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At The Dawn Of The Kaliyuga
by [?]

Where we sat on the hillside together that evening the winds were low and the air was misty with light. The huge sunbrowned slope on which we were sitting was sprinkled over with rare spokes of grass; it ran down into the vagueness underneath where dimly the village could be seen veiled by its tresses of lazy smoke. Beyond was a bluer shade and a deeper depth, out of which, mountain beyond mountain, the sacred heights of Himalay rose up through star-sprinkled zones of silver and sapphire air. How gay were our hearts! The silent joy of the earth quickened their beating. What fairy fancies alternating with the sweetest laughter came from childish lips! In us the Golden Age whispered her last, and departed. Up came the white moon, her rays of dusty pearl slanting across the darkness from the old mountain to our feet. “A bridge!” we cried, “Primaveeta, who long to be a sky-walker, here is a bridge for you!”

Primaveeta only smiled; he was always silent; he looked along the gay leagues of pulsating light that lead out to the radiant mystery. We went on laughing and talking; then Primaveeta broke his silence.

“Vyassa,” he said, “I went out in thought, I went into the light, but it was not that light. I felt like a fay; I sparkled with azure and lilac; I went on, and my heart beat with longing for I knew not what, and out and outward I sped till desire stayed and I paused, and the light looked into me full of meaning. I felt like a spark, and the dancing of the sea of joy bore me up, up, up!”

“Primaveeta, who can understand you?” said his little sister Vina, “you always talk of the things no one can see; Vyassa, sing for us.”

“Yes! yes! let Vyassa sing!” they all cried; and they shouted and shouted until I began:–

“Shadowy petalled, like the lotus, loom the mountains with their snows: Through the sapphire Soma rising, such a flood of glory throws As when the first in yellow splendour Brahma from the lotus rose.

“High above the darkening mounds where fade the fairy lights of day, All the tiny planet folk are waving us from far away; Thrilled by Brahma’s breath they sparkle with the magic of the gay.

“Brahma, all alone in gladness, dreams the joys that throng in space, Shepherds all the whirling splendours onward to their resting place, Where at last in wondrous silence fade in One the starry race.”

“Vyassa is just like Primaveeta, he is full of dreams to-night,” said Vina. And indeed I was full of dreams; my laughter had all died away; a vague and indescribable unrest came over me; the universal air around seemed thrilled by the stirring of unknown powers. We sat silent awhile; then Primaveeta cried out: “Oh, look, look, look, the Devas! the bright persons! they fill the air with their shining.”

We saw them pass by and we were saddened, for they were full of solemn majesty; overhead a chant came from celestial singers full of the agony of farewell and departure, and we knew from their song that the gods were about to leave the earth which would nevermore or for ages witness their coming. The earth and the air around it seemed to tingle with anguish. Shuddering we drew closer together on the hillside while the brightness of the Devas passed onward and away; and clear cold and bright as ever, the eternal constellations, which change or weep not, shone out, and we were alone with our sorrow. To awed we were to speak, but we clung closer together and felt a comfort in each other; and so, crouched in silence; within me I heard as from far away a note of deeper anguish, like a horn blown out of the heart of the ancient Mother over a perished hero: in a dread moment I saw the death and the torment; he was her soul-point, the light she wished to shine among men. What would follow in the dark ages to come, rose up before me in shadowy, over-crowding pictures; like the surf of a giant ocean they fluctuated against the heavens, crested with dim, giantesque and warring figures. I saw stony warriors rushing on to battle; I heard their fierce hard laughter as they rode over the trampled foe; I saw smoke arise from a horrible burning, and thicker and blacker grew the vistas, with here and there a glow from some hero-heart that kept the true light shining within. I turned to Primaveeta who was crouched beside me: he saw with me vision for vision, but, beyond the thick black ages that shut me out from hope, he saw the resurrection of the True, and the homecoming of the gods. All this he told me later, but now our tears were shed together. Then Primaveeta rose up and said, “Vyasa, where the lights were shining, where they fought for the True, there you and I must fight; for, from them spreads out the light of a new day that shall dawn behind the darkness.” I saw that he was no longer a dreamer; his face was firm with a great resolve. I could not understand him, but I determined to follow him, to fight for the things he fought for, to work with him, to live with him, to die with him; and so, thinking and trying to understand, my thought drifted back to that sadness of the mother which I had first felt. I saw how we share joy or grief with her, and, seized with the inspiration of her sorrow, I sang about her loved one:–

“Does the earth grow grey with grief
For her hero darling fled?
Though her vales let fall no leaf,
In our hearts her tears are shed.

“Still the stars laugh on above,
Not to them her grief is said;
Mourning for her hero love
In our hearts her tears are shed.

“We her children mourn for him,
Mourn the elder hero dead;
In the twilight grey and dim
In our hearts the tears are shed.”

“Vyassa,” they said, “you will break our hearts.” And we sat in silence and sorrow more complete till we heard weary voices calling up to us from the darkness below: “Primaveeta! Vyassa! Chandra! Parvati! Vina! Vasudeva!” calling all our names. We went down to our homes in the valley; the breadth of glory had passed away from the world, and our hearts were full of the big grief that children hold.

–October 15, 1893