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Mahatma Gandhi: A Poetic Homage From France
Francois Brousse, a well known French philosopher, metaphysicist, poet and spiritual master, wrote a very moving poetic homage to the Mahatma on his death. The poem, composed in French, has since been translated in many languages of the world. English rendering of the poem by Martine Combe, an ardent Gandhian from France, is being reproduced here.
The Death of Mahatma Gandhi
The light of the world has gone out
The star has passed away
The starry vault exhales its lamentations
From the zenith to the nadir.
The man who brandished the flame,
The flame of love,
The Inspired, the Apostle, the Mahatma
Has left the Earth.
He died like a saint on the crest,
For India and the universe,
Killed by the bullet of crime
Below the great wide open skies.
And the centuries to come shall see on Earth
From blood enlightened,
Rising up, another solitary Christ,
The righteous soul slain.
Trees, why cry in the deep forest?
“Alas, we have lost the tallest tree of our world
“The one who in his august shadow married
“The brahman’s dream t the pariah’s tears.”
O winds, why cry on the far away snows?
“Alas! We have lost the great breath,
“The brilliant blow that poured into our hearts
“Embittered by the Earth, a victorious ideal.”
O mountains, why are you abyss grieving?
“Alas, we have lost the sublime mountain
“The great forehead formed of dawn and granite,
“The magus whose crown merged into infinite.”
O tragic universe, why shed tears?
“Alas, the humble warrior with smiling arms,
“Whose sword of light annihilates the night,
“The gentle prophet with peaceful eyes is destroyed.
“He shone like a sparkling world of mercy!
“A bullet, a vile lead, has killed the immense being
“Whose quiet face enlightened our fields,
“He died crucified as the sun was setting.”
Under the colossal claw of England,
India with her million beings laid suffering,
And the Himalayas with its fierce paths
Bowed their austere crowns.
The Ganges carried in their extraordinary flow
But the image of a prodigious prison;
The blue lakes, with its swans and scoters,
Were as dark as wells.
Thus you came down from the trembling clouds
Where the palace of fairies and gods resplends,
Holding through your azure fingers, O Gandhi,
Liberty, the heaven of wise men!
To the beneficent rays of this golden star,
Quietened the thunder the great lion of the seas
And the winged elephant from the everlasting India
Resumes his great flight;
Now we can see him fly into the nocturnal air,
Like a magic vessel carried away by the winds,
His beating wings well rhymed, his trunk uplifted
Towards the sky where Saturn blazes;
Glory to you, pure ancient, who knew how to resuscitate
The Hindu giants asleep at the bottom of the Ganges!
Out of these vanquished monsters you made proud archangels,
Kings encharmed with liberty!
India was once the fountain of races
And the eternal race from which the gods surge forth;
She is born again, adorned with myriads of eyes,
The goddess forever alive!
A morning light of purple love flamed
When your blessing hand spread the light;
Can you see the whirling people in prayer
Invoking you, O Mahatma?
Can you sense the intense despair which troubles them?
Do you her their song of worship?
O Bapu, the sacred eye of constellations
Shed tears upon your corpse!
When the shadow is about to cover the skies;
When pale mortals jostle, anxious,
In the blind unleashing of darkness;
When the hydra of the night, in its gloomy coils,
Surrounds the globe, and, under its depraved knots,
Threatens to crush the trembling universe
Like a python chokes on a wild doe;
In a time of murder and havoc;
When, like the owl lay upon a coffin,
Satan reigned, dazzled, over the mourning peoples;
When the bells of hell in chests roar
The Living God sends a redeemer to the world.
Ram liberated the raving peoples
The devils-men, beneath their tyrants’ feet
Crushed, and the hero erected, like an epitome,
His mysterious and virtuous life like a temple.
Krishna, the Virgin’s son, echo of the great Sun,
The bright red blaze radiating from his heart,
Died forgiving his cowardly murderers
Like the sandalwood tree that perfumes the axe.
Buddha, the Enlightened, told bitter men
To repudiate the illusory light from the seas
And from the insane world, to turn their blemished faces
Towards the blue Nirvana, towards the supreme calm.
When the cross was erected on mount Golgotha,
The pensive trinity in Paradise sang
And the king of hells cried within the flames.
The smile of Christ transfigures souls.
Then the consoler, the chosen one of Paraclet,
Manes with his intense gaze appeared, holding the keys
Of the garden of light wherein ecstasies penetrate;
He perished skinned by the sons of deceit.
Nanak came to teach that with different names
The same formless God filled the universe;
The Vedas, the Bible, the Koran, these brimming sources
Reflect wisdom with universal hands.
Christ in his heart joins Buddha and Muhammad;
Beneath eternal roses entwined,
The vision of God surged forth from his eyes.
You, you knew how to combine dream and action.
You come, clad in while like halcyons
To reforge the heroic chain of the Wise.
Your heart, vibrating, pure and infinite, offers a message to the world,
This fraternal call which dominates times,
The never bending softness and fighting love
To vanquish the vile doctrine of the sword.
When the furies, a pack of straying bitches,
Run howling all over the horrific world,
Your luminous word brings them back to the stable.
No murder! No hatred! No death!
Love, in spite of the ferocious aspic that bites it,
Remains dauntless to the force of violence.
Heaven’s doves on your pure brow soar forth,
And from your sacred hands fall on our clamours
The seeds of silence, O mystical sower!
Never did you strike your cynical foe.
You are not the vulture whose pride is the claw,
But the swan with clear flanks like eternity.
You are not the lion with a soul of wrath
But the lamb who in the face of immense hatred
Hoped to triumph by his own sufferings.
When Buddha would preach in Varanasi,
An elephant surging forth from dark forests,
Made furious by a sinister beverage,
Rushed onto the crowd trumpeting savagely.
Under its monstrous feet, crushed beings
Uttered atrocious cries,
Blood spurting up to the colossus’ ears
Like tempered fountains
Walls collapsed under its cursed limbs;
Devouring at the convulsive stake, as a deadly fire,
In its threatening whirling with fulgurating flames,
Children and women.
The Earth was beating like a trembling volcano
Beneath the flow of molten lava,
And the devil-elephant, panting suffocating,
Full of bloody foam,
Rushed forward crushing unfortunate beings
Whose ravaged corpses in its path
Revealed a reddish ding. They fled, like swarming frogs
Under the irons of a bolting horse.
But, suddenly from the mayhem of the street,
Embraced in a peaceful dawn,
Buddha, like a smiling mountain, appeared
Meditating under visible palms......
Addressing the huge monster: “O poor fool,
Look at the great vault full of seething life,
May the healing splendour of origins
Come down from their depths upon you.”
Then the mad titan stared at the infinite
Where the numerous worlds are in motion,
The ghosts, leaving its rejuvenated soul,
Fled into darkness.
Quietly senses returned to its brain,
As a lamp is carried into the dark core of a grave
From where heavy face of darkness fades away,
Hence the elephant knelt before the wise man.
Thus, O Mahatma, you calm the hell
Roaring with laughter and railings,
When furious winds and red thunder lights
Struck the colossal India’s.
With the euphoria of new found liberties,
The battle of giants gods resuscitate:
Opposed to the roaring Allah, Shiva spat out flames,
Ancient furies boiled up again in souls.
Hindus and Muslims forgetting the Sun
Of divine tolerance,
Like spectres turning in their sleep,
Killed each other on the ruins.
And cities on fire beneath hysterical heavens,
And knives mirroring their bloody fire,
And cold vampires, beneath the greedy earth,
Exulted drinking the sorrowful blood of humanity.
So, you stood up against the sacred horror
Against cruel revenge,
You revealed the radiating and creating finite,
The abyss wherein wings beat,
You uttered the great cry of God: “Fraternity!”
And, wishing with your own flesh to punish your atheist people,
Atoning freely the rage of the depths,
You began your heroic and sublime fast.
You say: “I shall fast, if necessary, to the death,
Rather than endure hatred,
Rather than let my people without remorse
Struggle /in hell!
I want to remind them by my suffering before them,
That eternal love radiates in the heavens
And, if they do not want to put an end to their quarrels,
I shall go praying into the solemn night.”
Seeing you willing to die
To save India, our mother,
Men, up to then turned into robots,
Stopped waging wars.
Roaring spectres abandoned paths,
Shameful knives fell down from their hands
And, while vampires fled,
Monstrous robots seized back their soul.
Four hundred million men, trembling with love,
Forgetting dark tempests,
Like birds at daybreak,
Turned towards their prophet.
They wept, they shook, they fell on their knees,
They cried: “O Gandhi! Bapu! Forgive us!”
And peace springing from your pure eyes
Upon this vast ocean spread his light.
But whereas a living Idea
Like a star led you,
At the dark end of terror
Pale toads swam to the surface.
Human-faced like cobras
Met each week
With demented laughter.
They soiled your holy image
In the name of gold-plated gods;
They called into their realm
The most wicked among the dead.
They emphasized the sinister heart
Of contemptuous ministers
And remorseless conquerors.
These unfortunate, without any compassion,
Dreamt of perverse massacres,
They built their ramparts
In the freezing winds of winter,
They saw India, their lover,
As a tiger-goddess
Lapping the blood of the universe.
Beneath the fire of gloomy lights
That froze those maddened thoughts,
Dark spirits, born out of darkness,
They hastened their invisible ranks.
They wanted, by a magical leap,
Penetrate into a tragic brain
Like a pack of tyrants.
They found the violent man,
They broke into his heart,
They placed in his devilish mouth
The slaver of the triumphant crime.
Brandishing a burning blade,
The man pledged to evil
To immolate the gentle redeemer.
The promise to savage demons
Was kept under a bloody sky!
Gandhi was praying, on the edge
Of splendid samadhis.
His heart burning like a star,
Sent towards the One with thousand veils
The inner flame of all his being.
His soul, opening pure wings,
Escaping his thinking mind.
Amidst supernatural flames
His soul flew far from riffs
Like a flock of seagulls!
But, suddenly, the strange tempest
Unleashed the lament of yew trees….
Death struck the prophet
While meditating on his knees
Before the eternal celebrations
That dance above us.
His body falls like a crown,
The sources of his sublime blood
Weep on the white of burnous.
A cry of terror and anguish
Shakes numerous humans.
Their hands like flowers retreat
Towards your superhuman face.
You, you ascend into the light,
Into the eternity of the origin,
Into the pathless ecstasy.
You bless the unfortunate assassin,
Poor man a prey to his fate,
Affected by appalling remorse,
Who wonders in his astonished soul.
Love, forgiveness, mercy,
Are the bread of your immense heart
Away from frantic revenge.
You enter the divine zones
Where your sparkle fell from.
Beneath your feet, as in ravines
Scarabs-like crowds crawl
Up there golden birds perch
And the orbit of planets searches
In vain, your soul slipped away!
Your soar, you expand, you glide
Through the infinite beginning;
In your diaphanous coil
Suns, plunge, rejuvenated.
Your dilate your span
Under sidereal figures,
Higher than angel and genius.
The flow of heavens breaks
On the sands of the far away eternity.
You become again the great pearl
Adorning the tiara of God.
Ever helpful rays
Transfiguring the poor
Will flow from your ever flaming soul!
O Gandhi! Eternal light,
Bless the heart of continents!
Powerful swan, may the wind from your wing
Put out demented torches!
On the pale Earth suffering
Bring back love from the origins of the abyss,
This glowing volcano!
Your body, devoured by the flame,
Reduced into fecund ashes
Is a seed of light
On the edge of the throbbing darkness.
Dispersed up and there in light dust
It envelops the whole India
With its atoms of wonder.
So that the triumphant India
With her holy rivers
Beneath the light and the winds
Becomes your own body, O titan!
There your superhuman life
Vibrating and flowing
Where space and time
Come to drink
From the inspiring fountain.
Source: Anasakti Darshan Vol. 3, No. 2, July-December 2007
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