(From the Abadansatak)
It was a wintry night in the month of Agrahayan
There was a heavy fall of dew
All the lotus flowers were destroyed
Save one that somehow survived
In the pond of Sudas, the florist.
He plucked it and went to the palace gate
Seeking to see the king.
A passer-by saw the flower
He was filled with joy and said,
'I want to buy this off-season lotus
What is its price?
It will be my offering to Lord Buddha
Who is now staying in the city. '
'I expect one grain of gold', said Sudas,
Which the man agreed to pay.
At that very moment king Prasenjit
Suddenly came out of his palace
He was on his way to see Lord Buddha
Carrying many offerings
And singing the Lord's praise.
He also offered to buy that flower
To present it to the Lord
And asked its price.
The florist told the king
'It has already been sold to this man
At a price of one grain of gold'.
'I shall pay ten grains', says the king.
The man said, 'I shall pay twenty'.
None was ready to give up,
They went on bidding
And the price went higher and higher.
The florist thought
His flower must fetch much much more
From the man for whom these two want it to buy.
So he told them I won't sell the flower
I have changed my mind.
He rushed to the grove
Which was filled with light
By Buddha's presence.
Seated in the posture of a lotus,
Smiling and calm,
The Lord was an embodiment of joy
Peace was raining from his look
And mercy from his face.
Sudas kept on gazing at the Lord
With his eyes wide open
And he was speechless.
Suddenly he fell himself down on the floor
And placed the flower on Buddha's feet.
The Lord smiled and asked him in a sweet voice,
'What is it that you want, my son?'
Choked with emotion Sudas said, 'My Lord,
Nothing more than a grain of dust of your feet'.
Translation of the poem Mulyaprapti from the collection Katha by Rabindranath Tagore. Compare no. 19 of Fruit-Gathering.
The original in Bengali script may be viewed at http://www.rabindra-rachanabali.nltr.org/node/11162
Agrahayan is the last month of autumn and signals the coming of winter.