Literary Shelf

Seshadri: At the Temple

At the Temple is one of the best poems written by P. Seshadri (1887-1942) which deals with the small girls sitting on the temple stairs to enter, pray and worship in the temple which a few have really in their writings. It is really a beauty to see them with faith strictly held, God dwelling in their sacrosanct heart full of utter submission and benediction. Let God be with them. The poem opens a plethora of thought and idea.

What a picture! What a narration! Three little girls are on the temple-stairs waiting to worship at the inner shrine. Their hands are unable to bear the load of worship materials. Fruits, flowers, incense sticks, matchbox, vermillion, leaves, water, milk and ghee, with these the little girls are going to worship. They stand still while entering the complex and the poet thinks about the girls going to worship, offer to the deity. A fine topic indeed it is to write upon. How do the village girls live by faith and prayer and devotion? And what it is in the fate of those small girls praying for? On Shivaratri we see the small girls praying to Shiva, keeping a fast on this auspicious day, going without food, living on fruits and milk or without anything. 

What do you want from Gods? the poet asks them. When the poet puts the question before, the innocent girls explain it in their way. One of them says that she will ask for ornaments. Another speaks of getting silken clothes. The third speaks of the lovely life-partner. The poet is successful in delving a daughter’s heart, a girl-child’s heart. We the male members know it not what it is in the feminine psyche.

Three little girls were on the temple-stair 
Waiting for worship at the inner shrine ;
Their tiny hands betrayed a hidden sign

Of weariness, devoid of strength to bear
Their wealth of luscious fruit and offerings rare —
But still they stood. “What shall the Gods assign 
To crown your lives,” I asked, “what blessings fine

Will cheer with happiness your faces fair?”
“A mass of glittering jewels,” said one child,
”Bracelet and necklace, shining gold waist-band
And pearl eardrop.” “Fine robes of richest lace

And gayest foam-spun silk,” another willed.
The third, with head bent down and trembling hand
Whispered, “A lovely partner on life’s ways.”


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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