Ok, so here’s a poem from my 10th standard Hindi textbook. It’s called “Nahush ka Patan” (Fall of Nahush) and was written by Maithili Sharan Gupt. It tells the story of Nahush, a king and an ancestor of the Pandavas who grew so powerful that he challenged the gods themselves and actually conquered heaven. Drunk with power, he strayed from the righteous path and was cursed by a sage to turn into a serpent and roam the earth forever.
It was after he was turned into a serpent that he realized his folly and uttered these words which have stayed with me over all these years:
Tan jiska ho man aur aatma mera hai, Chinta nahi baahar ujala ya andhera hai,
Chalna mujhe hai ant tak chalna, girna hi mukhya nahi, mukhya hai sambhalna
Girna kya uska, utha hi nahi jo kabhi, main hi to utha tha, aap girta hoon jo abhi,
Fir bhi uthunga aur badhke rahunga main, nar hoon, purush hoon, chadke rahunga main.
(This body may not be mine but the heart and soul are,
It does not matter to me whether it be night or day outside,
I have to walk and walk to the very end I will,
My fall is of no importance, what’s important is that I am getting up again
How will he who has never risen know what a fall means,
It was I who had risen, and I myself fall down now,
Still I will rise, and I will keep moving forward,
I am a man and a human and I will (keep trying to) scale those heights again.)