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TitlePhilip Glass Satyagraha libretto
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Page 1

M.K. Gandhi in South Africa 1893 - 1914

Act I
Scene 1 The Kuru Field of Justice
Scene 2 Tolstoy Farm
Scene 3 The Vow

Act II
Scene 1 Confirmation and Rescue
Scene 2 Indian Opinion
Scene 3 Protest

Scene 1 New Castle March

SCENE i: A Mythical Battlefield

The Kuru Field of Justice


“I see them here assembled, ready to fight, seek-
ing to please the King’s sinful son by waging
war.” And thus addressed by Arjuna, Krishna
brought that splendid chariot to a halt between
the two armies. In front of Bhisma and Drona
and all the rulers of the world, he said, “Behold
Arjuna, these kinsmen assembled here.” And
the Prince marked on each hand relatives and
friends in both armies. Seeing them, all his kins-
men, thus arrayed, Arjuna was filled with deep
compassion and turned to Krishna.


MY very being is oppressed with compassion’s
harmful taint. With mind perplexed concerning
right and wrong I ask you which is the better
course? Tell me and let your words be definite
and clear, I am your pupil and put all my trust
in you. So teach me.


BE wise in matters of death and duty. See in this
war presented by pure chance a door to paradise.
For sure is death to all that’s born, sure is birth
to all that dies and for this, you have no cause to
grieve. Likewise, recognize this war as prescribed

by duty. Hold pleasure and pain, profit and loss,
victory and defeat to be the same: then brace
yourself ready for the fight. So will you bring no
evil on yourself.


TO him thus in compassion plunged, to him de-
sponding, Krishna spoke these words: “Whence
comes this faintness on you now at this crisis
hour? This ill beseems a noble, wins a heavenly
state, but brings dishonour, Arjuna. Give up
this vile faint heartedness. Stand up, chastiser of
your foes!”


HOLD pleasure and pain, profit and loss, victory
and defeat to be the same: then brace yourself
ready for the fight. So will you bring no evil on

SCENE ii ~ 1910

Tolstoy Farm


BETWEEN theory and practice, some talk as they
were two — making a separation and a difference
between them. Yet wise men know that both can
be gained in applying oneself whole heartedly to
one. For the high estate attained by men of con-
templative theory, that same state achieve the
men of action. So act as the ancient of days old,
performing works as spiritual exercise.

Miss Schlesen, Kasturbai,
Mrs. Naidoo:

SUCH a one is honorable who gives his mortal
powers to worthy work not seeking gain. Do
the allotted task for which one is fit, for work
is more excellent than idleness and the body’s
life proceeds not, lacking work. Such an earthly
task do free from desire, you will perform a high


WHEN the motives and the fruits of a man’s ac-
tions are freed from desire, his works are burned
clean by wisdom’s fire, the white fire of truth.
When he casts off attachment to his deeds, a
man embarks on his work ever content, on none
dependent. With thought and self controlled,
giving up all possessions, he cares for his bodily
maintenance without excess; taking what chance
may bring, surmounting all dualities, the same
in success and failure.

SCENE iii ~ 1906

The Vow

Parsi Rustomji:

THE world is not for the doubting man. Let a
man by wisdom dispel his doubts. For nothing
on earth resembles wisdom’s power to purify
and this a man may find in time within himself,
when he is perfected in spiritual exercise. Then
thoughts are steadied and come to rest allowing
one to see God in the individual. Knowing this,
he stands still moving not an inch from reality.
Standing firmly unmoved by any suffering, how-
ever grievous it may be.

WHOEVER gives up a deed because it causes pain,
or because he shrinks from bodily pain, fol-
lows the way of darkness, knowing nothing of
self-surrender. But if a work is done because it
should be done and is enjoined by Scripture and
without thought for great benefits, then that is
surrender in Goodness. With doubt cut away,
suffused with goodness, the self-surrendered
man hates neither uncongenial work nor looks
only for pleasant work.


THESE works of sacrifice must be done. From old
did the Lord of creatures say that in sacrifice you
sustain the gods and the gods sustain you in re-
turn. So was the wheel set in motion and who
here fails to match his turning living an evil life,
the senses his pleasure ground, lives out his life
in vain ground, lives out his life in vain.

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