Millennial Hymn to Lord Shiva by Kathleen Raine by Bijay Kant Dubey SignUp
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Millennial Hymn to Lord Shiva by Kathleen Raine
by Bijay Kant Dubey Bookmark and Share

Earth no longer
hymns the Creator,
the seven days of wonder,
the Garden is over —
all the stories are told,
the seven seals broken
all that begins
must have its ending,
our striving, desiring,
our living and dying,
for Time, the bringer
of abundant days
is Time the destroyer —
In the Iron Age
the Kali Yuga
To whom can we pray
at the end of an era
but the Lord Shiva,
the Liberator, the purifier?
 
Our forests are felled,
our mountains eroded,
the wild places
where the beautiful animals
found food and sanctuary
we have desolated,
a third of our seas,
a third of our rivers
we have polluted
and the sea-creatures dying.
Our civilization’s
blind progress
in wrong courses
through wrong choices
has brought us to nightmare
where what seems,
is, to the dreamer,
the collective mind
of the twentieth century —
this world of wonders
not divine creation
but a big bang
of blind chance,
purposeless accident,
mother earth’s children,
their living and loving,
their delight in being
not joy but chemistry,
stimulus, reflex,
valueless, meaningless,
while to our machines
we impute intelligence,
in computers and robots
we store information
and call it knowledge,
we seek guidance
by dialling numbers,
pressing buttons,
throwing switches,
in place of family
our companions are shadows,
cast on a screen,
bodiless voices, fleshless faces,
where was the Garden
a Disney-land
of virtual reality,
in place of angels
the human imagination
is peopled with foot-ballers
film-stars, media-men,
experts, know-all
television personalities,
animated puppets
with cartoon faces —
To whom can we pray
for release from illusion,
from the world-cave,
but Time the destroyer,
the liberator, the purifier?
 
The curse of Midas
has changed at a touch,
a golden handshake
earthly paradise
to lifeless matter,
where once was seed-time,
summer and winter,
food-chain, factory farming,
monocrops for supermarkets,
pesticides, weed-killers
bird less springs,
endangered species,
battery-hens, hormone injections,
artificial insemination,
implants, transplants, sterilization,
surrogate births, contraception,
cloning, genetic engineering, abortion,
and our days shall be short
in the land we have sown
with the Dragon’s teeth
where our armies arise
fully armed on our killing-fields
with land-mines and missiles,
tanks and artillery,
gas-masks and body-bags,
our air-craft rain down
fire and destruction,
our space-craft broadcast
lies and corruption,
our elected parliaments
parrot their rhetoric
of peace and democracy
while the truth we deny
returns in our dreams
of Armageddon,
the death-wish, the arms-trade,
hatred and slaughter
profitable employment
of our thriving cities,
the arms-race
to the end of the world
of our postmodern,
post-Christian,
post-human nations,
progress to the nihil
of our spent civilization.
But cause and effect,
just and inexorable
law of the universe
no fix of science,
nor amenable god
can save from ourselves
the selves we have become —
At the end of history
to whom can we pray
but to the destroyer,
the liberator, the purifier?
 
In the beginning
the stars sang together
the cosmic harmony,
but Time, imperceptible
taker-away
of all that has been,
all that will be,
our heart-beat your drum,
our dance of life
your dance of death
in the crematorium,
our high-rise dreams,
Valhalla, Utopia,
Xanadu, Shangri-la, world revolution
Time has taken, and soon will be gone
Cambridge, Princeton and M.I.T.,
Nalanda, Athens and Alexandria
all for the holocaust
of civilization —
To whom shall we pray
when our vision has faded
but the world-destroyer,
the liberator, the purifier?
 
But great is the realm
of the world-creator,
the world-sustainer
from whom we come,
in whom we move
and have our being,
about us, within us
the wonders of wisdom,
the trees and the fountains,
the stars and the mountains,
all the children of joy,
the loved and the known,
the unknowable mystery
to whom we return
through the world-destroyer, —
Holy, holy
at the end of the world
the purging fire
of the purifier, the liberator!

I do not know if there is anybody in foreign who has written a poem on Shiva, or maybe if some did then I do not know, but Kathleen Raine has. I doubt if Kathleen’s poem is a result of the connection between K.D. Sethna and her, the exchange of letters with Pondicherry or she has under the influence of Aurobindo as we know it she is connected with. We do not know if she is Eastern or Western as because she leans to the East so much rather than the West and has got the approbation in Lanka, India, France, and others most before being accepted in England and in essence she seems to be closer to us. Her language is not so as it is reflected in the English poets. Indian thought and culture seem to hang heavy upon her. We do not know if she is an Aurobindonian.

Let us see what she thinks about Shiva. Where is Shiva? Who is Shiva? Shiva is Shiva. How to feel the Nature Spirit? How to feel that Power and to be one with? How to meditate and where to meditate? How to view it fresh the Lingam-Yoni Motif? How to take the Prakriti-Purusha concept? Where Shiva, where Mansarovar? Where Kailash and the snowy abodes, the mountain ranges and foothills dotting with the wild, exotic greenery and vegetation?

Only in the midst of Nature one can realize Shiva, the Spirit, the Soul, the Supreme Soul, the Mind, the Over Mind, the self, the Over Self, the mind in unison with the Supreme Mind.

But who is it who sustains it, saves us from complete annihilation? Who is He who rears the world? Who is He? What is that Spirit, Nature Spirit, the Soul, the Soul of the Universal Consciousness? Where the Spectre haunting the snow-capped peaks of Kailash and other Himalayan ranges? Who moving down to Tripura, Assam?  Who crossing over the blue hills, who crossing the snowy layers wrapped in mystery? How the shroud of mystery? Whose shadow is it in Makalu? Whose glow in Nandadevi? The trekkers, climbers, mountaineers’ joy, how to tell it?

Shiva, Shiva, how to realize Him, as the God of the Woods, Hills, Fields and Fallows, the Spirit Wild as Shelley speaks about in Ode to the West Wind, Shiva as the Old Sanyasin clay idol of the aboriginal hamlets, Shiva archetypal, the Godly Spirit of the seasoned timber trees. What is it in the blue hills and their ranges? What is it in shadows as Ghanashyam if to see it otherwise? The clouds looming large, going to burst and darkness to melt into, how to say that? Nature Spirit, how to speak of the spectre raking over?

The world as an image of Shiva, Shiva, wherever see you, it is Shiva, Shiva, Shiva, a combination of satyam, shivam, sundaram. Shiva as Mahakal Kaleshwar, Trikaldarshi, a seer of the past, the present and the future. In search of Shiva, where have we come to? What is it Shiva? How to feel His presence? Where to meditate? How to hear the footfall of the sadhaka, the yogi, the fakira passing? Is it Nageshwara, Bhairava passing? How the cobras of sadhna showing the mani, gemstone light?

How had it been the start of things when the stars sang of cosmic harmony? But time took it all away from. All that had been, all that is, everything is now under the purview of time.

Whose image is it in the mountainous ranges, the foothills, rocks, stones and trees? Whose shadow in the stumbling blocks of stones and rocks?

To hear about Shiva from the mouth of a foreigner, how pleasing is it! What does she opine about? Such a thing it is in Aldous Huxley’s Benares.

The earth too is the creation of the Same Creator, what we see it all around us, may not be. The opening lines tell of the Biblical things how we are nearing our end with our works. How the seals and scrolls of Revelation?

Earth no longer
hymns the Creator,
the seven days of wonder,
the Garden is over —
all the stories are told,
the seven seals broken

All that begins must have an ending. Our striving, desiring, living and dying, all have the realms of their own.

all that begins
must have its ending,
our striving, desiring,
our living and dying,

In time is everything, the history of our evolution. The play of the Yugas is the play of time.

for Time, the bringer
of abundant days
is Time the destroyer —
In the Iron Age
the Kali Yuga

The curse of Midas, what does she want to say it here through it?

The curse of Midas
has changed at a touch,
a golden handshake
earthly paradise
to lifeless matter,
where once was seed-time,
summer and winter,
food-chain, factory farming,
monocrops for supermarkets,
pesticides, weed-killers
bird less springs,
endangered species,
battery-hens, hormone injections,
artificial insemination,
implants, transplants, sterilization,
surrogate births, contraception,
cloning, genetic engineering, abortion,
and our days shall be short

How have we invented, discovered, used and applied, but misused and destroyed too the Divine Set-up of Things manhandling the status quo as it was, as it will be?

in the land we have sown
with the Dragon’s teeth
where our armies arise
fully armed on our killing-fields
with land-mines and missiles,
tanks and artillery,
gas-masks and body-bags,
our air-craft rain down
fire and destruction,
our space-craft broadcast
lies and corruption,
our elected parliaments
parrot their rhetoric
of peace and democracy
while the truth we deny
returns in our dreams
of Armageddon,
the death-wish, the arms-trade,
hatred and slaughter
profitable employment
of our thriving cities,
the arms-race
to the end of the world

A bundle of contradictions and contractions, one theory after another, one philosophy after, one assessment after another where shall we finally? What the conclusion in reality?

of our postmodern,
post-Christian,
post-human nations,
progress to the nihil
of our spent civilization.
But cause and effect,
just and inexorable
law of the universe
no fix of science,
nor amenable god
can save from ourselves
the selves we have become —

At the end of history, whom to pray to? Who the liberator, the destroyer, the purifier? The world we see, the things in their enormity have an end of their own. The things we have created, can they last for long? The answer is no. Let us see in the words of the poetess:
 
At the end of history
to whom can we pray
but to the destroyer,
the liberator, the purifier?
 
How have we diluted with the natural phenomena bringing to a brink of extinction causing irreparable loss and frustration:

Our forests are felled,
our mountains eroded,
the wild places
where the beautiful animals
found food and sanctuary
we have desolated,
a third of our seas,
a third of our rivers
we have polluted
and the sea-creatures dying.
 
How have we destroyed forests, rocks, stones and trees mindlessly at the behest of Nature and natural resources! How have we plundered and looted the wealth of Nature for our selfish ends and purpose making the fauna shelter less and foodless, out of their habitats to forced artificial homes! The seas, rivers lie they polluted and encroached.

What have we done in search of materialistic pursuits, where have we been led to going for greener pastures and possessions, robbing off natural wealth and resources? What shall we get finally destroying the world? Blind progress, mindless development, material prosperity, high-level society and its nomenclature, where will this lead to ultimately?

blind progress
in wrong courses
through wrong choices
has brought us to nightmare
where what seems,
is, to the dreamer,
the collective mind
of the twentieth century —
 
This gala, glitz and glamour, systematic knowledge, life and living at the expense of natural phenomena, mass and matter, where will it take to? The wonders of the world are but technical, mechanical and artificial aspect. But the shapes of the things are artificial.

this world of wonders
not divine creation
but a big bang
of blind chance,
purposeless accident,
mother earth’s children,
their living and loving,
their delight in being
not joy but chemistry,
stimulus, reflex,
valueless, meaningless,

Man has become a slave to machines and technical devices. It is a also a fact we cannot without. Everything has turned into a commercial enterprise. We seek guidance dialling numbers. The family is not there, but the counsellors to counsel for charges. Computers and robots are handling our memory storage and information. It is good about the mechanical progress we have made, the digital revolution we have aggravated.
 
while to our machines
we impute intelligence,
in computers and robots
we store information
and call it knowledge,
we seek guidance
by dialling numbers,
pressing buttons,
throwing switches,
in place of family

The screen is the source of our pleasure and information. The media managers, business magnets, land sharks, information scientists, celebrities the talks of ours and barring these there is nothing cordial and hearty. What in a Disney Land? Where the natural gardens full of fresh flowers drenched in mists and dew drops? Puppets and cartoons, how long can these pleasures? Film stars, glam girls, heroines, beauty pageants, how to describe it in terms of progress and development? The world has developed. Has the heart of man?  Has the soul of man? The spirit of his? The harmony of nature, how to return it?

our companions are shadows,
cast on a screen,
bodiless voices, fleshless faces,
where was the Garden
a Disneyland
of virtual reality,
in place of angels
the human imagination
is peopled with foot-ballers
film-stars, media-men,
experts, know-all
television personalities,
animated puppets
with cartoon faces —

Where have we been led to? What have we achieved? Where will this material prosperity and advancement lead to finally? The lines are aglow with celestial vision, cosmic mystery:

In the beginning
the stars sang together
the cosmic harmony,
but Time, imperceptible
taker-away
of all that has been,
all that will be,

What is Shiva, how to feel it, the poetess says it: 
 
our heartbeat your drum,
our dance of life
your dance of death
in the crematorium,
 
The predicament of the world, how to prophesize it?
 
our high-rise dreams,
Valhalla, Utopia,
Xanadu, Shangri-la, world revolution
Time has taken, and soon will be gone
Cambridge, Princeton and M.I.T.,
Nalanda, Athens and Alexandria
all for the holocaust
of civilization —
To whom shall we pray
when our vision has faded
but the world-destroyer,
the liberator, the purifier?

The realm of the world-creator, the world-sustainer, from whom we come we and into whom move we is the reality unknown to us. The wonders of wisdom which feel we through the fountains, stars and mountains are the children of joy. The creations of the Unknowable Mystery to which go we are the parts of us and the parts of the things of the Same Being who made them, created it. But creation goes with the process of its own. As the things are created so are they destroyed. Wisdom opines us as thus.

But great is the realm
of the world-creator,
the world-sustainer
from whom we come,
in whom we move
and have our being,
about us, within us
the wonders of wisdom,

Here the things describing celestial fire and the spark of divinity in the things created are but Miltonic telling of the plucking of stars and clutching along, fire lamps burning, emitting light.

the trees and the fountains,
the stars and the mountains,
all the children of joy,
the loved and the known,
the unknowable mystery
to whom we return
through the world-destroyer, —
 
Shiv-Shiva, om namah shivay, shivaste shantu panthanam, the lines mentioned below tell of a benediction, the bliss to be felt inside, outside:

Holy, holy
at the end of the world
the purging fire
of the purifier, the liberator!
 
Let Shiva be with you. Let Shiva be with us. Let Shiva be with them. Shiv-Shiv, with the word on the lips, let us be doing. The world is Shiva. Let Shiva be on our tongue, in our speech and sound. The thing is just like George Herbert’s Virtue. The ending of the poem reminds us of The Waste Land.
 
What does the West think about Shiva? How was its tryst with Shiva? What have we noted and what not? Everything lies it not written.
 
The churning of the ocean story, how to tell, re-tell it? What the cause of his neck being blue? How were it the snakes rounded around? How did he drink poison so that his neck turned it blue as for poison and drink? The myth of Shiva, the myth of churning, how to tell it? Who asked what and what was it given to whom?
 

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27-Nov-2021
More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey
 
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