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THE SHAPE OF EVENTS TO COME

(v)

Once we acknowledge that the human brain
Is mounting slowly step by step to gain
A broader vision of the Cosmic Scene,
Both of the visible world and realms unseen,
We must then cede that, when man wanders far
From his route, something must occur to bar
His movement in the wrong direction bound
To block his progress till the Path is found.

The modern intellect compelled to grow
In wrong environment, with passions low
For wealth or fame or power, entirely raw
In heavenly knowledge and Celestial Law,
Is oft distorted, like a stunted plant,
That grows precariously on a slant,
And twisted out of shape appears so weird
And strange, compared to those in orchards reared.

Such are some minds in this enlightened age,
That had they rightly grown would, at this stage,
Excel the greatest sages of the past
In fresh adventures on the ocean vast
Of life, and with the knowledge gathered, led
Not to destruction but a rosy bed,
The bloated modern world at heart so sick
That for explosion it needs but a prick.
But barred from Vision their lopsided brain
Prepares explosives for temporal gain,
By which soon into chaos may be hurled
The present gay but maladjusted world.

Full many thinkers, whose own mind refused
Belief in God's existence, when they mused
On Life's mysterious drama, good and bad,
Delightful and revolting, gay and sad,
Denied true insight into human hearts,
Despite their erudition and their arts,
Clever with pen, their faulty doctrines spread
All ov'r the earth to wean the simple head
From faith in God, and let him loose to drift,
Alone unable right from wrong to sift.

Now watching helplessly, with deep alarm,
The growing stockpile of the nuclear arm,
Some try in vain to stem the rising flood
Their own imprudence o'er the planet spread,
Which gave unbridled license to the strong,
With full impunity to do a wrong,
Mistaught there is no God to judge their deeds,
And no Celestial Court to award the meeds.

No other single factor ever did
Such harm to mankind as was done, amid
The glamorous progress of the present age,
By scholars who condemned the illumined sage,
Deceived by reason, like an impish wraith,
Who cut unwisely at the roots of faith.

It is not reason but a second sight,
A higher faculty that can throw light
On this recondite subject, at this time
Of such a moment and importance prime,
That every other major problem fades
Into unimportance, as if lost in shades,
For at this critical juncture human life
Is balanced on the thin edge of a knife,
Is in the gravest jeopardy because
We lack in knowledge of Celestial Laws.

 

                    Chapter2

 

Nuclear Weapons: A Symptom of Abnormality

(i)

Can you surmise the reason why the mass
Of men their life now complacently pass,
And ne'er allow the slightest sign escape
That warfare has assumed an ugly shape,
Due to the deadly challenge daily hurled
By growing nuclear build-ups of the world?

How, as if charmed, the busy crowds forget
Or are resigned towards the dreadful threat,
Towards a prospect that can quickly turn
The earth into one vast, rotating urn;
Towards a mortal danger from which none
Can be safe whether war is lost or won;
A threat attended by the ghastly fear
Of mass destruction slowly drawing near?

Is it not strange that we now calmly sit
And wait until the Infernal Fire is lit,
When ev'n the whisper of some pestilence
Into hysterics drives and makes us tense,
On thorns to flee the place or find some way
The foul, contagious plague to keep at bay,
With reason for the safety of our life?
But this atrocious menace now so rife
And so immediate we quite disregard,
In this one case completely off our guard,
As if it is so small and so remote
That 'tis not worth the effort ev'n to note.

With such a monster hovering overhead,
Waiting to strike unwary myriads dead,
What surety there is in this reckless age
That one will not succumb to nuclear rage,
Will not be one of countless victims hurt
Dreadfully or struck down lifeless and inert,
Will not with ghastly sores or sightless eyes
Bewail this deadly lightning from the skies?

What have our leading figures done about
This horror lurking near without a doubt,
Which always at our elbow but one jolt
Can bring down roaring like a thunderbolt,
And from a distance of ev'n scores of miles
Can eat deep into flesh and heap in piles
Eroded bodies stripped off to the bone,
For long to bear the racking pain alone,
With not a soul around the wounds to dress
To soothe the torment or relieve distress.

Confronted by this menace who knows why
Against this hellish engine so few cry?
Why but few take it in a serious way
While most men unconcernedly pass their day
About this danger so untroubled that
It worries them less than a thieving cat,
Alert to every small unpleasant thing
That can the least harm or disquiet bring?

How can they tolerate this deadly shaft,
Designed with such a diabolic craft,
That round the blasted area it can drop
A genetic poison for a grisly crop
Of grinning monsters and grimacing freaks,
Whose language is a blend of horrid shrieks,
Fouling the outraged earth for many a year
With such abortions none their sight can bear.
And who can say with what revolting shape
It will the future stock of mankind drape?

When we attach such value to our health,
To looks, deportment, property and wealth,
Attend to all of them with deep concern,
And for their betterment new methods learn,
What makes us callous to the atomic threat
Which o'erhangs all we have or can beget,
A danger from which we cannot be free
Till death, nor our heirs, nor their progeny;
Which is a thousand times more lethal than
The deadliest plague that e'er afflicted man?

Can you assign a reason for the fact
Why we do not against this threat react
With such ebullience as it should provoke,
And why such efforts always end in smoke,
As if a spell descends on earth to lull
To slumber those this blood bath would annul?

Look for a while into your mind again
And try to find the reason which, in main,
Prevents our acting as we would, no doubt,
Do at once, when there is a fire without;
Or we are warned of cholera in the town
Or of a flood that threatens us to drown,
Or of some passing evil that can be
Disastrous for my household or for me,
And mark that in a crisis we do not
Sit calmly, well contented with our lot,
But act without delay to set things right,
Though we may have to battle day and night.
But can you say why we are not disturbed
When nuclear stockpiles grow apace uncurbed?

For some the problem is how they can stop
A vicious trend descending from the top,
How can they when the ruling groups decide
To have it, their decision override?

They argue how they can avert the threat
When rival, hard-competing lands are set
On deadliest weapons science can devise,
For their defense or ev'n aggressive rise,
In this inventive age, when all are free
To make whate'er improvement there can be?
Who can technological progress stop
Of which it is the inevitable crop?

From other symptoms also one can find
That people now are more or less resigned
Towards a catastrophic nuclear war,
As they are often towards an evil star,
Which, they think, bodes misfortune and can change
The tenor of their life beyond their range,
And they bide patiently the fateful day,
Knowing they cannot change it or delay.

(ii)

Let us sincerely for a moment ask
Ourselves, when resting from the daily task,
Does not existence at this or that place
Of nuclear engines jeopardize the race?
Is not the threat so imminent and grave
That we may one day find it hard to save
Not just ourselves and all we love and own,
But all the art and culture that has grown
With man's unceasing, patient labor done
By countless generations one by one?

Is not the danger, from what we are told
By scores of experts, many hundredfold
More than that posed by all the plagues combined?
For it can cause extinction of mankind;
Or, at the least, kill millions or distort
In such a ghastly way that nothing short
Of death can end their frightful suffering more
Intense than that of any cancer sore.

What stupor then prevents from crying out,
The myriads doomed without a shade of doubt,
Millions condemned to lifelong agony
So terrible one cannot bear to see?

What destiny creates this nonchalance
Towards a fast approaching Kali's* dance;
Which, if not warded off, will leave behind
Millions dead, millions wounded, millions blind,
Millions disfigured, millions maimed and crazed;
Their assets blown up or to the ground razed?
No one to ease their pain or mourn the loss,
For all the dazed survivors too will cross
Into a horrid world e'en worse than hell,
To face grim famines and diseases fell.

Why are our scholars loath to use their pen
To tell the naked truth to common men?
Do they believe the danger is not so
Immediate or so serious as I show?
Do they suppose the piles of nuclear arms
Will vanish as does snow when sunshine warms
Or that a thousand billion worth of stocks
Will lie unused like subterranean rocks
Or that the havoc of a nuclear war
Will not be so great or extend so far
As I depict, and mankind might survive
The blow, without much loss, to live and thrive?

Our failure to respond to such a threat
Reveals a symptom for the first time met
In human history, for at no time
Have masses acted such a pantomime;
Remained so passive with no word or sign
To show they are not dumb and stupid kine,
But have the common sense at once to grasp
That they are threatened by a deadly asp,
About to bury deep its deadly fangs
In them, and that their life by a thread hangs.

What widely met oblivion tightly holds
The rich and poor in its confining folds?
Or what hypnotic influence sends to sleep
Distinguished scholars that, like docile sheep,
They nimbly trot towards a slaughter house
Obediently, as quiet as a mouse?

The few debates and protest meetings held
By some enthusiasts, who tried to weld
Into one powerful global forum those
On principle who nuclear war oppose,
After some stir expressive of dissent
Against the use of nuclear armament,
And sundry comments in the press, became
Too feeble to defeat the deadly aim
Of those behind the game, and then expired,
As if the whole adventure had misfired.

And in the wake of these outpourings comes
The Silence managed with colossal sums,
Which ne'er allows conscientious folk to gain
A hearing and their labor goes in vain.

Somewhat by this, but primarily because
The strange callosity now never thaws,
The human race accepts the nuclear arm
With no explosive symptom of alarm;
Accepts the presence of a Demon that
Will slaughter millions, as one kills a rat;
Accepts a dread contrivance that may loom
Before rebellious mortals as their doom.

(iii)

Much as I should desire to write about
A theme that could put fear and gloom to rout,
And fill a ruffled mind with peace and joy;
But knowing well that it would but decoy
The reader into a false sense of repose,
While grim disaster lies extremely close,
I treat it as a duty laid on me
By Heaven that does my every action see,
To keep the world reminded of this threat,
Which by some Trick of Fate we soon forget.

The strange indifference which we now display
Towards the greatest problem of our day,
Towards an issue that now holds the scales
Between our life and death, and grief entails,
Call it inertia or, whate'er it be,
A keen observer cannot fail to see
And think it foolish of us, if not worse,
That we should grow so mentally perverse
As ev'n grim prospects of extinction stir
No feeling in us that may be we err,
And ought to ponder on this point to find
The reason for this numbness in our mind?

Let us not be misled by outer gloss,
Nor at the simple truth get sour or cross,
But face reality, as we now see,
Not what we think or figure it to be.

For probing this point, as well as we can,
We cannot but mark that in modern man
A strange departure from a healthy mode
Of thought has come about, as if a load
Sits heavy on his brain, that he has grown
Indifferent to his death e'en when foreknown.

This apathy is not a healthy sign,
Nor would it be in creatures, sheep or swine,
If of a likely risk that loomed in front
They took no heed ev'n by a bleat or grunt.

Towards a mortal threat inertness means
Fault in the pillar on which mankind leans,
Fault in the instinct by which she survives,
Preserves her life from danger, lives and thrives;
It means a fault so terrible and grave
As cannot be compared to any, save
Perhaps, the tendency to suicide found
Often in people mentally unsound.

Insentience towards a deadly risk
Through which we gaily pass now, sport and frisk,
While each addition to the infernal store
Is adding to the hazard more and more,
Denotes a morbid symptom so acute
It has no parallel in any brute,
Or other form of life nor ever had
Except in those that run amuck or mad.

For heaven has set the urge to live so deep
In earthly creatures that no furious sweep
Of passion or adversity can shake
The firm foundation, or remotely make
Them when confronted by a mortal threat,
The urgent need for self-defense forget.

No one would dare impute so grave a fault
To those that soar beyond the azure vault,
And say that in the highly cultured brain
A morbid streak is just becoming plain;
A streak which seldom is with horror filled
When it imagines millions maimed or killed,
Which, with the hideous scenes of two world wars
Still fresh in memory, now behind the farce
Of peace, prepares for yet another one
To put to shame the carnage earlier done.

We are now reconciled, as if decreed
By Fate, as lazy farmers are to weed;
To this diabolic instrument of death,
Like those the young read of with bated breath
In stories, weapons Satan would devise
With gloating looks God's earth to pulverize;
A challenge to the Lord from puny man
To save the earth from ruin if He can.

An arm so devilish that, to be blunt,
There surely cannot be a worse affront
To intellect, no worse slap on the face
Of every moral fiber in the race,
Which save inhuman minds, akin to those
Of homicidal kings who slaughter chose,
No normal man, who is not mad with hate,
Can make, employ, invent or tolerate.

What great effect on one, who calmly chews
His breakfast, have the most alarming news
Of riots, revolts and slaughters, now so rife,
They have become a part of daily life:
Or what emotion does a picture formed
Of nuclear warfare or a city stormed,
And blown out of existence, rouse in us,
When with our friends we nuclear war discuss?

This lack of feeling is a dangerous sign,
A grave impairment of the mental shrine;
A warning that incipient freeze has set
To cause indifference to a mortal threat.

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Written by: Gopi Krishna


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