Transitoriness Of Body (143-167)
143: Dust Into Dust-That is Body’s Way
The Vessel’s clay was one, but of two Karmas made,
Firm-set, until Fate its grim summons gave;
Then the rains poured and back to clay the vessel turned;
Thus countless hordes perish and pass to the grave.
144: Your Vigil and Wisdom Alone Accompany Departing Soul
This roof of delights, when by use, to pieces falls,
Wife nor children who all enjoyed follow the parting Soul
Only the holy vigils kept and wisdom gained
Remain to save–others dwindle and desert us all.
145: How Soon the Dead are Forgotten
The neighbours gathered wailing loud and long,
Denied him now a name, called him corpse,
And bore him to the burning ghat and the body burnt,
Then a ceremonial dip–and memory dies as the hours lapse.
146: When Body Roof Falls, It Falls Forever
Two pillars support this roof and one single beam,
Thirty and two the rafters extend side ways,
But as the roof above decays and breaks,
Back to its mansion the breath of life fails its way to trace.
147: Body Dead is but a Feed for Ravens
Gangrened the sore, the body that Karma shaped
Grew loose of joints, the roof’s beam rotted and fell;
And with finger on nose, they bore the body dead,
A plenteous feast for the ravens to feed.
148: Death Comes Sudden
The rich repast was laid and he dined and joyed,
With damsels sweet in amorous dalliance toyed;
“A little little pain–on the left” he moaned
And laid himself to rest to be gathered to dust.
149: Pomp and Glory Lead But to the Grave
In pride of pomp a stately mansion he built,
In rage of wealth into the palanquin he stept,
In vain excess gave away largesse in crores,
But ne’er his soul sought the Lord’s green retreat.
150: Alive They Embraced the Body, Dead They Consigned it
Lips met lips, bodies licked in close embrace,
And love in surfeit cloyed–then died memories long cherished,
Soon the body on bier was set while mourners mourned;
All passions spent, the body in the leaping flames perished.
151: Nothing Remains, When Life Departs
The pulse failed, the mind lost its axle-hold,
The senses five, that buttered sweets enjoyed, left their home;
The fair-eyed beloved and dear treasures remained to stay,
But the spark of life for ever quitted
The warm precincts of clay.
152: Kith and Kin Wept and Left
The roof to pieces went, the bonds of life broke loose,
The mansion’s nine gates closed fast for ever and aye,
Time’s painful march fast gaining apace,
One by one weeping they left him as the hours passed by.
153: Final Procession to Grave
Lord was he of our land, sole leader of our place,
Mounted now on palanquin for the ultimate journey’s end;
Mourners walked behind, clashing drums beat afore;
Thus did the solemn show, in ample length, extend.
154: The Body Temple Crumbled; the Ninty-Six Tattvas Fled
The thirty and thirty and thirty-six they say,
They that behind temple walls safely dwelt,
They saw the temple walls crash and crumble,
And all alike, without a trace, thence did melt.
155: They Hurried the Body to Flames
Death strikes from life’s enchanted cup
Honeyed delights of wife, cherished treasures of heart;
Kinsmen bore him on bier to the common burning ghat,
And the burden discharged hurried home,
Having done their part.
156: Coveting Riches of the Dead Some Remain Back
The body to its final fate consigned,
Friends and kinsmen all dispersed;
But some remained; long had they lusted for the dead man’s wealth,
Intent on riches, men deem they could for ever hold,
Panting and pining for what they might carry by stealth.
157: They Too Finally Depart Cleansing Themselves by a Bath
Mourning friends, weeping spouse, dear children all,
They but followed him to the river’s edge–not a step beyond;
Then sorrow dropped its mark, quick the pyre was lit,
Then the plunge in water, heart-whole they, graceless band.
158: When Body-Pot Breaks None Cares To Retain It
This universe entire of treasures vast compact,
The Great Potter from watery clay wrought to shape;
If the moulded pot breaks, men keep the pieces still,
But if the vital body cracks, who even a while cares it to keep?
159: Body is Burnt to Ashes; Beyond That We Know Not
Five the segments of the head, six the plaits of hair,
Thirty the joints, eighteen the sides,
Nine the roofs, fifteen the rows
All to ashes burnt–no more we know besides.
160: Body is Karmic Fruit
Fruit of fig and seeds of green to pieces chopped,
In a pot they placed, mixed and ground to paste;
Seeds of green the fruit of fig consumed,
Loud they wailed, and bore the body in haste.
161: Body is Fragile Frame
No roofing above nor standing ground below,
Two legs to support and a central beam athwart,
Rudely thatched on top but unlined within,
An empty vessel, in Karmic garb enwrapt.
162: The Lute Lay in Dust; the Music Ceased
Deserted the banquet-hall, unlit, unadorned,
Gone the dancer’s swaying shape and flashing feet;
Another song now they sang to a wailing tune,
And, seeking fire, flung the body to its consuming heat.
163: What Did the Body Leave Behind?
Three hundred days agone, the foetus emerged,
Naught remains of it now, dear friends, you know;
In twelve years’ time it learned to smell the rich odours of life
At seventy it turned to dust–thus briefly ends the show.
164: Lamp Remained; Flame Died
The lamp remains but the flame is out,
Loud the fools lament but the truth ignore;
Night follows day–this they fail to grasp,
And thus immersed fall and moan,
Ever sobbing more and more.
165: Those Who Do Not Adore Lord, Lie Writhing in the
While the body the Lord of blooming Konrai wrought
And Life worshipping not the Divine,
In the Seventh hell, neglected lie,
Writhing in pain and wordless agony keen,
The kith and kin, widely crying, did shout and howl and sigh.
166: Life’s Procession Leads But to Grave
With horse and sword and canopy outspread,
Man fills his fugitive years with pride of life;
But even as the grand cavalcade sweeps past,
Circling from left to right, expires the breath of life.
167: Nothing Can Lure Back the Life that Left
What though the ravens on him feed and way-farers scorn?
What though you feed with parting drops of milk; or many scoff?
For, know that this bag of leather, inflated awhile,
The Great Show-man blows and batters with a smile.