It’s not every day that you find a book of poems that fills you with wonder the moment you start reading it and continues to enthrall it long after you have put it down. As an avid reader who often reads at least four books simultaneously, I find Dervishes Dance by Poet Laureate Madan Gopal Gandhi extremely enchanting for various reasons. Page after page filled with lush tapestry of intricately woven rhythm and metaphor that uplift spirits until you find yourself whirling away from mundane towards the ecstasy of lightness of being. Like true mystic and poet, Dr. Gandhi does not distinguish between earthly or divine love and poems in Dervishes Dance celebrate all kinds of love with same gusto.
“No sacred, no profane
let the heart set the rule of the game
love to let go, love to restrain
love fill the cup of joy and pain”
A poet and critic from Serbia aptly remarked:
“Madan Ghandiji is a mystic of rare perception, which we find in Rumi alike in Kabir. He comes in waves, at times incomprehensible for mind, at times too simple, making the extremes of duality come together and merge at some point of a self realized insight. In both micro and macro-cosmic dimensions of expressing Love, He becomes godly in His tune, setting us ever closer to treasured jewel of our soul.”
However, this book is more than a collection of beautifully worded poems but an outcome and extension of Dr. Gandhi’s life which has been marked with love and compassion for his fellow beings. Whether it’s his relentless struggle for freedom and education of poor children languishing as bonded labourers that made him confront brick kiln owners or his lifelong mission to uplift and restore the dignity of girl child in society, Dr. Gandhi has lived his life in accordance with his convictions that ring out clean and clear in several poems of this book.
“As we embrace each part of ourselves
bound by common consciousness of common good
blossoms the first circle of love-
The same need be done to the extended family-
the civil society
finally the global family-
the uppermost ring as the love manifest”
Message of love and compassion encapsulated so wonderfully in the poems in this book are not meant for any particular race, gender or age group; rather it has a universal appeal.
Mario Rigli of Italy says-
“It is difficult for a western approach to the soul of India, the real one, but it is easy after reading Madan Gandhi. You touch the tops of thought, your fingertips feel the texture of the Spirit, you are able to climb your own and other souls. You'll climb on the walls of your heart and the hearts of men. You drink directly from the light of heaven!”
I won’t be exaggerating if I say that Dervishes Dance is a book that our world needs today more than anything else for its message of universal love.