Kopal-Kundala/The Development of the Plot

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Part IV.


Chapter I.

The Development of the Plot.

To such a pitch of interest has our story arrived. The painter, who paints a portrait, first makes separate outlines of the legs and other members, and finally connects them together and distinguishes the light from the shade. We have up to this point delineated the limbs and members of this mental picture; now we shall join them together and unite the light and shade.

A cloud is produced by the water-vapour drawn up by the sun. Day by day the array of clouds imperceptibly increases. But no one at first murks the cloud, or thinks of it, until at last it entirely darkens the world, and hurls forth a thunder-bolt. The cloud in which Kopal-Kundala's life was suddenly immersed,—up till now we have bit by bit been collecting its vapour and water.

Does the reader believe in destiny? I do not speak of absolute fatalism, which is mere nonsense made up to console the minds of idle men; but does he admit this, that sometimes some coming event in this way casts its shadow before, and that actions indicating its accomplish are brought with so irresistible force that human power cannot check them? Wise men in all countries and in all ages have admitted this. This destiny is the soul of the "Waverley Novels;" it is the essence of omniscient Shakespeare's "Macbeth." In another form, as "Fate" and "Necessity," it has been the cause of considerable diversity of opinion among European philosophers.

In our own country this "Destiny" is well known in society. The poet, who imagined the destruction of the race of Kurus, was exceedingly skilled in this fascinating spell. This terrible shadow was ever present over the heads of the Kurus ever since the time when they sported as children with the Pandus. The great Krishna is its best personification. The poet himself has illustrated it in the lamentations of Dhritarashtra and other matters. The holy songs of Bhagbut are full of this destiny. At the present time many, who have read a portion of this poetry, worship destiny. Others, muttering "Kopál," are ever careless.

I do not mean by destiny that, by some divine or internal power, our actions assume a certain shape. Even atheists may admit destiny. Worldly events are the inevitable outcome of natural laws and man's character; man's character is the result of mental and natural laws. Therefore destiny is the result of mental and natural laws; but those rules are called destiny, because they are beyond man's comprehension.

Some readers may be vexed at the termination of this book. They may say, "The ending is not a good one; the novelist might have made it different." To this my reply is, "It is the course of destiny; who can alter destiny? The novelist cannot do so. As the seed sown at the commencement of the book, so must the product be. To do otherwise would be a blow against truth."

Now let us follow the course of destiny. The threads are ready; let us gather them together.