RAJ NANDY

(CALCUTTA, NOW SETTLED IN NEW DELHI)

***A TRIBUTE TO PROMETHEUS FOR HIS GIFT OF FIRE!


A TRIBUTE TO PROMETHEUS:
FOR HIS GIFT OF FIRE!
(A GREEK LEGEND)

BACKGROUND
Prometheus or ‘foresight’, and his brother
Epimetheus or ‘afterthought’, -
Were sons of Titans Lapestus and Themis;
Who during the revolt of Titans against Zeus -
had sided the Gods!
So they had been tasked to fashion humans and
animals from water and mud, -
A task allotted by the Gods as their reward!
Prometheus made humans out of clay,
But in the image of the Gods, much to Zeus’
dismay!
Goddess Athena had breathed life into them,
But Prometheus fell in love with his created
men!
He wanted to bestow on them a special gift,
To make them superior to animals and uplift!
Prometheus was also given the task, –
Of creating a sacrificial procedure for the Gods, -
Which should become binding and forever last!
But Prometheus tricked the Gods by offering
bones and fats,
By wrapping them in an attractive sacrificial pack!
The good meat he had saved for mankind,
For he wanted them to survive and dine!
This angered Zeus who condemned all mortal men,
To languish in cold caves and eat raw meat of
animals!
He denied mankind that precious gift of fire,
With which Prometheus hoped to elevate mankind
entire!
For Zeus hoped that the human race would soon
become extinct,
Should this gift of fire be withheld by him!

THE GIFT OF FIRE!
Prometheus the benefactor, from the thunderbolts
of Zeus, -
Stole god’s flames and had them all confused!
In a fennel-stick he hid this fire, and gifted it to
mankind entire!
He taught mankind how to control, - this raging
fire which was god’s very own!
The fire gave humans heat and light, cooked food
and comfort, - long denied!
A fire also got lit in human minds and hearts,
Igniting man’s creative passion in all his endeavors!
The quest for knowledge soon became an undying
flame, -
Spreading amongst the Summerians, the Egyptians,
the Greeks and the Babylonians!
As civilizations rose and fell and men began to strive
and seek, -
Philosophy and science got developed by the Greeks!
Men invoked the God of Fire under various names,
Why should Prometheus suffer or be held to blame? !
The Rig Veda has eloquent verses on the Agni Devta,
And the Zoroastrians worship fire – enshrined in their
Holy Book the Zend Avesta!

VENGENCE OF ZEUS!
Therefore, truly speaking this vengeance of Zeus,
Has me even to this day - totally confused!
Zeus had Prometheus chained to a treacherous rock,
High up on the desolate mountain side of Caucasus!
Where an eagle gorged and devoured his liver every
day;
Which regenerated itself at night as myths says, -
Since Prometheus was immortal unlike his created
men!
He was condemned for life, with no sleep or rest
or moments respite, -
For becoming a rebel against injustice and helping
mankind!
After thousands of years of suffering he was finally
set free,
When the valiant Hercules shot the eagle - setting
Prometheus free!
Shelley in his lyrical poem ‘Prometheus Unbound’,
Makes this ‘harbinger of fire’ a cult figure of history, -
though uncrowned!
Unlike ‘Prometheus Bound’ of the Greek dramatist
Aeschylus, -
Shelley’s Prometheus refused to reconcile - since Zeus
he did not trust!
By overthrowing Zeus he destroyed tyranny, political
and religious intolerance,
And established unconditional liberty for mankind as
a consequence!

But the trickster Zeus also punished the humans through
a beautiful maiden Pandora,
By marrying her off to Prometheus’ brother Epimetheus.
And by presenting her with a jeweled box, which had
made her very curious!
Moment Pandora opened this forbidden box to look
inside,
Plague, diseases and all kinds of miseries flew up
outside!
Strangely enough ‘hope’ was the last to came out of
Pandora’s Box,
Perhaps it was not to be treated as a misfortune after
all!
It inspired mankind with the ability to aspire and
progress,
For with ‘fire’ and ‘hope’ mankind was forever
blessed!
- Raj Nandy
11 Dec 09
New Delhi

FOOT NOTES: -
Another outcome of my research work, where I had to exclude
many minor Mythological details! Prometheus was initially a confident
of Zeus, but fell from his favour by giving FIRE to mankind! Zeus feared
that with this gift of Fire, humans would become greater than Gods!
Because of Prometheus, only bones & fats are offered as sacrifices to the Gods!
Pandora was the first women to be sent in the kingdom of men
by Zeus! By ensuring that all successive mankind took birth form her womb & by releasing all miseries from the Pandora's Box, Zeus ensured that humans remain forever as mortals & suffer death! Shelley in keeping with the Spirit of the Romantic Movement of his period, sets
free Greek dramatist Aeschylus' -'PrometheusBound', by composing
his - ‘Prometheus Unbound’!
In keeping with the spirit of the French Revolution, Shelley’s Prometheus rebels against the established authority of Zeus the tyrant, and overthrows Him to establish a new social order, justice and liberty - for Mankind!
******ALL COPY RIGHTS ARE RESERVED BY RAJ NANDY*****

Submitted: Friday, December 11, 2009
Edited: Friday, December 25, 2009

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Comments about this poem (***A TRIBUTE TO PROMETHEUS FOR HIS GIFT OF FIRE! by RAJ NANDY )

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  • Mamta Agarwal (12/25/2009 6:13:00 AM)

    Raj, I am totally spellbound by your passion for delving into ancient mythology and igniting my imagination and passion for reading classical poets.
    now reading Shelley is a must for me, thanks to you, for i have read only his lesser known works.
    this fight between mortals and Gods is as old as creation. your poems and tributes to these long forgotten heroes confined to history pages is a gift for contemporary readers and thinkers.

    thanks

    Merry xmas and a happy new year.

    Mamta (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Martyres (12/20/2009 6:54:00 AM)

    Raj thank you for sharing your knowledge through this brillant piece on Prometheus....who has indeed fired your imagination and ours after reading your historical work on a mythical character and the origin of fire...10 (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Martyres (12/20/2009 6:49:00 AM)

    Raj thank you for sharing your knowledge through this brillant piece on Prometheus....who has indeed fired your imagination and ours after reading this historical work on this mythical character and the origin of fire...10 (Report) Reply

  • Nikunj Sharma (12/14/2009 10:57:00 PM)

    your poems open a window not only to a world that is unknown or untouched by younger souls, but also to 'I think I know it all ' types too. Its indeed enriching to read through this piece, and understand the history and genesis of one of the five elements that makes life much more comfortable and enjoyable.... thank you for sharing...Imagine what a poet would be, with out the fire of imagination....10 marks (Report) Reply

  • Ritty Patnaik (12/13/2009 7:43:00 AM)

    dear raj....the fire element is of course a very important thing in the panchabhoota.one cannot immagine functioning without the other four elements too.each one is indispensible in our very being and existence.lovely poem based on origin of fire....i wonder still about its origin.your poem is beautiful and enlightening.thanks for sharing.
    ritty (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Fowler (12/13/2009 4:08:00 AM)

    One again you bring an ancient world
    to life with beauty and grace. I am enchanted.
    May the flame of knowledge always burn
    brightly in the windows of your soul.

    Always your friend,

    Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Shamik Bose (12/12/2009 2:32:00 PM)

    This stands as a mythical poetry, standing on the aegean sea, will serve as a finest writing. I have a great pleasure to read this. Your wisdom is unfathomable! (Report) Reply

  • Raj Nandy (12/11/2009 10:26:00 PM)

    Friends, the mythical figure of Prometheus stands like a colosus even to this day!
    Aeschylus, Hesoid, Ovid, Shelley, Byron, Keats, - all have composed verses on him! With fire he brought warmth, light, enlightenment and progress for manknd! Inspired by those all time greats, - I tried to pay my tribute in a humble way! Thanks for reading! (Report) Reply

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