ISC Poem Abhisara : The Tryst

Abhisara Abhisara -The Tryst ISC English Literature ISC RhapsodyQuestion Answers Rabindranath Tagore Upagupta Vasavadatta

Line Wise Explanation of Poem

“Upagupta …………….,……..forgiving eyes.”

Explanation –

The poem starts with Buddhist monk Upagupta,who is seeping on the dusty road by the city wall of Mathura city, one dark night . It was a pitch black night of August. There was no light around and the atmosphere was calm and quiet. People of Mathura had already slept, and the doors of their houses were shut. Upagupta is sleeping on the dust with all comfort and tranquil indicates that he has discarded all worldly pleasures and is content within. Everything was gloomy. The stars were completely obscured by clouds in the sky.

Suddenly a dancing girl appeared with a lamp in her hand. Without noticing down on the ground, she stumbled over the body of Upagupta who was sleeping on the ground. He awoke , all of a sudden and was extremely surprised. The light from woman’s lamp fell on his merciful eyes and he saw the young and beautiful woman standing in front of him.

line 9 to 16 :

“It was Vasavadatta …………………..trembled in fear.”

Explanation :

The woman who had stumbled on his body was Vasavadatta, the famous dancing girl of Mathura. The woman was shinning with jewels. She had put on a beautiful blue dress. She was pretty and youthful. She is “drunk with the wine of her youth” ,meaning that she is proud of her youthful body and beauty she possessed. The moment she lowered her lamp, she saw a young man in front of her, whose face reflected that he led a simple yet austere life. She felt fascinated by his austerity.

The woman begged pardon for stumbling over his body without noticing his presence in the darkness. She politely invited him to her house, stating that the dusty ground was inappropriate bed to sleep for him.

Upagupta told the woman to go back to her home and said that he would visit her when the right time would come.

The dark night abruptly revealed its jaws in flash of lightning. Suddenly, the storm began to blow with a flash of lightning in the dark sky. From one corner of the sky, a violent storm appeared and lightning flashed in the sky.

Tagore uses what Eliot notes as an objective correlative to foreshadow a future event. The weather suddenly becomes violent with Upagupta’s ominous words.

The woman trembled in fear and hurried towards her home.

Line 17 – 20 :

“A year had …………….the silent town.”

Explanation :

Now the story shifts to a different time. A few months later, it was an evening of April and it was spring time now. The branches of the roadside trees were all covered with flowers. The cheerful melody of a flute came floating from far away in the warm spring air. The residents of the city had gone to the forest to attend the festival of flowers.

Line 21 to 32 :

“The young ascetic ………..the young ascetic.”

Explanation :

In the moonlit evening of spring, Upagupta, the young ascetic was walking on the lonely street, while the lovesick koel birds on the mango branches overhead were awake and voicing their complaints to each other.

Upagupta entered the city through the gates passed through a lonely street and stopped at the base of the city wall. Suddenly he noticed a woman lying on the dusty ground at his feet in the shadow of wall. She was suffering with a deadly epidemic. Her body was covered with sores (wounds) of small pox. She had been driven out from the city to prevent the spread of the diseases through her contact. The woman was unattended and was left in hands of fate.

At this point the reader encounters Vasavadatta again, but Tagore contrasts it with the imagery of spring in the previous lines; she is no longer the famed beauty, but a social pariah who is afflicted with small pox.

Her disease has reduced her radiant skin to “black pestilence“. Her youthful body, and beauty on which she has so proud, has now gone away and her material wealth is now no longer useful. She is ailing and lonely and her conditions reminds of the transient and fleeting nature of life.

Upagupta remains unaffected by Vasavadatta’s pitiful condition and contagious ailment. He is kind and compassionate to her. He sat by her side, and placed her forehead on his knees. Using sandal balm, he massaged her body to provide her relief. He applied water to her dried lips. Being an ascetic Upagupta found it obligatory to show his human compassion to a human being who is in need of treatment and care to survive.

the woman was surprised and wanted to know who the merciful man was. The monk replied that the right time had come and he was there. He addressed the woman as Vasavadatta, which meant that he had recognised the woman whom he had met earlier.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top