By cares oppressed and sick with hope deferred,
For eight long- years had waited for his son.
But sweet Yasodhara, in widow's weeds,
Her love by sorrow only purified
As fire refines the g-old by dross debased,
Thoug-h tender memories bring unbidden tears,
Wasted no time in morbid, selfish grief,
But sought in care for others her own cure.
Both son and daughter to the aged king,
She aids with counsels, soothes with tender care.
Father and mother to her little son,
She lavishes on him a double love.
And oft on mercy's missions going forth,
Shunning- the pomp and show of royal state,
Leading Rahula, prattling- by her side,
The people saw her pass with swelling hearts,
As if an angel clothed in human form.
And now strange rumors reach the public ear,
By home-bound pilgrims from Benares brought
And merchantmen from Rajagriha come,
That there a holy rishi had appeared
Whom all believed a very living Buddh,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 1H1
While king's and peoples followed after him.
These rumors reached the sweet Yasodhara,
And stirred these musings in her watchful heart :
" Stately and tall they say this rishi is,
Gentle to old and young 1 , to rich and poor,
And filled with love for .every living- thing-.
But who so g-entle, stately, tall and grand
As my Siddartha ? Who so full of love ?
And he has found the light Siddartha soug-ht !
It must be he my own, my best beloved !
And surely he will hither come, and bring-
To his poor people, now in darkness sunk,
That living- light he left his home to seek."
As the same sun that makes the cedars grow
And sends their vital force through giant oaks,
Clothes 'fields with green and decks the wayside
And crowns the autumn with its golden fruits,
So that same love which swept through Buddha's
And drove him from his home to seek and save,
Warmed into brighter glow each lesser love
Of home and people, father, wife and child,*
And often through those long and troubled years
* Some Buddhists teach that Buddha had conquered all human af
fections, and even enter into apologies for a show of affection for his
wife, one of the most elaborate of which Arnold, in the " Light of Asia,"
puts into his own mouth ; but this is no more like the teaching's of
Buddha than the doctrine of infant damnation is like the teachings of
Him who said : " Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid
them not ; for of such is the kingdom of God."
162 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
He felt a burning- long-ing to return.
And now, when summer rains had ceased to fall,
And his disciples were again sent forth,
Both love and duty with united voice
Bade him revisit his beloved home,
And Saraputra and Kasyapa joined
The master wending on his homeward way,
While light-winged rumor bore Yasodhara
This joyful news : " The holy rishi comes."
Without the southern gate a garden lay,
Lumbini called, by playing fountains cooled,
With shaded walks winding by banks of flowers,
Whose mingled odors load each passing breeze.
Thither Yasodhara was wont to go,
For there her lord and dearest love was born,
And there they passed full many happy days.
The southern road skirted this garden's wall,
While on the other side were suburb huts
Where toiling poor folk and the base-born dwell.
And near this wall a bright pavilion rose,
Whence she could see each passer by the way.
One morning, after days of patient watch,
She saw approach along this dusty road
Three seeming pilgrims, clothed in yellow robes,
Presenting at each humble door their bowls
For such poor food as these poor folk could give.
As they drew near, a growing multitude,
From every cottage swelled, followed their steps,
Gazing with awe upon the leader's face,
While each to his companion wondering said :
THE BUDDHA AND THB CHRIST BOOK VIII. 163
" Who ever saw a rishi such as this,
Who calls us brothers, whom the Brahmans scorn ? "
But sweet Yasodhara, with love's quick sight,
Knew him she waited for, and forth she rushed,
Crying- : " Siddartha, O my love ! my lord ! "
And prostrate in the dust she clasped his feet.
He gently raised and pressed her to his heart
In one most tender, loving, long embrace.
By that embrace her every heartache cured,
She calmly said : " Give me a humble part
In your great work, for though my hands are weak
My heart is strong, and my weak hands can bear
The cooling cup to fever's burning lips ;
My mother's heart has more than room enough
For many outcasts, many helpless waifs."
And there in presence of that base-born throng,
Who gazed with tears and wonder on the scene,
And in a higher presence, who can doubt
He made her first of that great sisterhood,
Since through the ages known in every land,
Who gently raise the dying soldier's head,
Where cruel war is mangling human limbs ;
Who smooth the pillow, bathe the burning brow
Of sick and helpless strangers taken in ;
Whose tender care has made the orphans' home,
For those poor waifs who know no mother's love.
Then toward the palace they together went
To their Rahula and the aged king,
While streets were lined and doors and windows
With eager gazers at the prince returned
164 THE DAWN AND THE DAY, OR
In coarsest robes, with closely shaven head,
Returned a Buddha who went forth a prince.
Through all these troubled, weary, waiting- years,
The king- still hoped to see his son return
In royal state, with king's for waiting-men,
To rule a willing world as king- of kings.
But now that son enters his palace-gates
In coarsest beggar-garb, his alms-bowl filled
With Sudras' leavings for his daily food.
The king with mingled grief and anger said :
" Is this the end of all our cherished hopes.
The answer to such lofty prophecies,
To see the heir of many mighty kings
Enter his kingdom like a beggar-tramp ?
This the return for all the patient love
Of sweet Yasodhara, and this the way
To teach his duty to your royal son ?"
The prince with reverence kissed his father's hand.
Bent loving eyes upon his troubled brow
That banished all bis bitterness and said :
" How hard it is to give up cherished hopes
I know full well. I know a father's love.
Your love for me I for Rahul a feel,
And who can better know that deepest love
Whose tendrils round my very heartstrings twine !
But crores of millions, with an equal love,
Fathers and mothers, children, husbands, wives,
In doubt and darkness groping blindly on,
Cry out for help. Not lack of love for you,
Or my Rahula or Yasodhara,
THE BUDDHA AND THE CHRIST BOOK VIII. 165
But love for them drove me to leave my home.
The greatest kingdoms are like ocean's foam,
A moment white upon the crested wave.
The longest life is but a passing- dream,
Whose changing 1 scenes but fill a moment's space.
But these poor souls shall live in joy or woe
While nations rise and fall and kalpas pass,
And this proud city crumbles to decay
Till antiquarians search its site in vain,
And beasts shall burrow where this palace stands.
Not for the pleasures of a passing- day,
Like shadows flitting- ere you point their place,
Not for the transient g-lories of a king-,
Now clothed in scarlet but to-morrow dust,
Can I forg-et those loving-, living- souls,
Groping- in darkness, vainly asking- help."
And then he showed the noble eightfold path
From life's low levels to Nirvana's heig-hts,
While king- and people on the master g-azed,
Whose face, beaming- with pure, unselfish love,
Transfig-ured seemed ; and many noble youth,
And chief Ananda, the Beloved called,
Forsook their g-ay companions and the round
Of youthful sports, and joined the master's band.
And as he spoke, crores more than mortals saw
Gathered to hear, and King- Suddhodana
And sweet Yasodhara entered the path.
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