Book Reviews

Samarpana: Deification of Nature

K.V. Raghupathi’s poetry collection “Samarpana” (a Sanskrit word meaning “offering”) contains 50 reflections written when he was holding the H.D. Thoreau. Fellowship at Dhvanyaloka in Mysore, 2000. In the words of K.V. Raghupathi, “It is true that Samarpana is a sort of deification of Nature. For all my solace, I have retired into nature. But I have struck the contrast between man as he is caught in his own contradictions born out of mess, he has created for himself in mundane world and life that is beautiful and blissful in nature. I can say nature is a big symbol in my poetry. I have derived a lot of spiritual discipline from her. Hence, she figures constantly in my poetry.” ---“Interview with K.V. Raghupathi”, C.V. Vol.6 Issue 24 P.10-12 (2011). 

Accordingly, Samarpana consists of the poet’s journey of complex reflections in the myriad objects of Nature. Like William Wordsworth, Raghupathi has maintained poetic parameters like ‘austere purity of language i.e. a perfect appropriateness of the words to the meaning, poets own meditative observation in fresh and original thoughts and sentiments, the perfect truth of nature in his use of similes, metaphors, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and anaphora and descriptions as taken from nature, a union of deep and subtle thought with sensibility. The poet finds in all Natural objects the indwelling spirit of the supreme Being. To Raghupathi, the myriad objects and forms around us are nothing but various manifestations of the divine. He realizes the power of Nature i.e., Power to teach, elevate, soothe and console. Here, he finds ‘Nature’ as the abode of God. In the critical comments of Ragini Ramachandra, “Even a cursory reading of the verses confirms that Nature is the primary theme around which the poet’s thoughts dwell inducing frequent references to the sun and the sky; leaves and grass; birds and flowers; water and clouds; light and darkness. Happily, they are not there for their sake but rather summoned to evoke a state of mind. Besides, if the descriptions don’t sound overtly romantic, it is because even in his “ecstasy”, the author does not lose sight of the mundane and the real, demonstrated in the way images from the world of Nature are juxtaposed with the ‘rhythmic droning of vehicles”, “honking horns”, “purring engines” and the unrhythmical awakening of drab life”. –P.71, The Literary Criterion, Mysore, Jan, 2007.

Almost all the poems are in autobiographical tone addressed to the poet’s own self. He searches for the unknowable. He ponders over the palaces, lights, trees, birds, bees, stars, sky and other natural elements. The surroundings are glorious and magnificent in the womb of Nature. The poet presents celestial thoughts to those celestial objects which he finds a sort of reveling in the joys of just “being”. Patricia Prime, the renowned critic from New Zealand comments, “Samarpana” Starts with the poet alone in his cabin and ends with him as explorer both of himself and his surroundings. It confirms Raghupathi as a poet of Nature and the environment. The serenity of Raghupathi’s sojourn in his cabin in Dhvanyaloka leads the author to many moods and explorations of self, which finally bring him to record his thoughts and emotions in these reflective and outstanding poems”. –P.12 Indian Book Chronicle, Oct, 2006. 

These poems, serially numbered without titles, present a wide pageant of nature’s beauty in all its variety and complexity followed by critical outpourings. “These poems recognized him as a lover of Nature and keen observer of objects of Nature with phenomenal presence of birds, flowers, leaves, grass, the sun and the sky and the trees and the clouds”. –P.54, Poetry Contemporary An Anthology of Twenty Contemporary Indian English poets ed. by Pronab Kumar Majumder, 2011.

The world of Nature enchanted the poet very much. Earth, water, foliage and sky – they all spoke to him of remarkable things, Nature’s-forms fragrance and beauty, the pulsations of life on earth-all combined to accompany the poet in various observations. Raghupathi is absolutely original. He mingles the matters of subtle and exquisite perception of the intimate inter-relation between mind and matter. He shows greater power of identification of himself with nature, of merging himself into her life. 

The picturesque descriptions of Nature in her terrible mood occupy the collection. Raghupathi’s vision steeped in wonder, mystery and boundless joy fuses the human body and spirit and Nature into harmony. It is a timeless union with nature’s forms and phenomena – creative unity with the universe, into the sense of oneness with lights and waves and with flowers and fragrance and with the starry spheres. Here, he sounds like Tagore who is a practical idealist in his vision of nature. Nature, indeed, catches the breath, the warmth, the color of all the poet’s mood and emotions. 

Raghupathi has drawn more abundantly  the varied pictures of loveliness, of her beauty and her mystery to vivify his thought or mood or emotion. The breath of the wind as it rustles through the leaves, the grace and charm of the lengthening shadows through the foliage, the rippling sounds of water, the fragrances of nameless flowers, the beauty of blazing sun, the shady trees and the last rays of the setting sun – all giving glimpses of the deep power of harmony and joy as we witness in Nature. To Raghupathi, Nature is the soul of God. Nature and God are, in the vedantic philosophy, prakriti and purusha, the two aspects of the Absolute. Meditation on Nature leads to realization of God. So, Nature in “Samarpana” is internalized. 

Tagore once said: “We do not want nowadays temples of worship and outward rites or ceremonies. What we really want is an Ashram. We want  a place where the beauty of nature and human soul meet in union”.  The poet feels enchanted by the beauty of natural surroundings in Dhvanyaloka. He finds in the midst of Nature a sort of home coming. He pays his humble respects to Eternity i.e., Nature for a wonderful creation of universe. 

“It is a home-coming here
for me and everywhere in this city
of gardens and palaces
the same cracked trees, the same contorted branches
the same verdant fields, the same interlaced water
the same unblemished sky, the same plaintive calls 
A bloom here, a quiver there
A rustle here a crack there
Leaves upon leaves, boughs upon boughs
Pleated boughs and pendulating leaves
Swaying and creeping into Eternity”  - Samarpana- III - P.3   

Raghupathi seeks beauty in the colliding stars to brighten the dark world in the midst of  nature’s fulsome capacity. 

“Stars collide in emitting the light
to illuminate the dark chambers
the rising fully blown yellow moon is the
only match to my craving heart.”       -Samarpana – VIII - P.8

Love of nature is now fused with the love of lakes, birds, trees, winds, leaves and etc., They find a poetic expression as such

“The lake is a poem 
birds are like words
sewing the meaning in empty space
with their songs
wind is music
trees are instruments
sweeping in harmony 
with their green leaves.”  - Samarpana-X - P.p.10-11

The poet lives in communion with nature and finds that ‘communion’ between each leaf and each tree with the arrival of sunlight. 

“The evening is extravagant with peace
each tree, each leaf in perfect communion
with sunlight beyond 
like the rhythmical sounds on santoor.” - Samarpana-XVI – P.17

The poet finds that Nature always keeps her breast open. It does not hide anything. It always places before the world something to learn from her.

“Between me and the celestial bodies
There is not a thin transparent veil.”   - Samarpana-XX - P.21,

Nature unravels the mysteries of beauty & open the miracles for the world to behold.

“Miracles of the morn dart
and open the chocked petals of disheveled garden
to unravel the mysteries of beauty to the ugly world.  - Samarpana – XXII - P.23

There is an abundance of word-pictures, the quiet side of nature in Samarpana. Splendid Pen-pictures of nature appear in all splendor. One such piece of nature-description follows.

“Stars of the holiday
step out of their dark chambers
like the nocturnal birds
with their glowing eyes
to match the light of heavy moon and the racing city lights 
and illuminate the graying earth.”  - Samarpana-XX - P.21

Nature awakens the poet to another dawn and she is described in a paean of descriptive words.

“Birds on the illuminated blue carpet
embroidered with the fickle-minded clouds, 
scurrying like red ants on the red soil.” - Samarpana –XLVIII - P.49

Raghupathi shows how Nature is Supreme and awesome in its creative capacity. 

“In the thick green shadows of bamboo grove
the thin faint reflections on the water
embraced me like a mythical queen in a fairy tale
ecstatic, I stand long 
like a lone lilly in the waves unwaved
when I woke up 
the sun has already covered his body
with a blue velvety blanket
streaked in rainbow colors
readying for a short sleep.” – Samarpana-XLI - P.42.

Nature is unique. This uniqueness finds a universal quote in the rotate movements of the sun which rises and sets as the day & the night progress in the vicinity of time. The poet presents the rotating movements of the unique Lord. 

“Beautiful is the night 
that gives me everything that I ask
I hear its footsteps receding in the west silently and stealthily
as the morning master marches with light on his head.”  -Samarpana-XXXVI - P.37    

Nature allows birds to enjoy more freedom. They make their distinct presence high over the land and water. They fly high in the sky unmindful of the commands of the sun and the wind. Nature imposes freedom of life. Here, nature is imposing and commanding.

“Great Birds splashing the air in silence
in roofless space 
breaking the commands of the sun & the wind” - Samarpana-XXVII - P.28

“Typically, Samarpana has its share of Raghupathi’s wonderfully imagistic writing such as in poem XIII” –Patricia Prime IBC, P.12, Oct, 2006.

“By the huge pylon-like trees 
I build my hut with leaves of child’s dreams
that hand like a peeled off back
on the wedged sprout from the trunk.”   - Samarpana-XIII - P.14

Nature relieves the pains of human life. It sweetens the miseries and light the sleeping hearts by spreading from the garden around the perfumes of flowers.

“The perfume of flowers in the garden around
speak itself what is strife in human condition
and sweeten the miseries for lighting the sleeping hearts” -Samarpana-XXXII - P.33   

In conclusion, the poet celebrates the beauty of nature in all fifty poems which sum up the truth and firm conviction of the poet that it is only and only in nature that man can retrace his lost steps – peace, happiness and consolation.  The joy one derives in the beauty of creation is absolute, illimitable and incomparable.  Undergoing this experience is spiritual.   The poet, it seems, has represented this ineffable experience in rich and striking chosen words, and it offers us a world of imagination, beauty, inspiration, exotic experience and reality.   The poet has successfully reconstructed the beauty of nature which he has captured in her pristine and of course in a very subtle way he has rendered the philosophy of life through imagination.  Thus in this collection, he has beautifully blended beauty and philosophy in the aptly chosen words.  In the backdrop of eco-criticism, the collection stands as a testimony for man’s relentless struggle to restore the ecological balance which he has lost amidst mindboggling technological growth.

Works cited

  • Prasad, Laxmi P.V., “Interview with K.V.  Raghupathi”, C.V. Vol.6 Issue 24 (2011)
  • Ramachandra, Ragini. “Samarpana” The Literary Criterion, Mysore, (Jan.2007), P.71.
  • Prime, Patricia.  “Complex Reflections from a Lonely Cabin” Indian Book Chronicle (Oct.2006), P.12.
  • Poetry Contemporary: An Anthology of Twenty Contemporary Indian English poets (ed). by Pronab Kumar Majumder, Kolkata, (2011). P.54
  • Prime, Patricia, Indian Book Chronicle (Oct.2006) P. 12
  • Raghupathi K.V. Samarpana, New Delhi: Reliance Publishing House, 2006 (all textual lines are taken from this book)

31-Mar-2024

More by :  Dr. P.V. Laxmiprasad

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