THE WHEEL OF CHANGE
Pray not! the Darkness will not brighten! Ask
Nought from the Silence, for it cannot speak! Vex not your mournful minds with pious pains!
Ah! Brothers, Sisters! seek
Nought from the helpless gods by gift and hymn,
Nor bribe with blood, nor feed with fruit and cakes; Within yourselves deliverance must be sought;
Each man his prison makes.
Each hath such lordship as the loftiest ones;
Nay, for with Powers above, around, below, As with all flesh and whatsoever lives,
Act maketh joy and woe.
What hath been bringeth what shall be, and is,
Worse -- better -- last for first and first for last; The Angels in the Heavens of Gladness reap
Fruits of a holy past.
The devils in the underworlds wear out
Deeds that were wicked in an age gone by. Nothing endures: fair virtues waste with time,
Foul sins grow purged thereby.
Who toiled a slave may come anew a Prince
For gentle worthiness and merit won; Who ruled a King may wander earth in rags
For things done and undone.
Higher than Indra"s ye may lift your lot,
And sink it lower than the worm or gnat; The end of many myriad lives is this,
The end of myriads that.
Only, while turns this wheel invisible,
No pause, no peace, no staying-place can be; Who mounts will fall, who falls may mount; the spokes
Go round unceasingly!
If ye lay bound upon the wheel of change,
And no way were of breaking from the chain, The Heart of boundless Being is a curse,
The Soul of Things fell Pain.
Ye are not bound! the Soul of Things is sweet,
The Heart of Being is celestial rest; Stronger than woe is will: that which was Good
Doth pass to Better -- Best.
I, Buddh, who wept with all my brothers" tears,
Whose heart was broken by a whole world"s woe, Laugh and am glad, for there is Liberty!
Ho! ye who suffer! know
Ye suffer from yourselves. None else compels,
None other holds you that ye live and die, And whirl upon the wheel, and hug and kiss
Its spokes of agony,
Its tire of tears, its nave of nothingness.
Behold, I show you Truth! Lower than hell, Higher than heaven, outside the utmost stars,
Farther than Brahm doth dwell,
Before beginning, and without an end,
As space eternal and as surety sure, Is fixed a Power divine which moves to good,
Only its laws endure.
It slayeth and it saveth, nowise moved
Except unto the working out of doom; Its threads are Love and Life; and Death and Pain
The shuttles of its loom.
It maketh and unmaketh, mending all;
What it hath wrought is better than hath been; Slow grows the splendid pattern that it plans
Its wistful hands between.
This is its work upon the things ye see,
The unseen things are more; men"s hearts and minds, The thoughts of peoples and their ways and wills,
Those, too, the great Law binds.
Unseen it helpeth ye with faithful hands,
Unheard it speaketh stronger than the storm. Pity and Love are man"s because long stress
Moulded blind mass to form.
It will not be contemned of any one;
Who thwarts it loses, and who serves it gains; The hidden good it pays with peace and bliss,
The hidden ill with pains.
It seeth everywhere and marketh all:
Do right -- it recompenseth! do one wrong -- The equal retribution must be made,
Though Dharma tarry long.
It knows not wrath nor pardon; utter-true
Its measures mete, its faultless balance weighs; Times are as nought, to-morrow it will judge,
Or after many days.
By this the slayer"s knife did stab himself;
The unjust judge hath lost his own defender; The false tongue dooms its lie; the creeping thief
And spoiler rob, to render.
Such is the Law which moves to righteousness,
Which none at last can turn aside or stay; The heart of it is Love, the end of it
Is Peace and Consummation sweet. Obey!
The Books say well, my Brothers! each man"s life
The outcome of his former living is; The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrows and woes
The bygone right breeds bliss.
That which ye sow ye reap. See yonder fields!
The sesamum was sesamum, the corn Was corn. The Silence and the Darkness knew!
So is a man"s fate born.
He cometh, reaper of the things he sowed,
Sesamum, corn, so much cast in past birth; And so much weed and poison-stuff, which mar
Him and the aching earth.
If he shall labour rightly, rooting these,
And planting wholesome seedlings where they grew, Fruitful and fair and clean the ground shall be,
And rich the harvest due.
If he who liveth, learning whence woe springs,
Endureth patiently, striving to pay His utmost debt for ancient evils done
In Love and Truth alway;
If making none to lack, he thoroughly purge
The lie and lust of self forth from his blood; Suffering all meekly, rendering for offence
Nothing but grace and good:
If he shall day by day dwell merciful,
Holy and just and kind and true; and rend Desire from where it clings with bleeding roots,
Till love of life have end:
He -- dying -- leaveth as the sum of him
A life-count closed, whose ills are dead and quit, Whose good is quick and mighty, far and near,
So that fruits follow it.
No need hath such to live as ye name life;
That which began in him when he began Is finished: he hath wrought the purpose through
Of what did make him Man.
The Light of Asia Sir Edwin Arnold
All that we are is the result of what we have thought: