A Glimpse Into The World of Haiku

Updated on January 22, 2020
manatita44 profile image

Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.

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Slokas


The ancient Seers and Rishis, wrote in the language of Slokas, (Sanskrit song) an epic verse par excellence, usually of sixteen syllables or two lines of eight syllables per half-line. It is quite frequent in the Gita.

Slokas by nature, require much reflection and indeed in just a few words, the God-man or direct descendant of God, can say so much! It is a common practice in spiritual groups to read and re-read the Slokas, as they are pregnant with meaning and can be seen with a new light from each read, particularly if the book is opened at random.

This is a practice among Sufi’s but some other spiritual groups are also familiar with this form of acquiring knowledge, or seeking guidance when in despair. Slokas are similar to aphorisms, but more like the Psalms of David or the Beatitudes of Christ in sublimity and style.

Now just as it is said that soccer came from an ancient civilization and was systematized by the Europeans, so too, Slokas has been modernized either consciously or unconsciously by different traditions, especially those seeking beauty or wisdom in one form or another.

One such form is the Haiku, not new, the early Zen masters made effective use of it. Nevertheless, just as music and tradition take from different ancient cultures, so too a gradual evolution of Haiku came with the spirit of self-transcendence... progress.

It is worth noting, that a good Sloka would have the effect of illumining, enlightening, awakening … it is filled with beauty, light and is designed to inspire or awaken the Heart. Haiku’s can be very similar, conveying vivid images in a condensed form of poetry.

Haiku

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What is a Haiku?


The term Haiku, was initially derived from the word haikai, a humorous or light verse. The hokku (often interchangeably called haikai) became known as the Haiku late in the 19th century, when it was entirely removed from its original function of opening a sequence of verse. (Encyclopedia Britanica)

Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry of three lines, with each line being 5, 7 and 5, syllables respectively, adding to a total of seventeen. Its subject can be many themes, but in general, it mentions the seasons, a seasonal word, or something in nature: wind, sky, animal, moon, rose, colour, etc. The lines rarely rhyme:

Spring morning marvel

lovely nameless little hill

on a sea of mist - Basho

“A Haiku … is a way of looking at the physical world and seeing something deeper, like the very nature of existence. It should leave the reader with a strong feeling or impression.” - examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-haiku-poems.html

Haiku may be punctuated, depending on the needs of the poem. It expresses simplicity and wisdom, in a very succinct way. Ellipsis (three dots) are a suitable form of punctuation for Haikus, but commas and dash are used where needed.

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Haiku Masters


The Four great Haiku Masters, all came from Japan: Matsuo Basho, Kobayashi Issa, Masaoka Shiki, and Yosa Buson. Although their work is still the model for traditional Japanese poetry, the Haiku has evolved yet again, especially in the West and some free-style versions have been included.

Basho (1644-1694), is considered the greatest Haiku poet. Here is an example of his work:

An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

Kobayashi (1763 – 1828) is also influential:

Everything I touch
with tenderness, alas,
pricks like a bramble.

Masaoka Shiki, (1867 – 1902)

The summer river:
although there is a bridge, my horse
goes through the water.

Some western poets and Japanese too, are not necessarily strict with the structure, but they also bring out the beauty and simplicity of the Haiku. Here are a couple of examples:

From across the lake,

Past the black winter trees,

Faint sounds of a flute. – Richard Wright.

A little boy sings

On a terrace, eyes aglow.

Ridge spills upwards. – Robert yehling

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Slokas are by nature spiritual, appealing to the spiritual Heart;

"As a man casts of his worn-out garments and puts on new ones,

So too, the soul casts of its worn out garments and puts on new ones, for manifestation."

Haiku appeals predominantly to the senses, but also addresses the quality of the Heart. I have taken the liberty to name all my Haiku, but they are not usually so.

I have also stayed with the traditional form of 5,7,5, totalling 17 syllables. A more free-style form, very similar to the Haiku, is called a Senryu, which I have not done here. They deal more with human nature and can be satirical and funny.

Renewal

The old noise subsides

A lustered dawn descending

Hope’s promise blossoms


A New Year

The night is fading

A new consciousness descends

Roses bloom anew


Silence Enters

Now seeing, feeling

The bird of Silence enters

His Love’s peerless Bliss


Spring’s Exquisite Song

Brush on easel strokes

Painting Spring’s exquisite song --

Love’s beautiful face.


Stunned by Its Beauty

Stunned by Its beauty

The rose blushed in nakedness

Love’s unspoken Light


That wondrous feeling

The light zephyrs sing

willows whisper to the moon

Twilight stars descending


Love’s Supernal Wine

Shadowed mirror fades

Moons descend and kiss my soul

Love’s supernal wine


Sweet Tender Moments

Sweet tender moments

My delicate Heart unfurls

A beautiful rose


The Jewel of Forgiveness

Forgive … love … more Love

The dazzling moon emerges

A new dawn awakes


Winter’s Charm

"Beautiful weather

White snow settles upon cars

The hanging trees waltz (A spontaneous piece 22/1/20, taken from an inspiring snow photo by John Hansen)


All the named Haiku are done by Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 8th January, 2020

References: teacherscholarastic.com; examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-haiku-poems.html; Meriam-webster.com; Encyclopedia Britannica; Wikipedia.org; Free dictionary.com

Slokas and Haiku

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Questions & Answers

    © 2020 manatita44

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    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      5 weeks ago from london

      Thanks Peggy. I included Slokas because we are actually living in evolution -- an evolving world. What this means is that very little is new. Traditions, culture, music … all things take or borrow from one another.

      So whether it is the spiritual two-liners from Sri Krishna 7,000 years ago, the Psalms of David or Beatitudes of Christ, they were all useful at different times, to elevate our Spirit.

      Haiku borrows from the early Zen Masters, but again has changed. There is always a vast difference between a spiritual man who may, or may not be scholarly and a scholarly man who is not spiritual. That's why perception differs and evolve with time.

      I have been writing Haiku for sometime, but I chose to do this piece, purely for the spiritual slant I emphasize in the explanation. Thank you so much!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

      Hubpage writers like you have introduced me to Haiku poetry, but the word Slokas are new to me. Thanks for writing about their meaning. I am coming to appreciate the few words with much meaning in this type of poetry.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thanks Vasantha.

      Lovely comment. Are you well? Not heard for a while.

    • vasantha  T k profile image

      vasantha T k 

      2 months ago from Bangalore

      manatita, beautiful pieces of Haiku. I have not tried, I hope to write a few. Thanks for sharing!!.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      It literally means song or songs of God-souls, rather like Bhajans. The God-soul would chant a very sacred verse and the disciple would imbibe its wisdom.

      Perhaps gregorian chants came from this. Even our rosary prayer came from the East.

      The beatitudes of Christ snd David's psalms, are like Slokas- words chanted or sung, pregnant with spiritual meaning, for the benefit and inspiration of the aspiring soul. That's it in a nutshell. Thanks Mary.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have not heard of slokas before so my interest is piqued. will have to do some reading on this. Thank you for this introduction.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Hello there Li-Jen.

      The boss seems to be working you quite hard! No chance for a nice Haiku from you? Great to see you. Peace.

    • Li-Jen Hew profile image

      Li-Jen Hew 

      2 months ago

      Hello Manatita. Haiku adopts a rigid form but you successfully made it soften with your Sweet tender words. Each poem is short which makes it likely to Stun us with their Beauty because of its sweet simplicity. From time to time, it's refreshing to hear about different types of poetry to appreciate the origin. Thanks!

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Indeed!

      I will visit you later or tomorrow. Much Love.

    • Cattaleya profile image

      Tiyasha Maitra 

      2 months ago from Gurgaon

      Thanks so much. I will try and write more.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thank you, Devika.

      Appreciated.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      manatita44 all new to me and sounds great and you put all together in a perfect form of a HAIKU.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thanks a lot, Tiyasha.

      I have already seen that you have much potential yourself. In fact, your Haiku is better than some of what I have heard today and seen in books. Carry on!

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thanks Bill.

      Hope you are not too cold. Stay warm and best wishes. Thanks.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      And my education increases, as does my admiration for the writer. Beautiful work, my brother.

      Blessings on this winter day

    • Cattaleya profile image

      Tiyasha Maitra 

      2 months ago from Gurgaon

      Thanks for this highly informative article Manatita. And I enjoyed reading your creations as well, especially Spring's exquisite song.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thank you Linda C

      A loving sentiment and one which I appreciate.

      Yes, Verlie.

      I agree. Still they come to me easily. It is a spiritual gift ffom the holy Mother. Thank you.

      Venkatachari ji

      Always a joy. I,m sure you are better at Slokas than me. I'm a bit rusty. These days I do more service than read.

      Thank you for the blessings. It was my son's birthday on the 6th. May God bless your family also.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A wonderful explanation of Haiku and Sloka. You are a master of it all, my Bro. I enjoyed each of them presented by you here as well as your own creations. Excellent work. My blessings to you and your family.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 

      2 months ago from Canada

      Manatita these are classic examples of Haiku which I am familiar with, and beautiful examples of Slokas (which is new to me). I love the timeless quality of the Haiku as it focuses on a moment in nature unfolding. Yours are lovely. I've written a few, it's a lot harder to do than it looks.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love this article. The explanations, examples, and your own creations were interesting and enjoyable to read. I am familiar with haiku, but not with slokas. Thanks for sharing the information, Manatita.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thank you, Dee.

      Are you sure you are not flattering me? Lol.

      Actually, we are brother and sister, so feel free to write and ask what seems difficult. I sat at the feet of a man of God for many years and whatever I can share, if you need, I will try to help. Much Love.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 months ago from The Caribbean

      Good work, Manatita. That's customary for you, anyway. Your explanations are very clear as are your illustrations. Thank you very much for a very helpful article.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Hi Lorna.

      Yes, like everything else, just takes a bit of getting used too. You know that the Christ used a lot of stories and parables. He was also blessed with the gift of oratory and The Sermon on The Mount is a major work of the Gospels.

      In the same way Slokas are simply a name for deep spiritual truths, but in a condensed or succinct form for those longing or seeking a deeper meaning to life.

      Disciples used to chant them for their Masters like prayers, a practice we also did on Sri Chinmoy's Path. Spiritual people are not so different after all.

      I have not given examples of them but some are included in my Bhagavad Gita series

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      2 months ago

      An enjoyable and interesting read Manatita with some beautiful examples. Haiku I am familiar with although it is a style I do not practice. Slokas I have never heard of and I can see why they would appeal to a spiritual heart. An excellent article.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Thanks Linda.

      I know what you mean. Someone wished me a 'colourful' New Year. It's colourful indeed!! (Laughs)

      Haiku's are softer, sweeter, more sentimental. The deep spirituality of the Beatitudes or Psalms are missing. The old Japanese zen masters had it, but yes, evolution takes us in different directions. Still, many of them are quite charming. Thank You.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, I very much appreciate this form of expression. Truly, less is more. I am in awe of those who have the gift to grab the perfect syllables, arrange them in the perfect combination, and tell a story of a thousand words.

      Like you, I do not worry about "end times." I believe that 100 years ago my grandparents and yours were also saying "things can't get much worse." We do not know the time of the hour and that is best.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      Fine. What can I say? I feel that you are God's, not mines. Best wishes.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      2 months ago from Washington DC

      Yes Manatita, in a sense I am the watchman revealing "What Time In Civilization It Is" for those who are called to be the "Bride Of The Spirit" and into the eternal "alternate body." What I say 90% of man are not interested in and only half of those who recalled to the marry spirit will qualify to enter it. One has to be called to "the inner dimensions of the soul"to qualify, they work hand in glove.

    • manatita44 profile imageAUTHOR

      manatita44 

      2 months ago from london

      You point is valid. There are people I like here but I struggle to read what they do, so we are all different. Go for what feels good to you.

      You keep talking about the last days … I grew up with this sort of thing in Christianity. In Yoga we worry about the Light inside, infinitely more than we look at the outer world. For us, the Heart, the psychic Heart … the inner dimensions of the soul is everything!

      Thank you so much!!

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      2 months ago from Washington DC

      Interesting type of poetry, Manatita, but it doesn't appeal to me. I have seen another similar posting on that subject somewhere here on Hubpages, I suppose people are interested in rev diving it in these final days of civilization.

      Thank you for sharing it.

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