latter have been re fashioned by poetic master minds are largely individual cre

Latter have been re fashioned by poetic master minds

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latter have been re-fashioned by poetic master-minds, are largely individual cre-ations, and in this respect resemble our modem attempts to deal with traditional forms. As in the works of Shelley and Swin-burne, or, above all, Wagner, there is always in the post-Homeric productions of the Greeks an attempt to stamp old mythological coins with new meanings, new interpretations of existence based on individual experience. On the other hand, in the myths of India we are brought the intuitive, collective wisdom of an age-less, anonymous, and many-sided civilization. One should feel diffident therefore when offering to comment on any Hindu myth. There is always the risk that the opening of one vista may be the closing of another. Details familiar to the Hindu listener as part of his experience and tradition, but strange to the Western reader, must be explained; yet the formu-lation of definite interpretations should be as far as possible eschewed. The predicament, therefore, of Markandeya we shall respectfully leave to speak for itself. The saint, forlorn in the vast expanse of the waters and on the very point of despair, at last became aware of the form of the sleeping god; and he was filled with amazement and a beatific joy. Partly submerged, the enormous shape resembled a moun-tain range breaking out of the waters. It glowed with a wonder-fullight from within. The saint swam nearer, to study the pres-ence; and he had just opened his lips to ask who this was, when the giant seized him, summarily swallowed him, and he was again in the familiar landscape of the interior. Thus abruptly restored to the harmonious world of Vishnu's dream, Markandeya was filled with extreme confusion. He could
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only think of his brief yet unforgettable experience as a kind of vision. Paradoxically, however, he himself, the human being un-able to accept any reality that transcended the interpretative powers of his limited consciousness, was now contained within that divine being, as a figure of its universal dream. And yet to Markandeya, who had been suddenly blessed with a vision of the Supreme Existence-in and by itself, in its all-containing soli-tude and quietude-that revelation likewise had been but a dream. Markandeya, back again, resumed his former life. As before, he wandered over the wide earth, a saintly pilgrim. He observed yogis practicing austerities in the woods. He nodded assent to the kingly donors who performed costly sacrifices, with lavish gifts for the brahmins. He watched brahmins officiating at sac-rificial rituals and receiving generous fees for their effective magic. All castes he saw piously devoted to their proper tasks, and the holy sequence of the Four Stages of Life he observed in full effect among men.· Graciously pleased with this ideal state of affairs, he wandered in safety for another hundred years.
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