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My India

Not where the musk of happiness blows,
Not in the land where darkness and fears never tread,
Not in the homes of perpetual smiles,
Not in Heaven or the land of prosperity
Would I be born—
If I have to put on a mortal garb again.
A thousand famines may prowl
And tear my flesh,
Yet would I love to be again
In my Hindustan.
A million thieves of disease
May try to steal the fleeting health of flesh,
Or the clouds of fate
May shower scalding drops of searing sorrow—
Yet would I there
In India love to reappear!
Is this, my love, a blind sentiment
Which beholds not the pathways of reason?
Ah, no! I love India
Because there I first learned to love God and all things beautiful.
Some teach to seize the fickle dewdrop — Life—
Sliding down the lotus leaf of time.
Some build stubborn hopes
Around the gilded, brittle body-bubble.
But India taught me to love
The soul of deathless beauty in the dewdrop or the bubble,
Not their fragile frames.
Her sages taught me to find my Self
Buried beneath the ash heaps
Of incarnations and ignorance.
Through many a land
Of power, plenty and science,
My soul, garbed as an Oriental
Or an Occidental, traveled far and wide,
Seeking Itself:
At last in India to find Itself.
If mortal fires raze all her homes and golden paddy fields,
Yet to sleep on her ashes and dream immortality,
O, India, I will be there!
The guns of science and matter
Have boomed on her shores,
Yet she is unconquered.
Her soul is free evermore!
Her soldier-saints each day
Rout with realization’s ray
The bandits of hate, prejudice, patriotic selfishness,
And burn the walls of separation dark
Which lie ‘tween children of the One, One Father.
The Western brothers by matter’s might have conquered my land;
Blow, blow aloud, her conch-shells all!
India now invades with love, to conquer their souls.
Better than Heaven or Arcadia,
I love thee, O my India,
And thy love I will give
To every brother-nation that lives.
God made the earth, and man made his confining countries,
And their fancy-frozen boundaries.
But with the new-found love I behold—
The borderland of my India expanding into the world.
Hail, mother of religions, lotus, scenic beauty, and sages!
Thy wide doors are open,
Welcoming God’s true sons through all the ages,
Where Ganges, woods, Himalayan caves and men dream God.
I am hallowed; my body touched that sod!

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The Lost Two Black Eyes