Book Reviews

An Appreciation of the Wanderer

Wanderer by Rajender Krishan
Paperback ISBN : 978-1-947403-15-4
Amazon ebook ASIN : B08T7VS8DZ
Available on Amazon USA | Amazon India

The poems of Rajender Krishan strike a chord with me. His poems are a kind of personal journey for me. The simple language, the unassuming air and deep underlying philosophy endear me. There is not much scheme. There is spontaneity. There is connection to certain universal patterns. For example, the word 'wanderer' has profound universal connotations.

When Carl Jung explains the importance of universal archetypes in the functioning of the human psyche, he underlines certain universal archetypes. He interestingly discusses the cave human and how the primitive human wandered from cave to cave, from mountain to mountain and from terrain to terrain. That image, that feeling, that primitive human Wanderer is a universal archetype. We all relive the Wanderer in our dreams. It is part and parcel of the human psyche.

When 'Wanderer' fell in my hands, I was lured. I have read and reread these poems and have relished their taste. What is so inexpressible must remain so.

The essence of life is elusive. What cannot be caught must remain free and flowing.

"That what is inexpressible
is best to remain nestled
like the eternal witness
Let it keep mesmerizing
mystifying and overwhelming
It is fun to play hide-and-seek
In this wonderful play
of cyclic life, should it even matter
who finds whom, next?"           (Inexpressible)

Rajender Krishan as a poet is involved with the elusive nature of the essence of life. Reality is passing by and is ever changing. The wandering soul forever wants to grasp what cannot be caught. That curiosity, that urge to understand things is the pervading spirit of his poetry.

The place of a parent in life is paramount. Our parents shape our psychology. Long after they have gone from earth, we find them always present within us.

"But how does one
even reminiscence about
the parent who has
long been gone
and yet is a part
of one's very own being."  (Remembrance)

The poem Cordial is dear to me as I picture myself in it. It is about harmonious differences between the roles that we play. The poet writes, the literature lover reads it. The poet composes, the connoisseur describes it. I find myself seated here in this beautiful, short poem.

"You write, I recite
You compose, I describe
You decide, I abide
It is so comfortable
to live together in harmony
with all these differences
Cheers!"  (Cordial)

The poem Mind depicts the eternal conflict. From where personal choices come? Or tussles? It is all about a combination of elements. Mind is a camouflage of ideas. When the poet talks of conscience, he is actually talking about how to act on conscience. The stress is in doing. Shadows again is a poem on conscience. The shadow of one's conscience never leaves. Principles are alive because they have a life of their own.

In life, almost everything is a matter of opinion. And our opinions are a matter of cause and effect. All our opinions have an origin. It is important to understand the origin. It helps us in understanding ourselves.

To refine reality is creativity. To face the unmanifest is creativity. To witness the unmanifest abundance is creativity.

One of my most dear poems of this collection is Crux.

"Every form has a name
Every name is a word
Two together create a fusion
One alone creates confusion

The word may be dust or gold
Focus and it begins to unfold

Information layered in each word
Is discovered by how it is uttered
Every word is a wondrous story
Name reveals its nature in glory

What perception ably does one hold?
Experience or the one that was told!"  (Crux)

I found this poem to be so deft, so Baconian. It is short and full of meaning and the best part is that it can be recited well. The poem underlines the importance of word, perception and interpretation.

Insight is about our knowing indulgence with Maya. We know and we have been well told and we have been duly warned by sages, yet we are enamored by the charm of Maya.

Flawless is about being oneself and accepting oneself as one is. Whodunit is about whataboutery! In the cacophony of life and in our mindless blame games, tranquility is lost. It is a great loss.

The debate is never won. Only the ego wins. In this ongoing game of one-upmanship , the quiet observer of life smiles and wins.

The company of a mystic liberates, elates and transforms the self.

The spirit of wandering is the undercurrent of this book.

"Having discarded
the egoistic albatross,
the mystic unknown
wanders carefree
Venerating the present
with every step taken
humming blissfully
the song of liberation."  (Wonderful)

The discourse is that we should think of death to arrive at understanding the value of life.

The poem Cipher is about the power of unlearning. The mystic arrives at the original self.

Boredom is actually the inability to be calm while actively doing nothing. It is a matter of understanding that doing nothing is also doing.

While the world is busy in its rat race, urged to outdo others and burn in jealousy, our wandering mystic is celebrating the unique self.

The journey has no beginning and no end. The footsteps are the marks of fulfillment.

What is tranquility if not gratitude, surrender, meditation, melody, feeling and silence. Veracity is about denying temptations, being disciplined, content, caring and righteous. It is a feeling of being under the watchful divine eye. This book talks of values and principles in a metaphysical, transcendent manner.

Our outlook to life should be to live with resolution. Learning is treasure. Defending principles is strength and wisdom. To love like this is self-reliance.

There comes a point in life, in our journey towards self-exploration where we realize the importance of contentment. We have to let go of things gracefully. We have to set aside things not meant for us.

Life is a lingering fragrance, smells of all types. While the wandering continues, different flavors persist.

When the mind wanders, the prayer is polluted. Keep the prayer pure. Those who blame God do not know the essence of things. There is no doctrine, no moral class, no preaching; what matters is practice; what matters is your action.

Whatever brings one closer to the abstract essence of life is reverend. There is an intense feeling to unite with the unseen element of existence. It is there. It can be felt. Yet it cannot be caught. The Wanderer wants it. The Wanderer wants to embrace it.

"Times are uncertain
Life unpredictable
yet, desires abound
Seeking fulfillment

Allow me to exert
for one more day
in my attempt to empty
the trunk of cravings

The new journey
must begin, unsullied,
without any luggage
to explore the unknown."  (Wanderer)

The poet is the Wanderer. He wants to prepare himself for his journey beyond earth. He wants to take a blank slate with him. He wants to be free of karma. He wants to rise. He wants to be better in next life.

The poem Consider is about the steps we take in life, walking, stumbling, tipping, kicking, hurting, and limping. The journey and the gait have their own way.

The biggest schooling is living life. The biggest teacher is life. In this school of challenges, the syllabus keeps unraveling.

One who prepares well for the class is the mentor. One who applies the lessons well to life is the students. The crux of learning is that whenever one is in doubt, one should meditate.

"Life teaches
in her own
mysterious ways
No one is spared."  (Learning)

Elementary beautifully tells you that the five elements have played yoga to create this divine temple called body. We ought to treat it like that.

Different isms are manifestations of self-interest. One follows what serves one's purpose. There is nothing much in worldly arguments.

Presumptions is a touching poem which says that there are no excuses for not being connected to one's near and dear ones in today's interconnected world. The time is short. Ego is futile. Connect. Love. Appreciate while one can.

Karma is about the exact, mathematical and precise calculation in the diary of fate.

The duty is to do sincerely what must be done in this world. For success, one ought to regroup and synergies all energies. Cheats are one who sell false dreams in this uncertain world.

Awakening to dignity is candor. Awareness is candor, awareness about self as well as others.

The panorama is full of contrasts. Variety among humans is unending.

Attitude decides it all. One sees regeneration in rains and the other sees tears. It all depends on how we take things

Acumen is about regenerating oneself. Age is inevitable. What needs to be done is mental cleaning of hatred and fear and starting with a clean slate. This image of tabula rasa keeps coming in his poetry. The poet is fascinated by a clean state that ought to be the human mind.

Awareness regarding what provokes us is important.

The poem Greed is small and self-explanatory.

"Enough it certainly is
to take care of everyone
strangely it is not enough
for this crazy insatiable one."  (Greed)

Keep doing and re-doing things till they are well done. I adore the word play.

The whole collection permeates with a kind of exhaustion at the rat race of life. The poet's soul craves for freedom, peace and joy.

According to us about giving space to others and loving peacefully.

Being virtuous is auspicious and is a matter of good luck.

Life and love are matters of choices. Out vistas are our own creation. Prefer to let things go. Even negativity deserves a positive response.

Forgiveness is always a blessing to the one who forgives.

Being true to oneself and accepting one's weaknesses is being real. A fake person is meaningless.

Pain improves a person as it should for that is its purpose. When one fails, one ought to truly evaluate one's efforts.

If the path is right, the destination is not far. When simple things are appreciated, joy is not far.

Managing dreams and mind is perhaps the most vital aspect of life. Loving oneself is common sense. The poet does not have a kind word for the dreary workmate called colleague.

If your living and thinking have been cheap, there is no point in adorning the skin of the white swan at the end of life. Free and artistic expression embodies ultimate happiness. In love, even if one side is blind, it works fine. So says our poet.

"Hormonal visions are blurred
hence it is not de rigueur
for the two to be charismatic
it is enough for one to be blind."  (Blind Love)

Dawn makes man complete. Desire is momentous trance.
Marriage is always a work in progress.
Compatibility is defined by our power to be amiable after fighting.
Serenity is rare in this mundane world.
In the poem Togetherness, the poet celebrates his togetherness with his wife for nearly five decades. One can only sense the sense of peace and fulfillment.

Sanctity means that no explanation is needed. This life is trivia without cognition, without awareness. People come and people go. Most of them live more or less an instinctive life. Only the rare and the beautiful grasp things and make life better for themselves and others.

The poem Mismatched is simply adorable. The woman is as loving as she is loved.

made them fight,
he walked out
feeling deluded
deserting her
years ago

Exhausted, aged
unfulfilled, jaded
and confused
now sitting in a
mountain cave, he
draws her paintings."  (Mismatched)

Cursory is a highly prosaic poem where the beloved is defined due to her infatuation innocence. It is mistakenly called unconditional love. With the passage of time, human weaknesses display themselves galore. The word “love” is replaced by words such as pity, fate, sympathy and compromise. Finally, even a cursory glance becomes venomous. This is a familiar tale of marriages. Only the overly sensitive can save their love by constant labor and sweet effort.

Coby is about the dog Coby. All those including me who have had dogs as pets know and understand what it means to have and lose a loved canine.

Then we come to witness different moods of the maple tree. Tree of Life is a robust poem. It reaffirms our love for life. With vigor, it establishes the cyclic nature of things. Naissance is a touching self-portrayal of an aging grandfather who is very much the poet himself.

Perfection deals with the completeness of the Master craftsman, the Creator who knows Nature, seasons, movement, balance and perfection.

The life of an optimistic is blessed. The optimist keeps looking forward. The path of poetry is not easy and yet the poet goes on. Strange is again a censoring kind of a poem highlighting the deficiencies of attitude in the dominating spouse or the vain intellectual or a cowardly lover. The poet seems to describe the wide variety of people who exist in this world.

Forgetful is a life lesson.

"Forgetful of being
persists to explore
the dangerous zone

Forgets not those
puzzling disorders
inadequate memory
repeating errors."  (Forgetful)

Balance is a continuous thought with our poet. Being rested on balance. Ants is a beautiful four-line poem.

"An ant in the pants;
shoe with a grain of sand
naturally disrupts
the pace of progression."  (Ants)

Simple thought and direct expression are the endearing qualities of the poems of Rajender Krishan. He says that calamities may come and go but tears dried on the cheeks of survivors do not go.

Onus is a poem on the new disease of the planet called Covid. When the unwelcome visitor comes, others watch. Bravery and prayers are our aides in the face of deadly corona. At the same time, masks are a fashion designer's treasure.

Corona has brought a new era. It has highlighted the foolishness of humans. We know how ill equipped we are to face problems of this magnitude. Disturbing nature, it seems humans are on a Thanatos trip.

Conflicts is again a poem of the current theme of corona. People are more and more psychologically and economically vulnerable.

In the poem Venal, the poet rightly says that in order to earn a living, values are compromised especially during Covid period.

In Syndrome, the poet describes the intense and elaborate urge to remain alive. All potions, tablets, techniques, machines, postures, exercises and so much more is done to remain alive. It is the new Syndrome.

We may rather live righteously than to wait for the age of Dementia where we do not even remember what to repent for. On the path of life, every turn is an encounter for the one who is conscious.

It is not possible to circumscribe the Wanderer. The Wanderer will find his own way.

The last poem of the collection is relevant. The poet is preparing himself for the final journey. There is another life waiting.

"The question
is no longer relevant
about why, how, where
if one feels gratified
of having lived life
positive and content

The query does make
one not only wonder,
but also, patiently await
that ultimate moment, when
dissolution embarks to embrace
the majestic darkness of life."  (When)

The Wanderer undoubtedly contains the best of Rajender Krishan as an anthology of poems. It is full of one gem after another. It is difficult to decide which poem is better than the other. It is a thinking soul's response to the experience of life. The whole realm is in the mind. It is all about thinking. It is all about perception from where life derives its meaning. The perception is uniquely philosophical. The focus never wavers. The focus is on the crux of the matter. The poet catches the essence of things. Here are sutras, precepts, observations and conclusions based purely on the poet's encounter with life. Poems on Covid make the collection all the more contemporary and current.

I enjoyed reading each word, thinking on the words served, eschewing and finding my own meanings. The collection is a treat for the literature lover. Poems flow effortlessly. Reading requires no painful effort. The reader flows easily with the poems. Reading these poems is an enriching experience.

All illustrations (c) Niloufer Wadia

More on Wanderer 


More by :  Prof. Shubha Tiwari

Top | Book Reviews

Views: 3364      Comments: 4

Comment Thought provoking

Kalpana Agrawal
04-Feb-2021 04:47 AM

Comment We can learn from Prof. Tiwari how to enjoy words. Such an enriching review!

31-Jan-2021 21:54 PM

Comment This is such an alluring review. The reviewer flows with the poems. She has understood the essence of poems so well. She is a poet, no less. This appreciation invites one to read poems in detail. Simply marvelous!

30-Jan-2021 04:58 AM

Comment Amazing. I really enjoyed reading each and every word. Thank you for sharing.

Pratima Payasi
30-Jan-2021 02:55 AM

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