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The Adventurer by Maharaja Karan Singh

As and when we sit to assess and sum up the work of Maharaja Karan Singh, many things come to the one’s mind, while making an overall assessment of his personality and creative output. A member of the Rajya Sabha, a Union Cabinet Minister, a Governor, an ambassador, he is a multi-faceted personality, a versatile genius. Karan Singh is a royal descent, a writer, a politician, a spiritualist and above all a Vedantin superb. 

To take up Maharaja Karan Singh is to relate to the stories of mariners, navigators, shipmen, travelers, knights and scientists and soon. How was it the tale and voyage of Vasco da Gama? How was it of Columbus?  Since the start the adventurer has been searching, voyaging through to fathom. Had they not taken risks, fiddled and flirted with, dared into, would we have been as such as we are? As a mountaineer he has climbed the peaks, ascending the tops, a seaman he has stayed at his ship for long seeing the mesmerizing vortex of the sea, a forester he has gone deep into the wild and exotic forests, a traveler and tourist he has wandered around so lain with travel sore and fatigue, a pilgrim he has taken life as a pilgrimage. But apart from it his zeal is undaunted. The seas, mountains, hills, ravines, valleys, plateaus, forests, deserts and cartographies of land posed no problems for him, and he went on about in quest of his vision and mission, trying to fulfil God-sent wishes and desires, a wanderer on the ways of the wide world and varied life full of diverse experiences.

Here in this poem the poet records the experiences of a wanderer; an adventurer how does he keep taking his adventures and tours and travels. Had Buddha not guided, what would have happened to humanity? Had Mahavira been not? The sadhus from the north to the south and vice versa have always crossed over to as for the attainment of knowledge and they acted as cultural ambassadors. Into the Himalayas and its caves, forests dark and deep, by the banks of the Ganges and other rivers they lived, meditated and searched God through penance and seclusion renouncing the world and in turning an ascetic. But we the common people have not understood their vision and mission, the quest which but it ruffles them, the mad frenzy which maddens them, the inner fire which but burns them.

A diver’s life he discusses, his troubles and findings. How did the mariners search new lands? Had they been not fired with the zeal for search, would they have? Something definitely burnt in them with a-lit glow. Something definitely inspired them in their hunt for, hunger for new thoughts and ideas.

What we do that has a relevance of its own. What the adventurer took, did he, he did all that for his painstaking vision, risk-taking daredevilry. He has crossed the mountains and has gazed on many a strange and wondrous scene pleasing to the eyes and awe-inspiring.

But there comes a time when things fall silent and start telling a different tale of life. The call for the return journey, the ancient retreat begins to claw the self. The dustbin of time, it is but a remnant of all that lived, used. What it in glory and bravery? Nothing is stable here. Everything but loses its luster here. The glory which we speak of fades in time to give away. The mortal breath which still keeps has a span of longevity and after that the mind gets diverted to the retreat awaiting us.

The verses he has written can be compared with that of Ruskin Bond in terms of poetry as has also some from time to time just like Bond who has flourished in fiction rather than it though can so easily. As a politician poet, he is like Humayun Kabir, and they are not less than anyone. His books on religion and spirituality are like those which have come down from the pen of the Dalai Lama. As a writer he reminds us of D.D. Kosambi and Bhagawat Sharan Upadhyaya.

For I have gone where men have never been,
and wandered over countries far and near
and crossed great mountains with no trace of fear,
and gazed on many a strange and wondrous scene;

on mighty oceans have I plied my raft
where monstrous fishes close beneath me played,
and endless water heaved and lurched and swayed,
as tirelessly I hurled my lethal shaft;

and through the great primeval forests tall
I plied the lonely furrow of my life
and slew great monsters, waged untiring strife
with creatures of the darkness, great and small;

and often as I strove with might and main,
and which each victory won for renown,
I thought that I had mown my troubles down
and conquered fear and death, old age and pain;

but ever were my hopes rudely belied
for wander as I might throughout the world
I could not rid me of the terror curled
somewhere within my being, deep inside;

for over all our mortal hopes and gains
hovers the constant shadow of the grave,
of Time, that dims the glory of the brave
and lays at waste our labour and our pains;

and what adventure, what exploit will stay
with us beyond the folded veil of death?
and what, when we have shed our mortal breath,
will speed us on our far, eternal way.

20-Apr-2024

More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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