Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Homage and Heritage -3

Overwhelmed and humiliated, the anguished Father, bent under the infirmities of age, runs once more to their succour, even like the hen covering her brood under her wings against death. He takes his abode among the sorrowing. He faces the Fiery Ordeal again and again and works miracles. He repeats to them his lasting message: "Not through hatred and ill-will ye shall seek to avenge yourselves. 'Vengeance is mine' sayeth the Lord. Grieve not; forsake your fear; work and strive for goodwill and unity. For know ye who are afflicted, that Love exalteth, Love alone triumphs."

And he gathered them around him evening after evening as was his wont, and prayed with them for the purification of their hearts, beseeching them and admonishing them and instructing them with his words of wisdom and cheer. They gathered in the ancient city under whose precincts mighty empires lay in dust and in whose neighbourhood his Great Predecessor taught Eternal Wisdom to Man from His Chariot on the battlefield.

But so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, and that the world's Martyrdom may attain its perfection, behold! there comes on the scene, once more, the infamous Ashvathama - the perverse Assassin of Ages, the vile Brahmarakshasa with the eternal wound on his mangled head and condemned to everlasting life of a roving ghost, - the embodiment of the accumulated evil of his race. He comes unrepentant and unrelenting, aye, even with a gusto within, for his unholy design, and accomplishes his foul deed of calculated cold murder before the eyes of a staggered multitude, to the everlasting shame and humiliation of his nation.

To Thee, Father of our Nation! we pay our grateful reverent homage. We salute Thee. We rejoice in the midst of our tears and our shame. We rejoice rather than sorrow and are grateful that the mericful Providence spared Thee to us to accomplish our deliverance, however shameful and agonizing the aftermath. We glory in Thy having walked our earth. For Thou hast given to mankind new values and compelled obeisance from a recalcitrant world by challenging it once again to measure its own stature against them. Thou art indeed in the line of Thy recurring Predecessors - the Great Saviours of mankind. Thou didst come to fulfil the Scriptures and to fulfil the pledge made in the Song Celestial:

"For the protection of the Good, for the descruction of the Wicked, and for the firm establishment of righteousness on Earth, I am born again and again."

Even so through ages hast Thou lived and laboured again and again. All Thy life didst Thou wear Thy Crown of Thorns and dist bear Thy Cross, finding life's final fulfilment in surrendering it as a ransom for our own sins and shortcomings. Greater love, indeed, hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for goodwill among his fellowmen.

We salute Thee, Father of our Nation! None that hath received Thy Light shall walk in darkness.


Swami Anand

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