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Story of the bird that was faint with thirst



A BIRD was faint with thirst, 1145
The breath in his body was heaving like waves of smoke.
He saw a diamond in the garden:
Thirst created a vision of water.
Deceived by the sun bright stone
The foolish bird fancied that it was water. 1150
He got no moisture from the gem:
He pecked it with his beak, but it did not wet his palate.
"O thrall of vain desire," said the diamond.
Thou hast sharpened thy greedy beak on me;
But lam not a dew drop, I give no drink, 1155
I do not live for the sake of others.
Wouldst thou hurt me? Thou art mad!
A lie that reveals the Self is strange to thee.
MY water will shiver the beaks of birds
And break the jewel of man's like."91 1160
The bird won not his heart's wish from the diamond
And turned away from the sparkling stone.
Disappointment swelled in his breast,
The song in his throat became a wail.
Upon a rose-twig a drop of dew 1165
Gleamed like the tear in a nightingale's eye:
All its glitter was owing to the sun,
It was trembling in fear ' Of the sun—A restless sky born star
That had stopped for a moment, from desire to be seen; 1170
Oft deceived by bud and flower,
It had gained nothing from Life.
There it hung, ready to drop.
Like a tear on the eyelashes of a lover who hath lost his heart.
The sorely distressed bird hopped under the rose-bush. 1175
The dewdrop trickled into his mouth.
O thou that wouldst deliver thy soul from enemies.
I ask thee "Art thou a drop of water or a gem ?"
When the bird melted in the fire of thirst,
It appropriated the life of another. 1180
The drop was not solid and gem-like;
The diamond had a being, the drop had none.
Never for an instant neglect Self-preservation:
Be a diamond, not a dewdrop!
Be massive in nature, like mountains, 1185
And bear on thy crest a hundred clouds laden with floods of rain!
Save thyself by affirmation of Self,
Compress thy quick silver into silver ore!
Produce a melody from the string of Self,
Make manifest the secrets of Self! 1190


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