Head Of A Severe Ascetic Speaks To You

Poem By Raj Arumugam

restraint, control and moderation
abstinence and severe renunciation
of all effort, emotions and wants
these lead one to knowledge of oneself -
this is the message I send you, those who come,
countless of you after when I am gone

It is now, as it will be in all times...
anxiety, violence and change
parochialism, pain and disorder
all these will follow us like
the wind behind the dust in the air;
and so offer all you have
renounce all your wishes and emotions
offer all abandon and enjoyment
on the altar of the earth...
let the dust of the mind settle

let lack of want abide
and go no more than the vital needs
and you will know the self with clarity
and so stand calm
before the vagaries of the world

above lines based on Head of an Ascetic, ca.2nd-3rd centuries. Terracotta,5 7/8 x 5 x 6 in Brooklyn Museum

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