As Above, So Below

About 20 years ago, my 6 year-old daughter Shara brought home a large leaf. The outer skin had worn off revealing an intricate skeletal structure. It looked like a miniature replica of a tree. That image and theme inspired this poem. A few years later I wrote Pine Cone Trees, which brought about a variation on this theme. In both cases the last lines surprised me with their spiritual revelations.

As Above, So Below
Yatha pinde, tatha Brahmande*

As above
so below
allowing Love
to help things grow

Repeating the pattern
to copy each other
in the daughter
is the Mother

In each snowflake
a glistening star
this whole universe
is what we are

In each leaf
we see a tree
for every branch
a capillary

In each tree
not seen are seeds
and in each seed
is found a tree

So are we
found in Thee
as Thou oh Lord
in each of me

© Ken Chawkin
Fall, 1990, Fairfield, Iowa

*As is the atom, so is the universe.
As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.

From the Vedas and Upanishads.

*This Vedic expression, Yatha pinde, tatha Brahmande, is explained by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in this video: “As is the cosmic life, so is the individual life,” and “The individual is cosmic.”

I read this poem to conclude the February 26, 2020 broadcast of MIU radio KHOE’s Let Your Heart Sing, #62, “A New Variety Show.” Listen on YouTube (29:29–30:30). Also on OneDrive: drag the cursor to 29:16.

7 Responses to “As Above, So Below”

  1. Poems by Rumi and Octavio Paz open our minds to a more cosmic perspective | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] An even more cosmic understanding our relationship to the universe comes from the Vedic Literature — “Yatha pinde tatha brahmande, yatha brahmande tatha pinde” — “As is the individual, so is the universe, as is the universe, so is the individual” or “As is the atom, so is the Universe” or “As is the human body, so is the Cosmic Body” or “As is the Microcosm, so is the Macrocosm”, or succinctly as “As Above, So Below.” See my poem As Above So Below. […]


  2. Hafiz via Ladinsky describes the spiritual transformation of loving deeply within himself | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Related: Poems by Rumi and Octavio Paz open our minds to a more cosmic perspective. My poem, As Above, So Below, shares the same cosmic […]


  3. The Enlightened Heart, a poem by Ken Chawkin | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] that earlier era are: Ode To The Artist, and its companion piece Sometimes Poetry Happens. Also see As Above, So Below and a complementary poem, Pine Cone Trees, written several years later. A later nature poem, Being […]


  4. Ayushi Says:

    This shloka is magical.. When I was going through meaninglessness from months. And I read this shloka somewhere and seemed as if I’ve realized the meaning , the existence and it’s essence, I can’t describe how this shloka has discovered me . and I read your poem, it’s profound and the last lines are quoted so nicely. I loved this poem

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Poets Kooser, Rexroth, and Glück describe their experiences with telescopes looking at the stars | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] that blog post I conclude with my haiku, Forest Flowers, and mention my poem As Above So Below. Both describe relationships between the individual and the […]


  6. Yunus Emre says Wisdom comes from Knowing Oneself — a Singularity that contains the Whole | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] this creative process: Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Uni-verse, and that cosmic relationship: As Above, So Below. This Japanese poem beautifully expresses the idea of the first word: Singing Image of Fire, a poem […]


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