator
Meet in exaltation
At Saraswati’s invitation.

Francis says, O Karen call me
Any time night or day
I’ll give you my best poetry
In ghazal, song, jig or geet
Call me for Saraswati
To whisper in your ear so sweet
Serenading the greatest of All
Do you understand Karen
Creator and creation meet
As One dissolving in Her Ocean.

Do you know how lucky you are
Worry not about your house or car
Open your heart Meherkaren
While I sing in your ear
Meher Baba has not left you
He sent me to serenade here
To lullaby away your fear
To wipe away illusion’s tear
But never mind it’s just a bunk
Too hard to fathom when you’re in the junk
Just call me night or day
And see what miracles like bubbles
Floating in rainbow riot display.

Rest now Karen, Meher has not left
You are not alone bereft
Francis says call me night or day
Be jealous if it gets you off your duff
Of those you think are better singers
To us they’re just jaded
Palm‑joined dead ringers!
And God wants an ever fresh tune ‑ enough!
Francis yells, call me Karen when you’re feelin’ rough
How lucky we are that you are here!