Song Of The Happy Cripple - Poem by Bipin Patsani
Each fault is a new discovery
In the search for truth,
And hence, a part of the creative process.
What harm is there if Columbus missed the way
And reached a continent?
If you call it ignorance not to be ashamed
Nor penitent of being what I am,
Well then, let it be ignorance.
Why should I know your dos and don’ts?
That is not truth anyway.
I am drawn to the forbidden like a baby.
Only when you stare at my crippled leg,
I feel an ache, a discomfort.
Only when you thrust upon me a sense of guilt
I begin to ask myself, “Am I guilty? ”
Why do you look so strange?
Are you a fish that loves to poke around
From sheer instinct? Poke then how much you like.
If I don’t like my being a cripple,
I don’t hate it either. Grown accustomed to it,
I can well be indifferent.
I am free like a bird in my own world, and can still
Appreciate the vastness of the blue in a cool composure,
Where light is light, and darkness meditation.
Yesterday, when I was in the lavatory,
I recalled some lines from the Gita.
But in the temple or church I forget what to pray.
I simply watch people and the face of the deity
In childlike curiosity.
I don’t remember if I wronged anyone.
Tell me what should I pray?
That I sinned being born and coming such and such way?
I hardly stopped anywhere.
Have I not come?
Truth is greater than making or breaking of laws.
Do you call knowledge a sin?
If it is so, pour it into my cup full to the brim.
I’ll drink deep without any sense of loss or shame.
I’ll embrace any sin that can be of some knowledge
And help the process of evolution.
(First published in 1981 in 'Indian Scholar')
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