Saturday, August 23, 2008

RAINBOW HUES: The Poetry of Nar Deo Sharma

Nar Deo Sharma belongs to that age of Indian English Poetry when it was in its teens, when poets like O.P. Bhatnagar, Prakash Joshi, Niranjan Mohanty, I.H.Rizvi, Baldev Mirza, Hazara Singh, Mukund R. Dave, Syed Ameruddin, Jayant Mahapatra, Krishna Srinivas, R.K. Singh, Mahanand Sharma, A. N. Dwivedi, P. Lal, D. C. Chambial, H. S. Bhatiya, T. Vasudeva Reddy, Krishna Khullar, L. N. Mahapatra, D. H. Kabadi, I. K. Sharma, Pronab Bandhopadyay, K. B. Rai, Subhash C. Saha were hectically absorbed in poetry to bring it onto the global platform. According to I. H. Rizvi & N. F. Rizvi the poetry in between 1971 to 1985 (in 1984 Sharma’s Melody of Wounds was published firstly from Writers Workshop) was very ‘rich as far as the number of the volumes of verse is concerned’. Despite all criticism of M. K. Naik and B. K. Das who regard the poetry of this age as ‘rubbish’ (Rizvi: 134), one cannot underestimate the significance of the poetry of this age. While Sharma observes the poetry of the age:
New Indian English poets are sincerely committed to social, political and religious perspectives to the extent that they do not feel shy of poetizing stark realities which might not satisfy the parochial norms of the good and the beautiful altogether but highlight the unvarnished truth in poetry (Rizvi:134)
It seems that he hints to some crucial clue to understand his poetry in a well manner.
Being essentially a poet cum stylistic critic, his equal emphasis appears to be laid upon the craft and art of poems. So his poems are so well knit that one can hardly find fault with it and he can rightly be termed as ‘gifted poetic craftsman’. His poetry collection Melody of Wounds was recognized and eulogized by the critics of the globe, as well as proved to be a crucial pillar of the mansion of Indian English Poetry of 70s and 80s. The second reprint is designed by the poet himself wherein he has scattered ample hues of poetic creativity as well as set milestone for the new poets to learn and draw tips and ideals of writing poetry. His each poem establishes a sound frame and a peculiar axiom for the new poets of Indian English poetry to follow an example and know how good poetry can be written from the both points of view of vision and craft. The strength of Sharma lies in his competency to ooze out the emotions honestly without resistance and to work out the enigma called life with a definite purpose called nobility. His is the poetry of revelations and explorations (of life and being) but it must also be bore in mind that Sharma’s all attempts of poetry are not his personal outpourings but for the common man and commonplace.

Baldev Mirza is right when he opines-
Sharma does not appear from an ivory tower like most of his clan. He comes out of the crowds of people, revels his experiences in a subtle, sharp and direct manner and joins the crowds again. But the shades, he leaves behind are dotted with his distinction and individuality as a poet who believes in ‘Art for life’s sake’ (Blurb of Melody of Wounds)
In the very first poem of ‘Law Court’ Sharma exhibits the predicament of cankered judicial system where a raped woman- ‘Skipping her shame between sobs and tears’, ‘pours out her tragedy to the hoary bench that/ drinks the poignant account / of her rape.’ Here, interestingly the poet is not only emotive but also reflective when he adds, ‘law does not look / to ease her gossamer grief: but it makes allowances / for the hired arguments / which pick holes in her lonely, / helpless endeavour sours she made to escape her distress.” Here the poet raises a question and creates more grim and absurd picture when he says:
How long will you cling to law
Which is so myopic and flimsy?
That it attaches credence to such crowd of evidences
Who by their false oath
First murder the Gods
Packed in the bundle
Of holy books
Then defeat the lonely truth (1)

Here the reflective quality together with choice of metaphoric words and phrases makes the reading more reflective, picturesque and enjoyable. The thought-provoking ideas with the help of questions, cross-questions, pictorial and metaphorical images create a fine balance in the poem. Similarly in the second poem ‘Money Plant’, Sharma creates both the pictures viz. - tradition and modernity. Tradition in the belief of the one who plants the sapling of money-plant in order to attain riches and modernity in the expenses of the woman (who planted it) who ‘gathered that / who slipped from set values are crowded with fortune’.

In the third poem ‘Leader’, Sharma weaves the Indian political themes in which Gandhian coffin is presented as the cover to hide ‘national nuisance of corruption, bribed dejection’ and the leaders are satirized candidly.
He can materialized
The national dream
Of the Olympic gold
If he is allowed
To sum the marathon race
Of corruption, bribed defection (3)
In another poem ‘Gandhism’ Sharma boldly criticizes the predicament of Gandhism in modern times which is now smeared with ‘Slime of Violence’. Sharmam, here with paradox of ‘black’ (violence) and ‘white’ (of values of Gandhi) creates a distinct effect which again assumes irony and satire when he adds:

To realize their Gandhism
In essence the Gandhian people
Will never lake rest?
Until every citizen of India
(Save the follower of Gandhi)
Like Gandhi is left with
A lathi and loin cloth (5)

Here, with innuendoes, Sharma unfolds layers of reality behind humor. However, the suggestive mode behind the ironic flail against ‘corrupt and degenerate politics’ at times hints at dark future of the nation, and at another time pin points the leaking holes of Indian political system.

The canvas of Sharma’s poetry is much panoramic because the choice of themes as well as the choice of words for expressions remains the first priority of the poet who prefers appropriateness and logic in his creative processes. Socio-cultural, moral, spiritual, political, traditional, ethical, aesthetical all major themes of Indian literature are dealt with equal proportion. His portrayal of the predicament of Indian life, pointing out the plague spots in individual’s personality and society can be seen superb in the poem ‘Indian Rites’ which are termed as ‘Bad Debts’ / that accrue to living Indian / from every death of his relation. In autobiographical tone, the poet tells the story:

For want of rice, ghee, milk
My father gave away
To undue death
But to satiate
The gargantuan appetite of rituals
I offered Pindas
Ladled out ghee
On the dead father’s due pate
And debt upon heaped upon my fate. (7)

But the poet’s zealot to espouse old rites that ‘ossify’ his ‘progress’ despite the consequences of gibbet or hard cross mirrors the chief trait of modern Indian English Poetry in the complete defiance of custom traditional replacing with more logical and scientific realities of life. In the above poem the Kapal Kriya which is done by the Hindu son by breaking dead father’s pate, pouring a few ladles of ghee is realistically sketched by the poet, gives another glittering feature of references of Indian idiom and set-back in Indian English Poetry which for a long time remained a ‘perfect alien bride’(See Bhatnagar’s observation) Here, the fresh original imagery and symbol in the poet contribute much to strengthen the heritage of our literature.

Again in the poem ‘Barren Fields’, contrary to the previous poem, he chides the individual disorganization, the major demerit of modern society where ‘self-conceited haughtiness’ and ‘priggishness’ are the trammels that don’t let a husband and wife ‘dove tail well’. On, the critical and complex relation of husband and wife which were usually based on love and mutual cooperation in the yore, are evaluated in an analytical way for the depiction of the ‘silence’ which was the only commerce/ manageable between them and under the same roof of life/ they lived aloof/ in the apartment of their/ clashing thoughts, pricking mannerisms, points the poet’s deep understanding of human relations of the modern times, but his presupposition is also not wrong.

They could have cultivated
The spring of affections
But in the Barron, hand soil
Of their arrogance, fastidiousness
Love was not possible to grow
To perfume their fusty lives. (6)

Sharma’s poetry is strewn with the image of his sincere and genuine understanding of the age hag-ridden with affectation, arrogance, falsity and feverish feelings, and it is without any scope of any kind of fake idealism and false dreaminess. Therefore his voice becomes a potent slogan against fanaticism, frustration, anxiety fear, and traumas of modern life which are languishing the age old human values of ancient scriptures of ‘the Upanishads and the Puranas. Amid such ignoble and corrupt atmosphere where all primal goodness has eloped away, the dripping wounds of the poet have assumed the form of ‘Melody called verse’ and perhaps for this reason, in each of his poems, one can find lurking pain mixed with reality:-

Women penetrate
Into the pulp of Paine,
They ooze grief
Sorrows solidity
In men
Nuts do not leak (11)


Ah, how shallow is the love
I reap from my country
My country’s minted honor
Keeps me in abysmal wants
Crutches are my friends
That bears the heavy burden
Of my crippled helplessness
Unattended miseries (25)


Overall freedom to children
Meant for you their good growth
But in the expanse of freedom
Without any moral hedges
Life gathers decadence (37)

The poem of Sharma appeals more partly because of his lively pictures and strong linguistic choices and partly because of its dealing with autobiographical element which is employed by him in a number of poems. Due to internal love and association with people and things mixed with Nostalgia, Sharma’s conversational tone gets highly penetrating when he speaks:-

Like you mother
I can hardly live for others
The height of pride
Is increasing in me
My morals are frosted

And he adds:

You empathized
The hunger of the poor
Neither have I given you
A few grains of my affections
In your infirm needs,
Nor cows, dogs, birds
Come in your home
Sight might, right
Outwardly I might be great
But I am too dwarf (12)

A perfect conglomeration of poet and critic in Sharma is well aware of the limitations of the critic and poet:

It’s beyond your ken
That rhythm can’t do
The mathematics of grief
Nor in rhyme can you play
The music of pain (16)

And yet he tries his utmost to verbalize and sketch images. In words alike Charles Lamb, he entwines pathos and irony in humor in the poem ‘Clown” and draws a perfect live picture:

When he parades the forte
Of his amusing sports
The hungry crowd relishes
The fine crumbs of amusement
In the ecstatic moments
Of applause
Showered by people
He outgrows his dwarf agony (13)


It is our greatness that
We have assigned to stone
The task of remembering
The dates of his
First and last breath (17)

Sharma’s poetic genius is devoid of the difficulty of most of Indian English poets (particularly the early poets) due to the absence of a framework for poetic symbolism which would communicate their own sense of sex, love life, death and other basic elements of life, rather they imitated the image and symbol of British and American poets. Unlike such poets Sharma’s idiom, images and symbols are extracted from India and his personal experiences arose out of Indian soil. The world which are chosen by Sharma sear the mind, stir the ripples of thoughts in the lake of soul and reveal the poetic personae with is vitality. His vision is both micro and macro, so his poetry which is though less in quantity, yet is cosmic like in quality, Kaleidoscopic in nature, and oceanic in depth.

The poems (‘Kashmir: Paradise on Earth’, ‘Pink city: Jaipur’) of Sharma are not merely the poems written on situations suicide place and things, but his poems like- ‘Padmini’, ‘Laxmibai of Jhansi’, ‘Mother Teresa’, ‘Acharya Rajneesh’s right place’, ‘Dostoevsky: My Mirror’ are addressed to such luminary of their respective fields.

His poem ‘Kashmir: Paradise on Earth’ which is penned on the matchless beauty of Kashmir where he never been physically but his delineation is both pictorial and sensuous:

It’s enthralling to see how
Nature celebrates Christmas here
The vast expanse of virgin show
Looks like
A Christmas cake colossus:
Snow drizzles everywhere like
Festoons raining festivities upon earth (26)

Or in the poem ‘Pink city: Jaipur’, he gives a different picture:

Its roads are broad as
Permissive Europe, America
Narrow are its streets
As scrupulous Asia
People heap streets with
Their stinking neglect of hygiene (30)

As the poetry of Sharma is mirror of urban society and wherein he exhibits the realistic pulse of urbanization crystal-clear way:

City seethes
With varied desires
Of innumerable people
Nested in the alleys
Of their selfishness (21)


Here in the city
People shake with pain
When grief wrings
Their individuality (ibid)

Here, the comment of Satish Kumar is noticeable when he remarks:

Sharma is an urban poet like Ezekiel, Parthasarthy, Shiv K. Kumar and I. H. Rizvi and like them he is keenly alive to the shortsightedness, narrow-mindedness, self-centeredness and atrophy of human relations. (Kumar: 283)

The delineation of the places whether historical of Metropolis, his vision remains both subjective and objective. In subjectivity he find his pain looming large in the heart of the city and in objectivity his eyes catch the beauty (Kashmir: Paradise on Earth) as well as ugliness equipollently (Pink City: Jaipur). However his depiction of people is reflective, tributary, heroic and frank in ‘Luxmibai of Jhansi’ he remembers the valour of queen and pays his poetic offering by saying-

She died
In the harness of bravery
Engraved on enemic history
Her matchless (20)

Or in ‘Padmini’ when he sketches the valour of the queen who preferred Johar to submission before Khilzi, the emperor and says:

Since she sheathed
A vow not to let
A Khilzi…..
In her unique beauty
She put on happily
The golden coffin of fire
Endorsed a legend on flame (19)

Or in ‘Mother Teresa’ when he remembers the great lady-

As flower open out fragrance
She radiates his smiling love
Which kindles a spirit in people?
To live their grief in a smile
She fastens her compassion
On lepers whose nauseating looks
Of gingerous firgers, deformed forces
People cover with their doathing

However his poem ‘To a Modern Friend’ is reflective where the poet observes that in overall freedom to children/ without any moral hedges, life gathers decadence and he says to his imaginary friend:

After a great loss
It dawned on you
That borrowed raiment
Of foreign cultures
Remain loose or skimpy,
The shoes of alien traditions
Always pinch the weavers (37)

The poem ‘Dostoyevsky: My Mirror’ wherein the poet with deliberate interpolation of the names of Dostoyevsky’s novels creates music and new meaning:

As a “Gambler” of goodness I bear
With the betrayal of my relatives
Sufferings are my “Brothers Karamazov”
That has outlived my happiness (14)

And his self-assertion mirrors the poetic expression in a distinct way:

With the moments of pleasure stole
From the jovial gathering of my friends
I cheat myself to be gay, otherwise
Even my dreams evade catering
And so scrapping of joy for me (14)

There are a good deal of Sharma’s poems that carry philosophical overtone and values mixed with stark realities where the profundity and clarity of his thoughts and ideas can easily be witnessed. This is fairly a safe ground from where one can behold Sharma as a rare amalgam of contemporary Indian sensibility and as an authentic Indian English voice there are ample of verbal facilities with profound meanings from where we start experiencing vast panorama of Sharma’s poetic genius. ‘Aftermath’ is a poem mixed with emotions and realities wherein he, in conversational tone, mirrors the material outlook of a modern son and the altruistic outlook of a traditional mother (who is how no more):

Apathy you ever played
On your mother’s old pains
Crowded with sorrow now
You hunger for a grain of love
After the death of her affection.
In her behavior
There was a good flow
Of altruism, but cast
In the corner of your odium
The scriptures are heaped
With your introvert dirt (24)

Similarly the poem ‘Letter from the last Daughter’ depicts the plight of gender discrimination and miserable condition of our so called modern society where dowry death, female feticide and exploitation of woman are common problems. He seems aright when he says in the tone of a last daughter:

Until I die my mother will
Remain pregnant with worries
From the diary of your grief
Papa I dug cut the truth that
God drowned in your lonely tears (33)

And when he adds:

People clamour for reform but
They live a lie, avoid nice deeds
Only such norms of any good
With their selfish ends but satisfy them (33)

He seems attacking boldly against the partial norms and customs of society. In his collection Melody of Wounds Sharma has written two small love poems in which alliteration, assonance and repetition all have worked in for creating musical effect and musical incantation which fills the heart with rapture as well as pain. The separation of the beloved make the poet ‘a cruet’/ filled with/ the fragrant void’ of memories and again the drought of the same memories ‘Sprinkles joy’ on poet’s ‘gloom’ (Love Poem: 1: 35) and while in (love poem:-2.36) Sharma escapes from embroidering his talks with ‘Shimmering promises’ and shake heaven and bedeck his lover with star jeweled sky for he considers:

Turgid eulogy becomes
A pastime till shallow boasting
Stunts our reasoning (36)

But rather he states simply:

I was natural, darling
When I clothed your love
In my plain praise that
You’re air and water
Of my happiness,
That your love
Dispels my dismay
Dips me in light (36)

Sharma’s poetic talent is unquestionable for the quality of his expression, the excellent mastery of his vocabulary and language and the command over the rhythmic pattern make him singular as well as distinct. The other glittering features of his poetry can be discerned in the objectivity, the treatment of his subject and compactness of thoughts and ideas.

Though poetry is not a labored exercise or a deliberate attempt, yet a few of Sharma’s poems seem to have the same quality wherein his conscious efforts ‘to bedeck and bedaub’ makes him a bit verbose and wordy and yet the same limitation becomes his forte in other poems wherein he has masterly exercised with the wielding of the tools of images, symbols, phrases, rhythm and idea. Therefore, his poetry remains fresh, original and meaningful he has never been away from ‘Something more’ of Niranjan Mohanty i.e. the environment, society everyday life and emotional involvement with the people and places.

Niranjan Mohanty in his research paper on O. P. Bhatnagar said:

Creative writing is not possible only by mastering a language, only by mustering a language, only by getting some degree of competence in that language. Perhaps, it requires something more: one ought to understand the palace one lives in, the air one takes in the people with whom one shares essential moments of life. One must have a desire to understanding intensely and intimately. When this is won, language is not a barrier, and one can choose any language that suits one that expresses one best emotionally and intellectually. (Mohanty: 216)

To sum up, Sharma’s poetry scatters a feast of delight by virtue of its aptness of words, phrases and expressions, profundity of thoughts, intensity of emotions and flashes of irony and wit and satire. His ironical poems make him sit atop the hill of Indian English Poetry as well as make us more and more inquisitive to look upon them and ruminate them over and over again and as a poet he deserves to be ranked with R. Parthasarthy, A. K. Ramanujum, Dom Mores, Pritish Nandy, Shiv K. Kumar, Nissim Eziekel, Arun Kolatkar and so on. In his unswerving dedication, to poetry, his vision of life, his deep insight, his impeccable language, his originality and universal appeal and his spontaneity and flow all tend to establish him among such towering poets.

Nar Deo Sharma, Melody of Wounds. 2007. Alwar: Ideal English Publications, (All the references of poetry are from the same book)

Rizvi, I. H. and Rizvi N. F., 2008. ‘The Rapid Growth of English Poetry in India between 1917-1985’, Chapter-7 Origin, Development and History of Indian English Poetry. Barielly: P. B. D.

(O. P. Bhatnagar said that ‘Indian English Poetry was novel a borrowed plume due to its imitativeness and lack of original themes’ A Critic with a Big Heart. 2006.Ed. I. K. Sharma, Jaipur: Rachna Prakashan

Kumar, Satish. A Survey of Indian English Poetry, 1998. Barielly: P. B. D.

Mohanty, Niranjan. ‘O. P. Bhatnagar’s Poetry: the meaningful Glance’, P.216, Studies in Contemporary Indo-English Verse- A collection of critical essays on male poets, 1984. Ed. Dr. A. N. Dwivedi, Bareilly: P B D.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The term ‘Love’ remains present in almost each poem of W.H. Auden but one must not take it as intense personal motion which conjoins a lover to his or her beloved. In general sense, the term is referred to emotional content and is related with romantic love which was fostered by different poets of different ages like Shakespeare, Bryon, Shelley, Keats, Browning and W. B. Yeats. Almost in all ages, the term was either taken as a magnetic force (infatuation) between two bodies or as ‘gravitational force’ existing between two souls (platonic love). Unlike, his ancestors, Auden refer love as something impersonal and detached feeling so his poetry is the reflection of intellectualism and his presentation of an idea or a concept employed in the poem is for conveying a particular idea in his poetic thought and has the scarcity of emotional content, immediacy and urgency. Narsingh Shrivastava deserves:
As a result, there is, obviously, a lack of agony, rupture, regret, yearning and passion that we generally find in the love poems of such poets as Spencer, Shakespeare, Donne, John Keats, Robert Browning and W.B. Yeats…

In his poetry love is employed in several ways and under different influences. It is expressed by Auden resulting in several interpretations and observations in his poetry. Denis Davidson makes clear that love has made itself a hazy conception in his poetry when he says:
I don’t think that a study of Auden’s poems reveals absolutely clear concepts of love. Self love, Eros, Agape (and the terms themselves are capable of many interpretations) seem much like ready-made concepts imparted into poems, rather thatn conclusions arrived at by the poet after due examination of human behaviour.

But if we glance at the development of Audent’s poetry from the very inception, we will find that love evolved in Auden’s poetry by and by. Justin Raplogle and Richard Hoggard found a healthy growth of love in the mind of Auden since 1927 to 1950.

In the beginning of his poetic career, Auden penned of love as sex-instinct. It was a love that played a dominant role in the novels of D.H. Lawrence. As Auden was influenced by the theory of Freud sex, prior to this, in the Victorian age, the term of love was considered as taboo but with the advent of 20th century Freudian love has been dominating over poetry, novel and drama and Auden was naturally influenced by this wave of thought. He felt love of Eros or Libido under the influence of Freud but when he came under the influence of Marxism he looked upon love as a way living-fraternal love. According to him, love should not be suppressed but it should bring a sea change in the environment in the society, so that our society may be healthy and inspiring.

Auden came under the influence of Marxism in his second phase of poetic career. It was the philosophical aspect of Marxism which was more important as far as Auden’s poetry is concerned. Auden’s important works are psychological but not based on political theories. He stressed on human heart to reform society. Auden adopted philosophical Marxism and avoided political Marxism. According to him a philosophic man must observe his environment carefully and observe the facts to gain the true knowledge which enables man to change and control his environment. In this period Auden gave emphasis on the need of right choice and environmental control.

In his later period in 1938-39, he came under the influence of Christianity and began to look upon love as universal love called a ‘Agape’. As an ardent believer of God, he raised the universal love to the state of the love of God which was defined as submission and surrender to God’s wish called ‘Logos’. As he was under the under the influence of Kierkegaard, he felt that the entire universe moved towards a predestined design, the design made by God. Since this design is mysterious and unknown and man may seem free to choose but his choice is strictly limited by the design of God and even up to the last his love in social life remains fresh in his poetry but at the fag-end of his career he started celebrating life’s blessedness in his poetry and his acceptance of lip becomes even more joyous. For examining the love poetry of Auden better it is necessary to look into his poetry under various influences.

Love under Freudianism:-

The period in between 1928 to 1933 is the period in which the poetic thought of Auden is Psychological because he was deeply influenced with Sigmund Freud. In 1929 during his visit to Berlin, Auden came into the contact with the doctrine of American psychologist Homer Lane. In his early poems, a reference to the psychological theories can be easily found but the influence of Freud greater than any other psychologist as an intelligent novelist and with a special leaning towards science Auden readily studied the finding of psychology and made a use of its terms and definitions. According to him the first and vital force in man is sexual love which inspires man and woman to go into each others arms. Sexual love, the life force in man when excited is called ‘Id’. When the Id is suppressed by cultural and social moral it becomes a destructive force in the individual and this repression makes the individual a neurotic and causes in him to certain diseases. Like in the poem ‘Petition’ (1920), Auden gives bent to the idea of suppression of sexual love that causes in man a ‘neuralitch’, ‘exhaution’, ‘quinsui’ and ‘the distortions of ingrown virginity in woman’. In one of his early poems ‘The Prologue’, Auden tackles the word Love to mean sexual love with its entire psychological connotation. Personifying love as life force he addresses:

O Love, the interest itself in thoughtless Heaven,
Make simpler daily and beating of man’s heart; within,
There in the ring where name and image meet,
Inspire them with such a longing as will make his thought
Alive like patterns a murmuration of starlings
Rising in joy over worlds unwittingly weaves. (51)
According to Freud, sexual love is a creative desire called Eros which is in action is the life force called Id but in suppression, it transforms into the destructive fore called Thanatos in psychology. In other remarkable poem ‘Our Hunting Father’ (1934) Auden finds sexual love as life force rising in individual for his or her personal glory.
Our hunting fathers told the story
Of the sadness of the creatures,
Pitied the limits and the lack
Set in their finish features;
Saw in the lion’s intolerable look,
Behind the quarry’s dying glare,
Love raging for the personal glory. (43)
Therefore, in this poem the poet plainly asks the conservatives why the lovers should suffer from sexual hunger and why the sexual love should work in man as an ‘anonymous”. He asks again, why should love, as sexual love and life force in man and woman repress itself;

“To hunger, work illegally,
And be anonymous?” (43)
Auden holds a scientific view and does not agree with the romantic view of love. He holds that the stories of boys meets girl are totally based on fake and false notion of love and such love poems have had an era of mirrors (if an age of false images of love). To him love means, sexual love that bursts forth as life force which remains a creative force only during a particular period of life and under particular conditions. Sexual love bursting forth as life force in an individual can uplift him to the status of right God, if and when it is allowed a free play in the society which will subdue the super ego in man. In 1933 writing about love, Auden tries to prove it to be an effective panacea for cultural ills of mankind.

The word is love,
Surely on fearless kiss would cure
The million fevers. (47)

Love under Marxism:-

Auden came under the influence of Marxism in 1933, a sort of intellectual change occurred in Auden’s poetry. The Marxist period is a period between 1933 to 1940. Political and economic events of the decade contributed a great deal to bring about a change in Auden’s mental orientation. The industrial unrest, economic discover and discrepancies, crisis, disappointment and dismay influenced Auden up to a large extent and he relented himself to Marxist theory. A gentle transition from Freud to Marx made Auden a Freudian Marxist because he could not escape totally the theories of Freudinor checked himself in expressing his notions absolutely influenced by Marx. Rather a vital force of Frudian theory continued to flow in an under-current way in his poetry. To deliver the goods, love, and life force has to work not only for the ‘I’ but for the ‘We’. Love has to flow among individuals as selfless behaviour. According to Hoggard, Auden argued himself in this way:

Since ‘Love’ can flourish only in the field of relationships, the greatest obstacle to its free growth is self-regard. If that rules ‘the hard self-conscious particles collide’. To the self-absorbed, all men are enemies; only with extreme difficulty can there be any moving out to a relationship, any submission of the ego in friendship. But not until the ego is forgotten in love can there be an escape from the prison cell.
The remedy for all the cultural ills needs action and rational control. Rational attitude makes this world orderly and orderly world is concerned with right choice which is indispensable. Auden himself says:

Yours is the choice to whom the gods awarded
The language of learning and the language of love
Croaked to move as a moneybag or a cancer
Or straight as a dove. (55)
Auden considers selfless love as the greatest one but selfish love which breeds hate is also powerful as well. Auden pens:

Love finally is great
Greater than all, but large the hate,
For larger thatn man can ever estimate. (55)

Love under Christian Existentialism (Kierkegaard)

After the repression of individualism in 1938 and promises of kierkegaard’s existentialism, Auden came under the Christian existentialism and began to consider the nature of love from the point of view of Christian religion. In the last phase of his poetic career (around 1938), he began to go to the Church also and became optimistic through and through believing that even for the sinful there is love, charity and brotherhood. He tries to make his readers understand that the way is difficult but we must faith and act:

Let us therefore be contrite but without anxiety,
For powers and Times are not gods, but moral gifts from God.
Let us acknowledge our defeats but without despair,
For all societies and epochs are transient details.
Transmitting an everlasting opportunity.
That the kingdom of Heaven may come not in our present,
And not in our future, but in the fullness of Time,
Let us pray. (29)
But during his discussion of religious beliefs in his essays and critical articles, Auden accepted the Christian belief of Agape that actually meant love of God for man. It is surrender to God’s design which is the essence of right human freedom. Human freedom means religions faith-faith in the blessedness of God’s designs. The sacrifice of Christ is an evidence of love of God for man. Christ, the son of God born for the saviour of mankind from the fires of hell. Since God loves man selflessly all the Christian must love their brothers selflessly and they should also love God at the same time. Therefore, Agape does not mean only selfless Christian brotherly love but also love of God for man. Auden advises that man should return to Christ for the sake of selfless love. He sings-

It would be best to go home if we have a home,
In any case good to rest.(20)
To sum up, we can mark out that in the poetic sojourn of W.H. Auden from psychological to the spiritual or from ‘Eros’ to ‘Agape’, love took many shapes and forms from sexual love assuming the form of life force to a selfless behaviours and principal of life among individual became ultimately selfless love for man and God. Auden argues that perfect love for others is possible only in genuine religious minds and such love is first, the selfless Christian brotherly love and then love for God, his designs and vise versa. It is evidently clear that the Auden’s concept of agape or selfless love is the result his deep brain-churning over the nature of loving human behaviour and the umbrella of Christianity remains present above the concept of Freudianism and Marxism. Richard Hoggard remarks:
That hazy concept ‘Love’ contained the beginning of his faith; I had been introduced…to fill a vacuum which neither Marxism nor Freudianism could fill; it gradually assumed supreme importance, and in the process put both other main influences in their places.
Therefore, being a 20th century poet of love and sympathy, Auden realized well that only Christian love is the remedy of Christian scenario and so unlike romantics, Auden keenly communicated his views to his readers and tried to establish a rapport with then which made him outstanding modern poet with modern thought.

Narsingh Shrivastava, W.H. Auden As a Poet of Ideas. New Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 2000.
Dennis Davison, W.H. Auden. London: Evans Brothers Pub. 1970.
Selected Poems of W. H. Auden. S. Sen (ed.) New Delhi: S. Chand & Co., 2002.(All the verses of Auden are extracted from here)
Richard Hoggart, W.H. Auden: An Introductory Essay. . London: Chatto & Windus, 1964.


The fact that Sri Aurobindo is one of the pioneers of Indian English critics grows more and more vibrant and authentic when one journeys through the works of him where he appears to be a chief living authority on Indo-English criticism. As he was supposed more a saint or Yogi than a poet or critic, he was not properly evaluated by Indian scholars with a viewpoint of critic but his works like The Future Poetry, On Himself, Essays Divine and Human and Letters on Poetry Literature and Art are replete with scholarly jottings on poetry literature and art. Besides The Future Poetry, the most original and authentic work on criticism, carries practical aspects of poetic criticism. The criticism of Sri Aurobindo is perfect and exemplary because it is never too close to its time nor it neglects the findings of its predecessors but as his more inclination towards spirituality and God, his criticism is fumed with the tinge of spiritual colors also. In his terrestrial existence Sri Aurobindo played many parts the politicians, the poet, the critic, the philosopher, and the Yogi which in sum made him the Rishi Aurobindo. But his part of critic not only set milestones in the world of English criticism but also torch bore the path of new critic and poet. Admitting his importance as critic Iyenger observes:
…………While the creative critic (of Aurobindo) has sensed the rhythm of ‘future poetry’ and described how the new poet will write on the wings of an elemental spirituality and articulate ineluctable rhythms of spirits.
And he adds further:
Considering merely as a poet and critic of poetry, Sri Aurobindo would still rank among the supreme master our time. (Iyenger. 153.)

Another critic P. C. Kotoky judges The Future Poetry as:
In The Future Poetry which may be called the poetic testament, Sri Aurobindo has visualized the poetry of the future, and the specific purpose that it will serve. Besides this book has a large number of letters on literary topics. The variety of the subjects and the lucidity of their treatment speak of his wide interest in literatures of different countries and sound understanding of literary principles.(Kotoky.50.)

His The Future Poetry is the chief work of criticism in which he has discussed various pros and cons of poetry, the Mantra, the Essence of Poetry, Poetic visions, Rhythms and movements, Style and Substance, Characteristics of English Poetry, Poetic Delight and Beauty, Ideal Spirit of Poetry and various global poets like Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron Keats, Shelley, Browning, Arnold, Swimburne, Tagore and many others. The book could not be published during Aurobindo’s lifetime, because Aurobindo was desirous of revising many chapters of the book and which he did up to the end of his life. When asked in 1949 about the possibility of publishing The Future Poetry Sri Aurbindo replied that it -
Cannot be published as it is for there must be a considerable rearrangement of its matter since publication from month to month left its plans struggling and ill arranged…….I do not wish to publish it in its present imperfect form(T.F.P., 400).

In 1953, three years after Sri Aurobindo’s passing The Future Poetry was published as a book, which later on became a bed side book of criticism of Indo-Anglian critics for its delineation of English criticism on Indian soil. The opening lines of the book mourn the dearth of ideal criticism in our nation. He says –
It is not often that we see published in India literary criticism which is of the first order, at once discerning and suggestive, criticism which forces us to see and think. (The Mantra, chapter 1, T.F.P., p. 3) the starting point of the book was a review of the book New Ways in English Literature (Ganesh & Co. 1917).

Like an ideal critic, having ‘traveled much’ in the realms of gold, Aurbindo draws an independent and trained judgment on poetry. Likewise judging a critic and elements of art, Aurobindo says:
The critic of a certain type- or the intellectually conscientious artist will on the other hand often talk as a poetry were mainly a matter of a faultlessly correct or at most an exquisite technique. Certainly in all arts, good technique is the first step towards perfection; but there are so many other steps, there is a whole world beyond before you can get near to what you seek; so much, so that even a deficient correctness of execution will not prevent an intense and gifted soul from creating great poetry which keeps its hold on the centuries. (T.F.P., 13)

According to him the work of a poet depends not only on himself and his age but on the mentality of the nation to which he belongs to and spiritual, intellectual, aesthetic tradition and environment which it creates for him but should never be that he be limited or confined to the particular environment. Aurobindo deeply investigated the genesis of poetry and its elements of poetic creation. He observes:
Poetry, or at any rate, a truly poetic poetry, comes always from some subtle plane through the creative vital and uses the other mind and other external instruments for transmission only. There are three elements in the production of poetry: there is the original source of inspiration, there is the vital force create a beauty which contributes its own substance and impetuous and often determine the form, except when that also comes ready made from the original source; there is finally the transmitting outer consciousness of the poet. (‘Essence of Poetry’ T.F.P., 13)

In a letter to his disciple, Sri Aurobindo tells him three elements of poetry. In his own words:
For poetry three things are necessary. First there must be emotional sincerity and poetical feeling……….next a mastery over the language and a faculty of rhythm perfected by the knowledge of technique of poetic and rhythmic expression………finally there must be the power of inspiration, the creative energy that makes the whole difference between the poet and the good verse writer. (T.F.P., 13)

To Aurobindo, inspiration and efforts are two major elements of poetry in which inspiration is always an uncertain thing, it comes whenever it chooses to come or it may stop before it has to finish its work. Few poets in the world have been able to sustain the highest level of inspiration. He again says:
The very best poetry does not usually does not come by streams except in poets of a supreme greatness…the very best comes by intermittent drops, though sometimes, three or four gleaming drops at a time. Even in the greatest poets, even in those with the most opulent flow of riches like Shakespeare, the very best is comparatively rare.
Sri Aurobindo classifies the world poets in three rows as:
First row: - Homer, Shakespeare, Valmiki.
Second row: - Dante, Kalidasa, Aeschylus, Virgil, Milton.
Third row: - Goethe. (L.P.L.A., 230)

As the critic in Aurobindo is a mingling of a nationalist as well as spiritual, his observations echo the same when he speaks:
But it is well also for us to ponder and inquire what is the national soul and the soul of Humanity demands from us and on what path we are most likely to give our energies and efforts the maximum power and serviceableness to the great age of mankind and of India on which we are entering. (Essays, Divine and Human. 417.)

Besides Aurobindo emphasizes the poets on the self-assessment and self-judgment. He states frankly:
A poet who puts no value or a vey l0ow value on his own writing has no business to write poetry or to publish it or keep it publication. If I allowed the publication of Collected Poems it is because I judged them worth publishing. (On Himself. 237)
Simplicity and puissant environment are the two basic factors of poetry for the refinement of knowledge makes poetry more and more difficult to pen. According to Sri Aurobindo ‘great poets were usually those ones who either arise out a simple and puissant environment and when become excessively refined in intellect, curious in ‘aesthetic sensibility’ or more minute or exact in aesthetic sensibility, great poetry become too hard to pen.
Sri Aurobindo is a critic with keen introspection and critical eyes who has meticulously assessed the English and Indian and European poets. His wide and in-depth study of English literature is mirrored in his works. B. K. Das observes:
Aurobindo is a critic with original critical insight. His assessment of English and European poets bears the stamp of originality and insight in critical faculty. (Das. 19.)

According to Sri Aurobindo:
Chaucer gives English poetry a first shape by the help of French Roman Models and the work of Italian Masters... Chaucer has his eyes fixed on the object and that object is the visible action of life as it passes before him...he has captured the secret of ease, grace and lucidity from French romance poetry and had learnt from the great Italian more force and compactness of expressions.
“Shakespeare” says Sri Aurobindo, “stands out alone, both in his own age when so many were drawn to the form and circumstances were favourable to this kind of genius, and in all English literature. He stands out too as quite in his spirit, method and quality.” (T.F.P., 66)
The comparative judgment of Sri Aurobindo and these poets is also worth quoting:

Each is a sort of demiurge who has crated the world of his own. Dante’s triple world beyond is more constructed by the poetic seeing mind than by this kind of demiurgic power – otherwise he would rank by their side; the same with Kalidasa. Aeschylus is a seer and creator but on a much smaller scale. Virgil and Milton have a less spontaneous breathe of creative genius; one or two typical figure & expected they live rather by what they have said than by they have made. (T.F.P., 66)

Sri Aurobindo’s observation of Shelly and Keats and Wordsworth is rather different with his predecessors-critics. He considers that- ‘their best work is as fine poetry is written’, but there works are nothing on a larger scale which would place them among the greatest creators. He remarks:
If Keats had finished Hyperion (without spilling it) if Shelly had lived or if Wordsworth had not petered out like a motorcar with insufficient petrol, it might be different but we have to take things as they are. (L.P.L.A., 66)
Comparing Goethe and Shakespeare, he points out:
Yes, Goethe goes much deeper than Shakespeare; he had an incomparably greater intellect than the English poet and sounded problems of life and thought Shakespeare had no means of approaching even……….he wrote out of a high poetic intelligence, but his style and movement nowhere came near the poetic power, the magic, the sovereign expression and profound and settled rhythms of Shakespeare. (L.P.L.A., 232-233)

Sri Aurobindo regards Homer and Shakespeare as one of the greatest poets keeping their essential force and duty – not of the scope of their work as a whole…………The Mahabharta according to him is a far greater creation than the Eliot and (from that viewpoint) the Ramayana, the Odyssey and spread, either and both of them, their strength and achievement over a larger field than the whole dramatic world of Shakeapeare.
“But”, says Aurobindo, “As poets- the masters of rhythm and language and the expression of poetic beauty- Vyasa and Valmiki though not inferior are not greater than either of the English or the Greek poet. “(L.P.L.A., 233)

Nor Sri Aurobindo regards Dante and Milton as mystic poets. He says:
I don’t think either can be called a mystic poet- Milton not at all. A religious fervor or a metaphysical background belongs to the mind and the vital not to a mystic consciousness. Dante writes from the poetic intelligence with a strong intuitive drive behind it (L.P.L.A., 234)

But Sri Aurobindo regards Blake and Mallame as the greatest mystic poets of Europe. Sri Aurobindo emphasizes on the power of expression of a poet. Poets like Wordsworth, Shelley and Shakespeare were devoid of spiritual experience, but in an inspired moment become the medium of expression of spiritual which is beyond them and on the other hand a poet of spiritual experience may be hampered by his medium or by his ‘transcribing brain’ or by an insufficient mastery of language and rhythm and give an impression which may mean much to him, but not convey the power and breath of it to others.
In English literature, Sri Aurobindo finds the Victorian age separately as the age of poetry.
Poetry flourishes best when it is greatest and deepest…… and the poetry of this period suffers by the dull- smoke-laden atmosphere in which it flowered though it profited by the European stir of thought and seeking around and held its own…… achieved beauty, a considerable energy, some largeness occasional heights….. there is still something sickly in its luxuriance, a comparative depression and poverty in its thought a lack in its gifts, in its very accomplishment a sense of something not done.(T.F.P. ,150)

Tennyson, the representative poet of the Victorian Era is also well judged by him when he says:
Tennyson mirrors ordinary cultivated mind as it shaped in English temperament and intelligence, with an extra ordinary fidelity and in a richly furnished and a heavily decorated mirror sat round with all the art and revised that could be appreciated by the contemporary taste (T.F.P. p. 151)
“Browning”, according to Aurobindo, “stands next to Tennyson in the importance of his poetic work………..he surpasses him in the mass and force and abundant variety of his work and the protean energy of his genius.” And “Arnold”, is the third considerable Victorian of the epoch, though he bulks less……..but as time goes on, his figure emerges and assumes in quality………….His poetic work and quality may even be regarded as finer in its essence of poetic value if more tenuous in show of power than that of his two contemporaries. There is a return to the two classic style of poetry in the simplicity and straightforward directness of his diction and turn of thought that brings us back to the way of the earlier poets and a certain seriousness and power which we do not find in the over consciousness and the too studied simplicity or elaborate carefulness and purposeful artistry of the other poets of the time. (T.F.P. p. 158)

In modern age, Aurobindo considers the English and the Americans as the representatives of new and free poetic rhythm. Tagore’s translations have come in ‘as a powerful adventitious aid. He regards Tagore as:
Tagore is what some of the French writers are and Whitman and Carpenter are not, a delicate and subtle craftman, and he has done his work with perfect grace and spiritual fineness. (T.F.P. p. 164)
Whitman is another poet who is acknowledged by him as the ‘most Homeric voice since Homer.’ According to him:
He (Whitman) is a great poet, one of the greatest in the power of his substance, the energy of his vision, the force of his style, the largeness at once of his personality and his universality. (T.F.P. 165)

Besides the comment of Sri Aurbindo on D.H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, Romian Rolland Lowes Dickinson, G.B. Shaw, Dryden, Pope, Coleridge, T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats and some Indian authors like Sharat Chandra Chatterji, Bankim Chandra Chatterji, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chandra and Bhatkhande are notable, insightful and analytical.
Aurobindo is a union of Sadhak and critic. His notions in letter form regarding spiritual poetry, the importance of literature in sadhna, utility of literature in Yoga, inner change and artistic self expression, silence and creative activity, innerself development and the growth of poetic power and other related subjects are incorporated at one place which makes clear all the vague doubts of both the sadhaka and the poetry reader. To Sri Aurobindo:
Poetry cannot be substitute for sadhna, it can be accompaniment only……………also poetry must be written in true spirit not for fame or self expression but as a means of contact with the Divine through the inspiration or the expression of one’s own inner being as it was written formerly by those who left behind them so much devotional and spiritual poetry in India. (T.F.P. p. 214)

Sri Aurobindo is an advocate of spiritual ecstasy and growing of flowering of lotus of spiritual illumination in everyone’s heart:
The expression in poetry and other forms must be, for the yogi a flowing out from a growing self within and not merely a mental creation or aesthetic pleasure. Like that the inner self grows and the poetic power will grow with it. (L.P.L.A. 218)

Sri Aurobindo pleads for the mantra in his, poetic vision, which is a word of power and light that emanates from the inspiration or from very higher plane of intuition. Aurobindo finds Mantra as follows:
I have spoken in the beginning of the Mantra as the highest and revealing form of poetic thought and expression. What the Vedic poets meant by the Mantrawas an inspired and intense revealing seeing and visioned thinking, attended by the realization, to use the ponderous but necessary modern world.

Long before Eliot’s observation of comparison and analysis, Aurobindo introduced the same tool of criticism. Besides, the doctrine of translation propounded by Aurobindo is divided into two ways. In his own words:
There are two ways of rendering the poem from one language into another-
1. One in to keep strictly to the turn and manner of the original,
2. The other to take its spirit, sense and imagery and reproduced them freely so as to suit the new language. (L.P.L.A., 141)

He advocates the freedom of translator when he says:
A translator is not necessarily bound to the exact word and letter of the original he chooses; he can make his own poem out of it if he likes, and that is what is very often done. He gives reference of the Holy Bible (English Bible) which is ‘a translation but it ranks among the finest pieces of literature in the world. (L.P.L.A., 142)

Besides, Aurobindo found Indian writers writing better than their contemporary Indian authors. So he has to say ‘many Indians write better than many educated Englishmen’. Yet he found many pitfalls in Indo English blank verse, ‘for blank verse is the most difficult of all English meters; it has to be very skillfully and strongly done to make up for the absence of rhyme and if not very well done, it is better not done at all. He had a strong belief of growing of talent in future for probably he had smelt the ever-widening frontiers of English language and he remarked:
What you say may be correct (that our oriental luxury in poetry makes it unappealing to westerners), but on the other hand it is possible that the mind of the future will be more international than it is not. In that case the expression of various temperaments in English poetry will have a chance. (L.P.L.A., 165)

For the betterment of English poets, Aurobindo suggests three rules. He says:
1. Avoid rhetorical terms and artifices and the rhetorical tone generally. An English poet can use these things because he has the intrinsic sense of his language and keep the right proportion and measure. An Indian using them kills his poetry and produces a scholastic exercise.
2. Write modern English. Avoid frequent inversions or terms of language that belong that belong to the past poetic style. Modern English poetry uses a straight forward order and a natural style not different in vocabulary syntax etc. from that of prose. An inversion can be used sometimes but it must be done deliberately and for a distinct and particular effect.
3. For poetic effect, rely wholly on the power of your substance, the magic of rhythm and the sincerity of your expression- if you can add subtly so much the better but not at cost of sincerity and straightforwardness. Do not construct your poetry with the brain-mind the mere intellect that is not the source of true inspiration: write always from the inner heart, emotions and vision. (L.P.L.A., 168)

These dos and don’ts will create an understanding into the Indian poetic mind to enhance him to a higher plane of consciousness. Aurobindo lays much emphasis on writing one’s own original thoughts and forbids the Indian poets to imitate or follow some particular school of thought, because it was his own conviction that ‘writing in one’s own words what another has said or written is a good exercise or a test for accuracy, clear understanding of ideas, and observant intelligence but it is also imperative to understand English and express oneself in good English.
Undoubtedly most of the observations of Sri Aurbindo on English and Indo-English poetry are sound and valid even today. Unquestionably the capacities of Aurobindo are yet to acquire proper recognition specially in the terms of criticism where he stands alone with the theory of his own. In this term he can be regarded as critics’ critic for he was the first critic who hoped so much with the Indian English poets and authors, yet he considered nothing more futile than for a poet to write on expectation of contemporary fame or praise, however agreeable that may be, if it comes; but it is not of any definitive value. It is none but he who sets ideals before Indian English poets and says:
A poet has to go on his way, trying to gather hints from what people say for or against when their criticisms are things he can profit by, but not otherwise moved (if he can manage it)-seeking mainly to sharpen his own sense of self criticism with the help of others. Difference of estimate need not surprise him at all. (L.P.L.A., 183)

Works Cited
· Iyenger, K. R. S. Indian Writing in English, ‘Sri Aurobindo’, New Delhi: Sterling Pub.4th ed. 1984.
· Kotoky, P. C. Indo English Poetry. Gauhati: Gauhati University Dept. of Publication, 1969.
· Sri Aurobindo, The Future Poetry. (Abbreviated as T.F.P. in the text) Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 2nd ed. 2000.
· Sri Aurobindo, Letters on Poetry Literature and Art. (Abbreviated as L.P.L.A. in the text) Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 2000.
· Sri Aurobindo, Essays, Divine and Human. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 2000.
· Sri Aurobindo, On Himself. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. 2000.
· Das, B. K. Perspective on Indian English Poetry Criticism. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 1st. ed.1993.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Swami Vivekananda- As the Pioneer of Saints Poetry

The tradition of Saint Poetry commences from the hoary ages of the Vedas, the Upnishads and the great epics- the Ramayana and the Mahabharata which were composed by the Rishis embodying the rich spiritual heritage of India. Their inspiring words, suffused with radiant wisdom, have been influencing Indian Literature through the ages. The composers of the Vedas and the Upnishadas, Ved Vyas and Valmiki were the founders of Saints Poetry.
The glorious tradition of mystical and spiritual saint poetry exercised predominant influence on Indian Literature. Indian Saint Poetry is spiritual, devotional and mystical. In commensurate with the spiritual and mystical genius of India, Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ramtirtha, the two illustrious saints, who were well versed with the use of English, composed beautiful poems. (Kumar: 45)

Indian Literature, unlike other literature of the world has been fortunate enough to possess the magnificent bliss and blessings of the saints and their poetry that have enriched the tradition of saint poetry. Indian Literature in English is also blessed by poets cum saints like Swami Vivekanand 1863-1902, Swami Ramtirtha 1873-1906, Sri Aurobindo 15th Aug. 1872 and Paramhansa Yogananda 1893-1952. Prof. Satish Kumar considered Swami Vivekananda and Swami Ramtirtha as the founder of 19th century saint poetry in Indian English Literature

Swami Vivekananda is a pioneer of spiritual poetry and tradition of saint-poetry that commences from the hoary ages of the Vedas, the Upnishadas and the great epics- the Ramayana, the Mahabharata which were composed by Rishis, the rich spiritual heritage of India. Their inspiring words suffused with radiant wisdom have been influencing Indian literature through the ages. The composers of the Vedas and the Upnishadas- Ved Vyasa and Valmiki were founders of saint-poetry.
Indian literature in English is also no less rich in possessing the wealth of spirituality which has been enriched more and more by the Saint poets. As they are Indian first then poet, their poems are replete with the themes of spirituality and mysticism. Prof Satish Kumar observes:

Vivekananda is the pioneer of saint-poetry which is characterized by spirituality and mysticism. As a poet he belongs to the category of Indian poets- Kabir, Sur, Tulsidas, Meera, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Tukaram, Nanaka etc. (Kumar: 27 )

Contrary to this K.R.S.Iyenger believes Vivekananda is communicator more than a prophet poet:

We cannot list Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ranade, Vivekananda and Aurobindo, Tilak and Gokhle, Tagore and Gandhi in the calendar of our prophets and poets, and yet cultivate a blind antipathy towards the language they used as a forceful medium of communicating their longing and message
to India and the world. These stalwarts were among the makers of modern India and what they said and wrote must therefore be cherished as our national literature. (Iyengar: 15)

Despite all such discussions, one cannot underestimate or over look the importance and saint-poetry. In the developments and modern English literature which not only flourished itself in the communion of these saint poets but also surged and dived deep into ocean of imagination, Philosophy and poetic sensibility and Swami Vivekananda was the true precursor of such poetry who torch bore the path and saint poets by way of composing poems originally in English and by his translation from Sanskrit and Bengali. This poetry may be classified into two groups-
(1) Original English compositions
(2) Translation from Sanskrit and Bengali.

(1) Original English compositions-‘My play is done’, ‘The Benediction’, ‘The Cup’, ‘An Interesting Correspondence’, ‘Light’, ‘Thou Blessed Dream’, ‘The Living God’, ‘To my own Soul,’ ‘To Sri Krishna’, ‘No one to Blame’, ‘Song of Sanyasin’, ‘To the Awakened India’, ‘Kali-The Mother’, ‘Peace’,

(2) Translations-‘On the Sea’s Bosom’, ‘The Hymn of Creation’, Six Sanskrit Modos’, ‘Dance of Shiva’, ‘Nirvana Shatak or Six Stanzas of Nirvana’, ‘A Hymn to Divine Mother’, ‘A Hymn to Samadhi’, ‘To a Friend’, ‘Song I sing thee’ and ‘Hymn to divinity Sri Ramakrishna’.

The songs and lyrics of Swami Vivekananda are rich in Vedantic philosophy of India which is as old as the Vedas. It was Vivekananda who alone appeared on the global platform with the placard of Hinduism in his hand and enthralled the whole world. What the world had needed was firm faith that had no fear of truth. It was found in the words, poems and writings of Swami Vivekananda alone. As he was a great mystic, yogi and saint who heralded the birth of renaissance in India took us back to the fundamental values of our Hindu culture and appealed to find the truth in the Upnishadas and the Bhagwad Gita. His poems are soaked in doctrines of Hinduism in India and deep Advaita Vedanta, the practical and dynamic vision of philosophy which was capable of conquering the whole world. His poems, songs and hymns are infused with quality of mysticism, spiritual yearnings, and artistic expressions, and prayers, longings to peace, love, meditation, yoga, Brahma, Shiva, Goddess Kali and liberation of the soul. His emphasis and love from human to the divine can be marked out as:

Love-Love chest wife-Anusuia, Sita- / Not as hard dry duty but as ever pleasing / Love-Sita worship / Madness of love-God intoxicated man / The allegory of Radha-misunderstood / The restriction more increase / Lust is the death of love / Self is the death of love. (CWV 5, 426)

About love he himself says:

Love may not be symbolized by a triangle. (The first angle is) Love questions not. If is not beggar…Beggar’s love is no love at all. First sign of love is, when love asks nothing, (when it) gives everything. This is spiritual worship, worship through love. Whether God is merciful is no longer questioned. He is God, He is my love, All other attributes vanish except that one-infinite love

In his famous poem ‘LOVING GOD’ he assumes the form of mystic and says:
He who is in you and outside you / Who works through all hands / Who walks on all feet / Whose body are all ye, / Him worship, and break all other idols. (CWV 6, 70)

His poems exhort his countrymen to redeem this from lethargy and inactivity and motivate the man to adhere to the path of Nishkam Karma (desireless action) so that she/he may attain Nirvana:

Awake, arise and dream no more! / This is the land of dreams, where karma / Weaves unthreaded garlands with our thoughts / Of flowers sweet or noxious, and none / Has root or stem, being born in naught, which / The softest breath of Truth drives back to / Primal nothingness, Be bold, and face / The Truth! Be one with it! Let vision cease, / Or, if you cannot, dream but truer dreams, / Which are eternal Love and Service free. (CWV 8, 389)

It is none but ‘Kali’ the mother who can confer the eternal peace and love and unshackle. It is none but ‘merciful’ mother who can unshackle the desire ridden soul and take the soul ‘to those shores where strifes forever cease’. One can mark out Swami ji’s urge to the mother Kali to rescue from bonds of desires, delusion and Maya. He prays:

Save me from this fire! / Rescue me, merciful Mother, from floating with desire! / Turn not to me Thy awful face, / ’tis more than I can bear / Be merciful and kind to me, / O chide my faults forbear.


Let never more delusive dreams / Veil off Thy face from me / My play is done, O Mother / Break my chains and make me free. (CWV 6, 177)

He again urges the Lord to guide and bless the life of man so that man may feel himself bathed in the divine light:

More on, O Lord, in thy resistless path! /Till thy high noon o’erspreads the world / Till every land reflects thy light, / Till men and women, with uplifted head, / Behold their shackles broken, and
Know,/ In springing joy, their life renewed!’ (CWV 5, 440)

‘To a Friend’ is a poem rendered from Bengali poem composed by Swami Vivekananda in which he puts up a series questions to his friend:
Where darkness is interpreted as light, / Where misery passes for happiness, / Where disease is pretended to be health, / Where the new-born’s cry but shows tis alive; / Dost thou, O wise, expect happiness here? (CWV 5, 494)

To him life is ‘a glaring mixture of heaven and hell’ and nobody can ‘fly from this Sansar of Maya fastened in the neck with Karma’s fetters’. It is only a cup of Tantalus’ but in this selfish world after a futility of long Tapasya’s weight, he could not find anything in life. Eventually he says:

Listen, friend, I will speak my heart to thee;/ I have found in my life this truth supreme- / Buffeted by waves, in this whirls of life, / There’s one ferry that takes across the sea. / Formulas of worship, control of breath, / Science, philosophy, systems varied, / Relinquishment, possession, and the like, / All these are but delusions of the mind- / Love, Love- that’s the one thing, the sole treasure (CWV 5, 494)

The theme of spirituality remains present in almost all his poems where the traits of mysticism and deep meditation can be easily glanced and his mysticism is perhaps the finest one of its own kin. Dr. Anupama Bansal observes:

In Indian English poetry Swami Vivekananda, was the first poet to compose mystical poems, His songs, poems and hymns are the artistic expression of his unfathomed spiritual urge

The poem ‘The Hymn of Creation’ is translation of Naradiya-Sukta, Rigveda X.129 projects his love towards mysticism when he writes:

This projection whence arose, / Whether held or whether not, / He the ruler in the supreme sky, of this / He, O Sharman! Knows, or knows not / He perchance. (CWV 6, 179)

Some other poems like ‘A Hymn to Shri Kamakrishna’, ‘Nirvan Shatkam’ or ‘Six Stanzas of Nirvana’ (translation of the poem of Shankeracharya) and ‘On the Sea’s Bosom, (his translated poem from Bengali) are the evidence of his excellent translation work which also establish him as a refined translator. Swami Vivekananda is an advocate of self-realization like Swami Paramhans Yogananda. According to him, Meditation is the only remedy to dissolve the mist of Maya. It is none but God who is behind the ever changing phenomena of the world which is nothing but a figment of creation only. God is the supreme reality in the world of unreality. This idea is revealed in his poem ‘Misunderstood’:

This world’s a dream / Though true it seem. / And only truth is he the living! / The real me is none but He / And never never mother changing! (ISGOP, 4)

As Swami Vivekananda was deeply influenced with the Gita and the Vedas that are the replicas of mysticism and spiritualism, his poems are marked with the quality of mysticism. He believes in one God that is omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, all pervading and beyond all the limits of human mind. The wheel of Maya does not let us realize the presence of God who can be felt in each whit of universe. Prof. Satish Kumar says:

All poems of Vivekananda are imbued with mysticism of a very high order. In this respect they reveal the influence of the Gita. It eloquently elucidates the doctrine that God is eternal and all pervading and as long as we are so swayed by Maya we fail to realize the presence of the supreme within us. When true knowledge dawns on man he sheds false ego, all delusions, all material attachments and possesses great peace, joy and equipoise. He sees the Supreme, the on indivisible in all the fleeting manifestations of life, in all animate and inanimate objects. (Kumar: 28-29)

His poems are the revelation of the divine wisdom of Gita which propounds there yogas of Bhakti, Gyana, and Karma and his emphasis on the Karma Yoga impart joy, absolute bliss and absolute peace to the avid readers and even drench them in the Rasa of Bhakti. After a rigorous penance and Tapasya attained that celestial and eternal light which made him one with God:

In rapture all my soul was hushed, / Entranced, enthralled in bliss. / A flash illumined all my soul; / The heart of my heart opened wide, / O joy, O bliss, what do I find! / My love, My love, you are here, / And you are here, my love, my all! / And I was searching thee! / From all eternity you were there / Enthroned in majesty. (ISGOP, 3-4)

A believer in the Gita considers soul as immortal and body as mortal and this admittance of soul as invisible, immortal and impenetrable, makes him love his own self, see the same self in all other objects. His poem ‘To My Own Soul’ reflects his observation about his own self:

Reflector true-Thy pulse so timed to mine, / Thou perfect note of thoughts, however fine- / Shall we now part, Recorder, say? / In thee is friendship, faith, / For thou didst warn when evil thoughts were brewing- / And though, alas, thy warning thrown away / Went on the same as ever-good and true. (CWV 8, 170)

The vision of Swami Vivekananda was spiritual in toto whatever he touched. It was with spirituality. He wrote in a letter to Miss Macleod on 26 Dec, 1900 giving the fittest reply to Shelley’s ‘To a Skylark’ which says:

We look before and after / And pine for what is not / Our sincerest laughter / With same pain is fraught.

And he wrote in a reply to the above:

Look behind and after / And find that all is right, / In my deepest sorrow / There is a soul of light. (CWV 8, 168)

The poems of Vivekananda are rich in pictorial quality. Especially his description of nature is marvelous for it is also mingled with divine ecstasy, intensity of feelings and spontaneity. A powerful undercurrent of mysticism and spiritualism flows through all his poems i.e.

Before the sun, the moon, the earth, / Before the stars or comets free, / Before e’en time has had its birth, / I was, I am, and I will be. / The beauteous earth, the glorious sun, / The calm sweet moon, the spongled sky, / Causation’s laws do make them run; / They live in bonds, in bonds they die. (CWV 8, 163)

Nature is the projection of God’s grace and there is a mystic kinship of man with nature. In the lap of nature man finds the eternal peace and joy which are rare and intractable in the life of man. The manifestation of divinity can be realized in the nature also.
The moon’s soft light, the stars so bright, / The glorious orb of day, / He shines in them; His beauty-might- / Reflected light are they. / The majestic morn, the melting eve, / The boundless billowy sea, / In nature’s beauty, dongs of birds / I see through them it is He. (ISGOP, 9)

The poems of Vivekananda are rich in lyrical quality as the ancient epics of Hinduism were perfect in the subtleties of style and diction and carry the qualities of spontaneity, lucidity, symbols, images, metaphors and similes which enhance the poetic beauty of his poems. Imagery of light water, fire and other elements are frequently used in his poems. His lyrics are musically perfect:
All these be yours, and many more / No ancient soul could dream before- / Be thou to India’s future son / The mistress, servant, friend in one. (CWV 6, 178)

The symbols and imagery of Swami Vivekananda are indianized like light which is the symbol of illuminous; and sleep as lethargy and idleness. Light is also symbolized as hope and redemption from darkness. Water is used as fleeting and even changing material existence, God as the blessed dream or the soul of souls; time as all destroyer; Kali the mother as terror, breathing death and dream and darkness are the symbols of ignorance and diligence.

To sum up, it is indisputably clear that the poetry of Swami Vivekananda is full of simplicity, genuineness, blissfulness, picturesqueness, harmony, music and sublimity as well as it abounds in the noble teachings of the Vedas, the Gita, the Ramayana, the Mahabharat, the Upanishadas and the Puranas. His in-depth study of Eastern and Western philosophy and command over language and literature which not only establish him in the Chicago conference as the global platform but also established him in the field of Indo-Anglian literature where he is considered as the precursor of saint poetry of modern era. As he was a soul puissance, illumination, inspiration and divinity, his place among Indo-Anglian poets is on the highest rank. Here it is relevant to end the paper with the remark of Professor Satish Kumar; “As a pioneer of saint poetry his place is really the highest in the entire gamut of Indian English poetry. Vivekananda anticipated Swami Ramatirtha, Sri Aurobindo and Paramhansa Yogananda, the renowned Indian saints’ poets of the twentieth century”.


Kumar, Satish ‘Saints Poets’ A Survey of Indian English Poetry. (Abbreviated as ASIEP in the text) Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2000.
Iyenger, K.R.S. Introduction to Eglish’, Indian Writing in English. New Delhi: Sterling Pub. 1984.
The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Vol. 1 to 8 (Abbreviated as CWV in the text) Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1997
Vivekanand, Swami, In Search of Gods & Other Poems (Abbreviated as ISGOP in the text). Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1981.

Manas Bakshi’s Man of the Seventh Hour in the light of Theosophy

With the growth of knowledge of human nature one cannot fail to be impressed by the great diversity of human gifts by the richness of individuality among mankind, the almost infinite variety of human being, the complexity of human nature. Theosophists have answered to the question of understanding the infinite variety and vast potentiality of man by the numerical key in which the governing number is seven, so there are seven main types of human beings, each with outstanding natural attitudes and qualities. Knowledge of these seven types and their corresponding attributes provides a key to the understanding of human nature. Again Sinnet in Esoteric Buddhism gives seven principles that are given below:

1. The Body Rupa
2. Vitality Prana or Jiva
3. Astral Body Linga Sharia
4. Animal Soul Kama Rupa
5. Human Soul Manas
6. Spiritual Soul Buddhi
7. Spirit Atma

The seven principles or the components of the human individuality may be regarded as vehicles through which self expression and experience are gained by that unity of spiritual existence that is often called as the Monad (in Theosophy) and we may say it as the spark of one divine flame, the great breath, scintilla of the spiritual son, immortal gem, human spirit and logos of the soul.
The Monad which is regarded as source of the objectives of the seven fold human beings and which is said, never leaves, ‘the bosom of the father’ the divine spirit of man remains within the parent flame throughout the whole period of its partial manifestations as the seven fold human being.
In the light of the above discussion Man of The Seventh Hour appears to be completing the cycle of evolution of human spirit who is journeying from primitive/ To modern/ From void/ To vibrancy/ From subjugation/ to emancipation/ From beginning/ To end/ A process/ of compelling reality’. The who feels each and every ‘materialistic’, ‘superficial’, ‘universal’ and ‘supernatural’ gyrating in its entity and everything mundane and beyond/ not beyond his ascetic perceptibility, has divided the book in seven hours-Victory, Desire, Greed, Fear, Rage, Conflict and Decadence wherein the poet has tried to reach both the pinnacles of progression and digression.
In the first hour of Victory, the poet starts with –
“The seven Seas/ The seven hills/ The iris of life/ The recalling the myth’ and again knowing the same ‘the sun/ As a seven horse chariot/ Unmasking the world at its beginning’.
The poet takes man and woman with the legacy of/ Adam and Eve and admits time as the most powerful-

Endless Time
Fatomless Time
In the vortex
Of birth and death
An eternal riddle
Around each ephemeral existence. (11)

The poet remains optimistic and vivacious in this hour. So he writes on-
Victory of man
Focussing on
New frontiers around
His progeny’s survival texture. (14)

In the second hour of desire the poet seems to be ‘speaking to self-is shapeless one’ and is involved in the realization of his self/ In the art of knowing life itself where ‘from birth to death’ he faces, ‘the infallible lessons of time’ and later on questions:

What does human being resembles?
A wave
In a vast ocean?
Latent in Gun power?
A decibel
In a hubbub?
A Particle
In a Solid substance? (19)

And adds:
A boiling point
Of the unending desire
Sprouting and spreading
Day in and day out in him? (ibid)

And at last he watches the desirous nature of man as follows:
Primitive longing
And primary incertitude
Human being
Becomes desirous
More than he needs to be
Squandering everything
To satiate
His desirous self. (20)

Similarly in the third hour of greed, he commences:

Desire begets instinct
Instinct begets lust
Lust lasting
Till it’s combust
In a life- cycle
Digging up man’s innate urge. (23)

And again, he questions the modern man in this hour which is not only relevant but also hints us of our divine ‘self’:

Does Twenty First Century man know
What he really needs
To satisfy himself?

The flower knows not
How its fragrance springs
The garbage knows not
How its rot stinks- (26)

In the fourth hour of fear, the poet talks of fear- ‘that renders one/ dejected and defeated within himself, / makes him apprehensive’ and even afraid of the trait he has so far left, / the sceptre of his own shadow. According to the poet it is all-

As if
Satan inside
An embodiment
Showing so far the seeds
Of lust and greed
Has come out
Growing taller
If not subversive
Ridicule man
Of his own misdeeds
Camouflaged with
Baits and gimmick. (33)

The fifth hour of rage is the shattering of the dreams where he is ‘facing the stark reality/ the emptiness/ and sombreness around’ but he admits a catharsis and adds:

A process
Body to soul
Thought to maturity
Humanism to eternity,
That’s yet another phase
Of man trying to come out
Of a deceptive self.(39)

In this section, the poet tries to break all the mirrors of suspicion, bravado and false notions and condemns the man who from Babri/ To/ Bamiyan/ From/ World trade Centre/ To/ Tube rail in London and the same hydra headed monster/ A hoodlum/ Or a hypocrite/ Shorn of realization/ Of his own outfit/ Commits the same crime and repeats the same mistake.

In the sixth hour of conflict, the poet mirrors the modern modes of life like night clubs/ Disco theque/ Body ay play/ Mind at stake and people who are, ‘hand in hand/ chanting deliriously/ feeling hot hot hot’ are so common and the modern nuclear age in which the human being is ‘dying for/ His undying crage and the same ‘twenty first century man/ unmindful/ of his/ struggle rich heritage/ Of love and peace/ and/ A divine origin.’

And at last, in the seventh hour of decadence, the poet thinks deeply about the fate of man recalling the history from Kurukshetra to World War II and questions judiciously:

Does Time
Always demand
Of innocent blood?
A perennial penalty
For a momentary upsurge
The affluence of a few
At the cost of the masses,
A socio-economic blur? (56)

And he mirrors several bare realities of modern life when he says:
Trust in life
The verdict of Time
May be
Hemlock for Socrates
Ambrosia for hyprocrites! (57)

The vulgarity, vanity and lucre-dust of materialism has made the man power hungry and Westoxication of five star glitterati consumerism have liquidated the higher values of our life. Now-a-days violence and torture, carnage and communal laughter have become so common that humanity and compassion seem a dream now. In this hour of decadence the poet reminds us of our follies and evils that we have committed in the human history. According to him, history and nature are the best judges:

The bitter truth:
History takes its own turn
And nature never pardons
Spares none, 63)

Again, he questions:
The quake in Kashmir
A caution
Against human being
Not being
What he should have been. (64)

Therefore, it is spick and span that the poet Manas Bakshi has epitomized the feelings of cosmopolitan heart into his slender volume of poems The Man of The Seventh Hour. Philosophically the poet, in all the seven hours vacillates between materialism to spiritualism and seven bodies reaches to the pinnacle in the seventh hour of decadence. When his personal feelings become universal and his individual pain of the self merges into the point of the globe, when his body (Sthool Shaareera) becomes the universal spirit (Atma) In his gradual evolution from Rupa or Sthool Shareera to Atma, the spirit, the poet face and feels kaleidoscopically and consequently becomes one with the absolute and its radiation. So it is undeniably admitted reality that the poet has known and felt in all the seven planes of theosophy.

The book is though in free verse, yet sometimes appears to be tinged with beautiful lyricism. The content and the universal appeal of the poet make us feel that only poetry can rouse the interest and awareness among mankind for the welfare and upliftment of mankind.

*‘A Poet’s Portrait of Man’s Journey Through Time’ by Srinivas Rangaswami’, IBC, P.C.Mathur, Oct-2006, Jaipur
*The Secret Doctrine, H.P.Blavatsky, Vol.II, Adyar: TPH
*The Man and His Seven Principles: The Seven Principles of Man, by Arthur Robson, Adyar: TPH, Ed. II, 1977.

A Reader’s Response to A Hudson View(Poetry Digest) International Collection Spring 2008.Volume 3 Number 2, ISSN 1540-5036. By Shaleen Kumar Singh

The latest issue Spring ~ April- May 2008 edited by Amitabh Mitra and Phaedra Valentine has again come like a spring of fresh thoughts and feelings. After passing the span of over five spring Skyline publishing literary community has proved that in the age of materialism and bestial regressions, if anyone lits the lamp of emotions, it will not be not an entire wild-goose-chase rather it will grow as saplings if it has firm roots. Skyline publishing is both for emerging and established authors that help them ‘attain their literary and artistic goals.
T he present issue is adorned with the paintings of Maria Zeldis, a Mexican artist and carries twenty three poems and two book reviews. The very first poem by Amitabh Mitra creates a nostalgia and make one sit and ruminate a while: I can remember/The colour of hurts/Breastshadows of a runaway kite/Your smile/That resisted/So long. (8)
And the nostalgia again turns darker when the poet Freddy Frenkel says in the poem ‘Taxiride in Boston’: The station agent did’nt have a ticket for him/At the whites only counter-/The platform for the non whites was out of the bounds to me. (15)
Besides the poems of David Trane are fumed with hue of Nature(The Garden), G K Naicker’s poem ‘My Africa’ is replete with patriotic fervor, Kabus Moolman’s poems are emotive as well as meditative, Jan Osker Hanson’s poems are full of romance, Ashok Gupta’s ‘Father’ and ‘The Mad Beggar’ are full of warm personal feelings. Especially the short poems of Geoffrey Jackson are fine pieces of poetry. For example: When you’re used to the dark/ Your feet walk by themselves/The moon casts shadows of night Unseen where sure feet walk. (57) However, there are other poets in the issue which have not been discussed by me but they are equally poetic and sensitive.
To sum up, the magazine is charming from both the viewpoints of form (look) and content. The cover designed by Amanda R T Tucker is charming and the poems selected by the editors have made the magazine worth-reading for which they deserve high accolades.

Reflective Moods in The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai recently won the Man Booker Prize 2006 is a story of Sai and her grandfather. Sai is a young girl who takes refuge at Jemubhai Patel, the grandfather, a retired judge residing at the foot of Mt. Kanchanjungha in his home Cho-Oyu, - which at present shows the little sign of its former glory. The judge wishes to lead the remaining days of his life in seclusion and stoicism obliterating the past and even the existing today but as the ill luck would have it or say fortunately, his grand-daughter is shattered completely by the sudden intrusion of his granddaughter Sai. The relation between Sai and grandfather is very typical for both of them do not know any thing about each other. As the judge or the grandfather was leading life full of isolation and seclusion, he has to accept the girl after the tragic accident of his son and bride. ‘In a crumbling isolated house at the foot of Mt. Kunchunjanga where the judge is residing in a disciplined and tight- scheduled life, the girl Sai tries to adjust her frequencies. Sai is a Westernized Indian girl brought up by English nun and so she is well-acquainted with the discipline of encroaching others personal zones.
Kiran Desai remains meditative from the beginning, the delineation of situation, the weaving of the plot and the infusion of ‘thought’ make her exquisite. Sai is the key-figure of the novel who narrates the reflective mode of the novelist.
“No human had ever seen as big as apples to scope the dark of the ocean, theirs was a solitude so profound they might never encounter another of their tribe. The melancholy of this situation washed over Sai” (20)
And he continues:
“Could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss? Romantically she decided that love must surely reside in the gap between decisive and fulfillment in the lack, not the contentment. Love mar the ache, the anticipation, the retreat, everything around it but the emotion itself.”(20)
Like Hardy’s novels fate plays a dominant role in the Desai’s novel. Sai’s father becomes the victim of fate, though he was one of the candidates and the first Indian to be chosen beyond the gravity. Here we can again see the author musing:
“………the fates decided otherwise, and instead of blasting through the stratosphere, in his life, in this skin, to see the world as gods might, he was delivered to another vision of the beyond when he and his wife were crushed by local bus wheels,……….
Thus they had died under the wheels of foreigners, amid crates of babushka nesting dolls. If their thoughts were of their daughter in St. Augustine’s, she would never know.” (27)
A close affinity gets developed between Sai and the cook of the house who is associated in the company of Jemubhai Patel, the grandfather for quite a long period, so she (Sai) tries to enquire much about her grandfather’s past life. Sai comes to know about cook’s personal life and love also whose only son. The cook says at first:
I may be as well be dead. If not for Biju………”

The author introduces Biju adding:

Biju was his son in America. He worked at Don-Pollo- or was it the The Hot Tomatos? Or Alibaba’s fried chicken? His father could not remember or understand of pronounce the names and Biju changed jobs so often, like a fugitive on the run – no papers. (35)
Biju the only son of the cook who somehow manages to send him to unknown land for better future, reflects the shadow of long line in him and the hard life of the foreign country is experienced by the one among the many whose parents and their sums for the foreign country and pine for the love of motherland. Kiran Desai’s portrayal of Biju reflects the loveliness of such persons, who runs to and fro in his struggles for existence on account of undocumented immigrant and stumbles from one low paid job to mother. His fantasies about the life full of facilities luxuries that each man aspires to have and we frantically wishes purchase everything for the same.
Life, in reality, is full of strife and dreams can do nothing except shielding contemplation. Contrary to this the arrival of Sai in the life of the retired judge makes him forcibly to ruminate about the past when he left his house at Pilphit to commence his journey overseas. After a bright career of joining the Indian Civil Services, he flew to England and returned home to a pampered survival, banishing a kind of royal verdict over his country. He is unfortunately one of those ‘ridiculous Indians’ who is incapable to come out of the strong clutches of foreign exposure. He leads a busy life totally devoted to work and work only, thus ignoring his family and children. His wife becomes the target of his frustration and anger. Kiran Desai presents him before as an introvert personality who is more at ease in the company of his pet dog Mutt than his family and his children. The portrayal of judge is done by Kiran Desai as an eccentric character totally disciplined man doing everything at sharp time. For example, ‘ At 6:30 he would bath in water’, ‘at 8:30 he’d rode into the fields, with local officials and everyone else in the village’, ‘at 2:00 after lunch the judge sat at his desk under a tree to try cases usually in a cross mood’, ‘at 4:30 he had to be perfect, at 5:30 out he went into the country side with his fishing rod and gun, at 8:00 saved his reputation cooked a chicken and at:
“9:00 sipping ovaltine, he filled out the registers with the days gleanings. The patromax lantern would be lit – what a noise is made – insects fording the black to dive-bomb him with soft flowers (moths), with iridescence (beetles), lines, columns and squares. He realized truth was best looked at in tiny aggregates, for many baby truths could yet add up to one big size unsavory lie. Last, in his diary also to be submitted to his superiors, he recorded the random observations of a cultured man, someone who was observant, schooled in literature as well as economics: and he made up hunting triumphs: two partridge……one deer with thirty inch horns……..”(63)

Sai falls in love with Nepali boy Gyan who is appointed as the tutor of her. Gyan gets involved in the Gorkha Separatist Movement with a obscure motive behind him as Gyan is portrayed as the victim of circumstances who cannot but join the liberation army forcibly:
‘as he floated through the market, Gyan had a feeling of history being wrought, its whets churning under him, for the men were behaving as if they were being featured in a documentary of war, and Gyan could not help but look on the scene already from the angle of Nostalgia, the position of a revolutionary. But then he was pulled out of the feeling by the mansoon – stained grottos. Then he shouted alone with the crowd and to create a relevancy, an affirmation he had never felt before, and he was pulled back into the making of history.’ (157)

Gyan is pain-stricken because of his unrequited love for Sai on one hand and his hatred for everything that Sai mirrors in Indian society. When the Kalimpong was burning under the fire of separation, the GNLF fighting for the separatist state, the police were hiding their own identity rather than protecting the common mass. Kiran Desai broods over the whole traumatic situation and portrays all in the novel. She makes affine balance between the portrayal of the grand and saintly Kanchanjangha and the state of fear, terror and death. Both the plot and the thought are clearly portrayed by the novelist. Jemubhai Patel is also panic-stricken and grief stricken but he is sullen for his dog Mutt who goes missing. The situation makes us think the cold temperament of the high class society towards the ongoing situation. Nandoo, the cook admits his guilt that he committed in his life and holds himself responsible for Mutt’s disappearance. In the meantime Biju his son gets non existent. Here Kiran Desai makes us again think about the philosophy of life and death. She writes as:
“The cook did’nt mention his son…. He had none….. he’d never had one….. it was just his hope writing to him…. Biju was non-existent.”(321)

Off and on the author makes us realize the truth of terrestrial life and the satiric situations. Even the judge who tortures the cook for a dog remains silent at a critical crisis hovering over the nation. Sai watches everything and makes us think about the negligent attitude of the judge even who can keep the calm at the wrong happening in the society but cannot pardon his cook for a petty mistake.
Sai remains a thoughtful character throughout the novel. She desires love from Gyan but in vain. Desai portrays their relations vividly and compares and contrasts the both. Finally she writes:
As she saw her recast her eyes and mouth remembered that he abandoned her, not the other way around and she was bitterly angry.
Dirty hypocrite.
Pretending one thing, living another. Nothing but lies through and through. (257)

The absurdity of Gyan and pure feelings of Sai makes us think again the traumatic result of true love and Sai’s renouncement makes us again to ruminate when Sai feels a vacuum all around and finds herself unable to overcome the situation. Sai thinks:
She thought of her father and the space program. She thought of all the National Geographics and books she had read. Of judge’s journey, of the cook’s journey, of Biju’s. Of the globe twirling on its axis.And she felt a glimmer of strength. Of resolve, she must leave. (323).

Again Biju comes back alone and stands at the gate of Cho Oye. Father and son meet and embrace each other and the son feels comfortable in father’s shelter. Desai here again makes us realize the truth of blood relations can never be a lie or blood is thicker than water. Situations, places or incidents may vary, complexities may crop up and overpower man’s mentality but the relations can never be changed. Sai, on the other hand realizes:
Life was not single in its purpose……..or even in its direction. The simplicity of what she’d have been taught would’nt hold. Never again could she think, there was but one narrative and that this narrative belonged only to herself, that she might create her own tiny happiness and live safely within it.(232)

Love is the strongest thing in life and the golden peaks of Kanchanjungha can only be overcome by firm determination, faith and zeal:

The five peaks of Kanchanjungha turned golden with the kind of luminous light that made you feel, if briefly, that truth was apparent. All you needed to do was reach out and pluck it.(324)

Thus Kiran Desai in her novel muses over the various aspects of life as well as make the readers think over the eccentricities and paradoxes of life. She continues her reflective mood from beginning to the end. With instruments of humour and irony, Desai explores the inexplicable and mysterious world. Dr. Shubha Mukherjee observes:
With a touch of humour and irony, Kiran Desai explores into the inexplicable and mysterious world their beauty and truth lie within reach but invisible.
Dr. A.K. Chaturvedi raises the issue of tribal marginalization in the seventeenth chapter of the novel in which the young boy of town Sayeed who is a worker at the Queen at Tart’s Bakery in America. He is landed into an unexpected trouble by the presence of some poor boys (the very tribal of his native town who having no source of livelihood in their own country visit America for finding employment.) at the gate of Bakery. Nobody in America is ready to help the tribal in realizing the aim for which they left their country. They are neither helped nor even sympathized. The gates of Queen of Tort’s Bakery are close to them, so is the gate of fates to him. Desai raising the issue if tribal’s marginalization presents the picture of globalization and urbanization in modern India. The tribals are desperate and hapless. Dr. Chaturvedi observes:
Thus, like in Kamla Markandaya;s The Coffer Dam. The tribal in The Inheritance of Loss represent a marginalized community facing the challenges and problems that have no easy solutions. In the present age of globalization and urbanization the tribal are desperately trying to break out of their traditional boundaries so as to search for the opportunities to ameliorate their hopeless condition. (9)

Works Cited:
· Anita Desai, The Inheritance of Loss. New Delhi: Penguin Books, 2006. (all the quotations are culled out from this edition)
· Shubha Mukherjee, ‘The Inheritance of loss: Comedy blended with contemplation,’ Hindustani Innovator. Kullur Nagappa Vol. III – No. 1, 2007.
· Chaturvedi, A.K., ‘Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss: The Issue of Tribal’s Marginalization’, Indian Book Chronicle. Ed. P.C. Mathur, Feb. 2007, jaipur,