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Volume III - The Art of Personality

Part II - Rasa Shastra - The Science of Life's Creative Forces

Chapter VIII

The Eastern poetic idea defines several stages in the approach of youth to maturity. In the first awakening of a liking, a fondness, a tenderness for one who is not of her sex, the girl is pictured as not thinking at all of expressing her feeling, but as trying to cover it even from her own consciousness. If there is a load of pain, she may let escape one cry. If there is a great admiration in her heart, the trembling of her lips says more than any word she utters. In the presence of her lover she is speechless, and the expression of her emotion reaches as far as her throat, to be instantly driven back into her heart again. The lowering of her eyes at the sight of her lover is the only sign that she consciously gives of her love, and though her face may light up, she draws back her hand if he touches it or would wish it to remain in his. She turns away her face if he offers a kiss, and her confusion when embraced tells of her youth.

And then comes a mysterious and exquisite time, which gives promise of that faithfulness from which springs the fulfillment of life. Then, with one direct look she expresses what a hundred of her words could not explain. And shy, though most shy when some other besides her lover is present, her gentle response to his advances would move even the dwellers in heaven. She gives freedom to her feelings and yet with reserve, with shyness, she yields and yet does not yield. She carries the thought of her lover in her heart all day and night. When she is alone she is content to give herself up wholly to her interest in him. But since she does not feel clearly whether in doing this she does wrong or not, or should blame herself or not, she fights against such thoughts, without banishing them, all the time that the duties of the day keep her under the eyes of others. She tells even her closest companion and friend but little of her love, for she would hide it even after it is apparent to all. The grace of her perplexity is winning, and with it she fans the fire in the heart of her lover.

Then follows a full awakening; and her glance falling on her lover is as an arrow; it pierces through his heart. Her kiss thrills him to the depth of his being, and her embrace holds intense joy for him. She is frank, sincere, and open; courageously she responds to him, desiring even to express her own emotions, as she gallantly faces the truth she has discovered. And thus comes the culmination of youth, where abides the fulfillment of love.

The development is undoubtedly the same in the youth of both sexes, but for various reasons it cannot be so distinctly traced in the growth of the boy's character. Moreover, it is the mind of the maiden that has been the poet's central theme and that has captivated his interest. There is something besides beauty, there is something more than a charming loveliness in the sight of youth that carries tenderness in the heart; and whether the beholder actually knows of the tenderness that youth feels or not, he cannot fail to see some effect of it. For love, like a flame, cannot fail to give out light.

And with the birth of a response to the fascination of the opposite sex comes the dawn of that ideal for the sake of which creation exists, and of that hope towards which the whole of creation is irresistibly drawn. As the Hindustani poet expresses it, 'It was the desire of finding an ideal love which brought me here upon earth; and this same desire of attaining the ideal is now taking me back whence I came.'

checked 16-May-2007