There are times when we get a bit too impatient with the developments happening around us – whether in our personal lives or in the larger society and polity around us, when we want immediate turnarounds, when we wish for things to change quickly and according to our preferences, when we take a short view of events and happenings, when we forget that larger and invisible forces are indeed shaping things beyond what our rational minds can ever plan or know….at all those times it is important to remember that Time is indeed playing with its marbles. Nothing stays the same.
The Marbles of Time
Institutions, empires, civilisations are the marbles of Time. Time, sitting in his banqueting hall of the Ages, where prophets and kings are the spice of his banquet, drinking the red wine of life and death, while on the marble floor at his feet are strewn like flowers the images of the same stars that shone on the pride of Nahusha, the tapasya of Dhruv and the splendours of Yayati, that saw Tiglath-Pileser, Sennacherib and the Egyptian Pharaohs, Pompey’s head hewn off on the sands of Egypt and Caesar bleeding at Pompey’s sculptured feet, Napoleon’s mighty legions thundering victorious at the bidding of that god of war on the field of Austerlitz and Napoleon’s panic legions fleeing disordered with pursuit and butchery behind them from that last field of Waterloo, –— Time, the Kala Purusha, drunk with the fumes of death and the tears and laughter of mortals, sits and plays there with his marbles. There are marbles there of all kinds, marbles of all colours, and some are dull and grey, some glorious with hearts of many colours, some white and pure as a dove’s wings, –— but he plays with them all equally and equally he thrusts them all away when he has done with them. Sometimes even, in his drunkenness, he hurls them out of his window or lifts his mace and deals blows here and there smashing into fragments the bright and brittle globes, and he laughs as they smash and crumble. So Time, the god, sits and plays for ever with his marbles.~ Sri Aurobindo, Essays Divine and Human, p. 379
Just as I was about to publish this post, I remembered a poem by Amrita Pritam, in which she speaks of the fleeting nature of Time and Life in her own style. Sri Aurobindo’s Time-marbles here take the form of water that squeezes out through a cracked earthern pot. What is today doesn’t last till tomorrow…time like water flows on.
How interesting that Truth can be seen and expressed in so many different ways.
(Presented here is Amrita’s poem in the voice of Gulzar.)