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This article is taken from PN Review 39, Volume 11 Number 1, July - August 1984.

from One Eye on India (1947) C.H. Sisson
A plain five miles long and two broad stretched below the spectator. The moonlight filled it, and emphasized the bodies of the hills slumbrously extended on each side. To the north was a gap, towards which the Plough pointed with a vigorous finger; at the southern exit the ground fell away, so that through it a torrent might have fallen to the presumable plain below. The moon did not illumine that lower darkness: it was the imagination of the spectator that advanced a great hand over the edge of the hills and pointed to the tapering peninsula, the livid pink of a scarcely healed wound. The finger touched; under the tissue stirred, living and shameful, the unformed material of the cosmos, and the flesh of the whole world trembled.

India lay below, the uniform spirit, from which all things that appeared were emanations, ultimately without differentiation. The deceptive multiplicity of her peoples, the sweltering jungles that in places hid them, the tigers that smashed out from the parted bamboos as in a picture book, heavy paw on a million of ants that also started a micro-cosmos, below which - but one was never there - somewhere, below all that seethed, was the productive nameless matter which was source and end and which could be conceived only as a profound, evasive sea, and which cried out at once that it was not that, but what was beyond that, yet in that too, colourless, suave and trustless - all that the ...


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