The Cup: Poem by Swami Vivekananda by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp
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Literary Shelf Share This Page
The Cup: Poem by Swami Vivekananda
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

This is your cup — the cup assigned
to you from the beginning.
Nay, My child, I know how much
of that dark drink is your own brew
Of fault and passion, ages long ago,
In the deep years of yesterday, I know.

This is your road — a painful road and drear.
I made the stones that never give you rest.
I set your friend in pleasant ways and clear,
And he shall come like you, unto My breast.
But you, My child, must travel here.

This is your task. It has no joy nor grace,
But it is not meant for any other hand,
And in My universe hath measured place,
Take it. I do not bid you understand.
I bid you close your eyes to see My face.

This is your cup, My child, as has been assigned to you and how much of it your brew, is the thing with which the poem, The Cup by Swami Vivekananda begins with and the cup under our perusal is but the cup of one’s own life and the things to be ascertained thereafter, the recourse to be taken as willed or ordained by inculcating karma and dharma. None can say it what it is in one’s karma. None can say it what it is in one’s dharma. It has been rightly said, as you sow so you reap. But who can about the rights and wrongs of previous births, of the past, yesteryears or previous lives? The drink we are to sip is the cup assigned to containing the brew of fault and passion. Our faults we do not know them; our mistakes and sins, where are we flawed and guilty as we cannot see our mistakes and faults.

A karmayogi and a sanyasin of a very high order, he keeps saying about our karma and dharma and the cup of our life with the brew to be taken. We do not know it what it is in whose luck and fate. Our destiny we cannot say it. But at a glance this seems to be the path of life as ordained by the Almighty. This is the cup to be sipped with the brew in it. But what is in whose luck one cannot and in the likewise manner, the renouncer too has a life of own.

This is the road on which you have to tread and taking to it you have to go, is the theme of the second stanza of the poem at hand. The roadway of life is never smooth, never so easy, it is long and tiresome, a long way to go and cover up, just like a pilgrimage undertaken. God Himself has set the stones over it. God Himself has made the pathway. The course of life differs from each other. They will also go unto Him, but differently following their ways. But it is His Will that he must travel it taking the tiresome journey.

This is your task and you have to do it, is the voice that the sanyasin hears within, the task of life as assigned and allotted by God must be carried. It has neither grace nor joy. It is also not meant for other hand. In the universe where everything but lies it measured and calculated, nothing as unknown, he must accept it as there is no option than this and the assignment given too varies from man to man. God does not want to make it understand. He just wants him to close the eyes and to see His face.

While going through the Cup of Vivekananda, we get reminded of the life of Mirabai who was offered a cup of nectar not, but poison as for taking the company of sadhus and fakirs, a royal widow herself derogating the prestige of the palace, lost in Krishna bhakti so madly, dancing and singing, but the cup turning into one of nectar. So was the life of Vivekananda, in search of the Divine, the seeker after truth, the sanyasin adapting to bairagya. The Cup as a poem is a religious poem, a spiritual poem and herein lies it the philosophy of life, karmayoga. There is something of man’s fate as he has envisaged in this poem and this has been continuing for long. What does it lie ordained from before who can say it about?

The first four lines tell of the use of the metaphoric language with the application of the simile as life has been compared to the cup and the draughts of drink:

This is your cup — the cup assigned
to you from the beginning.
Nay, My child, I know how much
of that dark drink is your own brew

The  lovely lines from the second stanza tell of the road of life and the pains to be undertaken in journeying on the roadway if life:

This is your road — a painful road and drear.
I made the stones that never give you rest.
I set your friend in pleasant ways and clear,
And he shall come like you, unto My breast.
But you, My child, must travel here.

His cup he has to take it. The whole universe is the playfield of His. The Lord too does not wish to indulge him in vague discussions, but what can He do, this is the way of man and the world. There is no escape from it. He wants him to close the eyes to see Him as He is ready to bless His son always:

This is your task. It has no joy nor grace,
But it is not meant for any other hand,
And in My universe hath measured place,
Take it. I do not bid you understand.
I bid you close your eyes to see My face.

God’s love is the thing of solace and ultimate blessing from the Divine. This is not for him to endure the pains so much. He knows how to love his sons best. Whatever be the elucidation, the devotional element is very strong in it.

The Cup is a philosophical poem in which the poet tells about the philosophy of our life and living. The theme is Miltonic in the sense, the poet knows that God does not need it man’s labour. The same thing Vivekananda also says to us in the poem titled, The Cup. What is His Divine Wish? There is something which but we know it not. The destiny of man lies it fixed which but dependent on karma, the cause and effect theory, as he does so will he reap.

To see it in the Tagorean words,

“What divine drink wouldst thou have, my God, from this overflowing cup of my life?”

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06-Jun-2020
More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey
 
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