Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the
1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly
expensive. Hesperides Press are republishing these classic works in
affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text
and artwork. PREFATORY NOTE TO SECONDEDITION: THE better to
Illustrate how, in Hindoo mythology, the ideas of a beautiful
woman, the Moon, and the Seagtdissolve and disappear into one
another, I have placedon the fly-leaf of this edition a single
stanza, drawnfrom another part of my MS., which
characteristically.exemplifies that dissolving mew: subjoining
here, fordie benefit of the uninitiated, a literal translation: O
thou lovely Incarnation of the Nectar-droppingMoon come down from
Heaven to lighten our Dark-ness: Delight of the Race of Man
retaining in thyWomanhood the dancing Play of the Waves of that
Seaof Milk out of which thou wert originally churned bythe Gods: we
the Three Worlds of Childhood Man-hood) and Age) do worship the Orb
of thy Bosom thatpossesses for us a Threefold Mystical Feminine
Energy*: being a Pitcher of Milk for us% when we are Born: The last
lines contain recondite philosophical allusions tothe Creation,
Preservation, and Destruction of the World, andother matters, in
technical terms which defy translation. Lifein Hindoo philosophy,
as in that of the Middle Ages, carriesabout with it a perfume of
death: there is in its atmospheresomething melancholy, and even a
little morbid, like the slowtoiling of a bell. the Middle of the
Path of Life: anda Shrine in 'which we take refuge to die at the
last.But we lose, la a literal prose version, the reverbera-tion,
and the echo of the Sea, which undertonesthemeaning of the words
like the accompaniment to a song.This sound we might make some
attempt to preserve, without doing violence to the sense, as
followsLike a New Moon's exquisite Incarnation, In the Ebb and Flow
of a Surging SeaWave-breasted Beauty, the whole CreationWanes, and
waxes, and rocks on thee IFor we rise and fall on thy Bosom's
BillowWhose heavimg Swell is our Home DivineOur Chalice at Dawn and
our hot Noon's Pillow, Our Evening's Shrine. PREFACE TO FIRST
EDITION: A DIGIT OF THE MOON is the sixteenth part of a muchlonger
work, entitled The Churning of the Ocean ofTime \ A well-known
Hindoo legend recounts how thegods and antigods assembled to churn
the ocean of milk bfor the nectar of immortality. After throwing in
herbs'ofvarious kinds, they churned it with Mount Mandara,
andobtained the nectar, with certain other things, one ofwhich was
the MOON, who by the way is often called* the Lord of Herbs.'But in
Sanskrit, the Moon, like the Sun, is a male.Hindoo poets get over
this difficulty, when they want afemale Moon, by personifying his
attributes, or makinga part do duty for the whole. Thus, his disc
is dividedinto sixteen parts, called 'streaks' or 'digits? and
abeautiful woman is 'a digit of the moon?*
Sansampra-sdgara-manthanam* For milk the author has substituted a
technical word whichmeans the world considered as the scene of
never-ending trans*migrations. ('0 world! O life! O time!) By this
he impliesthat the nectar of his work is the residuum of much
churningof life and experience of the world, and that it is
destinedto be immortal.
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