Praise the sun, powerful yet unwavering
in its journey across the sky, light pulsing
through clouds, mists; life sustaining.
|Praise the earth as it moves on its axis;
inner and outer cores holding on to each other,
partners on the dance floor, steady as they go
spinning for over four and half billion years.
Praise the stars in the constellation
for knowing their place, yet blessing all migrations;
Praise the moon always true, waxing waning,
constant in its daily transformation.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
the world would immediately go out.
Praise day and night, mere limits of our perception,
death, a release from our earth-bound vision;
after death there is resurrection, union –
so play your part like an actor to perfection
Praise plants sun-facing, light-changing,
breathing in carbon, green deities in meditation,
giving us oxygen; expecting nothing in return.
Praise water in all its forms, giving taking –
glaciers, seas, rivers, lakes, rain, flood, tsunami,
steam, sweat, blood streaming through continents of bodies.
Praise the sky, air, ether; let the universe arouse our minds
to worlds beyond our thoughts, words, deeds.
Praise every species in our planet
masterpieces each of evolution –
rich, rare, wild, keepers of secrets infinite.
Praise the eye of the guest – clear, observant.
Praise the giver of life – almighty, benevolent.
Life bears no resemblance to what it might have been,
you simply play a part, an actor on screen;
You discover your ideal life exists in a parallel universe,
lived by some stranger with whom you no longer converse –
What sacrifices are you willing to make to live in your dream?
You offer blood, sweat, tears, promises – yet they seem
Not quite enough to swap one illusion with another.
If lucky you forget your dream, learn to live in your
Life that bears no resemblance to what it might have been,
you simply play a part, an actor on screen.
All night she kept watch like the sky dreaming of dawn,
talking to her friends long dead and gone
As if they sat beside her, listening to her stories,
her flushed face framed by wildly tussled hair.
The night’s wisdom descended upon her shoulder
like a hallo in a silent blessing of air.
The stars like angels appeared one by one
to share their secrets with this strange woman.
She mastered the language of the Milky Way,
sat in silence all through the day.
Those she loved turned into stars when they died
she thought; on starless nights she was lonely and cried.
As the seasons progressed, the nights got longer, she learnt more about the universe’s wager.
She knew things that mortal men merely dream about.
As the world got simpler, the more difficult
it became for her to explain what she thought…
As her dreaming got deeper, she felt weaker
as life’s mysteries were slowly revealed to her.
One evening with Venus already on the horizon
her dreams took a beautiful new turn;
She witnessed a new star being born
in an explosion of blinding light from heaven
as she disappeared in diminishing circles of fire.
Lives alone, talks to herself,
some times to me, some times to a stranger –
Whom she refers to as God in her conversation;
difficult to say if there is any connection
between my mistress and this God of her creation.
Sitting with her palms folded in front of her
chanting in the ancient language of nature
she transports herself into a state of rapture –
Should I be concerned about her sanity?
She is quite a treasure, really;
fairly sane, not inclined to morbidity.
Should I be jealous of this God of hers?
How can I be when I have no idea what It is?
Never have I seen her receiving as much as a letter,
phone call or email from this character;
nor laid eyes on God arriving with chocolates or flowers.
In times of distress she prefaces her sentences with God!
I know not why God causes her so much pain?
She can be irrationally happy too with God
stroking my back gently as I nestle alongside her,
reassuring me with her Buddha smile
as we watch TV together
like an old couple who understand each other.
But when she is in one her sour milk moods
I meow to her of the uselessness of grief;
she ignores me and my counsel, lost in her world.
Keywords: orpheus’ body, mount Olympus, island of Lesbos, Eurydice, fear of oblivion, memory os Sati
Inconsolable at her loss – parts of Orpheus’ body buried in Mount Olympus, his head in the island of Lesbos – Eurydice pleaded for her release from Hades so she could give Orpheus a decent burial. Not knowing how to prepare for such a venture, Eurydice sought the counsel of Savitri. ‘It was simple for me,’ said the pure one. ‘I could not take my eyes off Satyavan. I followed him everywhere, until Yama gave in to my requests. Talk to Isis, you have so much in common.’ Savitri then led Eurydice to Krishna, who emanated divine melody, perched on a tree with branches draped in colourful saris billowing skywards, tugging like trapped kites. Are all the lovers of the world musicians of sorts? Eurydice mused as she smiled at the half-naked maidens of Mathura frolicking in the pond camouflaged beneath the old gnarled canopy of the ancient tree, unashamedly rejoicing. Krishna’s breath was music; he exhaled Om oblivious of the women clamouring after him, his face serene, smiling. Pity Orpheus did not learn a few of these tricks, thought Eurydice, drawn to this dark-blue boy who charmed all the gopis and kept Radha happy. When Krishna finally let the silence of the universe in, Eurydice’s question -Krishna, how can I bring Orpheus back to life? –danced in the wind. He spoke of human Limitation, illusion, the soul’s eternal quality. Just when Eurydice thought she was getting the drift of his meaning, he disappeared from her sight like a vision.
Eurydice carried on with her journey, visited the palace of Isis where the Queen sat absorbed listening to songs of the Nile: Come water of life that flows from heaven. The sky burns, earth trembles at the coming of God. The mountains to the east, the mountains to the west make way preparing for the arrival of the One who takes possession of Egypt. On seeing Eurydice, Isis rose from her meditation, welcomed her guest, a tragic figure of grief, travel-fatigued. In Isis’ private chamber they poured their hearts out. ‘I am so sorry to hear of your misfortune,’ consoled Isis. ‘My lot has been .hard too. While Osiris, my dearest husband and God-king, was away in the East, Mesopotamia to be precise, doing his kingly duties, his brother was planning royal treachery. Seth lured him into a trap and slew Osiris, usurped his throne, scattered his limbs across Egypt.’ At this point both women started weeping uncontrollably, holding hands, embracing. ‘It was heart-breaking searching for his remains. With faithful Anubis’ help we recomposed Osiris’ body. Then a miracle occurred the day my tears fell on him — like the tears of heaven that keeps this land alive.’ The rest as they say is history; Osiris ascended to heaven but not before giving Isis the gift of their son Horus who took up the task started by his father after years of struggle with his uncle, the usurper.
Sitting at the feet of the Oracle in Lesbos, Eurydice asked: Why was I born so unlucky? The villagers had dug wide and deep at the feet of the sacred mountain for fragments of Orpheus’ body. They were disappointed of having exploded yet another myth. Eurydice despaired of ever returning to the way things were or might have been. None heard the Oracle’s reply except Eurydice, whose return to Hades was imminent. During her journey, Eurydice shared bread and wine with a stranger who reminded her of Orpheus, sometimes of Krishna. She followed him without fear of oblivion into a field of light, assured of reunion….
Note: When Orpheus returned to Thrace without Eurydice, he was So inconsolable he would have nothing to do with other women. The Thracian women, so the story goes, outraged by this behaviour, tore Orpheus to pieces in a bacchanalian revel. The fragments of his body were collected by the Muses and buried at the feet of Mount Olympus. .Orpheus” head, which had been tossed into the river Hebrus, was carried into the sea and floated ashore on to the island of Lesbos becoming the famous Oracle.
Savitri chose her husband Satyavan; so firm was her devotion to him that when he died, she asked Yama, the Lord of death, for the gift of his life. Yama offered Savitri any boon except the life of her husband. She asked for the restoration of her father-in-law’s eyesight and his throne, sons for herself and a life in all its fullness. Yama granted her all her wishes without thinking twice. Then Savitri reminded Yama that she needed her husband to fulfil her wishes. He was so impressed with her intelligence and love for her husband, so the story goes, that he relented and released Satyavan to return with Savitri. Many Indian wives observe a day in memory of Sati Savitri, the pure one, who won the life of her husband back from the hands of Yama.