I dedicate these few lines to that ancient king and sculptor of Cyprus – Pygmalion. Legend goes that after he carved the statue of a woman who he named Galatea, it was so lifelike and lovely that he fell in love with the statue itself. The Gods themselves were moved by his ardour and blessed him by pouring life into the statue. The story goes on to say that after Galatea came to life, she married Pygmalion, and they were the parents of Paphos, after whom the city of the same name was founded and can be seen to this day on the western coast of Cyprus.
Prologue: I was in the process of worshiping Bacchus with all due rituals and paraphernalia.
I was reflecting –
Oft I strode like a colossus among puny men,
my head held high, lowered before none;
but now this Samson stands fallen in defeat
vanquished by a woman, he lies at Delilah’s feet.
What is this strange feeling which totally overwhelms me,
makes me droop down, lifeless and listless, weak at the knee;
My eyes once bright and aglow with the light of knowledge
can now behold nothing except her bright form and visage.
I raised my eyes upward. “God in heaven,” I exclaim
“Why is it that my passion is thus aroused and inflamed?
Were you envious of my happy state and therefore decreed
that I again fall down and join the common man’s breed?”
God appeared in a flash of light,
“Oh thou conceited, arrogant and insubordinate child,
thy utterings are the rantings and ravings of the wild;
You puny mortal who art a mere speck in my universe
everything is according to my plan, nothing is adverse.”
“Nay,” say I, “it was you who bestowed on me a heart,
with a heart came feelings, and I was no more apart;
Had you made me emotionless and a slave to my duty
I would never have been vanquished by Chitra’s beauty.
God throws back his head and laughs aloud
“Doesn’t thou know that Chitra means a picture or an image
Child of mine, take not for reality, what is but a mere mirage.
Marvel at her beauty and give praise to me, who am her creator,
But all this is just my play, and she is but an actor in life’s theatre.”
Knowing fully well that Chitra also means wonderful, I reply,
“Tell me then, thou who created Pygmalion, was it your divine writ,
for him to carve out the statue of Galatea only to fall in love with it;
Become utterly engrossed in her, wanting her and only her as his wife,
did not his love and ardour move you, and make you bring her to life?
God smiles and says “True, to show mankind the power of love,
but you are different, my child; you, whom I have elevated far above,
have a different destiny in store; you are among my chosen few,
to execute unthinkingly my divine will, is both your duty and due.”
“That is why I have bestowed on you powers beyond the common herd
what other arcane knowledge and shaktis do you want, say the word;
I have given you the vision to see the truth, lest you fall back again
But give her up, my son, she is not for you, and just do what I ordain.”
I make a despairing gesture and turn my face away –
God wonders aloud, “Can it be that I erred in my judgement
I never expected this from a person of your temperament;
I’ve lifted you above the world of men, given you freedom,
and yet you spurn my gifts, prefer to be chained in serfdom.”
“You named yourself a Prajvalitha Rishi – the reborn one
that name was not an accident or a quirk of fate, my son;
Thou art indeed a sage, you have the power to completely alter
circumstances which would make an ordinary mortal falter.”
“Your path has been chosen for you, and you cannot swerve
fall not for earthly temptations, but your spirituality preserve,
Raise thine eyes towards heaven, shine with the brilliance of Surya
Cast off these worldly illusions and come out of all this Maya.”
It is my turn to laugh now and exclaim
“Did not Vishwamitra become a rishi through penance?
Did he not acquire the power to create new heavens?
But behold, even such a sage who had done limitless penance
succumbed to the charms of Menaka’s lovely countenance.”
God is exasperated.
“Incorrigible man! How shall I explain to you, blind fellow,
the differences between red and green, blue and yellow?
Vishwamitra’s folly was but the unfolding of a divine plan
Its nuances and script incomprehensible to an ordinary man.”
“I do not want any superhuman powers or abilities,” say I.
“I’d rather be a mere mortal and wave all these things goodbye
Forgive me Lord if I have let you down and eschewed my role
But all I desire is that my love should be mine, heart and soul.”
Epilogue: God smiles benignly and raises His hands in a gesture of benediction. “I marvel that one of my creations could enchant you thus. But in this birth as well as many more to come, she is destined to be another’s. Nevertheless if your love be true, and you are prepared to wait, at some point in eternity,” says HE, “the yarn of your lives shall be interwoven together.”
God disappears in a flash of light, and Morpheus who has been waiting impatiently strides forward waving his wand and telling me it’s time to say