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"The Hound of Heaven"

Sri Aurobindo speaks of this as a great poem. It is by Francis Thompson. When Mahatma Gandhiji was in jail, he read this poem and Rajaji sent him some notes on it. Later when Rajaji met his leader, Gandhiji, in jail they discussed this poem extensively. A police officer was posted to record their conversation and report to the government.

‘The earliest pre-occupation of man was the quest for God, Freedom, Light and Immortality’ says Sri Aurobindo. Man dreads what he longs for, especially when it is granted to him. This is often witnessed in weddings. Everyone gets married; but some are in a hurry to get married or insistent on a particular person. It baffles people when such persons exclaim on the eve of the function, ‘I wish somehow this marriage is stopped’. This contradiction is one of the basic characteristics of human nature - the capacity to reject what one longs for.

In “The Hound of Heaven”, God comes on earth in response to the ardent call of a devotee but fright takes possession of the devotee. He seeks asylum in every object of his adoration, in his wife, children, friends, etc. but all of them refuse to help him, as he is rejecting the call of Heaven. Finally God overtakes him. Rajaji and Gandhiji had a lengthy, lively discussion on this poem. The police officer faithfully wrote his report to his superiors that Gandhiji and Rajaji had discussed dogs.

We understand God’s intention in life, as the police officer comprehended the holy discussion of these pious souls. The Spirit is no longer distant or elusive but is at our doors. In its divine compassion, the Spirit awaits our call. We are human. We love the Divine from a distance and our love is true, pure bhakti. We love our families and friends more. It is there we hide ourselves when our call is answered. Can we shed our reservation and let the Spirit emerge in our lives? When it so emerges it will be heaven on earth.

 
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