Caturāvṛtti Tarpaṇam | bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

my Lord,

melt me on the betelnut leaf

show me that i am rough on the surface

but soft all the way through

my rugged edges,

my delusions of mass

my convictions of being,

my frights of flow

in the melding of haldi

and sanctified water,

apaḥ sips my contractions

pours of holy water,

my fissures dissolve into You

fingertips adorned in yellow hue

and moist eyes of velvet,

i throw my head back and gasp

𝓉𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝓂𝓊𝓈𝓉 𝒷𝑒 𝓁𝑜𝓋𝑒

🌼 photos: the ecstatic Caturāvṛtti Tarpaṇam, completed in forty-one days with my saṅgha of Śabda Yoginīs. my beloved Guru Kavitha Amma writes:

“Tarpaṇam is ritual libation in which the gross flows into the subtle, the lower into the higher, the rigid into the flexible, the known into knowing and the knowing into the knower.

Gaṇapati rules over the gaṇas in the Mūlādhāra cakra. It is here at the Mūlādhāra that solidity becomes our way of life. As soon as I think or say, “this is how I am,” my being has solidified exactly into that way of being. All other possibilities are eliminated. What was previously flowing (from the Sva-adhiṣṭhāna) has now become fixed, definitive, and stubborn.

When we invoke Mahāgaṇapati, he dissolves these self-imposed chains, allowing them to flow out of restrictions toward expansiveness. Unless this solidity melts, there is no growth or expansion.

In November 2022, Śabda Yoginīs across the world took the saṅkalpa of completing the Caturāvṛtti Tarpaṇam for forty-one days. Every day, we prepared a turmeric pyramid representing Mahāgaṇapati that dissolved with 444 offerings of mantra-infused water. The collective experience of this ritual resulted in exponential expansion, groundedness and miraculous transformation and transmutation of the gross to the subtle…

Deep gratitude to our Guru Maṇḍala for guiding us, leading us, and dissolving us.” 💛

🌼 please do read the rest of Amma’s exquisite writing on Śabda Institute, where you can also find many gorgeous photos from the collective Tarpaṇam experience. 🙏

my youth spills on dancefloors by Téa Nicolae

*poem published in Kamena Magazine, 2022. written in 2019. from my ‘teenage angst’ collection.

pitch-black clubs,
dazed fridays.
my youth pumps through my veins.

high heels,
shiny fake ids.
my youth grounds me.

grimy dance floors,

my youth bursts inside of me

it glides through me

wildly

as my heart throbs beneath my skin
matching the music’s beat

i please my youth
bending my body obediently
with the deafening bass

midnight
the synth dismantles my mind
and my limbs are not mine anymore
they follow the sound

there is no past
or future
only my body
spinning madly
only the music
twisting in my ears
only my youth
spilling on dance floors
from the crashed bottles of wine at my feet

She dances me to her call | bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

in the depths of my being, She dances me to her call:

“come to me. I want all of you, my child. no part of you is too dark, too gritty, too cruel for me. I claim all of you.”

Māiyā! your waves carry your call and roll it against my chest. i seek you with my breath, eyes, hands, and knees. my lungs seek you like they seek air.

Ya Devī! soothing her tears,

Kṛṣṇa told Pāñcālī

that just as you, Śrī Gaṅgā, hold and wash all pollutions yet are ever-pristine,

so does the fallen empress remain untainted by her shame.

aches bathed in your luster,

i plead:

take all of me, Devī.

leave nothing of me behind.

establish me in knowing

that despite my wrongs, fears and corruptions, i, too,

your fragment in the microcosm,

remain unmarred.

may the holy flow of your untamed waters

sweeten the harshness i bear towards myself and the world

soften the rigid corners straining my being

loosen the knots hindering you from coursing within me.

Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. 🙏

photos: before & after bathing in the waters of Śrī Gaṅgā in the auspicious Gangotri. Śabda Yātra. 🙏 the blessing of blessings. 💙

for how many lifetimes have you been calling me to You? | bhakti poem

for how many lifetimes
have you been calling me to you, Devī?
for how many lifetimes
have i cowered?

for how many lifetimes
have i been lost, Devī?
for how many lifetimes
have you watched me stumble?

i have been through many wombs
to rest my head at your feet today.

yet here i am,
my Devī.

would it be
greedy of me
to plead with you
one more time?

will you
grace me?
will you
wash away
my good, my ugly?
my irreverences, my pride?
my agonies, my beauty?

will you
cleanse this heart
until i am nothing but flow
rushing forth to meet your shores
like the water running between your locks

🤍 what came to me upon seeing the magnificence of Gaṅgā Devī for the very first time. pictures: Gangotri. Gomukh, Her Source. they fail to encompass Her beauty.

you elude me: bhakti poem by Téa Nicolae

you elude me,

my Beloved.
your nectarous call
trickles in my ears
and i run to you,
maddened.

i run to you,
enamoured,
clothed by longing
and with tears as jewels.

i run to you,
bare,
silk dress in shreds,
ripped slippers.

i’ve been running to you
since before i was born.
i am tired, Hari.
my dignity and pride
are long forgotten.
my toenails are cracked,
the skin peels off my feet.
my hair is rumpled,
my breasts are bruised;
your wayward bride.

whenever i get close
to throwing myself at your feet
my mind entangles me.
my wrongs push against my bones
and i fall on my face.
my blood smears the ground
and i grovel. i cry. i howl.

when your nectarous call
trickles in my ears,
i jolt forwards.
and i run to you,
maddened.

~ poem to Madhav, published in Śabda Magazine, volume II. my offering of longing as we approach the auspicious day of Vijayadaśamī! may we be victorious in our quest to merge with the Divine Beloved. 🙏

aegina, greece, 2018.

Hymn to the Empress of Kings by Téa Nicolae

Praise be to The Empress of Kings
seated on the throne of five corpses in the palace of ruby.


Her blinking eyes birth and collapse the cosmos,
and her crown is the lunar half-moon.


She whose reddened eyes roll ecstatically,
She is Mahātripurasundarī,
The Great Beauty of the Triads.


Praise be to Parā Aṃbikā,
of allure so exquisite that, enchanted,
Śiva grew his third eye just to worship her beauty.


Her body is anointed with sandalwood,
and her fragrance bathes and deludes the three worlds.


She is Śrīmātā,
The Auspicious Mother.


Praise be to Lalitā Aṃbikā,
The One Who Plays,
whose girdle of tinkling bells stirs creation into being.


She who gifts the sun his effulgence,
Her toenail holds the universes,
and Her auspicious thighs are known only by the fortunate Kāmeśvara.


She is Kāmākṣī,
She whose eyes are desire.


Bhavānī,
you are the nectar of the ocean of compassion:
grace this songstress to only sing of your praises.


🌺 “Hymn to the Empress of Kings”, one of my poems offered to Devī at the magnificent Siri Jyoti Pūjā in Seattle. inspired by the verses of the Lalitāsahasranāma which extoll Lalitā’s rapturous beauty. Śrī Mātre Namaḥ. Happy Navarātra! 🙏
📸: SJP, Seattle, September 2022.

blissful Śabdopāya Retreat, Seattle.
continuously reborn in your presence. śrī gurubhyo namaḥ.

Guru Pūrṇimā

i’ve been quiet,
as shy as the fawn
you,
you are teaching me to roar


i’ve been compliant
i’ve stumbled through life
with two left feet
you,
you are teaching me to stand


i’ve been fearful, small
i’ve moved reluctantly
you,
you are teaching me to dance
rapturously


i’ve been ashamed,
my heart’s been shrunken
you,
you are teaching me
to burst into the light

📷: embracing my beloved teacher for the very first time! Barcelona, winter 2021. photo by Holly ♥️


clumsily,
i have shied before your love,
enchained by what i thought was darkness
etched in my reflection.
with wonder, i continuously discover
that my flaws do not faze you
and you,
you remain steady in your love.


i have allowed myself to be tamed,
but for you,
beloved teacher,
i can learn to be unbound.

~ a poem for Guru Pūrṇimā ♥️. celebrating today the love of the Guru, a love so unconditional that it rewires every inch of the being who opens to it. Śrī Gurubhyo Namah! 🙏

Warwick Anthology and Re-introduction

#Repost @thewarwickanthology with @make_repost
・・・
Introducing the Team of Warwick Anthology 2022: Florilegium! 🌺

Meet Téa Nicolae! Téa is a marketing co-head and an editor of this year’s anthology. She joined the Warwick Writing Programme to delve deeper into poetry and literary translation.

Téa is a poetess and a scholar-practitioner. She writes devotional (bhakti) poetry and her research interests are Śāktism, Mahābhārata and non-dual philosophy.

Téa holds a BA in Film and Creative Writing and an MA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Lancaster University. She is studying oral-practice traditions with Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan at Śabda Institute and is part of the Operations Team of ŚI. Her studies at Śabda Institute enrich her writings with the insights, delight and fervour unearthed only through practice.

🥰🙏❤️

Yajñasenī by Téa Nicolae

she who was born of fire

she whose beauty enticed even the sun

i garland thee

she whose blood spilled on royal floors of marble

she whose woe scorched the Kurus

i weep with thee

she who was touched yet remained stainless

she whose dishevelled hair holds the griefs of woman

i pray with thee

Draupadī,

she who cried the tears of the women who walked this earth

i am thee.

*poem published in Śabda Magazine, vol. II.

collage i made of pooja sharma as the beloved empress. her performance is etched to my heart!

pūrṇam | wholeness

yesterday, we concluded three weeks of intense study at Śabda Institute. my beloved teacher, Amma (Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan), and her beloved teacher, Sumitji (Dr. Sumit Kesarkar), helped decode the esoteric meaning veiled within the magnificent Īśopaniṣad, and, with great expertise, made its heavy and charged verses applicable for us – as both householders and as practitioners. i was most touched by the chant’s invocation & by its teaching of wholeness, which inspired me to write a poem that i was greatly honoured to read at the beginning of our fifth class. 🧡


oṃ | pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamidaṃ pūrṇātpūrṇamudacyate |

pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāvaśiṣyate ||


Oṃ is the entirety from which everything we see as parts has emerged. The whole remains whole even when a part is taken from it. The whole was born out of the whole. What appears as a part is the whole, and the leftover is whole. The whole cannot be split even when it appears so.
(translation by Sumitji).


☀️ my poem (written as a ghazal):


pūrṇam | wholeness


you were always whole
the grief on your tongue was whole


when longing cut like a knife
the woe stuck to your eyelids was whole


when anger brimmed in your belly
the burn of your cruelty was whole


when the sun washed your cheeks
the glee warming your fingertips was whole


when your heart cracked open
the light trickling through was whole


my parents named me ‘Gift of God’
what gifts are there when all’s already whole?


☀️ praṇām to our two illustrious teachers & to the vidyā they graciously transmitted to us in these three weeks. 🧡 the wonders of Śabda Institute 😊

reading my poem