Salutation to the Dawn

November 18, 2005  

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:

The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of beauty

For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow only a vision
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.

- Kalidasa, Indian Poet

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21 Responses to “Salutation to the Dawn”

  1. Lee Parent on November 19th, 2005 9:05 pm

    Stephen – my husband has always been very goal-oriented, I much less so. When we were 40 I had cancer, so my goal became ‘to survive’ & our goal as a couple was to make the most of what time we had. Fifteen years later, it’s obvious that I did survive, & we’ve done reasonably well in most aspects of our life. But mostly we learned that goals can be derailed by uncontrollable events, & I wonder if that isn’t a double-edged sword of our modern society. Goal-setters who succeed or fail tend to take credit or blame for the results but in truth, the results are often brought about by some force outside their control. Thus at some level of their consciousness they are living a lie & that separates them from their true self.

  2. Stephen Shapiro on November 21st, 2005 11:33 am

    Nicely said. With goals we are often trying to control the uncontrollable.

  3. Elizabeth on January 9th, 2006 7:13 pm

    This could and just might me my mantra.

  4. Rosario on January 28th, 2006 8:52 pm

    I think that Kalidasa would love this poem from Elena Avila, a teacher, soulful friend and very admired human being to me. Living in the day, in the now, always thrilled to salutate the dawn every day, as living in the crack of an egg…Choosing to stay awake forever…If I have to:

    WHOMAN WHO GLOWS IN THE DARK

    I woke up to my illusions,
    And now I can’t sleep.

    I have no desires,
    and now I can’t eat…
    what you dish out to me.

    I’ll stay awake forever if
    I have to.

    I live in the crack of an egg-
    in the space between galaxies
    and earth mud.
    Along he thin borders
    of enlightment and
    darkness.

    I saw through the smoky mirror,
    and my third eye winked at me!

    Time is an illusion,
    and eternity lives
    in the cracks of everything
    that is dualized.

    I like living
    in the middle of
    either/or,
    and gray is my color
    in black/white.
    I’m cozy in the nucleus
    of past/future and…

    I am the ember seed in
    light/dark.
    I am
    Woman who glows in the dark.

    I’ll stay awake forever
    if I have to.

    -Elena Avila-

    If you ever go to NM in other tour oportunity, you would love to meet this amazing and creative person, a fun loving, artist, generous curandera (healer) of the soul, and never ending joyful spirit. A goal-free and spirit-bond life journey. Her web site:
    http://www.elena-curandera.com

  5. Allan on February 14th, 2006 7:18 pm

    I first read this remarkable piece in the mid 60′s, when I was in college. It was at the beginning of Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” I still have that dog-eared paperback on my shelf. That was when paperbacks were only 50 cents. Writing just doesn’t get any better than that Kalidasa piece. It is a standout.

  6. jillian on April 5th, 2006 1:41 pm

    I went to a girls camp where for years we said the Lord’s prayer. But then it came to be that not everyone who went there wanted to say the Lords’ prayer. So we changed it to the Salutation to the Dawn. Imagine 120 girls aged 7-20 saying the Salutation every morning in front of the lake with the sun rising – a truly remarkable sight indeed.

  7. Lou on April 9th, 2006 10:26 am

    its great what you are doing but how can you change an ancient text that has existed for hundreds of years? it is the splendour of beauty not the splendour of people. perhaps you think that use of the word beauty has too shallow a ring to it but please give your audiences more credit – or if you really cant trust them to see that the most incredible beauty on earth comes from a pure and true love of mankind, warts and all, then explain it to them. do not deprive your audience of the original and inspired brilliance of Kalidasa and what he wished to convey. peace be upon you.

  8. Stephen Shapiro on April 10th, 2006 8:56 am

    Lou, Thanks for pointing out the error! The version I posted was the version I once received. I would never intentionally change a single word of such a beautiful quote. It is now corrected.

  9. Jim on August 17th, 2006 7:06 pm

    The excerpt, “Today well lived” from Salutation of the Dawn, appears on the masthead of the Beverly Hills (California) High School newspaper, the Highlights.

  10. Edith on August 24th, 2006 8:31 pm

    I just acquired a framed picture 8 1/2 X4 1/2 inches. It pictures an Indian brave standing by his canoe at the edge of a lake. It looks to be sketches and the poem Look to This Day is inscribed on it. The poem starts with: For Yesterday…… Does anyone have a clue who might have drawn this picture? On the back there is a label. “The Buzza Company Craftacres MPLS. U.S.A.

  11. Edith on August 24th, 2006 8:36 pm

    My first email was mistyped! I have acquired an 8 1/2 by 4/12 sketched picture of an Indian brave by his canoe at the water’s edge. On this picture is the poem Look to this day- On the back is a label “The Buzza Company Craftacres MPLS. U.S.A. Does anyone have an idea as to who would have done the art work or where it might have come from. It looks to be old.

  12. Stephen Shapiro on August 24th, 2006 10:27 pm

    Out of curiosity, I did a Google search and found the following. It is a cache of an eBay auction. http://tinyurl.com/s7c9j

    FYI, here’s a bit about the company I found:

    The Buzza Company: George Buzza founded the Buzza greeting card Company in 1907. The company started out by selling college advertising posters. When the market for these disappeared, he decided to manufacture greeting cards. After a slow start the company turned a corner in 1917 when sales hit $75,000. By 1927 sales reached $2.5 million. In 1928 it merged with the Charles S. Clark Company of New York City. In 1929 Buzza sold his interest in the company and retired to California. The Buzza Company continued in business until 1942 when its stockholders decided to liquidate it because of large business losses. Collection includes seven gift books, booklets (Greetings–Easter 1924; February 1928; February 1931), Christmas greeting brochures to dealers (1927 and 1941), office correspondence (January 1932-September 1942), financial statements for 1925, 1932, 1935, 1939, 1941, and 1943 to October 18, seven Christmas cards (1925-1930), biographical clippings on George Buzza, clippings on the company from the 1920s and 1930s, and a history of the company circa 1927. Included in separate areas are photos, both catalogued and uncatalogued; nine blueprints in Map Case 2, Drawer 4; the house organ The Bee-Hive in SCMC periodicals; a clipping file on the Buzza building filed in VF, and catalogued books First 100 Years (a book about Craftacres) (338.8 S11) and the 1927 book The Art of Entertaining, (793.0 W16.) SOURCE: http://www.mpls.lib.mn.us/sc_orgarchives.asp

  13. Billie Milholland on December 26th, 2006 6:55 pm

    I when to summer church camp in the ’60s and rember reciting the ‘salutation to the dawn’ and I remember being told it was sanscrit, but in later life I could not find anyone who remembered this as i did. i am pleased to see that others had a similar experience. Now I know I did not just dream it.

  14. Betsy Heately on February 4th, 2007 11:42 pm

    I too recited this at a church camp (CGIT) in the early 1960s, and was also told that it was Sanskrit. I recently met 2 women who were counsellors at the camp and they also remembered this. I’d remembered the second half of the poem (from “For today well lived….Look well, therefore, to this day!”) but not the beginning. It’s now hanging in my bathroom for me to see every morning – a good mantra indeed!

  15. Geoff Beardall on June 10th, 2007 12:14 pm

    I respectfully disagree that success or failure is brought to us by some force outside our control, that goal setters are trying to control the uncontrollable. Goals are about the bliss of growth and the glory of action. For most (all?) people happiness and self esteem are the result of making progress toward worthy goals. Goal setters are trying to live productive self directed lives. They are not content to sit back without a purpose and without dreams and see where life takes them. Uncontrollable events may change your goals, but they are not a reason to have no goals. I recite Salutation to the Dawn every morning. Isn’t goal setting a method of living today well so your vision of the future remains hopefull?

  16. Stephen Shapiro on June 10th, 2007 12:44 pm

    Geoff,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Three points.

    1. Being goal-free is not the same as being goal-less. I am not an advocate of goallessness. Being goal-free means having a sense of direction (call it vision if you want) and then meandering with purpose. Avoid targeting specific outcomes or creating detailed plans. Instead, be open to new possibilities. People who are LESS goal-driven are luckier – studies prove this. The reason is that goal-free people have a more diverse set of experiences, which brings them more diverse opportunities. The key is to then “sense and respond” to these opportunities.

    2. The goal-free approach is not for everyone. If goals are truly giving you success and happiness, then stick with them. Your personality style will often dictate if traditional goal-setting is right for you. Regardless, I encourage you to be open to the goal-free approach. There is a lot to be learns about how to achieve your goals, with less effort. (see my blog entry on the Performance Paradox).

    3. I wholeheartedly agree that “success” is not brought from some force outside our control. It is a result of our actions. However, we can not control our environment. It is exceptionally complex and driven by innumerable interactions and variables. Predicting the results of our actions is nearly impossible. As Dwight D Eisenhower is reputed to have said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”.

    Opportunity is everywhere. Although, I don’t believe you can “engineer” your way to success, you do need to take action and play full out.

  17. Pat Goddard on October 24th, 2007 10:29 pm

    I also remember saying this poem every morning at CGIT camp in Saskatchewan– after a dip in the lake! This was in the mid-fifties.
    It has stayed with me all my life.

  18. geoffrey beardall on January 26th, 2009 10:47 am

    Steve,
    I appreciate the distinction between goal-free and goal-less. I will shift toward “meandering with a purpose” and I will “take action and play full out” – I think that is great advice.

  19. paul sutton on April 20th, 2010 8:38 pm

    i have a picture of a poem titled “mother dear” with trademark of buzza-crafteacres mlps u.s.a. on the bottom left. the picture shows a woman standing at a gate. i am not sure if she is dressed in a victorian or early american dress. it has foil at four corners of the picture. the frame is wooded and measures outside to outside of 5 1/2″ wide and 9 1/2″ high. can you help us determine the age of this picture? your help is greatly appreciated.

  20. Laura MacKenzie on January 21st, 2011 11:29 am

    I remember repeating this
    poem at CGIT camp in 1934 and those days were
    the most important time of
    my life. I am 91 and I still have three of my best friends from CGIT

  21. Anne Page Hepher on March 31st, 2011 11:55 pm

    I too remember those good old CGIT days in the late ’40′s early in the morning, overlooking a lake and once beside the seashore, reciting Salutation to the Dawn. As a teenager I felt quite dramatic especially in such beautiful settings. Now, learning some of its history, I intend to rememorize and frame it for others to enjoy.