White Lotus in blossom…

Ulysses

Posted in Alfred Lord Tennyson, English, Language & Literature by ytelotus on September 27, 2012

About :

Written by Alfred Lord Tennyson in 1833, this poem is a monologue by the character Ulysses, the fictional Greek king of Ithaca.  He is the Odysseus (in Greek) of Homer’s Odyssey, famous for his Trojan Horse trick in the eventful ten-year-long Trojan war waged against the city of Troy.

The context of this poem is wound around his state of mind upon his return to Ithaca after his adventurous travels.  Ulysses, jaded by age, but ever-exploratory and indomitable by spirit, expresses his restlessness and yearning to set himself on yet another adventure, hoping “To follow knowledge like a sinking star, Beyond the utmost bound of human thought”, as quoted in his own words.

Poem :

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vexed the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honoured of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers;
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!
As though to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this grey spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle —
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and through soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me —
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads — you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

The precious gift

Posted in Fable Table by ytelotus on September 17, 2012

Once upon a time, when God had finished making the world, he wanted to leave behind a piece of His own divinity, a spark of His essence, a promise to man of what he could become, with effort. He looked for a place to hide this precious gift because, He explained, what man could find too easily would never be valued by him.
“Then you must hide this gift on the highest mountain peak on earth,” said one of his counselors.
God shook His head, “No, for man is an adventuresome creature and he will soon enough learn to climb the highest mountain peaks.”
“Hide it then, O Great One, in the depths of the earth.”
“I think not,” said God. “for man will one day discover that he can dig into the deepest parts of the earth.”
“In the middle of the ocean then, Master?”
God shook His head. “I’ve given man a brain, you see, and one day he’ll learn to build ships and cross the mightiest oceans.”
“Where then, Master?” cried His counselors.
God smiled, “I’ll hide it where every man and woman will be able to find it if they look sincerely and deeply enough. I’ll hide it in their heart.”

Tagged with:

Is your hut on fire?

Posted in Fable Table by ytelotus on September 17, 2012

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, and soon there was nothing left.

The worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger.

“God, how could you do this to me?” he cried.

Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of his rescuers.

“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.

It’s easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain, and suffering. Remember this the next time your “hut” seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

Tagged with:

Abide by God’s plan

Posted in Fable Table by ytelotus on September 17, 2012

Once there was a sweeper in a well known temple and he was very sincere and devoted.

Every time he saw thousands of devotees coming to take darshan of the Lord, he thought that the Lord is standing all the time and giving darshan and He must be feeling very tired.

So one day very innocently he asked the Lord whether he can take the place of the Lord for a day.  So that the Lord can have some relief and rest.  The Deity of Temple replied, “I do not mind taking a break.
I will transform you like Myself, but you must do one thing.  You must just stand here like Me, smile at everyone and just give benedictions.

Do not interfere with anything and do not say anything. Remember you are the deity and you just have faith that I have a master plan for  verything. ” The sweeper agreed to this.

The next day the sweeper took the position of the deity and a rich man came and prayed to the Lord. He offered a nice donation and prayed that his business should be prosperous.  While going, the rich man inadvertently left his wallet full of money right there.  Now the sweeper in the form of deity could not call him and so he decided to control himself and keep quiet.

Just then a poor man came and he put one coin in the Hundi and said that it was all he could afford and he prayed to the Lord that he should continue to be engaged in the Lord’s service.  He also said that his family was in dire need of some basic needs but he left it to the good hands of the Lord to give some solution.  When he opened his eyes, he saw the wallet left by the rich man. The poor man thanked the Lord for His kindness and took the wallet very innocently.  The sweeper in the form of the Deity could not say anything and he had to just keep smiling.

At that point a sailor walked in. He prayed for his safe journey as he was going on a long trip.  Just then the rich man came with the police and said that somebody has stolen his wallet and seeing the sailor there, he asked the police to arrest him thinking that he might have taken it.

Now the sweeper in the form of Deity wanted to say that the sailor is not the thief but he could not say so and he became greatly frustrated.  The sailor looked at the Lord and asked why he, an innocent person, is being punished.

The rich man looked at the Lord and thanked Him for finding the thief. The sweeper in the deity form could no more tolerate and he thought that even if the real Lord had been here, he would have definitely interfered and hence he started speaking and said that the sailor is not the thief but it was the poor man who took away the wallet. The rich man was very thankful as also the sailor.

In the night, the real Lord came and He asked the sweeper how the day was. The sweeper said, “I thought it would be easy, but now I know that Your days are not easy,  but I did one good thing.” Then he explained the whole episode to the Lord.

The Lord became very upset on hearing this whereas the sweeper thought the Lord would appreciate him for the good deed done.

The Lord asked, “Why did you not just stick to the plan? You had no faith in Me. Do you think that I do not understand the hearts of all those who come here?  All the donation which the rich man gave was all stolen money and it is only a fraction of what he really has and he wants Me to reciprocate unlimitedly.  The single coin offered by the poor man was the last coin he was having and he gave it to Me out of faith.

The sailor might not have done anything wrong, but if the sailor were to go in the ship that night he was about to die because of bad weather and instead if he is arrested he would be in the jail and he would have been saved form a greater calamity. The wallet should go to the poor man because he will use it in My service.  I was going to reduce the rich man’s karma also by doing this and save the sailor also.
But you cancelled everything because you thought you know My plan and you made your own plans.”

Tagged with:

To an early violet

Posted in English, Swami Vivekananda by ytelotus on September 14, 2012

About: 

This poem was written by Swami Vivekananda to a Western lady-disciple Sister Christine from New York on 6th January 1896.

Violet is the spring flower of the West.  But when it blooms in late winter, i.e. before the advent of spring, it has to fight against the cold.  Urging the reader to muster strength and remain unperturbed thro’ life’s unfair trials, this poem is sure to lift one’s spirit during the trying times.

Poem:

What though thy bed be frozen earth,
Thy cloak the chilling blast;
What though no mate to cheer thy path,
Thy sky with gloom o’ercast;

What though if love itself doth fail,
Thy fragrance strewed in vain;
What though if bad o’er good prevail,
And vice o’er virtue reign:

Change not thy nature, gentle bloom,
Thou violet, sweet and pure,
But ever pour thy sweet perfume
Unasked, unstinted, sure!