An Essence of the Dusk, 5th Edition eBook

F. W. Bain
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 56 pages of information about An Essence of the Dusk, 5th Edition.

I.

May that triumphant Lord protect us, who as he stands in mysterious meditation, bathed in twilight, motionless, and ashy pale[1], with the crystal moon in his yellow hair, appears to the host of worshippers on his left, a woman, and to those on his right, a man.

   [1] Being actually smeared with ashes.  The god is of course
   Shiwa, and the allusion is to his Ardhanari, or half
   male, half female form.

There lived of old, on the edge of the desert, a raja of the race of the sun.  And like that sun reflected at midday in the glassy depths of the Manasa lake, he had an image of himself in the form of a son[2], who exactly resembled him in every particular, except age.  And he gave him the name of Aja, for he said:  He is not another, but my very self that has conquered death, and passed without birth straight over into another body.  Moreover, he will resemble his ancestor, and the god after whom I have called him Aja[3].  So as this son grew up, his father’s delight in him grew greater also.  For he was tall as a shala tree, and very strong, and yet like another God of Love:  for his face was more beautiful than the face of any woman, with large eyes like lapis-lazuli, and lips like laughter incarnate:  so that his father, as often as he looked at him, said to himself:  Surely the Creator has made a mistake, and mixed up his male and female ingredients, and made him half and half.  For if only he had had a twin sister, it would have been difficult to tell with certainty, which was which.

   [2] This punning assonance is precisely in the vein of the
   original.

[3] This name (pronounce Aj- to rhyme with trudge) meaning both unborn and a goat, is a name of the sun (who was a goat in Assyria), the soul, Brahma, Wishnu, Shiwa, the God of Love, and others.  It was also the name of Rama’s grandfather.

And then, when Aja was eighteen, his father died.  And immediately, his relations conspired against him, led by his maternal uncle.  And they laid a plot, and seized him at night, and bound him when he was asleep:  for they dared not attack him when he was awake, for fear of his courage and his prodigious strength.  And they deliberated over him, as he lay bound, what they should do with him:  and some of them were for putting him to death, then and there.  But the prime minister, who was in the plot, persuaded them to let him live:  saying to himself:  In this way I shall make for myself a loophole of escape, in case he should ever regain his throne.

Then in the early morning, his uncle and his other relations took him away, and laid him bound on a swift camel.  And mounting others, they hurried him away into the desert, going at full speed for hours, till they reached its very heart.  And there they set him down.  And they placed beside him a little water in a small skin, and a little bag of corn.  And his uncle said:  Now, O nephew, we will leave thee, alone with thy shadow and thy life in the sand.  And if thou canst save thyself, by going away to the western quarter, lo! it is open before thee.  But beware of attempting to return home, towards the rising sun.  For I will set guards to watch thy coming, and I will not spare thee a second time.

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An Essence of the Dusk, 5th Edition from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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