Today's Beautiful Gem: `To India' by the Chinese poet Yuan Shui-p'ai,
translated by Kai-yu Hsu.

      In human history, many a time prophets and leaders travel far and wide
to spread political, cultural and religious messages. However, at times,
messages fly like soaring birds with perennial wings. The words of Gautama,
Jesus, Sankara and Mohammed were thus carried to distant lands and climes.
The citizens of those countries were undoubtedly impressed by such tidings,
more valuable than gold and silver. Perhaps, thus impressed, Yuan Shui-p'ai
wrote the following verse praising the nation adjascent to his.

"It's a land of beauty and grace,
Everywhere green foliage spreads like umbrellas,
and roses are big as bowls,
The peacocks' green feathers shimmer in the woods.
There the goddess of spring makes her perpetual home.

"It's a land of beauty and riches
Watered by the blood of its people's heroes.
Yes, the people there are sturdy and brave;
They are like our own brothers.

"It's an ancient friendship, two thousand years old.
Time cannot diminish it, nor high mountains block it.
We, nine hundred and sixty million people live together in peace.
Setting a new example for all the world.

"Ah, north wind, please blow.
Let our songs ride on your wings
To the banks of the Ganges where soft breezes sway the willows,
To the land where flowers bloom all four seasons."

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao