Book Reviews

A Spiritual Journey to Find the Infinite Self

Thoughts in Solitude by Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar’s
Authorspress,Pp 94/Rs.295

Bhaskaranand Jha Bhaskar is an established poet who have made a niche for himself in the Indian literary arena. Thoughts in Solitude is Jha’s third collection of poems. Bhaskar Jha is a trilingual writer writing in English, Hindi and Maithili. His poems are rich in philosophical thoughts, spirituality and principles of humanity, in addition to others. A special note on the dedication of this book is relevant to the contents of the book, for this book is dedicated to “The poet who never cries or dies and protects his soul through the protective sheath of spirituality and philosophy of life from mental agony and emotional turmoil.” This is a forerunner to the contents of the book too. This collection contains 72 poems.

The very first poem itself is titled ‘A Poet Never Dies’ as the life only dies in him and he regains an immortalized newer life, but his reader always cries. The world holds up his flag of truth over his grave and hence the poet never dies. What best stimulus is required for a poet to leave his footprints in the canvas of literature!

‘Wrong Mind’ is the second poem, a short poem stuffed with so much of facts that says “Where wrong minds flood/Heart is sure to bleed/Heaven turns to Hell/Where Devil lives to breed” and with the result Gods will be forced to flee.

From the third poem ‘Man and Manhunt’ I want to quote the last stanza in full.

Life is what is lived, and relived with aplomb
Even Death tends to explore in the dead
Some remains of life rubbed against struggles,
Nuggets of soul shine bright eternal
Beyond, even if I see my Self empty of me
Yet it will be full of what I have had
The undying zest and zeal to live my life.

The poet is revealing and reminding a great truth here. This stanza reminds me of the popular coinage “Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have - so spend it wisely.” The speaker of the poem emphasizes to live your life well. Life not well lived is not life at all, it is only existence.

‘Supreme Verdict’ is a sarcastic poem mocking at the vain showy attitude of men like flaunting riches and wealth before the pauper, covering poverty by coughing out treasury, showing light to the sun or beating one’s own trumpet for nothing.

‘Kashmir’ is a poem as beautiful as the land of Kashmir, the land of pristine beauty sans gunshots, the Heaven on earth and the poet insists-

‘Let’s open our windows for the winds:
The winds of love, peace and amenities.

Yes, let’s keep the doors and windows of our hearts open, so that fresh breeze of love and peace embraces us from all the four sides.

‘Journey’ is a poem about the journey of our soul inching towards a stretch through many stations just to read, understand the goal, to realize within the subtle meaning as a whole The journey could be hard, hazy or blurred, but at the end we will end up in a clear destination, a clear consciousness. It might also stir and confound, yet let the journey to find out ‘Self’ continue , as when it unfolds it gives us inner peace and believe the journey inside itself would be a pleasure.

‘My Soul’s Quest’ is of similar theme as of ‘Journey’ earnest in seeking peace an ambrosial solace, with a stern belief in ‘self’, after which the poet is sure to embrace spiritual solitude and beatitude.

‘Sojourn’ is a poem with minimal words depicting the soul sailing through the body to Infinity and Beyond exploring the distance between the existences at macro and micro levels. This is a beautiful poem with an intense message.

In poem titled ‘Divine Clay’, the poet says:

Body is a divine clay-
A temple of soul
Engraved as cosmic presence
Navigating through
The physical maze of life,
With a tale
Of continuity of existence…

Our body is created as a concrete image, with flesh, bone and blood out of nothingness, crayoned by consciousness and coloured by smiles in all perceiving eyes. Indeed body is the temple of soul and it is our duty to keep it out of impurities, vile acts and always sustain purity and sanctity of our mind and thoughts.

The poem ‘Creative Bard’ is an excellent example how a bard could be craving to croon eternal songs of love and harmony, nurturing the art of revealing and revelling through sharpened sense and sensibility, perception, imagination, all helping him to transcend the boundaries of his vision, lofty thoughts, and feelings for humanity, as he being humane and spread peace and humanity.

The poet is disheartened at the fate of marginalized people, their tears and sorrow who feel abandoned and the poet says all are one coloured in bliss in the cosmic cauldron of humanity and peace. Poem ‘Holi for the Marginalized’ shows his empathy for the downtrodden.

‘Let Love Flow’ is a wonderful poem depicting a lost love which ends with a hope:

Let the river of love flow
Flow from your heart to mine
Even if dried, sunken
The sky will pour out one day.

Life itself goes on hopes and expectations. The optimism in the mind will see that our goals are fulfilled.

‘Life is a (p)rose’ is another lovely poem and the poet says that one should play with the petals and squeeze its sharp (t)horns, the soothing fragrance of which offers a feast to our soul.

In the poem ‘Sole Spirit of Existence’ highly spiritual, the poet urges the readers to experience and realize the way to Light, the sole spirit of existence, the divine energy which is ever charging waiting to be melted for good into the cosmic infinite flow.

The poet says in poem titled ‘Seductive Death’ that men are freed from the shackles of ethereal affinity or existential bond of love for a journey to an alley with flashes waiting to welcome you and hence death appears to be seductive-

The land of Death appears so seductive
Easily accessible for a safe landing
A dark alley flashes, dying to welcome
The bird badly fallen from the nest
Or freed from existential bond of love
Or from the shackles of ethereal affinity.

Poem ‘Life and Death’ tries to reflect on the pros and cons of life and death and while the body goes up in flames with an adieu to the departed soul, our heart left in the mouth makes us introspect as a whole. Though it needs to be debated if after death the heart can make one introspect, wish if all of us introspect our acts and attitudes while we are alive.

In poem titled ‘Fact of Life’ , the poet cautions the readers that after the joyous times, the intoxication of romantic fragrance, pangs of aging, there waits a gloomy world, after which we are all waiting to be embraced by the earth in her bruised bosom and put to eternal sleep once denuded by the cruel Time. The realities of life are so clear that no observant eyes can miss this message.

Garden of Roses and Thorns is a beautiful poem with rhyming and soothing flow of words depicting the bright and darker sides of life and the concluding lines brimming with positivity give a lasting impact on the readers-

Life is not a bed of roses; let them so say
Love winnows all the thorns from our stay.

‘Before you Die’ talks about the agonies of the living when their dear ones are departed and they live in constant sorrow, much like death even before they die.

‘Mortuary’ is another poem that talks about the lifeless body in a mortuary set on a new journey sans rites and rituals, yet the coffin gazers have a look at their precious watches, indeed the bare truth is awkward.

‘Participatory Being’ is of higher thoughts again, each of us being a part of the Supreme Being , whether animate or inanimate to encompass a participatory being, evolving, merging, exploring and treading the path enjoying equal proportions of pain and pleasure.

Poem ‘Real World’ tells us that the real beauty, the goodness of life and humanity lay inside in the deepest core of your heart and not in the shabby outside looks.

In poem titled ‘Transient Mirror’, the poet says that life is a transient mirror reflecting in it the eternal presence of Being and all the troubles are just shadows. The concluding lines in this poem make one sit and think -

Everything exists
But exits as nothing ever exists.

Poem ‘From a Human Being to Being Human(e)is an excellent poem, the contents of which can be consolidated in just two lines “Life and death are just two dots/connected with a rope of hope.”

From another fine poem “In my Emptiness I am Full’, I am quoting a few lines which are the core of the theme-

In my emptiness I am full
Filled up with myself
But lost for eons
In a dark pit
of mysterious time………”

Similarly I wish to highlight a few lines from the poem ‘Poetry Never Lets Me Cry’, which are self-explicit-

I never let myself cry
But my poetry does
As it alone feels much more
Heaviness of grief
Wearing my heart on its sleeve
Seeking kindness in love
In this unkind world.

In the title poem ‘Thoughts in Solitude’, Jha says ‘grief retreats down memory lane/after it hugs the joy in my sighing heart.’ Memory for human beings is both a bliss and curse.

‘In Truth and Lies’, Jha reminds us an open secret that if spoken honestly, truth creates troubles and if spoken truly, lies seem to set things right, but for the time being. It is for us to chose the alternatives and act accordingly, so that the relationships do not meet a premature death.

Poetry is the end product of the poets’ minds exploration of truth or facts both inside and outside. It is the essence of concentrated thoughts that are served in a plate readily palatable. All poems in this collection are too good to be missed. One should not miss a single one, I recommend. I intend here only to stir the readers’ curiosity and make them grab the book. Therefore, a few poems are left from the scope of this review and also for brevity’s sake. The questions that plague in one’s mind after reading the poems can find their own answers only if one tries to analyse them meaningfully. I would therefore insist the readers to go through these poems and on my part, I truly and irrevocably vouch for their poetic charm, purity, sensibility and fulfilment. I wish poet Baskar Jha all the very best.


More by :  Pankajam K

Top | Book Reviews

Views: 3501      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.