Tuesday, April 15, 2014
If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
I am the hymn the Brahmin sings.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Note: This powerful poem by Emerson shows how he was one of the first to introduce Eastern thought into the Western consciousness. At first, the ideas may seem unclear to the Western mind, which insists on reality as a scheme of opposites. Yet, in this poem, the speaker demonstrates that in the ultimate realms, all opposites are reconciled (for Brahma is all that is)--and that even the "great ones" who strive for enlightenment will not reach their goal, for that is reserved for the "meek lover of the good", rather than the exalted ones.