Book Reviews

Wisdom is Age and Experience: Amma's Gospel

‘Amma’s Gospel by Rajender Krishan
Paperback ISBN-13 : 978-1-947403116 Amazon ebook ASIN : B08LSYFLN4
Available on Amazon USA | Amazon India

Amma’s Gospel by Rajender Krishan tries to capture the spirit of age through the eyes and words and the innocuous counsels of worldly-wise knowledge and insight of old ma – Amma ji. Mother is never an individual but a collective symbol of harmony and sorority. She is the quintessence of patience, tolerance and love for humankind and perhaps, ultimately, stands before each one to say that to love man is to love ‘the self and humanity’ and thus, a restrained and yet so obvious yearning to establish peace and harmony in a not very healthy age.

Rajender in his brief preface acknowledges his indebtedness to his late grandma Shrimati Ratan Devi for her guidance and many of the poems in this book that thoughtfully recalled Ammaji as humble tributes to her is his attempt to appreciate her fond memories seeking her guidance. It seems Ammaji had a major role in molding his creative instinct.

Rajender’s poems deal with spirituality and philosophy. This book contains 45 poems with apt illustrations by Niloufer Wadia and previews by Dr. VVB Rama Rao, Dr. S. Padmapriya, Prof. Satya Chaitanya, Dr. Sunil Sharma, Neera Pradhan, Dr. Jaipal Singh, Simi Nallaseth, Dr. Amitabh Mitra, Rajiv Khandelwal and Bhupinder Singh.

The retired Civil Servant and member of Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission, Shimla, academician and an acclaimed literati from Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, PCK, in his fascinating foreword to the book, which is quite comprehensive begins with the primordial energy, the sound of silence, enlightening the importance of the sacred sound ‘Om’. The sound OM is the sound of the universe, which is all-encompassing and unifies everything in the universe. Through the very first poem, he brings forth its eternal manifestation.

Primordial energy
The sound of silence

The Only Verse
Manifesting eternally
The Universe

The second one “Namaste” is a wonderful poem. Namaste means ‘bowing to you’. Namaste has a spiritual importance that reflects the Hindu belief that "the divine and self, i.e. atman, soul, is same in you and me", and implies "I bow to the divine in you".

Salutations to the One
That pervades the entire Cosmos

As I honour that space in thee
Where dwells
The very Cause of
Life Unanimously
We hear together
The symphony playing the notes
Of love, light, truth, harmony
In our throbbing hearts’ solitude
Vibrating and enriching
Humility, compassion, fortitude.

The suffering post the 1947 partition gave Ammaji great struggles making her a migrant in her own land, but being a symbol of resilience she could maintain her composure and her faith is reflected in the following lines:

The One that is always with me
Have no doubt, That One Knows.

‘Greetings’ is another gem of a poem in this collection which explains why we should greet each other. It says,

Every time you say, Namaste
Working as an aide-memoire
It awakens you from stupor
to experience and realize
that in every organism alive
The Witness reclines
in the temple divine
conveying gratitude

With a pleasing attitude
You merely do not greet
Every big and small
Essentially you bow
To the Witness
That pervades all.

The message in the following lines repeated in the book is unmissable for one to be successful in life. It reminds one not to be in haste and respond to situations rather than contemplating on the situation and then follow the right path and decision, so that one need not repent later.

Love yourself
by being true to yourself
Be not in haste to react
First anticipate then contemplate and
then respond
Follow the right path
Be happy
Be successful.

In poem “Leela”, the speaker of the poem asks “Who is in control of this phenomenon?” and pat comes the reply “The Master Puppeteer!”. Though he is invisible, he is everywhere and without his knowledge even a leaf can’t move.

The importance of praying and how one should pray is in the form of a dialogue in the poem “Prayer”. A rich message from this poem is that “remember always you get what you deserve only when it becomes due.

A much debated subject viz., whether there is a life after death is going on for innumerable generations, but man is unable to realize the game plan of Prakriti and Purusha, the greater cycle of Nature. Ammaji called this a mere play, the inexorable Leela.

A valuable message to the mankind is given in the lines from the poem Quest” in which the wisdom of Ammaji reveals: “Remember,/Life is in the Now of cause and effect/Not in the past nor in the future.”

Man in amassing wealth and fame forget to live and those indulgence in it does not enjoy the benefit of his labour as he will not be able to draw a line where to stop. Past is past. Future is uncertain. Present is for us to live to the full.

The condensation in the following lines from the poem “Healing” is notable.

The sutras are aphorisms
– TO BE:

clean, committed, content,
honest, kind, loyal, non-violent,
persevering, poised and tolerant,

a cheat, greedy or a thief.

The purity of purpose, the transparency and straight-forwardness in all the poems are surprisingly impressive, effective and to the point. One more thing I observed is that most of the poems in this collection essentially carry a tagline at the end like the moral in stories. Rajender was fortunate having spent his childhood in association with such a genuine, caring, wise and loving grandma. The saying that Behind every man’s success, there is a woman is absolutely true in his case. This book will be a valuable addition to your collections. I wish the poet all the very best and the book a far and wide reach.

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More by :  Pankajam K

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