Anandamath (Dawn over India)/Prologue

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Vast, very vast indeed, was the forest. Huge trees stood in endless rows. They entwined each other warmly, and danced with joyous waves in the air. Such was the thickness of the forest that even the blinding light of hot summer days was not visible on the ground. No human dared tread on these grounds.

It was midnight. On all sides darkness enveloped the forest. And the darkness within was like the darkness in the womb of the earth. The birds and other creatures were all in deep sleep. A heavy silence compounded the blackness of this forest. On such a night in the midst of the forest, a human voice broke the silence by saying, 'Shall I ever attain my hearts desire?'

When silence returned, no one could ever believe that he had heard a human voice in such a forest! And yet, after a little while, the same voice cried out again, 'Shall I ever attain my hearts desire?'

A third time the silence was thus disturbed when another voice inquired: 'What can you sacrifice to win your heart's desire?'

'My life itself!' was the reply.

'Life is so insignificant that it is the simplest thing for anyone to sacrifice!'

'What more have I? What else can I offer?'

'Devotion! My friend, devotion!' declared the voice from above.