Thursday, 17 October 2013

Prabuddha XII

This is the twelfth part of the translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha', an exercise that has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of Mahagama Sekera. Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI , VII, VIII,  IX, X and XI were published in


You of noble birth
lay unconscious
for three nights
and four days
and when you came to your senses
this is perhaps what you thought:

‘What happened?’

Try to comprehend
this is your transitional moment,

You will now see
every sansaric moment
and things and people therein
in their transience
as confusion and chaos,
and your most noble feelings
will take sculptured form
and appear before you
like so many deities,
and you will see
brilliant beams of light
fanning out golden warmth.

issuing from the Central Realm
in the purest white
and seated upon a lion-throne
an eight-spoked wheel in hand,
clothed by the wondrous mother
of endless skies,
will manifest before you
the incomparable Bhagavan Vairochana,
the Celestial Buddha;
it is the aggregate of matter
dissolved into the blue light
of primordial state.

Shining and transparent
glorious and dazzling
cast forth as Father-Mother
from the heart of Vairochana
the wisdom of the dharmic essence
will shoot and strike thee
with light radiant beyond known radiance
and thou wilt scarce forbear to look upon it.

And from within thee
by karmic decree of the negatives
there will arise fear
there will arise terror
and thou wilt look to flee.

Do not be startled
have no fear
for this is the Thathagatha Light!
Look upon it with utmost fervor
place thy faith in it
be unwavering,
it is the light of ultimate compassion
wrought in the heart
of the Bhagavan Vairochana
a grace that comes forth
to receive thee
entangled as thou art
in the dangerous ambuscade
of thy transit,
look upon it
consider it therefore
with untrammeled devotion!

And repeat after me these words:

May the Bhagavan Vairochana
draw me into the orbit of the Dharmic Essence
and its wisdom,
deluded and wandering as I am in Sansara.

Repeat after me:
May I be led safely across
the fearful  ambush of transience
and placed in the state
of All-Perfect Buddhahood![1]

A familiar voice,
whose is it?
To identify correctly
he pondered long.

He was standing,
as though in a trance
at that dismal place
where fifteen years before
his mother they buried.

Nothing has changed,
sloping down
clothed in the blue of clover,
the same hillock
as it was before,
and between slope and paddy field
a brook gurgled over and around
interrupting rock,
and he heard that voice again:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the land.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.[2]

Spread across the open field
the dew-laden white cloth
danced in breeze-driven undulation,
and in time to that quiet and tender music
rose the cry of a mother-seeking calf
from the village
at cemetery’s end.

‘Allah is Most Great!
I testify that there is no god except Allah!
I pray to thee seeking succor
I pray to thee to show the true path,
the path of those who receive thy compassion
the path of those who thou dost not spurn
the path of those who will not stray
the clear and direct path
of those who are not led astray.’

And the cow responded to calf
the wafting voice
decked with the tinkle of bell
strung across her neck. 

The tinkling sound
merged with brook and breeze
and in that overwhelming symphony
he could identify a voice,
his mother
who passed on
fifteen (or was it twenty?) years before. 

‘Of all thoughts
that delight and plague
there is nothing more compelling
than “I”;
and “I” is the most ancient thought
birthed in the minds of all.

If you followed the “I”-thread
all the way to where it began
in that ancient place will be scripted
these interminable line:
Just as it was the first thought to enter mind,
until the end will remain “I”.

And yet,
if one asked
for the very first time,
“Who am I?”
within him in that very instant
will arise something else
that will entice, that will capture.
It lies beyond mind,
is eternal, endless
and heavenly. 

And that is the Kingdom of God,
that is the Heaven of Heavens,
that is Nirvana,
enlightenment, you could call it;
and it is about the discovery of man by man,
the encounter of self and self. ‘[3]
The voice,
unmistakably his mother’s voice
was none other than his,
he realized. 

He sank his knees
deep in the blue of clover and dew,
clasped his hands in veneration
worshipped that earth-piece
which held his long-dead mother.
There was a flower,
white it was this solitary bloom;
he bent low and kissed it soft.

‘It was you, my mother,
you who for 10 long months
held me in womb,
who suffered endless sorrows
and bequeathed me to this world.’

When I cried
when I whimpered
in infantile hunger
it was you
who gathered sweet potato leaves
sprinkled salt
mixed with shredded coconut
and satiated with food and love.

It was also you,
mother of the early awakening
who cooked and delivered
and from the small change
that wayside boutique offered
clothed me in the sparse ways possible.

It was you who walked
In grasslands and shrub
gathered rush and reed
applied pigment red and green
wove a myriad mats
many colored, many patterened
and taught without teaching, without word
that the universe was but pattern,
a design, a configuration.

I did not know then,  
that your face was a mirror
reflecting the mind
that resides in me now,
that is mine, that is me,
I did not see in those sunken eyes
not one sign of joy, indistinct or faint,
did not see sorrow either.
Having suffered with equanimity
all joys and all sorrows
did you find peace of mind,
I wonder. 

As for me,
I earned wealth
was showered with accolade and reward,
acquired mansion and vehicles,
obtained not any peace,
Did you understand,
did you know
did you envisage
these truths
in your wise extrapolations,
without nothing
of my endowments? 


[1] The Tibetan Book of the Dead
[2] The Holy Bible
[3] Maharishi Ramana