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The Light of Asia

The Light of Asia

James Allen read this book at the age of 24. It acted as his spiritual awakener and started him on his path to "perfect peace".

Of this book he said:
"I could not rise from my seat until I had read the last word.  When I did rise from the reading of this book it was as though I had become a different man.  A curtain seemed to have rolled back from the face of the universe, and I saw the causes and meanings of things which had hitherto been dark mysteries.  There was a revelation which was almost blinding in its brilliance and suddenness; an exaltation which alarmed me, while it transported me into felicitous insight.  The vision quickly faded but its influence remained, the memory of it saving me in many an hour of darkness and temptation, until that calmer time of meditation and knowledge, ten years later, when it returned, never again to fade from me."

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Book the First

The Scripture of the Savior of the World,Lord Buddha—Prince Siddartha styled on earthIn Earth and Heavens and Hells Incomparable,All-honored, Wisest, Best, most Pitiful;The Teacher of Nirvana and the Law. Then came he to be born again for men. Below the highest sphere four Regents sitWho rule our world, and under them are zonesNearer, but high,…
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Book the Second

Now, when our Lord was come to eighteen years,The King commanded that there should be builtThree stately houses, one of hewn square beamsWith cedar lining, warm for winter days;One of veined marbles, cool for summer heat;And one of burned bricks, with blue tiles bedecked,Pleasant at seed-time, when the champaks bud—Subha, Suramma, Ramma, were their names.Delicious…
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Book the Third

In which calm home of happy life and loveLigged our Lord Buddha, knowing not of woe,Nor want, nor pain, nor plague, nor age, nor death,Save as when sleepers roam dim seas in dreams,And land awearied on the shores of day,Bringing strange merchandise from that black voyage.Thus ofttimes when he lay with gentle headLulled on the…
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Book the Fourth

But when the days were numbered, then befellThe parting of our Lord—which was to be—Whereby came wailing in the Golden Home,Woe to the King and sorrow o'er the land,But for all flesh deliverance, and that LawWhich whoso hears, the same shall make him free. Softly the Indian night sinks on the plainsAt full moon in…
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Book the Fifth

Round Rajagriha five fair hills arose,Guarding King Bimbasara's sylvan town;Baibhara, green with lemon-grass and palms;Bipulla, at whose foot thin SarsutiSteals with warm ripple; shadowy Tapovan,Whose steaming pools mirror black rocks, which oozeSovereign earth-butter from their rugged roofs;South-east the vulture-peak Sailagiri;And eastward Ratnagiri, hill of gems.A winding track, paven with footworn slabs,Leads thee by safflower fields…
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Book the Sixth

Thou who wouldst see where dawned the light at last,North-westwards from the "Thousand Gardens" goBy Gunga's valley till thy steps be setOn the green hills where those twin streamlets springNilajan and Mohana; follow them,Winding beneath broad-leaved mahua-trees,'Mid thickets of the sansar and the bir,Till on the plain the shining sisters meetIn Phalgu's bed, flowing by…
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Book the Seventh

Sorrowful dwelt the King SuddhodanaAll those long years among the Sakya LordsLacking the speech and presence of his Son;Sorrowful sate the sweet YasodharaAll those long years, knowing no joy of life,Widowed of him her living Liege and Prince.And ever, on the news of some recluseSeen far away by pasturing camel-menOr traders threading devious paths for…
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Book the Eighth

A broad mead spreads by swift Kohana's bankAt Nagara; five days shall bring a manIn ox-wain thither from Benares' shrinesEastward and northward journeying. The hornsOf white Himala look upon the place,Which all the year is glad with blooms and girtBy groves made green from that bright streamlet's wave.Soft are its slopes and cool its fragrant…
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