Friday, July 14, 2006

Puppet Play     cont'd     [narrative poem]

PART THREE: The Original Chicken and Meher Baba's Silence


“At first there wert naught. And yet”   thus the tale
      begins   “a Chicken was there!"
the paradox caught   like a fish by the tail
      as it flies out of water in air!

"At first there was Nothing   yet there was a Chicken!"
      the line is absurd and profound
and from out of its deep a strange story will quicken
      out of water arises firm ground

"O what was this Chicken? pray who was this fowl?"
      the Original Chicken of course!
But prithee Countessa! what occasions your scowl?
      have I erred? kindly point to the source

“You poets”   the goodly Countessa spake thus
      “should be minding your manners forsooth!
“if a person be boarding an unnumbered bus
      who can say where they’re headed in truth?”


“You mean?” “What I mean” (this my puppet explained)
      "we’ve received no report on the source
the provenance and pedigree!” Well buckle my brain!
      did I give him short shrift? well of course

It be from Meher Baba our story derives
      he told it through gestures whilst mum
“But why was he silent?"   my Countessa she drives
      a hard bargain   with a logical drum

Now if here you require biographical particulars
      like a reader in Lives of the Saints
eftsoons we’ll be lost in those extra-curriculars
      as a painter gets lost in his paints

But okay:   Meher Baba his Silence ccmmenced
      July 10, 1925 -- allowing
it wasn’t tapasya   his unique diligence
      had a cause more arcane for its vowing


This Silence at first he one year would observe
      he a chalkboard employed to jot notes
but the term kept extending   he said it did serve
      a key role in his “work”   this connotes

a frank mystery   the action and utterance of Sages
      wells up from a source hard to gauge
they peruse the whole book of Eternity   whose pages
      call forth fresh response with each Age

When in 1932 to America he traveled
      he allowed that his Silence would break
ceremonious in the Hollywood Bowl   this unraveled
      (plans change)   trowing much lay at stake

for the Silence he kept served as brake on the wheel
      of the world and its spiral of noise
when at last he would shatter this Silence we’d feel
      all the power pent up in that poise


it wasn't tapasya: the Wikipedia has a good item on tapasya, noting:
  "Tapasya is the principle and practice of physical and spiritual austerity and discipline to achieve a particular aim.
  "A Sanskrit word, Tapasya is literally a personal endeavor of discipline, undertaken to achieve a goal. It is usually applied in religious and spiritual terms, but can be applied to any field or context. One who undertakes a tapasya is a Tapasvin.
  "Monks and gurus in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism practice tapasya as a means to purify and strengthen their devotion to God, practice a religious lifestyle and obtain moksha, or spiritual liberation. Performing tapasya is an imbibed characteristic of every religion born in India."

trowing much lay at stake: holding the view that the stakes (consequences) wagered on the action (the continuing silence, and its eventual breaking) were considerable and estimable in scope


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