by Swami Krishnananda
Vajas'ravas, the pious, sacrificed
For freedom's sake in joy of Indra's realm;
In bounty gave belongings all he owned,
Cattle and land and home and what was dear
That he may gain what mortals never taste -
Eternal youth and beauty, toilless frame
Which's free from sleep and free from decay's rot,
Where actions breed not wearied body's fruit
As age and ennui or destruction's shades,
Where mind and senses always virgins stand
For endless action, endless indulgence
In joy's communions, winkless enraptures
Of freedom's height, abandon's giddy reach,
Where none belongs or clings to other's frame
In social bond or ethic's legal chains,
Where body's form is delight embodied,
And every limb is beauty's total gaze,
Where days are waves of timeless happiness,
One is other's, yet none is other's e'r.
Of honeyed sweetness sights and contacts made,
Immortal faces seedless juice exude,
Whose touch does madden senses losing sense
By loss of self as self merges in bliss
Of fivefold senses' molten union
With what they sought and find in naked fill -
All light and glory, song and dance of life.
But, how can man possess such great treasure,
Unless he gives, for what he hopes to gain,
His earthly greed for greed of heaven's joy.
With tongue in cheek if gifts are offered feigned,
The gods do know the heart that heart has none,
And far depart from farthest arms of man.
Vajasravas, who gave his soul's dislike,
Tinsels and rusted tools and worn-out wealth,
And coins that died and houses crumbling stood,
Waterless tracts and dried up stony land,
But not himself nor dearest kin his son,
Could scarce expect those carnivals of gods
Who earth as clay and men as flies do deem,
Where sisters, brothers, husbands, wives and friends
Mean all the same, and so all property,
Since light is no one's wealth, and none is wealth
To light which's born to none, and its own law.
The golden age which Krita sages call
Had not the Vedas but engulfing OM,
The Pranava, the Cosmic Vibration;
No social class, no fourfold caste restrained,
The social man was Cosmic Man in work,
None married belonging nor slave became,
The law of Hamsa pure and simple ruled,
Which's law of no law, Dharma's omniform.
To love, obey and own was freedom's form
As Kama, Dharma, Artha, Moksha's ways.
Householder none and none renunciate,
Since none possessed, for all possessed the all.
The downward age is Krita's travesty:
When Treta came, Dvapara and Kali -
The rod of king, commerce and selfishness -
As Kshatra, Vaisya, Sudra named by men.
In Hamsa's reign, lo, each is everyone's;
In Kshatra king is owner as his law,
The State does own and all belong to State;
In Vaisya-Dvapara mutual consent
And legal mandate sanctions ownership
Of land and gold and wife and husband's role;
But down with crash does Kali grab in strife,
In theft, dacoity, rumpus and kidnap
Of all for oneself, Sudra come to worst,
Reverse of Hamsa, upside down beheld,
As things do mind produce to crass vision,
Or silence mute's is wisdom's reticence.
Since Hamsa's truth the rest do crack and fall,
Nor State, nor king, nor mandate's agreement,
Not what one owns in seeming possession,
Can live in time which ruthless sweeps to dust
Sceptre and crown and beloved family,
Babe and grown-up, or good and bad alike,
Which weedlike look to Time's rapacious grasp
That hurls to ground what turns against the Truth.
In Nature's purpose as evolution
Of lower forms to higher completions
What life intends is shedding false fossils
Of outgrown aims and contrived arrangements
As social laws or moral's makeshift schemes
Or governments of passing climes and times,
Which for a while as weakness' props survive,
But all are flung as drugs when illness' cured.
Nachiketas, Vajasravas' begot,
As conscience spoke though clouded in the din
Of rites which pined for angels' joy above,
To know the way he goes as charity,
For what is loved remains as object owned
And what is owned is gifted in the rite.
While body's self should also go as gift,
Since self of body's most beloved owned,
And what is seen as 'me' is also 'mine',
The 'me' is object to be sacrificed,
How come the lad, the son, is still retained
And not with objects counted in the deed
Which's Sarvavedas, gifts demanding all.
'To whom I go,' 'to whom you give me, dear,'
'For whom am I the gift of sacrifice?'
So thrice he quoth on sulken father's eyes
Which wrathful stared at dauntless innocence.
'To Death thou goest, give I thee to Hades,
To Mrityu, Yama, sacrificed thou art':
These words the parent spat on piety's face
Which looked as lotus blossomed in the morn.
To Yama, Death, the simple sapling rose,
Three days and nights he waited sans diet,
Sans respect, sans recognition he stood
At gate of lord's abode, the lord was not
To sight of guest who eager-eyed beheld
The mansion Master's, soul in hunger saw
The dazzle god's who reigned as death's overlord.
Does guest go fasting, come uninvited?
As fire he comes which burns the negligent
Who scarce attention on the guest bestows,
For unknown guest is God's messenger come;
To treat him well is hallowed worship done.
The three days' fast in body, mind and soul
Confer the boons of wealth and knowledge vast
And freedom transcendent, eternal life,
As waking is from sleep's nightmarish dream.
"Ask for a boon for every night's rigour
Which thou hast passed in austere self-control;
For here I am to grant what thou seekest
In all abundance, ask then, here it is."
"Lord, thou art kind and blessing embodied,
O Dread which people flee in awesome fear!
Death, where dost soul thou pluckest and dost take
To darkness deep where sunless abyss gapes.
When dost thou come and why dost thou grab all,
Or where thou draggest hapless souls from earth;
This none does know and what can worse be there
Than dungeon-dark is even wisdom here.
Sceptres and crowns, caparisoned gold rides,
The thumb of rule and thud authority's,
Kingdoms and wealth of distant empires,
Beauties of youth and fragrance of roses,
Get rent asunder, powdered sent to dust,
And vale of tears replaces Joys of life,
Beggars and kings shall live on common ground,
Lo, pride of blood, beware thy day is near.
Unrest and pain have ever ruled this world,
The drama life's is but a shifting scene.
As evening flower fades the bloom of youth,
And strength does vanish as a scattered cloud,
The ugly death paints rough the gayful face,
All things are branded with the rod of rule,
What is now seen is not the next moment,
Nothing's certain except that all shall die.
Centres of pleasure mock at human wit,
The dance of death is all this wondrous life.
Thou hast to me these boons in love bequeathed,
Deign, then, to grant that when I reach the world,
Let it receive me as its friend and self,
Not casting me as one among many,
As thing, content and individual."
"Lo, granted, thou hast all the senses held
In perfect order lined with facts of things,
Not contacting but fusing sensation
With all its needs, its wants and objectives.
So thou shalt go with prowess friends do wield,
People and things shall love thee as their own,
Nay, as themselves, for senses bar friendship
And cleave in two where one thing rules supreme.
Powers thou hast over matter's ranging fields
Since sense-forces which rose from matter's heart
Have gone in thee to sources whence they came.
Ask more and then with conferred boon be blessed."