Saturday, 26 January 2013

ASHVAGHOSHA’S DESCRIPTION OF GAUTAMA’S ENCOUNTER WITH A CORPSE



PRINCE TO THE CHARIOTEER:”WHO IS THIS BORNE BY FOUR MEN, FOLLOWED BY MOURNFUL COMPANIONS, WHO IS BEWAILED, ADOURNED BUT NO LONGER BREATHING?”
CHARIOTEER: THIS IS SOME POOR MAN WHO, BEREFT OF HIS INTELLECT, SENSES, VITAL AIRS AND QUALITIES, LYING ASLEEP AND UNCONSCIOUS, LIKE MERE WOOD OR STRAW, IS ABONDONED ALIKE BY FRIENDS AND ENEMIES AFTER THEY HAVE CAREFULLY SWATHED AND GUARDED HIM.
HAVING HEARD THESE WORDS OF THE CHARIOTEER HE WAS SOMEWHAT STARTLED AND SAID TO HIM, “IS THIS AN ACCIDENT PECULIAR TO HIM ALONE, OR IS SUCH THE END OF ALL LIVING CREATURES?”
THEN THE CHARIOTEER REPLIED TO HIM, “THIS IS THE FINAL END OF ALL LIVING CREATURES; BE IT A MEAN MAN, A MAN OF MIDDLE STATE, OR A NOBLE, DESTRUCTION IS FIXED TO ALL IN THIS WORLD.”
THEN THE KING’S SON, SEDATE THOUGH HE WAS, AS SOON AS HE HEARD OF DEATH, IMMEDIATELY SANK DOWN OVERWHELMED, AND PRESSING THE END OF THE CHARIOT POLE WITH HIS SHOULDER SPOKE WITH A LOUD VOICE:
“IS THIS END APPOINTED TO ALL CREATURES, AND YET THE WORLD THROWS OFF ALL FEAR AND IS INFATUATED! HARD INDEED, I THINK MUST THE HEARTS OF MEN BE, WHO CAN BE SELF-COMPOSED IN SUCH A ROAD.”
“THEREFORE, O CHARIOTEER, TURN BACK OUR CHARIOT, THIS IS NO TIME OR PLACE FOR A PLEASURE-EXCURSION; HOW CAN A RATIONAL BEING, WHO KNOWS WHAT DESTRUCTION IS, STAY HEEDLESS HERE, IN THE HOUR OF CALAMITY?”
FROM GAUTAMA BUDDHA, IQBAL SINGH



LIGHT OF ASIA
 EDWIN ARNOLD


But lo! Siddârtha turned
Eyes gleaming with divine tears to the sky,
Eyes lit with heavenly pity to the earth;
From sky to earth he looked, from earth to sky,
As if his spirit sought in lonely flight
Some far-off vision, linking this and that,
Lost -- past -- but searchable, but seen, but known.
Then cried he, while his lifted countenance
Glowed with the burning passion of a love
Unspeakable, the ardor of a hope
Boundless, insatiate: "Oh! suffering world,
Oh! known and unknown of my common flesh,
Caught in this common net of death and woe,
And life which binds to both! I see, I feel
The vastness of the agony of earth,
The vainness of its joys, the mockery
Of all its best, the anguish of its worst;
Since pleasures end in pain, and youth in age,
And love in loss, and life in hateful death,
And death in unknown lives, which will but yoke
Men to their wheel again to whirl the round
Of false delights and woes that are not false.
Me too this lure hath cheated, so it seemed
Lovely to live, and life a sunlit stream
For ever flowing in a changeless peace;
Whereas the foolish ripple of the flood
Dances so lightly down by bloom and lawn
Only to pour its crystal quicklier
Into the foul salt sea. The veil is rent
Which blinded me! I am as all these men
Who cry upon their gods and are not heard
Or are not heeded -- yet there must be aid!
For them and me and all there must be help!
Perchance the gods have need of help themselves
Being so feeble that when sad lips cry
They cannot save! I would not let one cry
Whom I could save! How can it be that Brahm
Would make a world and keep it miserable,
Since, if all-powerful, he leaves it so,
He is not good, and if not powerful,
He is not God? -- Channa! lead home again!
It is enough! mine eyes have seen enough!"

Sunday, 6 January 2013

POEMS OF FRANCIS THOMPSON

Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play
 Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some are unsung, and that may be tomorrow.

Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchased with sorrow.

Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know Today,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know Tomorrow.
 
 
The Kingdom of God
 
O WORLD invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?

Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.

The angels keep their ancient places;—
Turn but a stone, and start a wing!
‘Tis ye, ‘tis your estrang├Ęd faces,
That miss the many-splendoured thing.