What The Thunder Said: by T.S Eliot - Summary & Analysis

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       Introduction: The moral of the section is contained in the message proclaimed by thunder for the liberation of society from spiritual barrenness. There is a need for effort for the realization of the spiritual goal. The first example is the mythical journey of the knight to Chapel Perilous in the time of Fisher King who was successful in removing the curse from his land. The second is the Biblical journey of Christ's disciples to Emmaus when they were accompanied by Christ in disguise and who disclosed his identity to confirm the truth of his resurrection. In contrast to the two journeys mentioned above, we have the march of uprooted humanity driven by war and by communist revolution to no particular destination and no peace in the end.

the mythical journey of the knight to Chapel Perilous in the time of Fisher King who was successful in removing the curse from his land. The second is the Biblical journey of Christ's disciples to Emmaus when they were accompanied by Christ in disguise and who disclosed his identity to confirm the truth of his resurrection.
What the Thunder Said


      Christ's crucification: The poet describes the scenes of Christ's arrest, trial and crucification. He was crucified, thou he lived forever through his religion. The modern man has killed Christ by his indifference and neglect. We live in bodies, not in the soul. We are dying by inches due to our spiritual decline.

      The arduous journey: The poet refers to journey and the hardships faced by Sir Parsifal and his followers in search of the Holy Grail. They suffer a good deal as they go up. Ghosts and demons trouble them on the way. They suffer from the pangs of thirst. Such difficulties have to be faced by those who are keen on spiritual quest.

      Hooded Christ: The poet refers to the journey of two disciples of Christ who proceeded to Emmaus to verify the fact of Christ's rebirth. One of the disciples finds a hooded figure walking along with him. This hooded person is actually Christ, who helps his followers in their spiritual quest. Unfortunately, the modern man is not inspired by such a noble and spiritual goal.

      Uprooted Humanity: The poet gives a vivid description of the ravages caused by the First World War. Masses of human beings moved in endless caravans over different parts of Europe. Civilization was coming to an end. Death and desolation could be seen everywhere. Eastern Europe is represented as a mad-woman fiddling with her hair. Though the routine of church continues and hymns are being sung faith is no more. This is the picture of the modern wasteland. It is in direct contrast with the successful journey of the knight who reached the Chapel Perilous. The dawn, the light and the rain indicate a kind of spiritual re-birth.

      Da, 'Da', 'Da'. Eliot refers to an event in ancient Indian history when India passed through a great crisis. Drought and famine compelled people to pray to God for divine help. God spoke to them in thunder. The words Da Da Da contain the secret of man's spiritual re-birth. The first Da means Datta i.e., to give. We must dedicate ourselves to a worthwhile cause. Martyrs and saints have shown the way of spiritual achievement. Secondly, Da means Dayadhvam i.e., to sympathize. We must sympathize with our fellowmen. We must give up our ego and isolation and work for the good of community. This alone can bring a spiritual satisfaction. Thirdly, Da means Damyata i.e., self-control. Discipline of the mind is necessary for spiritual achievement. Control over man's desire is the only way to peace and spiritual achievement.


      Scene of Crucification (line. 322-330): After the mob carrying torch-light to apprehend Christ and his followers saw the perspired faces of their victims, after the dead silence in the garden, as soon as the mob departed, after the great sufferings of Christ in the trial room and in the prison, after the shouting and the crying of the mob, which suspected release of Christ, had ended, there was a great upheaval in the prison and in the palace of the governor. The noise of thunder could be heard over the distant mountains indicating the birth of Christ. Christ who was once alive was crucified and gone. We who are living are almost dead. We are dying by inches.

      Journey of the Knight (line. 331-345): "Here begins the story of the journey of the knight and his companions in search of the Holy Grail towards the Chapel Perilous". The knight complains that there is no water on the mountains. Only rocks are staring at him. The sandy road up the bills go zig zig as it climbs the mountains. The mountains without water are difficult and uninviting. (He refers to the difficulties of himself and his followers as they go up tne mountains in great distress). If there was some water, they could atleast quench their thirst and feel refreshed. As one goes climbing the rocks, One cannot stop midway or think. The only thing to do is to go up. Their perspiration dries up on account of the wind blowing over the sand. What they feel most is the acute shortage of water. The knight compares the gapping rocks to the mouths of skulls showing worn-out teeth. In such a situation, one cannot sit or rest. There is no peace or quiet in the mountains. The sound that one can hear is that of thunder. But it is not welcome because the thunder brings no rain. There is no loneliness in mountains. They are having visions of ghosts which peep from the dilapidated houses on the hills and mock and shout at them.

      Drought of the soul (line. 346-358): If there were water along and a little less of climbing or if there were water along with climbing or some water coming from a spring situated in the rocks, if they could ever hear the sound of water instead of song of the cicada or the sound of the dry grass dancing in the wind, or they could hear the sound of hermit-thrush singing in the pine-trees because her song resembles the sound of water dripping drop by drop, it could be tolerated. But unfortunately, there is no water to be found anywhere in the mountains.

      Resurrection of Christ (line. 359-365): Here is a reference to two disciples of Christ who undertook the journey to Emmaus, to verify the Story of Christ's resurrection. The pilgrim asks his companion: "Who is the third person walking beside you? When I take a count I find that we are only two-you and I. But when I look in front of the white road, I find that there is another person walking along with you. He is covered in a brown gown and his face cannot be seen. I cannot say whether this third person is a man or a woman. Who is that person walking on the other side of you"? (It is said that Christ duly hooded walked with his two followers to convince them that he was still alive).

      Devastation caused by the Russian Revolution (line. 366-376): What is the sound coming from the air in the distance which Sounds like the cries of uprooted mothers? (Here is a reference either to First World War or the Russian Revolution, which was responsible for the devastation of Europe and the uprooting of millions of refugees). Who are those unrecognizable people collecting on the endless plains falling in ditches and pot-holes in cracked earth? There is the unlimited horizon to be seen all around this vast collection of people. What is that city over the mountains which cracks and burst and re-forms itself after the air attack? The towers are falling in the air. Is it Jerusalem, Athens, Alexandria, Vienna or London? (Any one of the cities could be an example of the destruction of civilization and of spiritual decay).

      Absence of Faith (line. 377-384): A refugee woman tightened her long black hair and began to play on her hair as if they were the strings of the fiddle. Her music is sad. (This refers to the millions of refugees uprooted by the Russian Revolution in eastern Europe and their miserable plight. The poet continues the story of knight in search of the Holy Grail). Bats having faces of human babies, whistled and beat their wings and crawled head downward towards a blackened wall. The knight has visions of towers standing upside down, ringing their bells, striking the chimes at regular hours. They heard the Christian song being sung from empty vessels and dry wells. This refers to the regular and formal Christian services held in churches without any faith or devotion. There is a loss of faith which is one of the causes of the barrenness of the present-day civilization.

      The success of the Knight (line. 385-394): In this old gap among the mountains, in the dim moonlight, the grass is singing as it waves over the graves which are situated near the church. (The knight has been successful in his mission and has reached the Chapel Perilous). The Chapel is empty; it is full of wind. It has no windows but the doors move in and out in the wind. (This implies that the church of faith has no followers. It is empty). The dry bones to be found in the graves, are harmless, The knight found a cock standing on the top of a free crowing aloud announcing the sunrise amidst a lash of lighting. There is humid wind which brings rain.

      The message of Thunder (line. 395-422): The river Ganga had little water and the small leaves, (on the bank) waited for the rain while the dark clouds gathered the distant Himalayas mountains. The jungle animals herded together and waited in silence, on account of lack of food and water. Then the Thunder spoke Da. This word means Datta or give, but what have we given? Oh, my friend, I am extremely excited. Have we dared to give ourselves to Some great ideas? Have we made any commitment which prudence can never retract? We have existed by this sort of commitment. The self-surrender or commitment to a noble cause is not published in newspapers after one's death. Nor does it find a mention in the inscriptions on tombstones, which are covered by the spider's web in due course, nor is it found in the wills and testaments, the seals of which are broken by the lean solicitor in our empty rooms.

      The Thunder uttered Da again. It meant Dayadhvam which means sympathize. I have head the key turn in the door once and turns once only. (This is a reference to the closing of the prison in Purgatory of Dante. After the door has been looked the key is thrown away). Each one of us who is in the prison thinks of key and in thinking of how to get out the prison we confirm our prison. Only at nightfall through heavenly inspiration, a man losses his self-centredness and becomes for a moment a broken Coriolanus. One gets feeling of brotherhood for one's fellow men for a brief moment.

      Again, the thunder spoke Da. It signifies Damyata which means control. The boat lent itself easily to the hands of expert sailors and moved smoothly. The sea was calm. Your heart would have responded easily if invited in obedience to the controlling hands. (This refers to the inner discipline which makes life a smooth sailing.

      Conclusion (line. 423-430): The poet now gives his own ideas, how the world and modern civilization can be saved from spiritual barrenness and death.) I sat upon the shore (thinking of regeneration) with the dry plains behind my back. Shall I at least set my house in order (Shall the poet try for his own salvation?) London Bridge is falling. The urban civilization is decaying. Suffering in the way of self-purification. Pain is necessary for reconstruction of the individual. Detachment of the soul is necessary for salvation. These thoughts, borrowed from three sources, have been collected by the poet to save himself from ruin. Perhaps these very ideas will fit you, too. Perhaps the poet's cry is that of the mad Hieronymo. The three remedies are Datta; Dayadhvam and Damyata. Peace, peace, peace, will come.

      Finally, the poet gives his own personal impression. It is impossible to change and reform the whole world. Where do we begin then? The poet thinks that he must start with himself. He must try for self-purification. Reconstruction of man's spirit is possible only through detachment and selflessness. His prescription of the three remedies (Da, Da, Da) may seem as the cry of a madman, but this is the only way of gaining spiritual peace and bliss. The poet believes that man's salvation is possible if each individual looks after his own self-purification. He ends the poem on a note of hope.


      L. 321-330. After the torchlight......little patience. The poet describes the final scene of the life of Christ—his betrayal and arrest, his trial and his crucification. First there is the march of the crowd and his followers. They took him to the garden. He was imprisoned and there after the trial began in the place of the high priest. The mob feared that Christ might be released and so they did a lot of shouting against his expected acquittal. Then came the tragic act of Christ's crucifixion which was accompanied by the convulsion of the earth and thunder in the sky. This was the sign of a new birth and the birth of a new religion. Christ is no more but he has left a philosophy and religion which is undying. We who live today are actually not alive. The Christian faith has declined and as such humanity is dying. Christ died for others, while the modern man is dying without any feeling of regret or hope.

      What the thunder said: In the Indian scripture we have the story of divine soul or Prajapati whom gods and demons requested for the knowledge of the path of salvation. God appeared to them in the form of Thunder and uttered a mystic mantra which was the key to the spiritual re-birth. The mantra has three meanings; give, sympathize and control. The title gives the message of hope to the modern waste-landers.

L. 322-330. These lines pertain to the crucification.

L. 321. After the-faces: After the band of officers who came with torches to arrest Christ and his followers.

L. 323. After the....gardens: The reference is to the garden of Gethsemane. Here death-like silence fell upon the garden after the arrest of Christ.

L. 324. After the agony in stony places: After the sufferings of Christ in the court room and his imprisonment till the time of crucification.

L. 325. The shouting and the crying: The shouting of the mob which suspected that Christ may be released at the last moment.

L. 326. Prison and...reverberation: It refers to convulsions of the earth and sky at the time of Christ's crucifixion. reverberation: convulsion; upheaval.

L. 327. Thunder of spring: It is the re-birth of Christ.

L. 328. He who...now dead: It refers to Christ who was crucified but is living even today.

L. 329. We who...now dying: The waste-landers living in the modern age are not actually living. They are spiritually dead.

L. 330. Patience: It refers to the process of dying slowly and gradually. The modern people make no effect for spiritual life.

      L. 331-358. Here is no water.......water. The poet now describes the journey of the Knight to Chapel Perilious. He describes the hardship of the way till he reaches his destination. Water refers to the water of faith. The followers of Christ are walking through a dry and stony region towards the chapel on distant mountains. Their bodies perspire on account of heat and the dry wind. They only see the broken rocks. Sometimes they hear the sounds of thunder. But there is no indication of rain. They look at one another and sometimes feels doubtful whether they will at all reach the destination. The doubt in the minds of spiritual seekers makes them proceed further and further in quest of their goal. They pass through insects and dry grass but there is no sign of water. They are unable to hear the notes of the hermit-thrush which is like the sound of dripping water. This lack of water is symbol of the drought of the soul.

L. 331. Here is no water but only rock: This has a reference to the journey of the knight and his followers to Church Perilous. This journey is full of hardships and is a trial of faith of the pilgrims. There is no water on the way leading to the church at the top of the hill.

L. 332. Rock and...road: The journey uphill is tiring because the mountains are very steep and the climbing is very risky.

L. 335. If there....and drink: Water is not available, and as such pilgrims are discouraged from climbing.

L. 336. Amongst the....think: Either the pilgrims must go up or go down.

L. 337. Sweet is dry....the sand: The dry wind sucks up their sweat and the whole scene is barren and desolate.

L. 339. That cannot spit: This refers to the teeth in the skull, carious teeth: teeth affected by pyorrhea.

L. 340. Dead mountain...cannot spit: The rock resembles the rotten teeth found in the skull. There are white gaps in the rock like the mouth of the old man showing the rotten part of the teeth.

L. 341. There is not....mountains: The blowing of the wind or the noise of the thunder disturbs the peace of the pilgrims.

L. 342. Sterile thunder: Which does not produce rain.

L. 343. Solitude: Peace; loneliness.

L. 344. But red.....and snarl: The pilgrims are disturbed by a horrible vision. They feel that ghosts with their wretched faces are moved at them.

L. 345. Mudcracked houses: Houses which are deserted, dilapidated and haunted by ghosts.

L. 346. If there were water: Water of faith which is necessary for the drought of the soil.

L. 350. A spring: In the mountains the water percolates to the lower level and gushes out in the form of a spring. The pilgrims are hoping to find out a spring somewhere in the rock.

L. 353. Cicada: An insect which makes a shrill sound.

L. 354. And dry grass singing: As the wind passes though the dry grass it produces some sound. The dry grass refers to the spiritual dryness of the waste land.

L. 355-356. But sound....pine trees: The hermit-thrush sings in lonely places. Its notes are quite sweet because they resemble the sound of the flow of water. But there is no water.

L. 358. But there is no water; This symbolizes the great thirst of pilgrims which is increased as they gasp for breath. A devotee has to face lots of hardships on his spiritual quest.

      L. 359-365. Who is the third.......side of you? This journey is continued as the Biblical journey to the village of Emmaus. The opening lines supply the key to the story "who is the third who walks always beside you?" There are two disciples of Christ walking together. Both were doubtful about the truth of the report that the dead Christ had arisen from the grave. One of the disciples feels as if there is a third person with a head covered with hood walking along with them. As he turns to verify, if there is a third person, the hooded figure becomes visible. The third person is Christ himself duly resurrected who reveals his identity at the end of the journey.

L. 359. the third.....beside you: the two disciples of Christ proceeded to Emmaus to verify the report of his resurrection. As they walked, they found that a third person walking with them. This third person was the soul of Christ which accompanied the two pilgrims.

L. 363. Gliding: moving, wrapt: covered, mantle: gown.

L. 363. Gliding....hooded: The hooded Christ refers to Christ who helps the pilgrims on their spiritual journey.

L. 365. But who....of you: It refers to the presence of Christ to convince the pilgrims about his resurrection.

      L. 366-376. What is the sound....unreal. The scene now shifts to Europe. The First World War destroyed a good part of Europe. Millions were uprooted and the air was full of cry and lamentation. The roads were full of refugees. The children suffered a great deal. The crowd marched without any hope and direction. The sound of the cavalcade of refugees was disturbed by the cries of women and the cries of children. Some of them dropped on the way. Many of them lost their reason and moved here and there like mad men. Cities were full of ashes and damaged houses. Many towers and big buildings crashed to the ground. The civilization of many modern capitals like Athens, Vienna and London, was threatened with extinction. This was the havoc caused by the First World War.

L. 366. What is that...the air: It refers in the uprooting of millions of people in the Eastern Europe after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

L. 367. Murmur of maternal lamentation: The cries of mothers lamenting the loss of their children.

L. 368. hooded hordes: refugees unable to see their way or know their destination.

L. 369. stumbling in cracked earth: the refugees, tired and helpless, fell down in ditches and pits in the ground.

L. 370. Ringed: Surrounded. Flat horizon: They are marching aimlessly and endlessly without any sense or purpose. In the modern waste land people without roots and religion wander aimlessly here and there.

L. 372. Cracks and...air: It refers to the collapse of the civilization which indicated the spiritual decay of the eastern Europe. It is quite likely that both the First World War and Russian Revolution brought a great upheaval and the people were greatly confused by the disintegration and chaos all round.

L. 373. Falling lowers: It refers to the falling of the churches, a sign of lack of spiritual values in the modern world.

L. 374-376. Jerusalem....Unreal: The city of Jerusalem, Athens, Alexandra, Vienna and London are all corrupt and spiritually barren and desolate.

      L. 377-384. A woman drew....and exhausted. The poet now describes the scene in the Eastern Europe. The Russian Revolution affected many countries. Nearly half of Europe was in a state of chaos. The Russian upheaval is described through the story of the crazy woman. Her black hair flew in the air while the lady played music on the string of her hair. The fiddle of the black hair is a token of miserable and sad music. The sad spectacle of civilization going to pieces in combined with the horror felt by the knight and his followers as they Chapel Perilous. According to a tradition, the knights had to face many horror to prove their courage and they had to face terrible vision and hallucinations as for example bats with baby face and towers upside down. This shows the utter disintegration of modern civilization. Even to-day the bells ring in the churches calling the people to prayer but the empty-minded audience reminds us that true faith has departed and religion has been reduced to a mere ritual. The lack of the true spirit of faith has made the soul of humanity an empty cistern (vessel). This ultimately shows that real faith has departed from the Christian people.

L. 377-378. A woman...those strings: Here is a picture of a woman who in her madness, makes a fiddle of her black hair and plays upon it as an instrument. Her song is of mourning. This reference to the impact of Russia Revolution on the countries in Eastern Europe. Attention is invited to the German book entitled Glimpses into the chaos by Herman Hess (1920).

L. 379-381. And hats.....blackened wall: Here are the indications of civilization in ruins. The bate having faces like the human babies cried in the dim light. They flew and dashed against the black wall. This shows the utter disintegration of modern civilization.

L. 382-383. And upside....kept the hours: The Knight and his followers are haunted by the terrible visions, meant to test the courage of pilgrims. They see towers upside down like inverted pyramids.

L. 383. Tolling reminiscent bells: These towers contain the church bells which rang at regular hours.

L. 384. And voices singing....exhausted wells: The empty vessels and dry wells show that the true spirit of faith has vanished. The church services have been reduced to a lifeless ritual. The soul of humanity is like a dry well or an empty vessel.

      L. 385-394. In this decayed....bringing rain. The broken church in the modern world reminds the poet of the deserved Church towards which the Knight and his friends are marching. He has nearly reached the journey's end under the moon-light. He sees the dancing grass. The grass seems to be singing. This indicates the success of Knight as he enters the empty church at the top of hill, which is full of wind, coming from the broken windows. There are graves out-side but there is no fear of ghosts. The Knights feel happy as the cock crows and announces the end of the night and the return of the light, the lightening flash brings with itself a shower of welcome rain to fertilize the thirsty land. The successful journey of the Knight marks the victory of faith over temptation and suffering.

L. 385. In this....mountains: The scene now changes to journey of Sir Parsifal to the Church Perlious where the Holy Grail is preserved. His spiritual quest has ended as he sees the church on the top of the hill.

L. 386. the grass is singing: This indicates the success of the journey of the knight.

L. 388. empty chapel: This Chapel Perilous is empty and decayed. wind's home: the winds fill up the entire open gaps of missing windows.

L. 389. the door swings: On account of the pressure of the wind the door moves in and out.

L. 390. Dry bones: Graves only contain dry bones and as such there is no fear of ghosts.

L. 391. Only a cock stood on the rooftree: The crowing of cock is an indication of success and return of welcome light after the terrors of the night.

L. 393. In a flash of.....damp gust: The lightning flashes bring with it welcome rain which is a sign of fertility and re-birth.

      L. 395-410. Ganga was sunken.......Da. The poet now turns from Western civilization to the civilization of India. In the history of every nation or civilization, there comes a time of a spiritual crisis. The poet has already given the example of the successful march of the knight to the Chapel Perilous. Now he has turned for the river Ganges had achieved a lower water level which only indicated a spiritual decline. The land was hot and dry. The leaves cried for rain. The dark clouds appeared over the Himalayas in the north. The poet refers to one of the Hindu Upanishads, where in a period of doubt and confusion, men, gods and demons prayed to the Creator. God answered their prayer thorough a divine thunder, which uttered one word thrice - Da, Da, Da. Each group gave its own interpretation. Men said "Da" which means "Datta".... "Give" Demons said "Da" which means "Dayadham" which means to "sympathize", Further the gods said "Da" which means to "Damyata" i.e. "Control". According to Eliot, all the three show the path of salvation for humanity, because man has all the three qualities i.e. human, demonic and angelic. Eliot calls these three things as the three categorical imperatives which are necessary for the survival of humanity.

      The first "Da" means "to give". Eliot asks "What have we to give?" Have we given ourselves away? Are we committed to a certain way of life? What have we contributed for our survival?" "Giye" does not mean charity or money for the relief of the poor. It means giving oneself to a spiritual way of life or to surrender to a higher purpose. It has been the inspiration for all movements of reform. Great men have given their lives for the cause which they held dear. Men are remembered not for their assets and wealth or by their legacies or wills, or by the references in the newspaper, but what they have contributed to the good of the community as a whole. Such things will not be shown in any obituary note or in the will and testament or in the inscription over the grave.

L. 395. Ganga was.... limp leaves: This line describes the conditions of drought and famine in ancient India when people prayed to God for help

L. 397. Over Himavant: The Himalaya mountains.

L. 398. The jungle: The jungle beasts. Crouched: Sat patiently. humped in silence: Depressed and still.

L. 399. Then spoke the thunder: Suddenly a voice came from the thunder which should be understood as Da. Literally it means to give i.e., to give in charity.

L. 400. DA: It is said that God in the form of Prajapati spoke through thunder the word Da three times, the people interpreted this word in different ways. This was the secret of deliverance from the troubles of this world.

L. 401. Datta: In reality it means giving one-self completely to some good cause. It is the conviction plus participation which is important note in the routine of the ritual.

L. 401. Datta what have we given?: The question arises what have we given to the world. Our difficulties arise due to lack of faith and devotion.

L. 403. The awful....surrender: What is needed is the courage of faith to surrender to the Will of God. It is this conviction which has enabled great heroes and martyrs to achieve something great.

L. 404. Prudence: wisdom. Which an retract: Such great tasks and sacrifices are not based on wise calculations. The emotional commitment to a worthy cause originates the inspiration behind a great achievement. The voice of wisdom is out of place in such a situation. The work of a great man cannot be undone by the succeeding generation.

L. 405. By this.....existed: The commitment to a high ideal and not the worldly-wise calculation have been responsible for the great achievements of humanity. They have been the source of inspiration, making man's life worthwhile. Humanity has survived on account of the devotion and sacrifice of its spiritual teachers.

L. 406. Obituaries: A notice or comment on a man's life after death. Generally obituaries are published in a newspaper.

L. 406. Which is not....obituaries: The record of great achievements is not mentioned in the note on the death of great men. Generally, an account of his formal position and assets and summary of his testament find a place in the newspaper. Inspiration and devotion of the man is not recorded in the note published on death of a man.

L. 406. Draped: Dressed or covered. Beneficent spider: The spider who weaves the web over the inscription of the grave.

L. 407. Or in memories.....spider: The record of the devotion of the man and commitment to a noble cause is not mentioned in inscription of his tomb stone which is covered by the webs of spider in course of time.

L. 408. Seals broken: After the death of a man, his will and testament is brought out and the seals thereof are opened by the advocate.

L. 408. Lean solicitor: Thin advocate. The advocates who work hard, are generally lean and thin.

L. 409. Empty rooms: Empty rooms refer to the chambers of the solicitor or advocate.

      L. 411-416. Dayadvan: I.......Coriolanus. The second meaning of the word "Da" is "Dayadhvam" i.e., to sympathize. This is no emotional bond of union between individuals or between the individual and society. We think in terms of self-fulfillment. Firstly, man is imprisoned in his own ego-cell. No one thinks of the community as a whole. Only at night sometimes in the silence of one's environment, one's heart goes out of one's self and thinks of other fellowmen. At that time one may be compared to a "broken Coriolanus." This means that like Coriolanus each one is arrogant and self centered. When Coriolanus, mother pleads with him not to destroy his own city, he feels sympathy for his fellow— citizens. So, the second remedy for the survival of civilizations is the spirit of brotherhood and fellow-feeling.

L. 411. Dayadhvam: This word means 'to sympathize'. It is an emotional bond between individuals or between individuals and society. The man of today is highly selfish and egoistic and has therefore no sympathy for his less fortunate fellow men. I have heard the key: It has the reference to the story in Dante's Inferno. Oglino who was in prison, heard the key-turn in the lock. When the prisoners were inside and the door was locked, the key was thrown in the river nearby and the prisoners were left to starve. Key: symbolized the release from one's ego. We are all prisoners of our ego. We are confined to our individual egocells and each one of us thinks individually of the method of breaking out of his own cell. He is thereby inflating the ego. The ego isolates one individual from another and thereby prevents united action to come out of the prison.

L. 412. Turn in....once only: This shows that the door in the prison is locked. As mentioned in the story, the key of Oglino's prison was thrown into the riven The prisoner now has to think of some way to get out of this prison.

L. 413: We think prison: In the modern waste-land each one is imprisoned in his own ego-room. Each one thinks of some method to get out of this prison cell.

L. 414. Thinking.....prison: Each prisoner has his own solution how to get out of the prison cell. This egoistic way of finding liberation for one-self, only confirms his own egoistic nature.

L. 415. Aethereal: heavenly, rumors: It here means voices.

L. 415. Only at...rumours: In the stillness and quietness of the night, man is free from worldly affairs and has- time to think dispassionately about himself, listens to heavenly voices which speak to his soul.

L. 416. Revive for a moment: Produce in man a feeling of brotherhood for our fellow creatures. A broken Coriolanus: Coriolanus is the hero of Shakespeare's play entitled Coriolanus. Coriolanus is very haughty and is a self-centered leader. When his mother pleads with him not to destroy his own city, his mind is divided between two loyalties-loyalty to his duty as a political leader and loyalty to his conscience. A broken Coriolanus means the defeat of egotism and the presence of a feeling of sympathy for one's fellow men.

      L. 417-422. DA.....controlling hands. The third meaning of "Da" is 'control'. This indicates the necessity for regulating one's life in such a manner that the natural spirit of adventure and buoyancy is not destroyed. For example, in dance, movement and discipline go together. The poet compares this control to the movement of a boat under an expert captain. The boat of life must sail without fear of wind but with the guidance of an expert controlling hand. The heart should also respond willingly to the body in controlling mechanisms within the individual. In other words, there is the need of inner discipline or the voice of conscience to control the feelings and actions of the individual. Naturally, there can be no rule or uniform mechanism of an individual self-regulation. Each person must discover the means of his own inner discipline so that society may not disintegrate.

L, 418. Damyata: It means to control. Here it means to control one's egoistic tenderness and one's passions. Spiritual discipline is necessary in order to lead a smooth and happy life. The boat responded: It has reference to Wagner's Opera, Trisian and Isolde, where the boat moves smoothly on the water because it is in the hands of expert sailors.

L. 419. Gaily....and oar: Man's life is compared to a voyage on the sea. The journey of life becomes easy and pleasant for those who with their wisdom, control their own passion.

L. 420-422. your heart...hands: The heart would willingly submit to the hands of the expert who is able to sail on the sea of life without any fear. This willing submission to inner discipline is the key to the peace and happiness in life. (Eliot suggests inner discipline or listening to the voice of conscience as the only method of regulating one's life which is full of violent and evil tendencies.)

      L. 423-433. I sat upon........Shantih Shantih. In the closing lines, Eliot strikes a personal note and wishes to find out remedy for the reform of spiritually decadent society.

      He has found three remedies which correspond to the three words mentioned above. The poet has given the three remedies to save the modem man from destruction. The poet says that he sat on the shore of life fishing for solutions to set my land in order". London bridge is falling down; European civilization is collapsing. Reconstruction must begin with the individual. One cannot reform society as a whole. One must begin with one-self. The first remedy suggested is derived from Dante namely self-purification. This means willing acceptance of suffering for self-reform. The second remedy is derived from a Latin lyric. The poet finds the nightingale and the swallow singing with a great joy. What is the secret of their joy? The secret lies in spiritual discipline. The third remedy is derived from a French sonnet. It is the complete detachment from worldly possessions which is the condition for spiritual re-birth. The poet wishes to re-build the world with these three important components. To same, the poet's idea of a spiritual reconstruction will sound as the shouting of a mad man. He refers to Hireronymo in Kyd's Spanish Tragedy. The spiritual madness seems the only way of social re-construction and reform. Then only will blessing of heaven come to the suffering humanity like gentle drops of rain, like "Shantih" or peace which gives understanding. Thus the poem ends on a hopeful note.

L. 423. I sat upon the shore: Eliot gives his own personal views and concludes the poem with his own solution of the problems of the wasteland.

424. Fishing: Exploring the possibility if spiritual regeneration. arid plain: the wasteland of modern civilization.

L. 425. Shall I at....order: It may not be possible to find a universal and comprehensive solution of the ills of the modern wasteland. As such, the poet thinks of his own salvation and making the best of his own life.

L. 426. London Bridge....falling down: It refers to the decay and disintegration of modem urban life.

L. 427. Pois' ascose....affine: It has reference to Dante's line in the Purgatory. In this region the cleaning fire rids man of his sins. This line means: "Please remember my pain." The ideas is that it is through suffering that regeneration can be brought about i.e. self-purification is possible only through suffering.

L. 428. Quanda flam....swallow: It refers to the story of Philomela and her sister Procne. Procne was transformed into a swallow. She is symbol of spiritual re-birth, which comes through suffering. The meaning of line is: "when I shall like the swallow that I may be seized to be voiceless."

L. 429. Le Prince d'.....abolie: It is the line from an Italian poem. It means: "The prince of Aquitaine, of the ruined tower." The idea behind this line complete detachment or renunciation is necessary for spiritual re-birth.

L. 430. These fragments.....my ruins: It refers to the three lines mentioned above which contains Eliot's remedy for salvation. He has preserved these maxims to save from spiritual destruction.

L. 431. Why then....mad againe: Perhaps the remedy mentioned above will be applicable to other human beings in the modern world. He compares his remedy to the cry of the mad Hieronymo in Kyd's Spanish Tragedy. The poet feels that his plea for spiritual re-construction will appear to many as the cry of a mad man. The spiritual madness is good enough for him because it enables him to re-construct his life according to the three principles contained in the message of Thunder.

L. 432. Datta. Dayadhvam-Damyata: These three remedies for the spiritual salvation of mankind are "give, sympathize and control".

L. 433. Shantih shantih shatitih: Peace will come into this world. The poet ends this pessimistic poem obviously on a note of hope.

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