‘The Waste Land’ Summary, Section 5

The Waste Land Summary

Section 5

What the Thunder Said

This is the last section of The Waste Land. In this section despite (के बावजूद) death and destruction (विनाश), there is emergence (उभार, उदगमन) of hope and salvation (मोक्ष, मुक्ति).

In this section, the poet depicts the final scene of Jesus Christ’s life. Jesus Christ was arrested by the crowd led by his betrayer (विश्वश्घाती, धोखेबाज), Judas. He was arrested from the garden of Gethsemane. He was crucified and dead. After his death, the earth shook. In this way the true followers of religion were dead. The poet tells that in the present time we too are dying in lack of true religion.

In this section, we find the mythical journey of Percival and his followers. They were going to the Church Perilous. The church was in the drought-ridden kingdom of the Fisher-King.

The first three stanzas refer to an uninhabited (निर्जन, उजाड़) and desert setting, in which there is an absence of water. The speaker laments the absence of water, he imagines the ‘drip drop’ (मृग-मारिचिका, मृग-तृष्णा) of water on rocks, but became sad by acknowledging that, alas! there’s no water.

There is another journey in this section, the second journey was of Emmaus. After the crucifixion of Christ, some of his disciples had doubts about his re-birth.

The third journey was of the unspiritual humanity of the wasteland which is the Eastern part of Europe. In this part, the poet describes the third vision (मानसिक अवस्था) of Tiresias. The poet describes the uprooted humanity and the bad conditions of it. He presents the nightmare (बुरा-सपना) of contemporary civilization. In this section the poet tells that people have lost their faith in God, they have forsaken the Lord. They worship only false gods.

In this section, the poet presents an extract from Brihadaranyanka Upanishad. Here the poet uses the thundering voice of Lord of creation (ब्रम्हा जी) that is- ‘Da, Da, Da. The poet presents a story from the Upanishad. Once there was a terrible famine in India. There was no water in rivers, ponds, and wells. All the creatures and trees seem to await the breaking of clouds hovering on the Himalayas. All the creatures were in great turmoil (घबराहट) and panic. Finally, men, gods, and demons decided to go to the Lord of Creation and requested help. The Lord of Creation spoke only in three sounds- ‘Da, Da, Da’. This sound has different meanings by different groups. Men take it as the three-fold path of deliverance from the cares of the world. Human is a combination of all the three properties- human, angelic (दिव्य) and demonic (शैतानी).

The poet presents the explanation of the three thunder voice- ‘Da, Da, Da’, form the Upanishad.

Da- Daan (दान)

Da- Daya (दया)

Da- Dam (दम)

The first ‘Da’ command to give. To the first question “What have we given?”

He answered that we have given only a sense of self-abnegation (आत्म-त्याग) in a moment of great emotional conviction (दोषसिद्धि). It is surrender to something outside oneself. The first surrender was our parents’ sexual consent and when we are born again, it is our new surrender to accept the order of our heart. Self-abnegation is the only evidence of life or existence.

The second command is Daya, we should be Dayawan, we should be kind to others. It is possible only when we give up our pride. If we keep sympathy, we enter imaginatively into another self. We should not shut ourselves into the cell of self-proud. In this way, we can not feel others’ misery and feelings. We should be kind to others without ego. There is only one key in this world that can unlock our cells of self-proud, which is to be devoted to others and the outside world.

The third command is Dam, be powerful to control yourself. The self-control of mind and heart is most necessary. Everyone should exercise it. Although it is easy to think and very hard to apply, but gives more freedom and happiness.

The poet tells that the heart under the controlled discipline has been pictured as a boat floating without risk and fear. In the last, the poet tells that in the modern wasteland we see the disobedience of all the three commands. The result is that the world has become a wasteland.

The Fisher King appears for the last time on the shore of wasteland. He is now determined to fight against its sterility, He was not sure that he would be successful, because he was late and the situation is out of control.

In the last, the poet once again presents a reference from the Upanishad, ‘Shantih, shantih, shantih’. The poet preaches mental piece is necessary to mankind. In the last of this section, Tiresias warns the world that the calamity (विपत्ति, आपदा) can be eliminated (टालना) by following of two Aryan myths- Sympathy and Control.

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3

Section 4

Section 5