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The Gift


Our (dearly beloved) savants,
stalwarts of the splendid hour,
Ensconced in their mantled bower,
they know it all: don’t they?
Verily, that Earth is round ,
and the Universe , flat –
that we exist , but ‘god’ does not?:
Why, ‘tis enough to dire confound!
Even know what they do not know
(viz., most of the knowable universe):
The Theory’s good: only the Facts , perverse!
High Science, in absolving ignorance,
cannot fair descry , from whence
IT all came, or whither It goes-
for No One , truly, really, knows:
Like Siddhartha , who, all unrankled, Spake,
Sybilline, half asleep, and half awake,
of his own bounteous Unenlightenment:
“What don’t I know? Surely, too much to scale –
But let me Count the Ways, ‘tis a rueful tale.
Fourteen Queries (no less) have I no Answer to,
there are Riddles to which We have no Clue –“

Soft spake Gautama, as princes knelt ,
All wondering, at his petalled feet –
some heard him speak , or perhaps just felt,
the calming cadence ringing sweet:
“Be free from bondage, curb your dogma –
That is liberation – All else forget:
To speculate is suffering, fever , fret:
banish ignorance, error – They , the Threat”

But then , what did the noble Buddha know?
He was so far away , and long ago
Born in a distal , bashful, Clime
Before Vainglorious , Modern Time:
(of course, they slaved, and slaughtered, then,
Being no more than a Tribe Of Men;
But they did not alloy the Vedic Creed
With the Open Manifest of Supernal Greed).
We , who know it All: who , daily, strut,
stride, and scoff, in glaze of gaudy glut,
In bespoke fiefdoms of the manacled mind,
to seek only what we first wish to find:
in hauteur, hubris, and rancorous pride,
in feud with Nature, for Secrets Denied :
in grid of Empire, gloat of Power,
in Bed with State in the Gilded Tower-
Know that Knowledge , ever headlong, tumbles,
Whereas Wisdom ,unhurried, gently humbles:
hushing the heart that too fond returneth ,
to where vagrant fire still harshly burneth:
to lie quiet , prone, like the sleeping stone,
under the slowly surging Banyan tree,
bathed in hues of a quiescent glee ,
in ebbtide of a fugitive sun,
past latticed hills of Himalayas run:
where Wit and Wisdom once began:
the sublime Saga of Enlightened (Wo)Man,
Before Adam delved, and Eve did span –
And before those blighted mills banal,
Presaged our vile , Lapsarian, Fall.
[© R.Kanth 2014]

Professor Rajani Kanth, is Author of Coda, A Day in the Life, and Expiations

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