Kamanita And Vasitthi
[By KARL GJELLERUP]
AND THEY WERE the last I heard on earth.
My life‐force was exhausted; fever held my senses
figures round about me — Medinī's face often near to
mine. Then everything became dark.
Suddenly, it seemed as if a cool bath were extin‐
guishing my burning fever. I felt as a traveller standing on
the brink of a pond in the blazing sun may well imagine
the lotus feels when, wholly submerged in the cool water
of the spring, it imbibes a refreshing draught through
every fibre. At the same time it became light overhead, and
I saw there above me a great floating red lotus flower and
over its edge bent your belovèd face. Then I ascended
without effort and awoke beside you in the Paradise of the
"And blessings on you," said Kāmanīta, "that, led by
your love, you followed that path. Where would I be now
if you had not joined me there? True, I don't know
whether we shall be able to escape from the terrible
wreckage of these ruined worlds — nevertheless, you
inspire me with confidence for you seem to be as little
disturbed by these horrors as the sunbeam by the storm."
"One who has seen the greater, my friend, is not
in a thrall. Like fleeting dream‐pictures I still saw the
moved by the less. And this — that thousands upon thou‐
sands of worlds should pass away — is of trifling signifi‐
cance compared with the entering into Final Nirvāna of a
Perfect Buddha. For all this that we see around us is only a
process of change, and all these beings will enter again
into existence. Yonder Hundred‐thousandfold Brahmā
who, burning with rage, resists the inevitable and in all
probability regards even us enviously because we quietly
continue to shine, he will reappear on some lower plane
while some other aspiring spirit will arise as the Great
Brahmā. All beings will appear where the deepest desire of
their hearts and the tides of their karma guides them. On the
whole, however, everything will be as it was — neither
better nor worse — because it will be created, as it were,
out of the same material. For this reason I call this a very
small matter. And, for the same reason, I consider it not
only not terrible, but actually a matter of rejoicing to live
through this wrecking of worlds. For if this Brahmā world
were eternal, there would be nothing higher."
"Then you know of something higher than this
"This Brahmā world, as you see, passes away. But
there is that which does not pass, which shall have no end
and which has had no beginning. 'There is,' said the
Master, 'a realm where there is neither earth nor water,
neither light nor air, neither infinitude of space nor infini‐
tude of consciousness, neither perception nor the lack of
perception; where there is neither this world nor another
world, or moon or sun; and this I call neither a coming nor
a going, nor a staying, neither a dying nor a birth; it has no
basis, no evolution and no support; it is the end of suffer‐
ing, the place of rest, the island of peace, the invisible
"Help me, sweet and holy one, in order that we
may rise again together there, in the land of peace!"
"'That we shall rise again there,' the Master has
said, 'cannot truly be said of that realm,' and — 'That we
shall not rise again there, that is also not true.' Any appel‐
lation by which you make anything tangible and capable
of being grasped, is untrue in this respect."
"But what is the value to me of that which I cannot
"Rather ask — is that which can be grasped, worth
stretching out one's hand for?"
"Oh, Vāsitthī, truly I believe I must have murdered
a brahmin at some time, or committed some horrible crime
that pursued me so cruelly with its retribution in that little
street in Rājagaha. For if I had not been so suddenly thrust
out of life there I would have sat at the Master's feet, and
would also assuredly have been present, as you were, at
his Final Nirvāna and now I would be as you are.
"Vāsitthī — while thought and perception are still
ours, please do just one thing for love of me: describe the
Blessèd One to me exactly, so that I may see him in spirit
and thereby maybe obtain what was not possible for me
on earth. That will surely bring me some peace."
"Gladly, my friend," she answered. And she de‐
scribed to him the appearance of the Buddha, feature by
feature, not forgetting even the smallest detail.
But in a tone of deep discontentment, Kāmanīta
said: "What use are descriptions! All of what you say now
could just as well have been said of that old ascetic, the
one I told you that I spent the night with in the hall of the
potter in Rājagaha, and who I now realise was not quite so
foolish as I had believed, for he indeed said much that
**********to be continued***********
Edited by yawares
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