As that (is), so this (will be)

‘Yatha idam, tatha edam – Yatha etam tatha idam”

As this (living body is) -so that (dead one was)

As that (is), so this (will be)

Today I am in the house alone — the would have been grandmother with the would have been grandson.

I sit cross-legged in front of the five candles lit by Ranil the father in front of the ashes in a white box. and closes my eyes to watch that little face float over — forcing my imagination to open the eyes and see a smile.

As I sit and my thought wander I remember the story of Kisagotami … and search for the verse from the Light of Asia…


Kisagotami and the Buddha

A woman — dove-eyed, young, with tearful face

And lifted hands — saluted, bending low:

“Lord! thou art he”, she said, “who yesterday

Had pity on me in the fig-grove here,

Where I live lone and reared my child; but he

Straying amid the blossoms found a snake,

Which twined about his wrist, whilst he did laugh

And tease the quick forked tongue and opened mouth

Of that cold playmate. But, alas! ere long

He turned so pale and still, I could not think

Why he should cease to play, and let my breast

Fall from his lips. And one said, ‘He is sick

Of poison’; and another, ‘He will die.’

But I, who could not lose my precious boy,

Prayed of them physic, which might bring the light

Back to his eyes; it was so very small

That kiss-mark of the serpent, and I think

It could not hate him, gracious as he was,

Nor hurt him in his sport. And some one said,

‘There is a holy man upon the hill —

Lo! now he passeth in the yellow robe —

Ask of the Rishi if there be a cure

For that which ails thy son.’ Whereon I came

Trembling to thee, whose brow is like a god’s,

And wept and drew the face-cloth from my babe,

Praying thee tell what simples might be good.

And thou, great sir! didst spurn me not, but gaze

With gentle eyes and touch with patient hand;

Then draw the face-cloth back, saying to me,

‘Yea! little sister, there is that might heal

Thee first, and him, if thou couldst fetch the thing;

For they who seek physicians bring to them

What is ordained. Therefore, I pray thee, find

Black mustard seed, a tola; only mark

Thou take it not from any hand or house

Where father, mother, child, or slave hath died:

It shall be well if thou canst find such seed.’

Thus didst thou speak, my Lord!”

The Master smiled

Exceeding tenderly. “Yea! I spake thus,

Dear Kisagotami! But didst thou find

The seed?”

“I went, Lord, clasping to my breast

The babe, grown colder, asking at each hut —

Here in the jungle and towards the town —

‘I pray you, give me mustard, of your grace,

A tola — black’; and each who had it gave,

For all the poor are piteous to the poor;

But when I asked, ‘In my friend’s household here

Hath any peradventure ever died —

Husband or wife, or child, or slave?’ they said:

‘O Sister! what is this you ask? the dead

Are very many, and the living few!’

So with sad thanks I gave the mustard back,

And prayed of others; but the others said,

‘Here is the seed, but we have lost our slave!’

‘Here is the seed, but our good man is dead!’

‘Here is some seed, but he that sowed it died

Between the rain time and the harvesting!’

Ah, sir! I could not find a single house

Where there was mustard seed and none had died!

Therefore I left my child — who would not suck

Nor smile — beneath the wild vines by the stream,

To seek thy face and kiss thy feet, and pray

Where I might find this seed and find no death,

If now, indeed, my baby be not dead,

As I do fear, and as they said to me.”

“My sister! thou hast found,” the Master said,

“Searching for what none finds — that bitter balm

I had to give thee. He thou lovedst slept

Dead on thy bosom yesterday: today

Thou know’st the whole wide world weeps with thy woe:

The grief which all hearts share grows less for one.

Lo! I would pour my blood if it could stay

Thy tears and win the secret of that curse

Which makes sweet love our anguish, and which drives

O’er flowers and pastures to the sacrifice —

As these dumb beasts are driven — men their lords.

I seek that secret: bury thou thy child!”

from The Light of Asia, Book the Fifth by Sir Edwin Arnold

Though one should live a hundred years without perceiving the deathless state, yet better indeed is a single day to one who has perceived the deathless state

Dhammapada 114


2 thoughts on “As that (is), so this (will be)”

  1. Aló there dear Chulita!
    Hopping you´re doing great!!!
    By now I´m back in México City, working and running!!!
    But, but, but I´m sure we are going to meet in Dhaka in 2008! So it´s super closer that date!!
    My best wishes today, and always!!!
    Big hug

  2. I am sorry for your loss. Those are lovely words… I could only remember the last few passages, it was a refreshing experience to read and love them all over again. Thanks!

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