A- A+

Dr. Faustus
by Swami Krishnananda

(Explaining the contrast between Self and worldly existence)

As Faustus, the Doctor, longed for widest range
Of knowledge, power and of glory great,
Surpassing known limits of human ken
And sold the soul for exchange world's treasures,
So mortal wealth summons the mortgaging
Of Spirit calm and inward unbeheld.
The learned Faustus sat up visaging things
And wondered at the joys that power grants,
To possess which became his passion's peak.
When mind's intent on what it craves and broods
Becomes the master, objects assume life.
There, then, the gangs of all that one renounced
On poverty's account do rise and speak
In all the sweetness thought can fathom e'r.
The love consciousness pours on its contents
Builds up the bridge across to outer forms,
And ushers in the vista Faustus awaits.

A darkened shape clothed in the worst of dreads
Presented itself as the lord of gifts,
To chagrin first of Faustus and his horror
Whom, then, he quoth, "Who art thou standest here?"
"I am thy wish, the granter of all boons,
Ask now thy loves, thy greeds, thy joys, thy hopes,
In one instant thou wilt thy askings find
At once here and now in abundance."
Faustus quailed in glee at omni-powers chance,
When that the awesome form did quickly quip
And said, "But thou shalt also give returned
Something, though that be paltry in quantum
To what I rain on thee as royalty."
Faustus thought awhile and pondered what he had
To in return exchange for what he got
From Daimon dark who offered all the world
To Faustus with all its colour, sound and joy.
"Why thinkest thou, thou hast thyself thy soul.
Give it to me, and all the glories take."
So quoth the Dark One to the chagrin Faustus's
For knew he not if there was soul at all,
And if it is, where is it's habitat.

Musing again in thought if soul there is,
Faustus offered it, if it was there at all,
For lost he none in losing soul for world,
Which lay unfolded in its variety,
As thousand heavens rolled up in one's palm.
"Take it, then, from me, whatever worth it is,
Thou sayest 'Give,' and I ask you to take,
For I see it not, this thing soul you call;
Have it from me, if thou canst see it here."

The Genie laughed and waved his magic wand,
A cracking creak tore up the standing Faustus,
Who felt he lived in Death's promising land,
Where "not to be" is glory's enthronement
And "not-oneself" is oneself's achievement,
Where objects shine as Faustus's own dear heart,
Whose heart departed planting itself "out,"
As hills would break and rend themselves to dust,
As peaks to splinters get reduced at once,
As earth's bowels their boiling flames vomit
To make an end of solids into gas,
As oceans lap up their own mass in glut,
As all creation swallowed its own flesh,
And danced in glee o'er that repast of self.
What happened none can envision or speak.
If Death paraded as the King of kings
By drinking life and blowing up all light
In deep darkness of loss of sense and mind
That great marathon speed of void's plenum
Would scarcely touch what Faustus experienced then.

When Self to not-self transformed ensouls life,
Midnight does shine as blazing solar heat,
Movement forward is form of retrograde,
The right as left and left as right becomes,
The high is low and lowest is highest,
To be in others is to be in Self!

Such is the fate of one who runs to things,
To what Consciousness sights as "another",
Lo, mark, and then beware of what is wealth –
The not-self is it – Self is what thou art.