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Shakespeare’s Sonnet 107 and Timelessness

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Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
Of the wide world dreaming on things to come,
Can yet the lease of my true love control,
Suppos’d as forfeit to a confin’d doom.
The mortal moon hath her eclipse endur’d,
And the sad augurs mock their own presage;
Incertainties now crown themselves assur’d,
And peace proclaims olives of endless age.
Now with the drops of this most balmy time
My love looks fresh, and Death to me subscribes,
Since, spite of him, I’ll live in this poor rime,
While he insults o’er dull and speechless tribes:
And thou in this shalt find thy monument,
When tyrants’ crests and tombs of brass are spent.


The idea of timelessness, eternity, immortality must be true as we wish, look and aim for it in some way or the other. Imagining living continuously, building and creating happy ways of life, chiselling and shaping the continuous source of happiness, we forgetfully live with the idea of forever.

The decisive time gone by, the melting present and the secret future, though definite, knows the indefinite. And one is lured, naturally, to know and identify with the indefinite. Why? For the indefinite is the absolute. So? The absolute appears to be complete, eternal, beyond the cyclic drama and free. Then? We may be a part of it or we too may want to be complete. And so? I don’t know, I am living forgetfully with the idea of forever, remember.

Shakespeare, the greatest and most famous playwright ever, via his works, attained immortality and this is what he celebrated in Sonnet 107. Full of creative splendour, he announced his lead on rusty cenotaphs and statues of the rulers.


The Battle at Gavelines and Elizabeth I at Tilbury (Pastiche).
The painting presents a stylized account of the battle of Gravelines between the Spanish Armada and the English fleet, including the beacons, Elizabeth’s address at Tilbury, and the battle itself in a single montage on three jointed pieces of fine tabby-weave linen. 
[Source – Wikimedia Commons]

“The mortal moon hath her eclipse endured”

That the grand, rock-hard, grave and lovely moon too continues its finite journey, eroding gradually, black red white, suggests that the moon knows well the infinite’s will. Or else why will it so humbly accept its role? This long journey, then, is no less than a quiet meditation. The deep circular craters are the timekeepers and the moon knows it.

One of William Shakespeare’s renowned 154 Sonnets, Sonnet 107 is often linked with the contemporary events of the time: the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), Queen Elizabeth’s death (in 1603), the Long Turkish War (1593-1606); the Armada charged in a crescent formation, Queen Elizabeth was also called Cynthia (name of the Greek moon goddess), the Ottoman Empire’s flag boasted the crescent moon symbol.

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Elizabeth I of England.
The portrait was made to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada (depicted in the background).
[Source – Wikipedia]

In times so precarious, one would want to hold on to a secure thought or remember the limits of mortality, mocking unabashedly the warmongers and peace-lovers alike, or even hope to create something timeless.


Read the wonderfully crisp commentary on Sonnet 107, here.

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First image from Pixabay


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Walking A Gatha

Walking straight, walking on the mountain listening to The Times They Are A Changin’ I saw nothing, neither the trees nor the rocks, neither the shadow nor the light, and just kept walking ahead. Mountain talked, I didn’t hear, until I bent a little. It said, ‘you will reach your destination, you will, for sure’, and happily I smiled, crossed my hands behind my back and continued walking.

Swiftly I moved forward, there was no stopping me. Dashing ahead I crossed jungles after jungles, I played with the shadows and the light, I didn’t even wait for the wind. Like a curse, definitely a curse, a disaster hit me – I started panting. It never happened all this while, why now? Then I remembered faintly of what the mountain told me… I pleaded it to guide me again, the mountain listened. It said, ‘know patience, know the truth and its power’, I bowed down and stopped walking. I stopped for the first time in my travel; I learned the art of deep breathing. Ages passed there; then I left in search.

In search of what I was looking for. I was looking for what I was in search of.

Familiar with the pace of the trees canopying me, stopping and listening to the rocks and their untold gathas, attuned with the shadow and the light, I kept walking when I reached near a ferociously musical river. It carried along ocean’s depth and waves’ nimble notes… ‘will merge with the ocean, I do not wait for anyone’, replied the river to my question – can you please let me pass.

So I changed my path and followed the river. Who said you can’t? Change… change and move ahead.

Right where the river met the ocean, where it all seemed to end, where trees, rocks, shadow and light all disappeared, music stayed by my side and showed me a narrow, slippery way to cross the river. I stepped in, the water was cold, but shallow and so I could cross easily. It was shallow for a reason.

Shallowness exists for a reason.

With joy and cheer I continued along, I danced on the way, I slept peacefully and then walked leisurely. I sang, the tune echoed. My mind envisioned a valley of flowers and pink clouds when suddenly I tumbled down. I was hurt. My dream shattered and cold winds bruised me badly. It started hailing. I shouted angrily for snatching my peace. Who knows at whom?

The weather opposed me and pinned me down, I accepted defeat. I kept lying half dead for the time to change… when it did, I woke up and saw as the fog disappeared that there was a huge mountain standing in front of me. I couldn’t stop smiling, a new journey was going to begin. Climbing the mountain I listened again to Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’. I didn’t know it, but I was free.

I have always been free.

The times they are a changin’ by Bob Dylan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ


I wish to SEE Tibet

Certain things are meant to be, but while we are living a moment, we rarely understand this beautiful phenomenon.

I am calling it a beautiful phenomenon because sooner or later we are able to gauge its magnanimity and purity. Everything simply falls into place.  

Early last year, I bought a book from a second hand street bookshop. The cover page captured my attention and reading a few lines here and there, I told myself that I am in for a treat. And happily, I wasn’t wrong.  

The last time I saw Tibet’ took me to the land of the gods, to an eternal pilgrimage, to witness the serene beauty of the pious land and gave me a humbling experience.

Yes, the book is magical. There were times when a mere description of the icy winds blowing in a small village, Thokchen, at a height of almost 15,700 feet, made me quiver and a few lines about the picturesque valley that the author gazed upon left me in a trance.

His visits to the ancient and grand monasteries – Drepung, Sera and Ganden, to the fabulous Jokhang temple in Lhasa, to the royal palaces – Potala and Norbulingka – of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and especially his journey to the Kailashnath and Mansarovar offered me a spiritual spectacle, a chance to feel the presence of the Supreme One.

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This fabulous travelogue by Bimal Dey along with presenting the reader with the wonderful scenic beauty of Tibet talks about its rich culture, about the mystical Lamas, about the simple, poor but happy people of Tibet.

What makes his journey to Tibet an immensely special tale is the fact that he traveled in the year 1956, when he was only 16, along with a group of lamas and theirs was the last group of pilgrims to do so until the dawn of the 21st century.  

The book cover. [Source – goodreads.com]

The glory of Tibet, the land that accepted Buddhism wholly and spread its enlightening knowledge everywhere in the world, is now a tale of the past. With the Revered Dalai Lama living a life of a refugee in India since 1959 and the maximum number of Tibetan lamas either living in India or abroad, the spirit of Tibet has weakened.

Tibet, under the rule of China, is not what it was. Can development now seen in Tibet be acknowledged when the soul of the land is quietly being crushed every day?

The number of monasteries destroyed in the past, the so called Cultural Revolution that took place in Tibet, the bloodshed of countless monks and nuns, the sudden disappearances of the religious leaders, the number of Tibetans who have given into self-immolation will shock you, it will dishearten you.  

I was aware about the plight of the Tibetans before I read this book. Reading about their on-going fight troubled me as I felt helpless. But slowly something brought a change, my efforts to understand Buddhism through whatever means possible, made me realize that Buddhahood is present in everyone, it cannot be conquered, it cannot be oppressed.

Rather, if one starts recognizing it, such a person can achieve complete freedom. And I concluded and told myself that Tibet is free.  

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Prayer flags. [ Source – Pixabay]

‘The last time I saw Tibet’ was meant to be read by me because after finishing this book I again felt that Tibet is free. How lovely this feeling is, how empowering! Such is the positivity with which this book has been written.

All the facts will defy this statement at the moment, but Tibet, its culture and its religion is not about facts, it is about the spiritual connection with the Ultimate One, with the Lord Buddha, the enlightened one, whose blessings are always there with every free mind.

Caught in the political drama some may not be able to understand this, Tibet –the roof of the world, where gods reside- is, was and will remain free.

Time, no matter years or decades, will seal this thought with grandeur that the peaceful land of Tibet deserves.

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Tibet… picturesque, peaceful and pious. [Source – Pixabay]

Also, read about the history of Tibet here.  


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A Painting That Sways

Paint and sway.
Image by Pixabay.

Delicately touched

Touched only to sway

Swayed with love

And loved just to say

To say it loud enough

Enough of the artificial blue light

Pure blue light of the sky and the moon

The sky and the moon that play a harmony together

Together they sing to me

Me, who breathes quite often,

Often they sing and I dance

Dance like I am a cloud close to them

A cloud close to them that is me

Me, who dreams to be free,

Free like the painting of a moonlit night

And a moonlit night will always say

‘Hey, paint well and remember to sway.’


Weekly Newsletter

A weekly dose of stories! Get the posts from the Chiming Stories in your inbox and read it when you can. Subscribe now, it is free!


Recent Posts