Book Reviews

Love: A Multi-faceted Prism

Soothing Serenades – Straight from the Heart by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar
Author Press INR 250/-
ISBN 978-93-87281-59-2

Love is a very misunderstood emotion and a misused word. Most look at it only through the biased lens of romance. Young love peers through fantasy-tinted glasses of imagination and expectations and so is set up for heartache. But once we are disillusioned and recover our senses we ought to go deeper into love.

It is not to be viewed through a prism. It is a multi-faceted prism itself and Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar brings out all its resplendent colours in his book Soothing Serenades – Straight from the Heart. He wraps his words delicately but aptly around this battered word and gives it a new sheen.

Judging the book by its title I first thought it would be a mushy, one of the usual poetic paeans to love. Reading the poems I have been chastised. These sixty-two love poems, bring to the fore his mature experience and understanding of love in its various manifestations. He dips into his poetic sensitivity, treating us to alluring poems of love and longing; love that is sensuous, romantic, imaginative and passionate. He brings us the richness of his experience in simple language gently drawing us into his inner world. An undercurrent of the deep yearning of the soul infuses these poems, elevating them to the metaphysical from the purely physical.

Kafka says “Love is everything which enhances, widens, and enriches our life. In its heights and in its depths. Love has as few problems as a motor-car. The only problems are the driver, the passengers, and the road”. But Bhaskar, with his belief in love and its many incarnations counters Kafka’s cynicism and fear of rejection and heartbreak.

He begins with a prayer in the first poem, ‘To Goddess of Love’ (pg 29). It is an unselfish, universal request to ‘heal the global wound of violence, lusts and all ailments of hearts....

In ‘Oh, Eternal Love’ (pg 30) the protagonist wants to be lost in non-specific love and be distanced from the weariness of his dreary life. It is escapist in its message. But in many poems he also alludes to a love for a special ‘her’, a love that intoxicates, exhilarates, is warm and uplifting, sensuous and caressing, heady with her fragrance... in her soothing embrace he finds peace of heart, mind and soul.

Whereas ‘Awakened to New Life’(pg 96) has echoes of spiritualism in it, ‘Platonic Love’ (pg 57) stresses on Bhaskar’s desire for idealistic love... he wants to find in his love

A paragon of Truth
And celestial Beauty
In my life at peace
Ever beaming with delight,
Under the magical spell
Of your soulful, eternal presence

‘Happy Moments of Togetherness’ (pg. 97) is an ode to his marriage and his wife of many years. It accentuates the truth that the relationship is not between two halves that complete each other but of two whole people, which has allowed them to grow together through the roller coaster of life.

His poems eulogise love in all its forms and he believes it has to be celebrated in its entirety throughout the year and life. Not for him the hyped carnival of Valentine’s Day; a little harshly and judgementally, he decries

Their way of life
Their love orientation,
Mostly disloyal
To their lady love
With fake wooing... (Celebration of Love pg. 98)

Instead, continuing in the same poem he wants to treasure

The cultural prosperity
Of our country,
The land of pious love
And ethics of reverence...

These poems speak of loss, pain and beauty; erotic, physical and metaphysical love in simple language that opens up for the reader the inner world of the poet. He comes through as mature, sensitive and imaginative, with a deep yearning to elevate LOVE to its highest form and free it from the constricting boundaries of words, definitions, expectations. He wants it to anchor all the souls of this world into a place of amity, understanding, compassion and peace.

With two forewords, by eminent personalities like Dr. Amarnath Jha and Prof. R. K. Bhushan Sabharwal, a lengthy introduction by Dr. Arun K Jha, as also Pgs. 102 to 113 of ‘Views, Previews and Reviews’ this book singing to every aspect of love needs no further endorsements from me.

So I’ll end here with this apt quote from E. M. Forster’s "In A Room with a View"

You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.


More by :  Shernaz Wadia

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