The Ideal of Forgiveness1
Slowly the queen of astral virgins moves
Across the giant embrace of teeming clouds.
Below, the runnel meanders murmuring high.
The panorama of the moonlit gloom
Captures the hearts of the lovers of beauty's core.
Our earth's splendour and delight now grow sublime.
The trance that guides Vasishtha's fire-pure hut
Is far beyond all mortal's straining view,
No equal his trees and buds and flowers have.
The flood of their torrent magnificence compels
Eden to bow to them with all its lustre.
A dart of sombre pangs tortures its heart.
It cries aloud, "O Lord! behold my balk.
My pride is broken, I am now a piteous thing."
Quintessence of deep peace in his sage eyes,
With a dawning smile Vasishtha in silence commands,
"Arundhati! some salt from the mighty sage
Vishwamitra I desire, therefore, speed forth."
"Thy words break all my body, I see my doom.
Sorrows of the whole world within me rage.
Alas! no soul to soothe my woeful heart.
It was Vishwamitra, the cruel king,
Who slaughtered my hundred sons of endless knowing.
My children's spirit-stirring hymnal song
I hear no longer; alack! my heart no more
Feels now their calm and joy of the Spirit's gaze.
Thou art, my Lord, the root of my bosom's pangs.
For thee have passed beyond the eternal bars
Those hero-fires sprung out of my flesh.
Why stayed thy voice back from the saving words
'Vishwamitra, truly the greatest sage'?"
Through the deep of night Vasishtha unveiled the truth.
"My love for him is boundless, Arundhati,
Infinite sparks of bounty within me burn.
The knowledge supreme he has still to con: O then
How can I falsely title him Brahman-rapt?
To be the seer divine his bosom craves.
Unique his high aspiration's fiery wings."
Flushed quivering with tempest-ire had come
Vishwamitra, unbeheld, to the sage's cote.
"The time is ripe, I must slay him, if he still
Pronounce me not the God-omniscient sage."
Suddenly a vision revealing flashed through his mind
As he heard the matchless seer's bounteous words.
Down he fell and kissed the Master's hallowed feet.
"Arise, O king of all the seers, arise."
"Alas! my sire, shame not this mortal self.
The titan eyes of my naked cruelties
Deserve not, I know well, thy pardon divine."
From vastness-stilled summit Vasishtha spoke,
"What urgent need impels thy advent rare?"
The doleful voice of Vishwamitra broke,
"My heart now flames to own Brahman, the One.
My bosom's Lord, fulfil my white desire."
"Speed thou to Ananta — the eternal Snake,
The endless upbearer of this created sphere.
Doubt not my love shall ever harbour thy soul."
"O Lord Ananta! thy grace sublime I invoke.
Reveal the sunlit path to know the One."
"Vishwamitra, that stupendous power I have.
But ere I fulfil thy choice, thy strength divine
I needs must weigh. Become thou now all ears.
Seest thou the earth's globe? — that whole vast is mine!
If thy strength is sure to hold its mighty weight
To thee I shall give the knowledge of the Sole."
The proud sage-king replied, "Upon my head
Leave all: I shall bear the earth's gigantic load."
Lo! he was sunk in disaster's greatest gulf.
Alas! too fast the globe moved round his sense,
The ceaseless terror tortured his living veins.
No volcano-will could calm the universe,
A tenebrous void before his mere man's form.
But Ananta smiled and spoke: "Thou hast known at last
The measure of thy might. Hear me, O sage!
Use for thy strength the fruits of the company
Of sacred souls if any such thou knewest.
Call to thy aid at once the memory
Of their high mood. Away from thee shall pass
Danger." In a twinkling Vasishtha's giant name
Broke on his mind. Ananta's high command
He carried out. All silent was the earth.
Tranquillity was in flood within its heart.
"O Lord Ananta! now fulfil my quest."
"O reckless fool! Vasishtha's bounty implore.
None on this earth but he can meet thy hunger.
The enormous power of his diamond presence
Saved thee from perilous juncture and strengthened thy heart
To bear the colossal earth, O unseeing soul!
Go pray his haven, the time is fleeting fast."
He came again to high Vasishtha's hut.
How base his doom no soul on earth can dream.
"O Master, I beg of thee, by thy feet august,
Drive me not from thy door this time, I pray."
"Thy eagle-high aspiration clasps the Crown.
Vishwamitra, to thee I give victory.
Envy and pride could veil thy mind, and so
The knowledge supreme I gave thee not before.
Thy humble mind and brave heart win it now."
What is chimera's mist or miracle today
Was the immaculate Truth divine of yore.
Immeasurable by our human thought
Was regal Vasishtha's presence and bright power.
But from Above yet greater souls unmatched
Over our Ind imperishably shall lean.
The might of seers antique shall fade away
Before the souls to come with Light new-born;
And she shall sit on splendour's throne in the world.
SAI 53. Note: After a story in Bengali prose entitled /"Kshamar Adarsha"/ which was published by Sri Aurobindo in the Dharma. Chinmoy originally rendered this into 200 lines of Bengali verse and then into its present form of 107 lines of English iambic pentameter verse. (1956)↩