Part Three - Reality


Part Three - Reality

But shall he leave his people, in my age

Let me fall heirless, from my throne?

Shall he be nameless on the final page

Of our long dynasty, though he was born

To receive the whole earth’s homage?

And as the lotus, if its long roots break,

Forgets the flowering habits of its stem,

Shall all the world, hopeful in him, awake

To find him gone; the hands which ministered to him,

Since he is gone, find only sorrowful music to make?

On! I have seen these mendicants, who greet

Each day as hollow as the next day’s birth;

And when the whole land should be flowering at his feet

Shall he join their thin band, take from the earth

The joys it should claim as its right?

For he can wander from the green season to the season

Of sand, and not find the flickering light.

For he must learn, that that light is found not in the golden

Robe, nor the robe of saffron, nor any robe of man. In the dark

Shuttling of night, are all robes woven.


So I, for I am a good king,

Long I have ruled over our people,

(And long shall my son rule over our people)

Must fashion his prison;

And his prison must be one of joy...

The dew, if it trouble him

Shall be brushed away;

The rose shall be dyed blue

If it please him;

No song shall be played too loudly;

And if a dancer sway

Too far in dancing;

Or let a flower be drooping;

They shall not stay,

Lest he look sadly.

For seeing our thin mask of joy

He must never guess,

That over his happiness,

From day to golden day

It lies so weakly.

He must never see,

Those who in pain or sorrow

People our common way,

Lest he in sadness go

To share their agony.

For let the jasmine lie

Too long beneath the sun

Or in an unkempt garden

And in one short day

It spends its beauty.


I have three palaces...

My summer palace is delightfully cool;

I go in winter to a region

Where even the moon is warm;

And when autumn comes,

My retinue swarms with the bees

In gardens of a moderate wind

And temperate sun.

Five hundred men are called

Each time the ladders leave the ground;

For miles, the sound

Of their lowering can be heard;

The sound of the gates closing,

Requiring the labor of at least five hundred men,

Can be heard for the same distance.

Innumerable jewels, garlands of pearls,

With covered terraces, extensive halls,

Gardens and balconies; festooned with silver bells

On silken cords, and fabrics from the east;

Exquisite birds: the kunala, the parakeet

Mynahs and koels, cause their sweet singing

To resound; and lapis lazuli in every room,

Begirt with draperies,

and redolent with the fumes of sandalwood,

And always the excellent music of flute and horn...


The girls have rich warm thighs,

And their arms are clinging.

Their lips are like new leaves,

Their voices, the wind, between them singing.

And as they fall and rise,

Their heavy bosoms and voluptuous hips

Assuage the torments they devise;

Their breasts are like full honey jars,

A thin gauze only, lies

Upon their golden zones.

And as the dance,

The musky odors of their bodies rise

Within the heavy air. And in their hair

The petals of the lotuses are stars,

Above the silken couches of desire...


The world surrounds me with fragrance;

there is incense all around me.

On every side there is beauty;

there is no pleasure denied me.

My body is salved with oils;

breathless hands caress me.

I sleep late, into the morning;

the fans weave above me continually.

Wines and fruits are set before me;

my garden blooms with sal-flowers,

In my rooms, if I desire melody,

they ply the strings with supple fingers.

And in the coolness of evening,

when my body is rich and sensuous,

I send for golden maidens,

to dance for me.

My youth shall be remembered in maidens dancing for me;

In silken couches; and they draw my garments from me,

and twine their thighs and their arms about me.

My youth shall be remembered in the sound of passion;

in my flesh singing, in slopes and valleys, and in the grasses;

in seasons of continual richness;

and in the hands of evening,

Languishing forever upon me.


Oh King, he told me:

The women are talking continually now of the pleasure groves!

They say, the golden season is like no other,

The birds are in droves over the asalas,

There are three fragrances on the water.

And I grow restless:

For times of a new flavor, for winds of a new region.

Until now, like a god in Paradise, I have not looked toward the ground

I have remained continually in my chambers.

But the chariot wheels are on fire!

The huge door shudders under the sound!

Channa, he said, the elephant in the stable,

Longs for the Himalyas!


All you commanded we did.

The windows facing east we opened.

Increasing his desires,

The women offered pleasure only.

And the crab, bent to your will

Circled the moon’s orbit.


But he remains dissatisfied;

Taking delight in nothing new,

Seeking for flowers he does not know,

in fields he can not wander through.

The women, seeing him troubled so,

Have been a problem too.