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THE SHAPE OF EVENTS TO COME

Let us discuss a while this curious trait:
The dark Forerunner of an evil fate,
That death, destruction, slaughter, riot, war,
On our accustomed ears now no more jar,
Nor cause the horror that they should evoke
Nor grieve the heart, nor with emotion choke,
As they did but a hundred years before,
When such disasters shocked the people more,
As history attests, for every case
Of carnage filled with horror all the race.

I know the earth was ne'er a chaste abode
Of human angels with a purer code
Of conduct in the past, and I concede
That there was greater poverty and need,
Still greater cruelty upon the weak,
The slave and bondman, servant, thief and freak,
There were religious wars and torture done
To heretics or forced conversions won.

But people were alert and feared a war,
Decamped in panic while it was yet far,
And seldom waited for the monster's jaws
To swallow them, as we do now because
We have so callous and unfeeling grown,
That though we know whole nations can be blown
To bits with nuclear blasts we ne'er regard
The threat as serious and are not on guard,
Against this source of all-devouring war,
Which from no nation and no man is far,
And like a baneful comet points towards
The earth, about to engulf men, beasts and birds.

Compare this with what happened fifty years
Ago, when wakened by instinctive fears,
A strong electric shock went through the mass
Of men to ban the use of poison gas;
Mere caustic as compared to megatons
That can incinerate millions all at once.

There is no doubt that something deep inside
Our minds has changed, and our emotions slide
Towards a callous disregard of death
And slaughter that made people hold their breath.

So war and massacre have now become
A matter of routine, not just to some,
But to the teeming multitudes who treat
Such grim occurrences like cold and heat:
A subject for some comment and no more,
No surge of deep emotion as before,
No scenes of woe afloat before the eye,
Time and again to make one weep and sigh,
Forgotten ere the morning to make room
For fresh news, as if swept off with a broom,
A most abnormal trait by which we are
Careering fast towards a nuclear war.

Perhaps I have explained now in detail,
Enough to show that I would grossly fail
In duty that I owe to God and man,
If, with as much submission as I can,
I do not emphasize the fact again
That we are blunting our evolving brain,
By our transgressions with the grave result
That Cosmic Forces, neither seen nor felt,
To avoid incurable damage to the brain,
Before it is too late, might cause again
A dreadful global war, that may extend
To many lands, rebellious man to mend.

It is not superstition nor a myth
Nor dogma nor mere theory with no pith,
Nor yet delusion nor a sorry game
To cause sensation for some gain or fame,
But it is something, which extremely rare,
Has on occasions fallen to the share
Of men, without their striving, with the Grace
Of Heaven to voice a warning to the race,
As I do now in this spontaneous rhyme,
That brooks no barrier of creed or clime,
From that Immortal Source to which alone
The whole of future and the past are known.

But for this I could never dare pronounce
A judgment on the world, or know an ounce
Of what I have revealed about the stain
Now forming on the evolving human brain,
A morbid blemish, which too soon will spread,
If not removed or changed to love instead,
And cause a horror no pen can portray
No language can express, no words convey.

What profit would accrue if mankind wanes
In spiritual endowments, though she gains
Untold possessions, only to unbar
Destructive frenzy in a nuclear war,
Of which the authors, now completely lost
To sense, with their extinction pay the cost?

It sounds blasphemous, but I must confess
That, though we boast of it, the polished dress
Of modern intellect, beneath its folds
Conceals a faulty twist, which firmly holds
A part of mankind in its vicious grip,
And ne'er allows the busy crowd to slip
The noose; a twist that keeps God out of count,
Has no need for the Sermon on the Mount,
Nor Vedas nor Quran nor what was taught
By Buddha to ennoble human thought,
To chase the shadows which confuse the mind
Of e'en great leaders and their vision blind,
Unless both morn and eve they sue for grace,
When only they can rightly guide the race.

(v)

Were there not something in our actions wrong,
The Evil Forces could not grow so strong,
Could not create in us the fatal trends
To slaughter millions for our selfish ends,
Could not have brought the masses down so low
To be the dumb spectators of a show,
Which now keeps mankind in a state of dread
With clouds of mass destruction o'er her head.

Nor does the horror of approaching war
Nor of misfortunes which our hopes may mar,
Create in me the urge to pen this rhyme,
For nothing can occur before its time,
But it is something which as humans we
To do or not to do are often free,
Something as humans which we ought to know
If we desire to live in peace, and grow
To that intensely blissful state sublime,
Attained by holy sages in their time.

I write of something which without mistake
We can discern if we completely shake
Ourselves free from the hold of self-conceit
And by the Altar of Truth take our seat,
And it is this, that since we have digressed,
From light and more towards the shadow pressed
Than is consistent with our inner growth,
With our intelligence and morals both,
We have, due to the action of a Law,
Developed in ourselves a serious flaw
Which warps our judgment and denies us Light,
When with atomic arms we choose to fight.

Had there not been a numbness in our thought
The use of nuclear arms from the first ought
To have been cried down and condemned by all,
Further use of this dread device to stall,
As there was time enough, since their first use
A less disastrous type of war to choose.
To assess their dread capacity for harm
And put a total ban upon the arm.

For nuclear power confers resistless might
Against which 'have-nots' cannot hope to fight.
But they desisted from obstructive steps,
And protests came but seldom to their lips,
As if bewitched, they left the 'haves' to do
The worst, and keep on adding to that too.

But for the apathy that seized their mind
They could have made a clamor all combined,
Making it hard for nuclear states to escape,
Without to some adjustment lending shape.

With more than half the world all on one side
These states could not against their will decide
Without exposing their ignoble aim,
And earning condemnation for the same.
As if there was a charm to make them numb
They all remained too long inert and dumb;
But some awakening to the stunning truth,
Reminded of it by outspoken youth,
That nuclear arms bestow invincible might,
They are now keen to have the fiery blight,
As if possession of this pest bestows
A rare distinction, like contentious crows,
Which, when they see one light on carrion, haste
To reach the spot, the putrid dish to taste.

There must be, after all, some cogent cause
For this unhealthy lull and sickly pause
In our instinctive, forceful urge to live,
When deadly hazards cause for action give,
For this unnoticed grave, abnormal tinge
Of slackness in an impulse on which hinge
Our life and all, making us so obtuse,
That monstrous weapons which can mountains fuse
And lakes desiccate, we take lying down,
As if engrossed deep in a study brown.

Survey the world for one effective stir,
And you will come to know I do not err,
That there is no concerted effort done,
And no opposing dissidents, as one,
Demand the banning of this dread device,
That can wipe off whole nations in a trice;
Of this Satanic world-destroying bane,
Because a palsy has come o'er our brain,
Such as has ne'er been on the earth before,
A serious warning from the Eternal Shore
Of Cosmic Life to make mankind alert
That her intelligent mind is weighed with dirt.

Look at the people passing unconcerned,
Absorbed deep in what they have lost or earned,
And mark there is no serious talk about
What should, indeed, fill them with fear and doubt:
About the alarming state the world is in
Where our existence hangs upon the spin
Of change to cause the initial clash that can,
In but a day effect the wreck of man,
And then no one can tell what will befall
Or who will suffer-others or us all.

There must be some defect beyond our ken
Which, yet unnoticed by the world of men,
Has caused a partial torpor of the sense
Of safety, made this instinct slack and dense,
Has in some way eclipsed the Orb of Light,
The Source of all our sense of wrong and right,
Has somehow caused obstruction in the Ray,
Which keeps the evil threatening us at bay,
And like the commonly met morbid streak,
In those towards drink or vice who are weak,
Is not perceptive of the nuclear threat,
Although to other hazards most alert.

Is there not something morbid in this calm,
This sense of safety, this pretense and sham,
That keeps us tongue-tied and somehow contrives
To make us dead to a danger to our lives?
Which having now become a usual trait
Keeps us from knowing our abnormal state?
Keeps us from knowing e'en that there is ground
For worry, for which some cure must be found?
While some deceived by hope that Heaven will save
The world somehow, ignore the yawning grave,
Again forgetting that Celestial Laws
Are always just in the events they cause.

 

                         Chapter3

 

        Modern War Is Inferno Actualized

 

(i)

Call it coincidence or call it fate,
Call it the fruit of lust for power or hate,
Or call it by whatever name you like
The unmistakable fact cannot but strike
A keen mind that in some mysterious way,
Whate'er the reasons for the grim display,
Mankind at certain intervals is gripped
By grave distemper of the mind, and whipped
Until blood oozes from the livid frame,
And she collapses broken, wounded, lame.
This happened, as if willed by destiny,
Twice in the first half of this century.

The start entailed such heavy sacrifice
And end exacted such a dreadful price
In millions crippled for life, millions killed,
Millions with lasting grief and anguish filled,
That, as one terribly burnt once by fire
Retains the memory for his life entire,
This should have caused a feeling e'er so strong
And so intense, persisting for so long,
That no compelling pressure should have led
Nations again the same dread path to tread.

By some inscrutable Law, we still ignore,
Forgetfulness of what has gone before,
Affects the victims to such grave extent
They lose all memory of the punishment
Or, if recalled, it is so dim and vague
That far from fleeing from the deadly plague,
More lethal than the foul bubonic sore,
They soon invite its ravages once more.

Once more to hear the cries of dreadful pain,
And see the gruesome corpses of the slain,
Once more to experience all the horror borne
That had made millions wretched and forlorn;
Once more the same colossal loss of lives
And lamentations of grief-stricken wives;
Once more to pass the same distracting round
Of rush for work or shelter underground:
A mania, now become a common trait,
Such that it would not be amiss to state
That people in this age amass and hoard
One day to put it all to fire and sword.

This is the story of a rebel world
Which every now and then into hell is hurled,
Whose teeming populations, as if struck
By manic frenzy, at times run amuck,
And long before the awful headlong dive
Straight into Hades, kicking and alive.

Prepare the instruments of torture meant
To cause a torment till the heart is rent,
To shriek and groan, to writhe and twist in pain,
With awful anguish to be maimed and slain,
To bear the dread, excruciating smart
Of frightful wounds that make the stoutest heart
Weep like a woman, blubber like a child,
When not in stupor or delirium wild.

What poetic imagination sought
To paint of hell is literally now wrought
In every trench and every battleground,
Where screaming, moaning wretches sprawling round,
Lie in such twisted and contorted shapes
And bear such torment till the breath escapes,
As e'en the most imaginative men
Could ne'er envision, much less put to pen.

The incurably wounded, burnt or maimed
Present a sight that should make us ashamed;
So dreadfully battered, mangled, filled with scars,
As if crushed to a pulp with iron bars,
Unfit to attend to any vital need,
To rise unaided, ease themselves or feed;
Acutely conscious minds in fleshy tombs,
Or monstrous freaks born of inhuman wombs;
Their life one long-drawn night of agony,
Allowed to feel but not to hear or see,
The face a shapeless lump devoid of eyes,
And mouth a hole through which the spirit cries;
The types of human wretches who alive
Although dead to the world, in pain, survive
Out of the victims of a modern war,
Maintained in strict seclusion from us far.

This is the mockery to which, with thought
And care, civilization has been brought,
Setting for many years a hell ablaze
On earth to live in, shudder at, and gaze
On ghastly suffering and appalling wrecks,
As if a vampirish seductress becks
The gaudy caravan by devious means,
To taste the horror of infernal scenes.

What is amazing is the curious fact
That, as if some abnormal forces act
To sway their minds, soon after each such spell
Of dreadful torment in this raging hell,
The victims 'gain forget the torture borne,
Or countless dead whom still their kinsfolk mourn,
And with the scars still showing on the flesh
Make haste to invite the agony afresh.

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Written by: Gopi Krishna


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