Creative expression and poetic imagination in Bharat are unique. The idea of creative imagination in writing primarily is enlightenment. Poetic creation has been revered down the ages here for imaginative writing ennobles and heightens sensibility. Mysticism, spirituality and widening of the horizons of human life and living are found in our bhasha literatures and particularly in poetry. Our epics and scriptures are artifacts of imagination of the noblest and highest order. The aspiration of all thinking individuals is to reach the condition of absolute bliss and poetry is a path for the highest knowing. Indian English poetry even today keeps to the path of our ancients – the sublime souls of sages and saints. Many of our poets writing make use of the epic mode singing with tones of mysticism and spirituality. Using creative imagination and singing mellifluously with humanistic fervor is found and appreciated in Indian English poets.
English Poetry written in India by Indians during the recent decades is unique in that it is replete with Nativism that can be called intensively felt Indianism. Thanks to many of our journals printed and conveyed over the internet, many publishers around are preferring to take our writers’ work in English, now no longer felt an alien language. Many of our poets are writing with aplomb and élan in English.
K.V. Raghupathi has been writing poetry in English for the last nearly three decades. He hails from the South. Voice of the Valley was published in 2003, nearly a decade ago. Immediately after that came Wisdom of the Peepal Tree in the same year. This has come out of the poet in the middle of the growth of his creative imagination where he has shown a distinctive quality of the process of maturation. Wisdom of the Peepal Tree has connotations that are prominently philosophical – spiritual. Scholars, saints and sages and exegetes of spirituality have given long explanations of the Peepal Tree and its roots and leaves. Bhakti Vedanta Srila Swami Prabhu Paada explained: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said : It is said that there is an imperishable banyan tree that has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree knows the knowledge of the Vedas. Buddha got enlightenment under the Bodhi, the Peepal Tree which has great power of giving wisdom and enlightenment. The next after the everlasting wisdom in Voice of the Valley, Wisdom of the Peepal Tree was published in the same year and here the poet speaks of the tree enlightening a seeker, sadhaka. The peepal is the source of enlightenment and wisdom and the valley is actually a trainer and educator making the sadhaka educated. The poet’s imagination soars high and both the long poems are meant to enlighten.
Voice of the Valley published in the year, 2003, is the beginning of the description of the wisdom of the tree. A wanderer goes into a valley filled with mystic silence. Suddenly amazed he feels an immeasurable vastness and falls in a stupor. A short while later he hears a Voice which is bestowed with deep insight, intense power and absolute authority. The wanderer is Man befuddled, baffled, broken owing to ignorance, selfishness and a number of lapses and weaknesses. The voice of the valley recognizes the wanderer as a seeker of Truth. It answers the queries, questions and doubts and suggests solutions for self-created problems and illumines him for finding ways for the attainment of peace, joy and bliss. The poet records the dialogue between Man, the wanderer and the Voice in the valley. The dialogue is extensive, Man being in the darkness of ignorance and the Voice being extremely understanding, sympathetic and compassionate. As the dialogue goes on, the Voice in the valley recognizes the wanderer as a befuddled human roaming about in quest of Truth and traveler for the acquisition of Wisdom. Man goes on expressing his befuddlement and confusion. The Voice is well aware of the human condition and human weaknesses. The reader of this long poem would realize the sublimity of the Voice in its explication of human nature and behavior in detail trying slowly with compassion to uplift and ennoble Man by enlightening him to reach the condition of absolute contentment. Doubt filled man suspects the Voice as a Devil first and asks it as to why he is stopped declaring that that he is the seeker of Truth. He is a bit proud too saying that he cannot be possessed or haunted by being stopped. The Voice is patient and answers the seeker:
The Voice is none.
You have mistaken the Voice.
O, the Voice finds you a pilgrim in quest of Truth.
In you the Voice finds
The passionate and ardent seeker of Truth.
In you the Voice finds
The loving embodiment of the spirit of all existence.
In you the Voice finds
The great rivers flowing in quest of eternal merging.
In you the Voice finds
The sincere and honest longing for Eternity… (p.7)*
When the seeker asks the Voice to explain who it is, in a terse reply he is told that it is the root of death, the life of death, the root of life and the death of life. It tells Man that it is not the son of God, the Supreme God, the spokesperson or the prophet. It tells the seeker that it is beyond human words and jargon, behind created ideologies and systems created by man and beyond man made gods and religions. The most important aspect of this long poem is that it does not speak of either God or worship. What Man is advised briefly is to forget himself, disown and disclaim hid body and mind. This leads Man to only reflect long in silence and confesses that he is bewildered and baffled by its profound revelation and is told:
The Voice you hear is simply Nothing.
Look at this naked tree,
With no branches, leaves and fruits
That stands all alone in this Valley
Amidst many, many plants and trees big and small.
The others seem to be laughing at it for its bareness.
Yet, it stands alone.
It has its own blissful existence,
And it lives as much as the Great Existence wills it. (p.12)
Man is told by the Voice that his road is clear as day but it is only he who makes it dark as night. The Voice is Great Existence. Man is asked in kind advice to give whatever he has and surrender himself by his own will, completely, totally and fully. He must remain vulnerable, open unguarded and receptive. When once Man surrenders himself the Voice names him Bindura and goes on telling him all that there is to be learnt, understood and acted upon.
To you the Voice shall speak
Not because you are significant and unique
Among countless creatures.
Of all the myriad created things and creatures
You are but the peak
And of all those who use land, water and air
You are but one
Yet, are you not but one among many?
Nevertheless, the Voice shall speak
Because you are the peak of existence
In your world. …( p.14)
After listening to what the Voice spoke at length, Bindura is struck with wonder and says to the Voice that it speaks like God. Then he is told not to concern about who or what it is. He is told that he, the Voice is neither God nor No-God. It tells him point-blank that man is degenerated and debased in every sense; wretched and despondent but it is kind:
To you this voice shall speak
Because, from the futility of worldly pursuits,
From the fugitive character of existence,
From the cosmic loneliness and despair,
From the inner discord
Of your pale and sterile experiences,
You seek an inner transcendence
For permanent anchorage
In the flux of things and sensations. (p.15)
As for itself, the Voice tells Bindura that it is the Happiness, it is the Truth, it is the Life and it is Deathless. It knows that Bindura is a hungry seeker not knowing that he himself is both the seeker and the sought. The Voice tells him that by seeking and asking, believing and following nothing can be achieved. All indiscriminate and desultory wanderings and movements must be stopped to know what he really seeks. To know that, he should only rest and become restless too. Only through restlessness should he rest. Only after that that which he seeks shall be at his feet. So saying the Voice wants to know what has induced him to forsake, quit the fascinations and temptations of the world and to wander aimlessly. At this point the seeker confesses that he has led a dishonorable and disgraceful life, indulging in lewd pleasures and excessive lasciviousness. His only desire now is to arrive at Supreme Knowledge. Now he wants not to be a root in the dark but a tree in the light.
The Voice is obviously impressed and assures the seeker that he would be enlightened. The seeker becomes more humble, more perceptive and more worshipful. The seeker can apprehend his own nature using his own discrimination and discernment by listening to the Voice:
Bindura, first exercise your perception with yourself
Be sensible first, with perceiving your own self
And then extend your perception
To those things which are without.
This power of perception resides very much within you.
Go with it and sail with it
And it shall take you to the depths of the unknown.
And all your doubts shall vanish, like water on the sand. (p.21)
The seeker is told that he has corrupted not only himself but all around. The Voice tells the seeker that its consciousness is the purest since it is the consciousness of the entire existence. The seeker asks the Voice for its compassion by freeing him from entanglements, of doubts and agony.
Then says the Voice:
Bindura, the “self” in you is an amalgam
Of many, many countless things,
Remove the amalgam you shall see “no-self”,
But a deep void.
Even then this void is a no-void.
This is “you”in reality – no fire without coal.
So, you are “known” only through amalgam.
When this amalgam is realized as untrue,
You are then released from the “known”,
And slip into the “unknown”, where you can tell what it is
You shall get dissolved,
Like a stream which cannot tell by itself what it is
Nor reveal identity when merged with the river… (pp 23-24)
The seeker is explained the insignificance of ‘self’, of Man. Man is more a phenomena. A bundle of sensations, thoughts and emotions, dreams and fantasies, he is endowed with a profound interior and deeper reality. The Voice tells the seeker that all philosophical systems and theories are built on weak foundations. Man is a myth too. In spite of his inventions and discoveries, he is swayed by delusions and fantasies, hallucinations and delusions. It is said that birth is accidental, unexpected and unforeseen. Whatever has come into existence must die. Says the Voice:
Fear death, you shall be as insecure as anything else.
Love death, you shall be deathless.
Love death, your life shall bloom in thousand splendours.
Death is sorrow when ‘self’ is strong and everything.
Death is not sorrow when ‘self’ is extinct and nothing.
Death is from finite to infinite.
Death is as beautiful as life is. (p. 29)
The Voice expounds a philosophy based on human nature and the quality of existence. Either Bindura or anyone else is just one among many in this great creation. None is supreme, great or unique. So Bindura, a Man, is advised to live like a tree, bear and shed leaves like a tree and bear flowers and fruit and shed them all. The poet is fascinated by the TREE, in its existence, in its roots, leaves, qualities and attributes. This book is the forerunner to his next, more emphatic, more illuminating book published only a few months later as Wisdom of thePeepal Tree, which is a more revealing receptacle of absolute wisdom. Man’s ultimate fulfillment is nothing for existence. All his activities make him nothing at the end. Very little of the mysteries of life are unveiled. When dropped suddenly, Man does not know where he would go. Man has done damage to existence. As life is vast and infinite and creation is plenty and splendid, he must be like things and beings in creation: like a tree, a rock, a butterfly, a flower, a wild stag, a squirrel, a rabbit, a hawk, a heron, a peacock, a dolphin, a mackerel and a beast. All these have no philosophies, no discoveries, no hatred and no illusions. Everything in creation is contented living in peace. Only Man is like one of the beads in suspended animation and hence, non-existence. When Man realizes that there can be never independent existence. One should become the whole existence. Once this is learnt or realized one would be a true creature in existence. Tells the Voice to the seeker:
It is only when you live in “what you do not know”
Then you attain the fullest wisdom.
It is only upon “what you do not know”
Can you really apprehend true Existence? (p.34)
Life in itself, the Voice tells Bindura, is a big dream through day and night and Man himself is a dream in it. In this world no one has relevance to anyone. Every man’s consciousness is somebody else’s consciousness too. Yet it exists in one who is not his own. Only when named, Man becomes conscious “I”. So it is the first garb. From that he goes into innumerable garbs that inevitably clash with one another. The lesson is:
Destroy your name, be nameless
Remain as a common stone on the roadside, in nature.….( p.35)
The seeker of Truth is advised to be like an unwanted child, gets lost in nature. It is best to flow along with the flow to the point of nowhere to know what life in movement is. The Voice clearly explains Man Bindura how one must live:
You live without being aware of living.
You do everything without being conscious of doing.
You contemplate without being conscious of contemplation.
You meditate without being aware of meditation.
You attain wisdom without being aware of wisdom.
This should be the essence of your living.… ( p.38)
The Voice goes on speaking, and hammering ideas preaching right action. It is not philosophy, God or religion. Every life is best with surrender, innocence and selflessness, as a bird, or an animal. Constant self-analysis needs to be done without learning it from outside but from within. Intellectual verbalization is useless. Bindura is told that existence is naked and open. It is wisdom to realize that doctrines, concepts, dogmas beliefs and theories are just peripheral, leading nowhere. Freedom lies in openness and secrecy is only bondage. Goals exist in the mind and one’s creation is one’s own obstruction. One is alone in the Valley where one matters only himself, the salubrious surroundings and nothing more. The Voice emphatically says:
Variety has no meaning to you.
There is nothing good or bad,
Nothing inherently long or short
Nothing subjective or objective.
There is no need to form a symbolic self.
And need to remember any concrete idea.… ( pp.39-40)
Man’s problem and the reason for his unhappiness is the ‘I’. Reflecting on things and matters and the behavior and attitudes of others leads to his acquiring negative feelings. The Voice tells the seeker of Truth:
Your happiness is your misjudgment of your own sorrow
Your sorrow is miscalculation of your own happiness (p.42) …
The statements appear be paradoxical or difficult to understand at the first reading. Man creates his own unhappiness by his own imperfect reflection. The Voice reveals that all existence is un-reflected and un-refracted. The seeker is asked to make his life a living with ignorance, innocence and gracelessness. Man sees everything outside but does not see what really needs to be seen in himself by looking within. After explaining what religion is not, the advice offered at length is that if only the mind is free, a blank as it were:
Grow like a tree in the Valley, amidst plenty.
This is the essence of living.
This is freedom.( p.45)
True religion is self-discovery, the voyage of self-transcendence and self-fulfillment. The seeker is told:
Happiness lies in experience of misery and sorrow
And happiness also lies in accepting
What has come to you with contentment
And not craving for what has not come to you. (p.46)
The Order of Nature is explained next. Trying to alter nature is disorder. One has to accept everything as it is in the Order of Nature. There is external silence in every moment of one’s living - that is the order. The final residue of all analytical thought lies on man himself. This concealed reveals itself if properly looked into. The real fulfillment and exaltation is not found in principle, ethics, ideal pursuit and rationalization of things.
The real fulfillment and exaltation lies in one’s own unity;
And the perfection in one’s own perception,
Inquisitiveness, sensibility, and sensitivity.
There lies the real exaltation of your soul
And real meaning that fulfills your life.
A life thus fulfilled, has abundant existence
With rich meaning and significance….( p.52)
Man spoils his own original nature meddling with it. For that reason what is determined by man is not really predetermined. Similarly heaven and hell are purely subjective. The Voice makes this clear:
Your hell is nothing but your own making
Of the enslavement of your own self, which is selfhood.
In consequence, you live in constant duality,
Which is agony. (p.54)
All these are to be thought of with serene self-analysis. The poet goes on making the Voice explain things in detail to the seeker. Though the teaching appears to be repetitive, it is not really a lapse here. Long winded explanations are not always unnecessary. The poet makes the Voice go on and on explaining to make the seeker understand deeply the ideas to make his life fruitful in thought and action. What is important is to look within and delve deep into one’s own thought, attitude and action.
Asceticism, the Voice tells Bindura, which frees him from all passions and impulses or instinctive action is real. It is not a way out of living, but it is a way into it in a meaningful manner. It makes one feel the whole of existence. Man has to understand and perceive that the individual’s life has a meaning. Systems are creations of individuals grossly ambitious and insensitive. Bindura is taught that scarcity is unknown to Nature. Scarcity is in Man. Nature does not keep anything secret. Mystery is generated by lack of proper understanding. Ignorance in Man is caused because he is devoid of understanding of the purpose and meaning of knowledge. Various lapses in Man are talked about: for example jealousy to endure other’s prosperity. Man is emphatically told:
.. life is not a painting that can be repainted time and again.
What has been done can never be undone.
What has once passed through can never be retracted.
What moves will not retreat.
What you think repeatable is unrepeatable.
Because Existence moves clockwise.
When it is a flow, it cannot be made to stand still (as) on a canvas (p.62)
The advice of the Voice is clear and simple too, if only one can understand it well.
Reach the roots of being and become rootless
And from being rootless, become nothing.… ( p.65-66)
All change, all improvement, all progress starts from one’s own self.
He who has understood others,
Has never made an attempt to understand himself.
He who wants to penetrate into the known,
Has to first end himself to be known to himself.
He, who never covets others, is the most coveted of himself.
He whose expression is nameless and simple,
Is worth being listened to.
From the stem you grow, through the boughs and branches
And dwell with flowers; the fruit will be yours….(p.70)
The advice is extensive. It goes on:
Bindura, desire what other men do not desire
And become a Sage.
Secure order from yourself,
Before you secure disorder from others.
Perform action for yourself,
Before indulging in activities for no goodness or happiness.….(p. 73)
The seeker tells the Voice that he has understood the teaching well with sobriety, calm and peace of mind.
O, Voice Real, once I said to myself I wanted to know.
But I did not know what I wanted to know.
With (these) indiscriminate wanderings
I did not gain the knowledge which I so wanted.
These wanderings ended in me, with scant realization … p.76)
The seeker expresses gratitude to the Voice which has given him what kings and rulers could not have possessed through power and glory. He expresses gratitude and joy that what the Voice spoke pulsated not only through the stillness of the valley but in his entire being, thinking and feeling in the heart and the body. The wanderer received the only reliable, the only worthy message. The poet concludes:
With his eyes full of blissful tears in great abundance, he (the seeker) prostrated himself before the shining sun, kissed the Mother Earth, and resumed his endless pilgrimage towards the West. And as he left he dropped his name ‘Bindura’(p.85)
What the Voice speaks to the seeker is about Nature, not about the imperfect nature of the humans. Without speaking of God, Religion or any metaphysical formulations the Voice of the valley speaks of self-analysis, introspection and strengthening the inner self. In our sacred scriptural literatures punarukti (saying the same thing again and again is not a ‘dosha’, a lapse or a fault). Other sayings or teaching may abide question but things like these are free. The worth of the Voice is real and the principles are ever applicable. Belief, culture and tradition are closely related notions. Myth is something handed down the generations and millennia as beliefs in a large social body. Religion is belief in the existence of a power that is running the universe and faith is matter of unquestioning belief. All serious literature and writing is inspired by faith, belief and conviction. Raghupathi’s two long poems belong to that order without showing any effort to proselytize.
In the second poem, Wisdom of the Peepal Tree, the poet prays the peepal tree to make its roots of wisdom penetrate each cell in his body and enter his veins and arteries till he achieves the merger of his body with nature. In the poem it is the tree that talks to the poet all along giving wisdom while explaining various things about human nature and human condition, what man does and what he gets. The peepal tree tells the poet its nature and qualities of itself, where it lives, and about its leaves, and their purpose. At first he sees the sage-like tree dropping only the unwanted grey leaves, each one merging with darkness. First it is realization, the realization of self. Staying in Dhvanyaloka (a study site for learning and acquiring wisdom started by C.D.Narasimhaiah in Mysore), reading and researching, the poet has a great experience. Under the Peepal he was alone … Once he saw the sage-like tree and strolled back to the cabin. Next evening he returned to the tree with an unqualified longing to become Bodhisatva, perambulated and sat.
Here I am, O Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom!
Guide me, lead me into your abode
And allow me to drink your wisdom’ (p.10)
The leaves rustle with a magic spell of preaching, the act of illumination. The sense of realization begins first with revealing the points of weakness, a kind of diagnosis before the treatment. The preaching begins: the seeker is avid to learn being taught by the knowing, wise one. What is of importance is looking deep into one’s own self, self-examination, self-analysis and self-effacement. The tree goes on speaking taking the poet into higher regions of thought about actuality and existence. All lapses are in the person and all treatment again is in one’s own hands. Only the realization has to be achieved with effort. Knowing the faults must be the starting point. One should realize one’s own insignificance, insufficiency and inordinate pride. The tree asks man to take refuge in his own self. The fault is in one’s skepticism. The advice is to remain like a banyan tree on the cliff without falling.
The fault lies in you
Because you confess your evil in hatred.
There is no ample righteousness
In your actions to be justified in love,
Because love never claims
Like the flower the worshipper
Nor can it claim and be owned
Like its fragrance, by the passer-by.(p.13)
This is the secret in man’s imperfect understanding of existence. The poet is skillful in making aphoristic expressions, all pithy and scintillating. They dig deep into the center to make one wise by committed, all-knowing, divine preaching. The principles have to be adhered to in total submission for principled life and living.
You are the Opposite, the poles apart are in you
A bundle of contradictions
But strength and power lie in you
In disowning the opposites and contradictions.
Finding meekness is like groping
For lost innocence in darkness.(p.14)
Accepting death, hatred, humiliation, disorder, unfavorable inimical situations and conditions, bondage and happiness alone can give what gives essential peace and joy.
‘Do you want to live?
Then, accept death now
Do you want to love and be loved?
Then, accept hatred.
Do you want honour?
Then, accept humiliation
Do you want contentment?
Then accept your state of disorder
Do you want peace?
Then accept your own warlike condition
Do you want freedom?
Then, accept your bondage
Do you want happiness?
Then, accept your own sorrow. (Ibid)
Birds and beasts need to be followed for they have no selfishness, pride or arrogance. A condor, a falcon, a kiwi are great examples for man to behave like. But humility is to be learnt, acquired and practiced all the way along. All sobs and all weeping and grief are just irrelevant, unnecessary and wasteful. Agony, despair and despondence would never be of any avail. The riddle rooted inside has to be removed by self-effort alone.
Why all this cry?
These weepings, these sobbings, these copious tears
For whom and for what?
Of what use are these fears of your own future?
Why all this agony?
Why all this despair?
Why all this despondency?
The riddle is rooted in you
Solve it by losing everything.(p.16)
The sententious epigrammatic utterances are effective. The more the words, the less the teaching and the poet is crisp and to the point. The diagnosis, the treatment, the medicine, the apothecaries are all within: only to be recognized and respected in the actual process of living. For all this no saint or teacher is necessary at all. The wakeful man needs none to awaken him. It is piquantly stated that the faults, lapses and deficiencies are all within. Suffering, silence and copious tears for imperfections and inadequacies are enough to achieve benediction and bliss.
Nothing awakens you
To religious consciousness, like suffering,
Your sorrow comes from your burning heart for the great.
When it is full with the froth of your tears
Your prayer is answered in silence.
When you wax, you will burn like a candle and glow
And you are as serene
As still waters in the secluded forests.(p.18)
And then, the grace is within, within one’s self, if only one learns to look within with deep thinking and contemplation.
Insincerity, vanity, deceit and cunning always lead one to fall. Man often tosses between many opposites. It is this that causes tension, pain and loss of strength. One bad quality leads to another resulting from loss of self-control and knowledge of good and evil.
All that comes from vanity is deceit
You are created weak in your dissimulation.
You are self-assertive, yet you are untrustworthy.
You are confident, yet you are unbelievable.
You are hopeful, yet you are in despair.
You are sympathetic, yet you are insensitive.
You are lovable, yet you are hateful.
You are constantly deluded
By your own bloated conceptions, rooted in hopes and desires
When you are alone, you are still astray.
This is you in opposites.(p.20)
Insults and humiliations come because of the dilemmas, because of lack of grit on things with conviction and confidence, owing to lack of faith in righteousness and virtue. Absence of meditation and contemplation on principles, and absence of virtues and righteousness spell ruin and lead to degeneration in many ways. Learning self-control, forbearance and forgiveness give strength of character making existence joyful and meaningful.
The poet brings in birds, animals, rivers, lakes and the sea to drive home his idea. Firmness of one’s feet is essential. The hawk having a claw stands firmly. Grip is also essential and the mind must be under man’s grip and control. Desires have a tendency to entice and slowly eat away the individual’s virtue and worth. Steadfastness is the quality that makes a man respectable. Wobblers are people whose behavior reduces their credibility and worth. The lotus leaf in the pond does not wobble even if there are ripples in the water.
He who is steadfast in true living
Has attained the very essence of all that is
Like a lotus leaf in the pond.
To whom shall you return?
Is there anyone at the end to receive you?
Your kith and friends are none but swept
In the conception of good and evil.
Then remain where you are, aligned to none.
Though you are sailing in a boat
You abandon it on reaching the shore.(p.23)
The Manasarovar is the widest, most sublime lake amidst the Himalayas, very near Paramashiva’s abode Kailash. It never dries up. A bathe in the lake is believed to give the ultimate bliss, salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and death. The Ganges is the most sacred river believed to be the cleanser of everything and everybody. The poet’s mention of these sacred water bodies is indicative of the holiness of the peepal, the teacher, preacher and savior of mankind.
Depending on the right things is a matter of one’s discretion coming from judgment and wisdom. Reliability of things, individuals and actions may make or mar one’s actions. The mind is undependable for it is rarely stable, flying in all directions making man worthless. The heart must rely on people and ideas that make the person achieve his goals and fulfill his aspirations. Here is another bird brought in which flies high in the sky over blue waters.
Let not your heart rely on others for living
But rely on your own virtue and piety
And travel on the road of yours,
Like a tern in the sky over the azure water.(p.25)
The highest quality in a human being is compassion. Selflessness, self-effacement and limitless concern and compassion for all around takes man to sublime regions. Love, forgiveness and mercy make existence meaningful. Man is only a part of divine creation which is extensive with birds, animals, rivers, lakes, seas and mountains. The peepal teaches renunciation for those who seek guidance for acquiring wisdom. Gautama the Buddha got enlightenment by total renunciation and surrender. Covetousness is not the quality of a worthy man. Nothing comes out of covetousness in the ultimate context. What needs to be renounced is the quest for happiness by acts not really worthy. There are so many things renounced by wise persons.
You shall attain true happiness.
You shall attain true liberation.
You shall die at once;
that may lead you to true freedom.
Be not passionate for life
You shall then really have life
Fear not hell.
Crave not for heaven.
Rear not and nurture not in fears and cravings.
For, hell and heaven are made for idiots and fools
Covet nothing, you shall possess everything,
Covet everything, you shall possess nothing. (p.27)
Rejection and surrender of all possessions lead to real joy. It is not a paradox. It is truth. It is the way to attain the condition of blissfulness. Even silence communicates as the mountain does. It communicates a resolve to stand sturdy and strong with absolute equanimity. Its silence is its treasure of which it is not proud. Thirst for possession first and later, tiresome and sometimes hateful behavior, for its protection lead ultimately to grief. The poet gives the example of the sky not protecting the clouds of autumn. The sky does not possess anything and for that reason it is high. It is above all having everything under it.
Flee not to a place of worship
In despair, defeat and desolation
But remain where you are like a Peepal tree
And seek refuge deep in the recesses of the heart.
Your inward flight will not be an invasion
But become an infant yourself, once again. (p.21)
Real joy and absolute bliss are there in being untouched by darkness, the darkness of the mind. This darkness is ignorance and lack of discrimination and judgment.
O Traveller, sweet Traveller
I have given what has been much hated
By humanity in the empirical world,
What has been untouched
By the dark rays of the human mind
What has been untouched
By unrighteousness. (p.29)
Fear is darkness and the transient dazzling glory of light. Both need not be feared or sought after. Wisdom lies in following the peepal’s words of wisdom.
Listen to those fallen leaves
Singing and rejoicing in the wind.
Life is not a series of arguments
But an adventure to be sought
Full of risks and pains
In oneself, fearing neither
The darkness nor the dazzling light. (p.29)
Joy comes when there is no longing. The water in the pond is clear and clean. It is cleansing too wiping away filth in wrong and useless thought and action. No doubts linger in it and no heat bothers it. It reflects the blue sky. It just sucks bliss as a bee sucks honey. The bee is ever pleasant for us - giving us both sweetness and light.
Raghupathi’s work is a deft blend of the ancient Indic tradition of acquiring wisdom with devotion, faith and selflessness and the modern way of giving expression to ideas that illumine what is dark and raising and supporting what is low. This could be done only by a scholar rich in his knowledge of literature of the East and the West. Faith basically is the same all over the world which considers nature as a model and an ideal. Birds, animals, lakes, rivers and mountains, are always brought in as models for insightful action and behavior. The peepal tree’s wisdom is age old with no trace of pretense or exaggeration. The pithy statements sound like aphorisms, maxims (cf., La Rochefoucauld sans cynicism) and pense`e (cf., Pascal). The concise and apothegm like revelations of the tree with the rustle of its leaves remain long in the readers’ minds. What is more, the tree’s preaching ennobles and illumines the thought and action of the devout and the faith loving. Raghupathis’s poetic composition would be remembered long.
*Page numbers refer to the texts Raghupathi, K.V, Voice of Valley, Minerva Press India, New Delhi, 2003) and, Wisdom of the Peepal Tree, Minerva Press India, New Delhi, 2003