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Saturday, 4 January 2014

Pashugayatri by Banira Giri

Like myriad streams and rivulets flowing into a nameless sea,
like masses of clouds sailing here and there in an infinite sky,
contained within each other animate/inanimate
like KrishnaLila in Brindaban, but, in this holy land of Pashupati,
there lies completely helpless, bereft and naked,
pitiful Bagmati. Our elders would say—sometimes at night,
she, for a wink of an eye, would stand still!
Perhaps in that fine atom-of-time
she would restrain herself in the embrace of Pashupati.
Now, stagnant within, Bagmati . . .
even as she conceals her own nakedness
she sinks from earth deep down into the underworld.
Having descended from heaven into this city of man,
how wretched she is having forgotten her yearning!
In her unconscious Bagmati is slowly becoming godless.
She is neither anxious to sip nor sprinkle holy water.
She remembers neither to pray, nor bow to the god.

Long ago, on the last day of the dark fortnight
sitting in seclusion of maidenhood,
bathing in her own light, the moon would be purified.
Today there is neither splashing nor moonlight,
only the scars of memory remain;
the rush of her waters, an encrusted scab.
In her share of the galaxy there is sand, only sand,
in her portion of the cosmos there is only the river Styx to cross.
Bagmati, her heart full of tears, carrying herself
through the dry banks of her chest,
about to perform the last rites on Aryaghat,
whispers the Pashugayatri mantra in the ears of men,
and she is shocked. “Ay ai! Men are men after all,
though they throw a flood of filth into the Bagmati,
though they make the Bagmati a River-Of-Sand
For men, who have their human rights,
who is she to have them listen to Pasugayatri?”
She herself feels ashamed, troubled, sobs.

In preparation to enter the underworld forever,
seen by no one, for the last time,
she stops for a moment during the still of night,
tries to wash the feet of Lord Pashupati, but cannot.
Bagmati, of only a thin line, only a name,
breathless, weak, waterless, Bagmati, disheartened
while trying to bid farewell to Pashupati
the whips of sand chase her
the whips of sand drive her out.