Friday, January 13, 2006

In India, near Myore, there is a statue sixty feet tall of a ex-soldier who is repenting of being a soldier.

He's naked--really no possessions. He's meditating. He's not caught in the midst of any motion. He's standing still.

He's been standing still so well and so long that that vines go up around his legs.

He's a Jain saint, Gomataswara.

Robert Payne writes of him, "He had won victories and rejoiced in them, and then quite suddenly, while he was still young, he had realized the vanity of his triumphs and the evil he had done. As an act of penance he had sworn to stand in motionless meditation to the end of his life."

In the statue, he's young, he's good looking, and he has a lot of standing ahead of him.

I don't live in a country that would have a sixty foot statue of a repentant soldier. At least I live in a world with that.

--information, as well as the direct quote from the book "The Splendors of Asia," text by Robert Payne, black and white photos by Dorothy Hales Gary