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At the Feet of The Mother

XI. 2. POETRY — Living Matter

Living Matter


I know not
Where I had wandered about and then reached afar this dreamland:
I found myself standing on the brink of a fluent river.
Above, the vast empty pale azure
Firm and high up. Here upon our globe
Twin comrades Earth and Heaven ever
Play their love-game intimate together.
Green earth only looks upward
Towards her lover’s face, shivers in intense delight
In the thousand tremblings of the leaves, among the cool grasses.
The blue sky holds in embrace
The whole body of his Beloved enveloping it with delight,
Lifts up his high head, spreads aloft his laughter of love.
This is the play here. In our realm
There is no cruel separation. But there
Earth is dying as though in grief, in fear,
Left alone in an empty universe. Swallowed in that Infinite,
Frightened by the heights, surrounded by nightmare,
Lies the little human life. Limitless expanse of land
Silent vast empty pale grey
Extends the unbroken wideness of the lifelessness
Of the great Void. No tree is there,
No grass, no stone, nor any human habitation
Could one see. The eyes move ever forward, move ever,
No end is there; yet though tired
I am unable to return! A cruel landscape in its cruel pull
Carries away a prisoner as though to an enemy-land
Afar, afar into a bourneless world
In the stilled infinity.

I forced my eyes to return
Towards the other shore. It is hard stone
A fierce strength has moulded together, a long labour,
As though the articraft of a titan. During the wild rains
On the banks abroad spreading its body all over the skies
In rude delight the titan has laboured,
Happy at Nature’s cruel game.
Fancy dawned in him to make it still more cruel.
Line after line it has carved smilingly on the stone.
Like a huge skeleton lies the wet shore of the river,
The mere bones as it were, bereft of flesh, of dead earth:
It lies immemorially with no solace of last rites done for it,
At that solitary end of things, on that river-verge.
No bend is in view, no grass nor flower. Erect, proud,
Firm, solid, despising all softness
Goes down into the water the lifeless heartless stone.
Beyond afar, the desert land has moved lazily
To unite with the stone. No softness,
No love is there in the union, it is matter’s love,
Stone’s kiss.

I looked towards the stream.
It flows in silent speed — the stream of dreamland;
Asleep, mighty, calm, as though the violent life-force
Is imprisoned in Nature’s arms on the crest of the Himalayas.
Away lies the exit, the way out. Where the meadow
Meets the stone, a narrow space, as though
The throat of hungry death, there
In the land’s perilous life-line, Death himself
Lay asleep like a python with his stone-figure
Possessing the universe. With slow wide-moving speed
Proud of its long strides advances the dream-river.
In its winding, the miraculous Vedic steed Dadhikra,
God incarnate as life-force, bridled in his breast and face,
Lifting his proud neck rushes on taking man
On heaven’s path to the world of Truth. But on that way
Is this the cataract of Life’s river flowing down?
Is this the true consummation?
It hurtles down like a sinner in an unmeasurable speed
Towards a crueller country. The wailing
Of the river adown comes into my ears as though from a thousand sufferers!
I looked about, my mind full of sadness,
And thought, “Oh, the dead land! the still world!
In the noise what a silence, in the speed what an immobility!
Will ever man come to live in this inert country,
Pour his own life-force and make it living!
Is there no Purusha for this Prakriti?”
Rejected, as if through fear, thought returns
Into her own dwelling. Motionless is the earth-life as ever.

All on a sudden I woke up and looked within myself.
With a startle I saw the inert realm alive,
Alive the waters, alive the cruel
Endless wasteland, even the sky up above
Conscious, alive the stretched neck of death, —
The stone-figure has assumed the shape of a sleeping python.
And the sound of the waterfalls carries afar
The mourning of a living soul. I understood why it is there
Erect and proud the stone with no softness
No pity, no happiness in it. I understood the hope
The river nourishes in its bosom, flowing towards its vast end
Beyond sight, as if the mighty life-force is in trance
Filled with its own force of speed. And I knew here
None speaks of any other person, they know not each other
They want not each other. Each is engrossed in trifles,
Each is bound to himself, muses all alone,
Each is confined to his own act and own mood.
But when they stumble upon each other, they tremble within.
The body, stunned and bound, thinks, “Lo, this is another I
That falls upon my body, this touch is full of joy!”
That is the end of it. There does not bloom the secret yearning,
Neither in speech nor in movement nor in thought.

In my hopelessness
I see as though the whole world is a prison.
All on a sudden a sweet voice sounded within me:
“Look back, understand the hope of Prakriti,
Understand the dead prison-house is a mother’s heart,
The hidden significance understand that is in this game.”
I lifted my burning eyes, I saw afar
In the wasteland human figures. A boy and a girl
Embracing each other in mad delight in this expanse of matter,
In this inert dreamland two living beings are there free
With no fetters, rapt in trance in each other’s delight.
They disappeared from the sight. And that living matter
With no hope in it, it is bound in its own mood as always.
But my mind freed out of the matter’s touch,
I recognised the intent of the veiled conscious Being,
I captured in my spirit Nature’s hidden desire.
My eyes capturing the whole landscape, consoled I returned
To the earthly sphere.

(Archives, December 1979)


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