Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the poem Abhisara – the Tryst by Rabindranath Tagore which is part of ISC Class 11 English (Rhapsody). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
- Line-by-line explanation of the poem
- Word meanings
- Summary of the poem
- Critical analysis of the poem
- Themes of the poem
- Figure of speech
- About the author
- Workbook answers/solutions
- Additional questions and answers
Line-by-line explanation of the poem
Upagupta, the disciple of Buddha, lay asleep in
the dust by the city wall of Mathura.
Upagupta, who follows Buddha’s teachings, is sleeping in the dust by the city wall, showing that he lives a simple, non-materialistic life.
Lamps were all out, doors were all shut, and stars
were all hidden by the murky sky of August.
It’s late at night; everything’s dark and quiet. The sky is cloudy so even the stars aren’t visible.
Whose feet were those tinkling with anklets,
touching his breast of a sudden?
Someone approaches Upagupta, her foot touches his chest and the sound of her anklets wakes him up.
He woke up startled, and the light from a woman’s
lamp fell on his forgiving eyes.
Upagupta wakes up, surprised, and sees the light from a woman’s lamp.
It was Vasavadatta the dancing girl, starred with jewels,
Clouded with a pale blue mantle, drunk with the wine of her youth.
The woman is Vasavadatta, a dancer known for her beauty and youth. She’s dressed in expensive jewelry and clothing.
She lowered her lamp and saw the young face,
She sees Upagupta, who is very handsome but in a simple, unadorned way.
‘Forgive me, young ascetic,’ said the woman,
‘Graciously come to my house. The dusty earth is
not a fit bed for you.’
Vasavadatta apologizes for waking him and invites him to her house, suggesting that he doesn’t need to sleep in the dust.
The young ascetic answered, Woman, go on your way;
When the time is ripe I will come to you.
Upagupta tells her to leave and that he will come to see her when the time is right, implying he’s not interested in physical pleasures right now.
Suddenly the black night showed its teeth in a
flash of lightning.
The storm growled from the corner of the sky, and
the woman trembled in fear.
A storm suddenly starts, startling Vasavadatta.
A year had not yet passed.
The poem fast-forwards to a time nearly a year later.
It was evening of a day in April, in the Spring.
It’s a spring evening.
The branches of the wayside trees were full of
Gay notes of a flute came floating in the warm
spring air from afar.
The trees are full of flowers, and the sound of someone playing a flute can be heard in the distance.
The citizens had gone to the woods for the
festival of flowers.
From the mid-sky gazed the full moon on the
shadows of the silent town.
Most people are out of town at a festival, and it’s a quiet, moonlit night.
The young ascetic was walking in the lonely
While overhead the love-sick koels uttered from the
mango branches their sleepless plaint.
Upagupta is walking alone on the street while koel birds sing in the trees.
Upagupta passed through the city gates, and stood
at the base of the rampart.
Upagupta walks to the edge of the city and stops near a wall.
What woman lay at his feet in the shadow of the
Struck with the black pestilence, her body spotted
with sores of small-pox.
He finds a woman lying near him who’s suffering from smallpox.
She had been hurriedly driven away from the
To avoid her poisonous contagion.
The woman was kicked out of town because people were scared they might catch the disease from her.
The ascetic sat by her side, took her head on his
And moistened her lips with water, and smeared
her body with balm.
Upagupta sits with her, comforting and caring for her, showing kindness despite her condition. He let her drink water and applies ointments on her diseased body.
‘Who are you, merciful one?’ asked the woman.
‘The time, at last, has come to visit you, and I am
here, Vasavdatta,’ replied the young ascetic.
The woman asks who he is, and Upagupta reveals that he’s finally come to her, but only now when she’s in a state of suffering, not when she was living a life of luxury and beauty.
Ascetic: A person who practices severe self-discipline and abstains from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. In the poem, this refers to Upagupta, who is a Buddhist monk.
Murky: Dark and gloomy, especially due to thick mist or dirt. It’s used in the poem to describe the sky of August.
Anklets: A piece of jewelry, a bracelet, worn around the ankle.
Austerely: Something done in a severe and strict manner. It often refers to something extremely plain and lacking in comfort. Here it is used to describe the beautiful, but stern face of Upagupta.
Pestilence: A fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague. In the poem, it refers to a deadly sickness that Vasavadatta has contracted.
Rampart: A defensive wall of a castle or walled city, having a broad top with a walkway. It represents the city’s outer defenses.
Koels: A type of cuckoo that is native to South Asia. They are known for their distinctive and melodic call.
Plaint: An expression of sorrow or melancholy; a lament.
Balm: Something that has a comforting, soothing, or restorative effect. Here it refers to a substance used to heal or soothe Vasavadatta’s sores.
Contagion: The communication of disease from one person or organism to another by close contact. Vasavadatta is forced out of the town due to her “poisonous contagion”, meaning the risk that her disease could spread to others.
Summary of the poem
At the beginning of the poem, we meet Upagupta, a follower of Buddha. He’s sleeping in the dust outside the city walls. This detail tells us right away that Upagupta chooses a simple and humble life, focusing more on spiritual growth than worldly comforts.
Then comes Vasavadatta, a beautiful dancer, who lives a life filled with luxury and pleasure. When she sees Upagupta, she invites him to her house. But Upagupta says no, saying he’ll visit her when the time is right. He doesn’t get swept away by her beauty or the promise of comfort, showing that he values inner peace and wisdom more than superficial pleasures.
The next part of the poem has a storm, which could symbolize the turmoil or fear Vasavadatta feels after being rejected or maybe even foreshadowing the challenges that are yet to come in her life.
Fast forward a year, and we find Upagupta walking through the city during a peaceful spring evening. He discovers Vasavadatta, who is now sick with smallpox and banished from the city. Her beauty and wealth that once were her identity are now gone, reminding us that worldly pleasures are temporary and fleeting.
In contrast, Upagupta remains the same – calm and compassionate. Seeing her suffering, he sits by her side and comforts her, fulfilling the promise he made to visit her when the time is right. This teaches us that true kindness and compassion are shown when someone is in need, not when they are at their best.
In summary, “Abhisara – the Tryst” is a poem that explores the contrast between the physical and spiritual worlds and teaches us about impermanence, compassion, and true understanding. It shows us that beauty, wealth, and pleasure are temporary and can change quickly. On the other hand, spiritual values like wisdom, inner peace, and compassion are lasting and truly important. Upagupta’s actions throughout the poem serve as a model of these values. His decision to help Vasavadatta when she is sick and outcast, not when she is popular and beautiful, is a powerful demonstration of real kindness and empathy.
Critical analysis of the poem
“Abhisara – The Tryst” by Rabindranath Tagore is a thought-provoking and deeply moving poem that brings to life themes of compassion, steadfast faith, and the harsh realities of human existence.
Tagore, through his rich use of language and vivid descriptions, paints a colorful canvas of contrasting scenes that stick in the reader’s mind. We begin with an image of serenity, Upagupta, a follower of Buddha, sleeping peacefully near the city wall of Mathura. The tranquility of this scene sharply contrasts with the introduction of Vasavadatta, a glamorous and richly adorned woman. Her beauty and allure are painted with such intricate detail, highlighting her jewels and youthfulness, making us feel the allure that the world typically associates with such beauty and wealth.
The poem takes a dramatic turn when Upagupta, the ascetic, refuses Vasavadatta’s offer to abandon his simple life on the dusty earth for her comfortable and luxurious abode. This moment is crucial as it reveals Upagupta’s unwavering commitment to his spiritual path and the principles he believes in, a testament to his character. His response to Vasavadatta hints at the theme of time and karma, where every action has a reaction and happens at a destined time.
A year later, Tagore takes us into a blossoming spring scene, filled with natural beauty and vibrant life. Yet, amidst this beauty, we encounter Vasavadatta again, but this time, she’s ailing, lonely, and abandoned, suffering from a severe disease. The sharp contrast between her past allure and her present condition is a potent reminder of the unpredictable and sometimes harsh nature of life.
This stark reality doesn’t deter Upagupta, who shows immense compassion and kindness. He chooses to comfort and care for the sick Vasavadatta, the woman who once shunned him. This act of selflessness underscores the theme of unconditional love and humanity that transcends physical attractiveness or social status. Upagupta’s actions reflect his profound understanding of the Buddha’s teachings, especially the emphasis on compassion and treating all beings with kindness.
Tagore’s “Abhisara – The Tryst” thus takes us on an emotional rollercoaster, forcing us to confront life’s inherent uncertainties and the power of compassion and integrity. The poem shines a spotlight on the impermanence of worldly pleasures and beauty and emphasizes the importance of inner spiritual strength. It’s a beautifully crafted poetic narrative that leaves the reader with deep reflections on life, faith, and humanity.
Themes of the poem
Compassion and Selflessness: The monk Upagupta shows true compassion when he helps Vasavadatta in her time of need. Even though she’s sick and was turned away by everyone else, Upagupta doesn’t hesitate to help her. He’s selfless because he doesn’t expect anything in return.
Beauty and Ugliness: The poem contrasts the physical beauty of Vasavadatta, the dancing girl, with her later physical state when she’s sick with smallpox. This shows that true beauty is more than just physical appearance. Upagupta, despite seeing her in both states, treats her with the same kindness and compassion, suggesting that he values inner beauty over outer beauty.
Spirituality and Worldliness: Upagupta is a spiritual man who rejects Vasavadatta’s worldly invitations in the beginning because it’s not the right time. Later, when she’s in need, he helps her. This shows that he’s not attracted to the glitz and glamour of the world, but rather the spiritual path of service and compassion.
Timing: The poem also deals with the theme of timing. When Vasavadatta first approaches Upagupta, he tells her that the time isn’t right. But when she’s in need, he tells her that the time has come. This shows that there’s a right time for everything, and it’s not always when we expect it.
Love and Duty: The poem also explores the themes of love and duty. Love isn’t always romantic or physical, as seen in the pure and compassionate love that Upagupta shows Vasavadatta. He performs his duty as a monk not by preaching but by showing kindness and compassion to someone in need.
Figure of speech
Metaphor: Metaphors are direct comparisons between two things. In the poem, the line “the black night showed its teeth in a flash of lightning” uses the metaphor of the night showing its teeth to describe a sudden, bright flash of lightning. It enhances the mood, making the night seem dangerous and foreboding.
Simile: Similes are comparisons that use “like” or “as.” While the poem does not directly employ a simile, it does compare elements in an implicit manner, as in “drunk with the wine of her youth,” which compares the intoxicating effects of youth to wine.
Personification: This is giving human traits to non-human objects. In “the storm growled from the corner of the sky,” the storm is personified as a creature that can growl. This not only makes the storm seem more threatening, but also adds a sense of movement and sound to the scene.
Imagery: Tagore uses vivid and descriptive language to create mental images for the reader. An example would be “struck with the black pestilence, her body spotted with sores of smallpox,” which paints a detailed and unsettling picture of Vasavadatta’s suffering.
Symbolism: The poet uses various symbols to convey deeper meanings. For instance, the mango grove may symbolize shelter and comfort, while the sores of smallpox symbolize suffering and societal ostracism.
Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a figure of speech that involves exaggeration for emphasis. The line “the love-sick koels uttered from the mango branches their sleepless plaint” could be seen as an example of hyperbole, exaggerating the birds’ calls to emphasize the loneliness and longing in the scene.
About the author
Rabindranath Tagore was a famous Indian writer, artist, and musician who wrote in Bengali. He changed Bengali literature by using everyday language instead of sticking to classical Sanskrit. He had a huge impact in bringing Indian culture to the Western world, and vice versa. He’s considered one of the greatest creative artists from India in the early 20th century. In 1913, he was the first person from outside Europe to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his collection of poems, Gitanjali.
Although Tagore was successful in all kinds of writing, he loved poetry the most. He wrote over fifty volumes of poetry, including Manasi, Sonar Tari, Katha O Kahini, Gitanjali, Gitimalya, and Balaka. He translated some of his work into English and published them in books like The Gardener, Fruit-Gathering, and The Fugitive. He liked to try different kinds of poetry, from short lyrics and sonnets to long descriptive works and prose poems.
Abhisara, which means ‘The Tryst’ in English, is one of his poems. He wrote it in Bengali in 1899 for a collection called Katha O Kahini, which was inspired by a book on Buddhist literature by Rajendralal Mitra. This collection contains stories and tales from different Indian literary traditions. Tagore later translated this poem into English for a collection called Fruit-Gathering, published in 1916.
The poem, “The Tryst”, tells the story of Upagupta, a Buddhist monk from around 300 BCE who was respected by Emperor Ashoka. The poem shows that love and compassion can be found in unexpected places and under unusual circumstances.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
(i) In what month did Upagupta come into contact with the dancing gril?
Answer: (b) August
(ii) What impression did the dancing girl leave on her meeting with Upagupta?
Answer: (c) that she was proud of her youth and beauty
(iii) Woman, go on your way’. What does ‘your way’ suggest here?
Answer: (b) the way she was leading her life in material comforts and physical pleasures
(iv) Why did the woman tremble on listening to the thunder?
Answer: (b) because she feared something wrong was going to happen
(v) Why was the street lonely’ in the spring season?
Answer: (d) because the city dwellers had gone to the woods
(vi) The dancing girl was suffering from
Answer: (b) smallpox
(vii) Which of these statements is NOT true?
Answer: (c) Upagupta did not find the dancing girl really beautiful
(viii) Upagupta tried to comfort and treat the dancing girl afflicted with an epidemic. What quality of his character is revealed?
Answer: (b) his kindness and fearlessness
(ix) Which birds are described as ‘love-sick’ in the poem
Answer: (b) koels
(x) Suddenly the black night ‘showed its teeth’. In which mood was the night?
Answer: (b) furious
(xi) The poem makes us realize that
Answer: (c) nothing is permanent
(i) In the poem, Upagupta was sleeping in the dust by the city wall of Mathura because __________
Answer: he was an ascetic who had renounced all material comforts, including a comfortable place to sleep.
(ii) Upagupta did not accept the invitation from the girl because __________
Answer: he was a disciplined ascetic committed to his spiritual path and was not swayed by temporal pleasures.
(iii) The ascetic woke up in shock because __________
Answer: he was suddenly touched by the anklet-tinkling feet of the dancing girl, Vasavadatta.
(iv) The dancing girl was proud of her youth because __________
Answer: she was attractive and desirable, living a life full of worldly pleasures and attention.
(v) The young ascetic told the dancing girl to move on her own way because __________
Answer: he was not willing to be tempted by her or stray from his spiritual path at that time.
(vi) The woman trembles in fear because __________
Answer: a sudden storm had grown from the corner of the sky, creating a fearful atmosphere with lightning and growling thunder.
(vii) The branches of trees blossom because __________
Answer: it was springtime, the season when many trees naturally bloom.
(viii) The woman had been hurriedly removed from the town because __________
Answer: she had contracted smallpox, a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease, and posed a risk to the rest of the townspeople.
(ix) The young ascetic applied sandal balm to the woman’s body because __________
Answer: he was showing kindness and compassion by caring for her in her sick, vulnerable state.
(x) Upagupta was a true ascetic because __________
Answer: he demonstrated his detachment from worldly pleasures, his discipline in spiritual practice, and his compassion and kindness toward the suffering.
Short answer questions
(i) What aspects of nature are described in the poem?
Answer: The poem describes a range of natural elements – the murky sky of August, the blossoming trees in spring, the flash of lightning, the thundering storm, the silent town under the full moon, the plaintive calls of the love-sick koels from the mango branches, and the warm spring air carrying the notes of a flute.
(ii) Describe the first meeting between Upagupta and the young dancing girl.
Answer: In their first meeting, Upagupta, an ascetic, was asleep by the city wall when he was woken by Vasavadatta, the dancing girl, touching his chest. She was dressed luxuriously, a stark contrast to his austere appearance. Vasavadatta invited him to her house, stating the dusty earth was not a suitable bed for him. However, Upagupta, unperturbed by her wealth and beauty, told her to go on her way, and he would visit her when the time was ripe.
(iii) Comment on the concluding line of the poem ‘I am here’ in the context.
Answer: The line ‘I am here’ is spoken by Upagupta as he tends to the sick and suffering Vasavadatta. The line signifies his fulfillment of his earlier promise to visit her when the time was ripe. The context, however, is very different from their first meeting. The once beautiful dancing girl is now stricken with smallpox. Yet, Upagupta, showing his unconditional compassion, is there to comfort and aid her in her moment of need.
(iv) Briefly discuss the role played by nature in the poem.
Answer: Nature in the poem provides the setting and underscores the emotional and spiritual journeys of the characters. It mirrors the phases of life and the changing circumstances of the characters – the murky sky and the thundering storm when Upagupta declines Vasavadatta’s invite, and the calm, spring-filled evening when he finally comes to her aid. The blooming trees, the full moon, and the koels’ calls add to the serene yet lonely atmosphere of the town where these profound human interactions unfold.
(v) Youth and beauty do not last long. Discuss with close reference to the poem.
Answer: The poem exemplifies the fleeting nature of youth and beauty through the character of Vasavadatta. In their first encounter, she is presented as a stunning, vibrant woman, intoxicated by her youth and beauty. However, within a year, she is depicted as a victim of smallpox, her beauty marred by the disease. The contrast starkly illustrates the transient nature of youth and physical attractiveness.
(vi) What does the following line depict about the personality of the dancing girl? Wearing a pale blue mantle, drunk with the wine of her youth.
Answer: This line suggests that the dancing girl, Vasavadatta, is immensely taken by her youth and beauty. The phrase ‘drunk with the wine of her youth’ metaphorically means she is carried away or intoxicated by her youthful attractiveness and charm. The reference to her ‘pale blue mantle’ indicates her luxurious lifestyle, reflecting her worldly indulgence and vanity.
Long answer questions
(1) ‘Selfless service is the religion of the ascetics’. Discuss the statement with close reference to the text of the poem.
Answer: The poem “Abhisara – the Tryst” by Rabindranath Tagore vividly portrays the idea of selfless service through the character of Upagupta, a disciple of Buddha. In the first half of the poem, Upagupta is approached by Vasavadatta, a beautiful and rich dancing girl, who invites him to her home. However, he declines her invitation, stating that he will come to her when the time is right. This reflects the ascetic’s renunciation of worldly pleasures and attractions, focusing instead on his spiritual path.
A year later, Upagupta encounters Vasavadatta again, but this time, she is not the enchanting woman adorned in jewels; rather, she is suffering from smallpox and has been ostracized by society. It is in this hour of need that Upagupta fulfills his promise and comes to her, providing care and compassion, even when society has turned its back on her. The ascetic’s selfless service, devoid of any expectation, personifies the true essence of his spiritual path, showcasing the nobility of selflessness in the highest form.
(ii) The young ascetic answered, “Woman, go on your way;
When the time is ripe I will come to you.”
Explain the lines in the context of the poem.
Answer: These lines occur when Vasavadatta, a wealthy and beautiful dancing girl, invites Upagupta, an ascetic, to her home. However, Upagupta, unperturbed by her beauty and wealth, tells her to continue her way and reassures her that he will visit when the time is ripe. This shows his strong conviction to his ascetic path, not getting swayed by worldly attractions.
Later in the poem, when Vasavadatta is ostracized due to her illness, it is Upagupta who comes to her aid. The phrase “When the time is ripe” here signifies the appropriate moment when his spiritual service is genuinely needed, not a moment of indulgence. This reaffirms his commitment to selfless service, as he aids Vasavadatta in her time of suffering and despair, underlining his true role as an ascetic.
(iii) Comment on the use of imagery in the poem.
Answer: Tagore uses vivid and evocative imagery in the poem, painting detailed pictures of the characters, the setting, and the changing seasons. The imagery serves not just to describe but also to underline the thematic aspects of the poem.
The night sky of August hiding the stars, the blossoming trees in spring, the full moon gazing on the silent town, the koels’ plaintive calls from the mango branches, the warm spring air carrying the notes of a flute – all these natural images build the serene yet profound atmosphere of the poem. The contrasting images of Vasavadatta, first as a dancing girl adorned with jewels and later as a victim of smallpox, create a stark visual that underscores the fleeting nature of physical beauty.
(iv) Compare and contrast the two parts of the poem.
Answer: The poem is structured in two parts, each with distinct yet connected narrative arcs. The first part presents the initial meeting between Upagupta and Vasavadatta. This section is characterized by the allure of physical beauty and worldly charm, depicted through Vasavadatta’s luxurious lifestyle and youthful radiance. Upagupta’s refusal to accompany her reflects his dedication to his ascetic path.
The second part takes place a year later when the landscape has transformed with the arrival of spring, and Vasavadatta’s fortunes have taken a severe turn. She is now afflicted with smallpox and ostracized from society. In contrast to the first part, this section showcases the impermanence of beauty and wealth, emphasizing instead on the virtues of compassion and selfless service.
While the two parts differ in their narrative arcs and themes, they are connected by the character of Upagupta, whose unwavering commitment to his ascetic path and ideals of selfless service form the unifying thread. Through Upagupta, the poem delivers a powerful message about the transient nature of worldly pleasures and the enduring value of compassion and selfless service.
Additional questions and answers
1. How does the poet use contrasts in the poem?
Answer: Tagore uses contrasts in multiple ways: the serenity of Upagupta’s spiritual life against Vasavadatta’s glamorous world, the changes in seasons (from a murky August night to a beautiful Spring evening), and Vasavadatta’s transformation from a vibrant woman to a sick and abandoned one.
2. How does Upagupta’s reaction to Vasavadatta in her time of sickness reflect his character?
Answer: Upagupta’s compassion and care for the sick and abandoned Vasavadatta show his true embodiment of the teachings of Buddha. It signifies his understanding that all beings deserve compassion and kindness, regardless of their physical state or social status.
3. What does the change in Vasavadatta’s condition from a beautiful woman to a person with a severe disease symbolize in the poem?
Answer: The transformation of Vasavadatta’s condition symbolizes the impermanence and unpredictability of life. It emphasizes that physical beauty and material possessions are fleeting, and what matters most is the inner character and values.
4. How does Tagore depict the passage of time and the changing seasons in the poem? What might this signify?
Answer: Tagore uses vivid imagery to denote the passage of time and changing seasons. The poem begins on a murky August night and moves to a blossoming April evening. This shift could symbolize the impermanence of life and conditions, a common theme in Buddhist teachings. It could also reflect the changes in Vasavadatta’s life from her first meeting with Upagupta to their second encounter.
5. How does the act of Upagupta taking care of the sick Vasavadatta encapsulate the essence of Buddhist teachings?
Answer: In Buddhism, compassion and kindness toward all living beings is a fundamental teaching. Upagupta taking care of Vasavadatta, regardless of her physical state or social standing, embodies this teaching. It suggests that true spirituality lies not in isolation or avoidance of suffering, but in empathizing with and aiding those in need.
6. How does Rabindranath Tagore’s use of nature and its elements contribute to the overall mood and theme of the poem?
Answer: Tagore uses nature to symbolize the passage of time, the cycle of life, and to create an atmosphere that mirrors the events in the poem. The murky sky, full moon, the blossoming trees, the silent town—all serve to enhance the narrative. Nature is portrayed as a silent observer and a mirror reflecting the changes and impermanence in human lives.
7. Who is Sanyasi Upagupta and what is he doing in Mathura?
Answer: Upagupta was a disciple of Buddha who led a life of renunciation (sanyasi). In this poem, he is in Mathura, a city in India, but he is not involved in the activities of the city. Instead, he sleeps in the dust by the city wall, indicating his detachment from worldly pleasures.
8. What is the significance of the court dancer’s foot ringing on the sanyasi’s chest?
Answer: The court dancer’s foot touching Upagupta signifies an intrusion of the material world into his spiritual solitude. It represents a sudden meeting of two contrasting worlds – the earthly world of pleasure and desire represented by the dancer and the spiritual world of renunciation embodied by Upagupta.
9. What is the court dancer’s request to the sanyasi and how does he respond?
Answer: The court dancer, Vasavadatta, invites Upagupta to her house, suggesting that the ground is not a suitable place for him to sleep. Upagupta responds by telling her to continue on her way, and that he will visit her when the time is right. His response indicates his commitment to his spiritual path and his understanding of the inevitability of certain events due to karma.
10. What is the significance of the lightning and the destructive wind in the first part of the poem?
Answer: The lightning and the wind add a sense of foreboding to the poem. They can be interpreted as symbolic indications of the forthcoming changes in Vasavadatta’s life, a storm of challenges that she will soon have to face.
11. How does the sanyasi treat the young woman and what is the significance of his actions? (before and after)
Answer: Before Vasavadatta’s illness, Upagupta maintains a respectful distance. After she falls ill, Upagupta tends to her, showing empathy and selflessness. These actions demonstrate Upagupta’s adherence to his spiritual path, the Buddhist principle of compassion, and the non-discrimination between people based on their circumstances.
12. What is the theme of the poem and how is it conveyed through the characters and events?
Answer: The poem explores themes of compassion, impermanence, and the spiritual victory over worldly desires. These themes are conveyed through the characters of Upagupta and Vasavadatta and the contrasting circumstances they face. The events underline the transient nature of worldly pleasures and the enduring strength of spiritual virtues.
13. What is the significance of the title “The Tryst” and how does it relate to the poem as a whole?
Answer: A ‘tryst’ usually refers to a planned meeting between lovers. In this poem, the tryst is not romantic but significant in illustrating the meeting of two contrasting worlds. It signifies the destined encounter between Upagupta and Vasavadatta and underlines the interconnectedness of all life experiences, a central Buddhist teaching.
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