Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Goddess Abides

Before her widowhood she had been a daughter and sister, wife and mother, dividing herself perforce, though willingly, for she had enjoyed each relationship and treasured her memories. Now she was living with herself and by herself as though she were a stranger, discovering new likes and dislikes, new abilities. Books, for example – she had thought of books as diversion and amusement. Now she knew they were communication between minds, her own and others, living and dead. Such communication was the source of learning and she had a thirst for learning, reviving after the busy years of her married life. (29)

“The ability to love is the secret of life. So long as one can love, really love, another human being, death waits afar off. It is only when the capacity to love ceases to exist that death follows soon. I thank you, my darling, for letting me love you. It keeps death from my door.” (29)

“Do not limit happiness; one takes it where one finds it.”

“One happiness has passed, but hold yourself ready for the next, whatever it is. If you do not see it on the horizon, then you must create it where you are. So long as you live you may find happiness if you search for it, or create it for yourself. Perhaps the search itself is happiness.” (31)

…that love had ended, stopped by death, and suddenly, for a while, there was no one to love. In the long months when she knew he must die she had wondered about love. Would it go on living after the beloved was dead? Could so strong a force continue to feed only upon memory? She knew now that it could not. The habit of love became a necessity to love and remained alive in her being, like a river dammed. Now it was flowing again, not in fullness, not inevitably, but tentatively and gently toward this man who sat facing her, his back to the sunset. (46)

“The need to love and be loved lasts until we draw our final breath and from the need comes the power. It is in you, it is in me. How can this be, you may ask. Because, my child, my dear and only One, love sustains the spirit and the spirit sustains life. Yet even if it is one-sided, the one who loves is sustained. It is sweet to be loved, but to be able to love is to possess the life force. I love you. Therefore I am strong." (47)

“It comes to us, always to be welcomed, from whatever source, at whatever time. One love does not displace another. Each love is added richness.” (66)

“Each experience of love…is a life in itself. Each has nothing to do with what has taken place before or will take place again. Love is born, it pursues its separate way, world without end, transmuted into life energy.” (77)

She understood why he had left her today and she knew that he would always come back. She had made it possible for him to return to his work. She had given him his freedom even from love, and so he would love her forever. (210)

…the only way to be loved is to be stronger than the one you love. (224)

Somehow she had come into his life at a moment when he needed to worship and he had worshiped her. What does a woman do with a man’s worship? She can destroy it by her own selfish need – or she can use it for his development and growth.
I must never let him know, she thought.
But know what?
She must never let him know that she was merely woman. She must never descend to daily need, if she wanted to keep him. No, even that was selfish. There could be no question of “keeping.” She must rise to the heights of her own. She must be quite willing to release him while she loved him – even because she loved him, for love, if it be true, seeks only the fulfillment of the beloved and this on the highest level. (241)
These are some excerpts from The Goddess Abides by Pearl S. Buck
(Methuen , London, 1972)
The introduction to the novel reads:
Pearl Buck tells a story of human love in its infinite variety. At the centre is Edith Chardman, just widowed in the prime of life (42, as I found it) as the story opens, after a long and happy marriage to a man much her senior. Into the emptiness come Edwin (72, to be precise), even older than her late husband, and Jared(24, when he meets Edith), young enough to be her son. With each there is mutual attraction, strong and vital, yet with the vast differences imposed by disparate ages. In the intense months that follow, Edith confronts complexities of love to which she had never had occasion to give the least thought. She learns how subtle are the ways in which love is to be fulfilled.


Sidhusaaheb said...

Of late, I've been making an attempt at discovering expressions of a 'higher love' i.e. love for the Supreme Being. It is expressed so beautifully in Gurbaani and in Sufi poetry.


BTW, I rather enjoyed the music.


YuuN toh haiN zamaane meiN sukhanwar bohat achhe
Kehte haiN ke 'Ghalib' ka hai andaaz-e-bayaaN aur!

Rajindarjit said...

Excerpts taken from the said novel are like a real reel of novel.

Selected portion given here with pages on the 'experience of love'
is the depth, Miss P. Buck has dived.

Her Novels are novel, thats why her readers like you, go deep with her.

You have done a very good effort.

keep it up.


Sarwan said...

Thanks Manpreet for highlighting this wonderful work of Pearl S Buck - a story of pure, unfulfilled, and unselfish love.
Best wishes,

Manpreet said...

SS: Thanks for visiting. Gurbani and Sufi Poetry are beyond comparison. Glad you enjoyed the music. Abida and Ghalib put together - a wonderful combo. Could not help but share it.

Mama, I remember having grown up with "The Good Earth" on our book rack. Pearl Buck is wonderful.

Randhawa Sahib: Thanks for dropping by. Reading this classic was a pleasure. Sharing my experience was an equally great pleasure.

Ramanujam said...

I enjoyed the post. I am not much into emotion but some of the quotes are really fine. My best wishes!


s bhogal said...

good emotions of love. most of the quotes are really emotional and close to life. they make us to think about the importance of life, death and love. are these only 'kitabi gallan'? do people really think that deep about love? i am not sure they do. if they do they don't know how express them. anyway good post.

sukhwinder aujla said...

Manpreet you have sent a good post,
Like before
Goooood luuukkk!!
Im proud of you..


Imp's Mom said...

another book for me to pick up! the list is growing, now i just need to find the time..

thanks for visiting :)

Manpreet said...

Ramanujam: Thanks for visiting. You might not be into emotions but emotions are in you. So whether we know or not, we are having all these feelings.
Seema: Well expression of emotions is exactly where Pearl Buck superseds you and I. That is what appeals to senses, that is what I shared. ;)
Sukhwinder Didi: Thanks for being such a regular visitor.
Imp's Mom: Thank you for dropping by. I Loved your blog - its simplicity and honesty are simply great.

Indian Home Maker said...

First time here. Came here through your comment.
I haven't read this one though I like Pearl S Buck. Will definitely look for it and read it:)I have read, amongst others, Peony and The Good Earth...

Devaki said...

Sounds interesting. I guess I have a long way to go before I can comprehend such love...

Manpreet said...

IHM: Thanks, I hope you feel prompted enough to come here more often.
Devaki: Yes, life teaches its own lessons...age and experience help you with the best learning.

Anonymous said...

After reading your post I'ev requested the novel through my local library's website.The way you put it together was beautiful.

...and just to let you know that I'm a regular visitor.


Anonymous said...

Recently I have been pondering on love and what is truly love? I think I will have to add this book to my "to read" list. I have so many books I have picked up from where ever I have gone. This book seems to address many of the issues I am feeling as a woman. Indeed, I feel to love someone, you have to not be selfish. I'm going to tell you a cliche. "If you love someone, let them go, if they come back to you, that is true love."

On a tangent: I've truly got to start blogging again. I am not even on ur list of regular blogs you visit:( LOL..I will get there nonetheless.

Love you,
Sukh Bajwa

Manpreet said...

Baljinder: Thanks for dropping by. Yes, my traffic feeder keeps telling me you came. Thanks for your comments on the other post too.
Sukh: Yes, this book is an amazing read.