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Full Online Book HomePlaysChitra, A Play In One Act - Scene II
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Chitra, A Play In One Act - Scene II Post by :danlohye Category :Plays Author :Rabindranath Tagore Date :May 2011 Read :2204

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Chitra, A Play In One Act - Scene II

SCENE II


Arjuna
WAS I dreaming or was what I saw by the lake truly there?
Sitting on the mossy turf, I mused over bygone years in the
sloping shadows of the evening, when slowly there came out from
the folding darkness of foliage an apparition of beauty in the
perfect form of a woman, and stood on a white slab of stone at
the water's brink. It seemed that the heart of the earth must
heave in joy under her bare white feet. Methought the vague
veilings of her body should melt in ecstasy into air as the
golden mist of dawn melts from off the snowy peak of the eastern
hill. She bowed herself above the shining mirror of the lake and
saw the reflection of her face. She started up in awe and stood
still; then smiled, and with a careless sweep of her left arm
unloosed her hair and let it trail on the earth at her feet. She
bared her bosom and looked at her arms, so flawlessly modelled,
and instinct with an exquisite caress. Bending her head she
saw the sweet blossoming of her youth and the tender bloom and
blush of her skin. She beamed with a glad surprise. So, if the
white lotus bud on opening her eyes in the morning were to arch
her neck and see her shadow in the water, would she wonder at
herself the livelong day. But a moment after the smile passed
from her face and a shade of sadness crept into her eyes. She
bound up her tresses, drew her veil over her arms, and sighing
slowly, walked away like a beauteous evening fading into the
night. To me the supreme fulfilment of desire seemed to have
been revealed in a flash and then to have vanished. . . . But who
is it that pushes the door?


(Enter CHITRA, dressed as a woman.)

Ah! it is she. Quiet, my heart! . . . Fear me not, lady! I am
a Kshatriya.


Chitra
Honoured sir, you are my guest. I live in this temple. I know
not in what way I can show you hospitality.


Arjuna
Fair lady, the very sight of you is indeed the highest
hospitality. If you will not take it amiss I would ask you a
question.


Chitra
You have permission.


Arjuna
What stern vow keeps you immured in this solitary temple,
depriving all mortals of a vision of so much loveliness?


Chitra
I harbour a secret desire in my heart, for the fulfilment of
which I offer daily prayers to Lord Shiva.


Arjuna
Alas, what can you desire, you who are the desire of the whole
world! From the easternmost hill on whose summit the morning sun
first prints his fiery foot to the end of the sunset land have I
travelled. I have seen whatever is most precious, beautiful and
great on the earth. My knowledge shall be yours, only say for
what or for whom you seek.


Chitra
He whom I seek is known to all.

Arjuna
Indeed! Who may this favourite of the gods be, whose fame has
captured your heart?

Chitra
Sprung from the highest of all royal houses, the greatest of all
heroes is he.


Arjuna
Lady, offer not such wealth of beauty as is yours on the altar of
false reputation. Spurious fame spreads from tongue to tongue
like the fog of the early dawn before the sun rises. Tell me who
in the highest of kingly lines is the supreme hero?


Chitra
Hermit, you are jealous of other men's fame. Do you not know
that all over the world the royal house of the Kurus is the most
famous?


Arjuna
The house of the Kurus!


Chitra
And have you never heard of the greatest name of that far-famed
house?


Arjuna
From your own lips let me hear it.


Chitra
Arjuna, the conqueror of the world. I have culled from the
mouths of the multitude that imperishable name and hidden it with
care in my maiden heart. Hermit, why do you look perturbed? Has
that name only a deceitful glitter? Say so, and I will not
hesitate to break this casket of my heart and throw the false gem
to the dust.

Arjuna
Be his name and fame, his bravery and prowess false or true, for
mercy's sake do not banish him from your heart--for he kneels at
your feet even now.


Chitra
You, Arjuna!


Arjuna
Yes, I am he, the love-hungered guest at your door.


Chitra
Then it is not true that Arjuna has taken a vow of chastity for
twelve long years?


Arjuna
But you have dissolved my vow even as the moon dissolves the
night's vow of obscurity.


Chitra
Oh, shame upon you! What have you seen in me that makes you
false to yourself? Whom do you seek in these dark eyes, in these
milk-white arms, if you are ready to pay for her the price of
your probity? Not my true self, I know. Surely this cannot be
love, this is not man's highest homage to woman! Alas, that this
frail disguise, the body, should make one blind to the light of
the deathless spirit! Yes, now indeed, I know, Arjuna, the fame
of your heroic manhood is false.


Arjuna
Ah, I feel how vain is fame, the pride of prowess! Everything
seems to me a dream. You alone are perfect; you are the wealth
of the world, the end of all poverty, the goal of all efforts,
the one woman! Others there are who can be but slowly known.
While to see you for a moment is to see perfect completeness
once and for ever.


Chitra
Alas, it is not I, not I, Arjuna! It is the deceit of a god.
Go, go, my hero, go. Woo not falsehood, offer not your great
heart to an illusion. Go.


___
End of Scene II (Rabindranath Tagore's play/drama: Chitra)

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