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Two Long Poems of K.V.Raghupathi
|by Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.|
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.
The Voice is none.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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;
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
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.
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
All change, all improvement, all progress starts from one’s own self.
He who has understood others,
The advice is extensive. It goes on:
Bindura, desire what other men do not desire
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.
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:
Here I am, O Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom!
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
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
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?
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?
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
And then, the grace is within, within one’s self, if only one learns to look within with deep thinking and contemplation.
All that comes from vanity is deceit
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.
He who is steadfast in true living
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.
Let not your heart rely on others for living
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.
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
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
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
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
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06/27/2013 02:41 AM
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