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|In The Lap of Nature - Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar|
|by Dr. B.C. Dwivedy|
When Dr. Mahendra Bhatnagar started writing poems he was perhaps in the dawn of his life. In this journey while showering nectar through his pen he has perhaps reached the dusk, still the memoirs of youthful exuberance shine bright. He has won against the hazards of time and yet the game continues – the batsman not out.
And now he is quite confident in his love, he is confidently in communion with this object of nature:
Sometimes it looks like Wordsworth’s involvement in nature, a sensuous manifestation that delights man, most poets of nature. A sense of divinization of nature is also explicit in some parts. The poet says stars are appearing down the ages with perpetual youth. They are “showering vine of nectar like affection” and laughing, stirring together instinctively in their own world. Here and there in Bhatnagar’s poetry it looks as if he has a touch of Wordsworth’s feeling about the indwelling spirit of nature which imparts its consciousness to all objects.
In his poem “To my sister” Wordsworth calls his sister to go on a work and allow their mind to “drink at every pore the spirit of the season”. Mahendra Bhatnagar is drunk with the soothing rays of the moon, making the burdensome life light, trilling the loneliness of youth as if he is restlessly lost in himself while in communion with nature. Definitely he is longing to establish a bond with the moon, its soothing beam, to be filled with the intense passion of the loving moments. It is not different from the flowery band that man wreathes with nature every morning as mentioned by Keats in his poem Endymion - “a thing of beauty is joy forever”- it is a wonderful feeling of remaining in the company of natural objects, a feeling of universal love in nature. The poet urges the ‘night’ not to leave, as if he is intoxicated with its beauty. He experiences a sort of oneness with nature. He loves nature, he is one with nature and nature is the witness to the love of his heart.
Moreover the poet says that one can sacrifice the riches of the world merely at a smile of the moon and even the smallest particle of this earth feels eternal joy at the appearance of the moon. The moon here takes the place of a transcended being, that above this earth that represents lower nature. The poet has established a communion between the moon and the earth. He is a great word-painter in his language. The pictorial quality in many of his poems is quite appreciable. While giving to the reader the pictures of inanimate objects like moon stars etc. the poet invests them with life, with the power to see, feel, blush and so on. Some of his pictures are sensuous in appeal.
Moon is described as a simple-hearted bird of the sky afflicted by eclipse. The poet feels a close relation with this object of nature and says:
The poet seems to be a frustrated lover while calling the moon a mirage and proclaiming that “one who loves the moon heaves a sigh all his life alone.”
The poet goes too far in his imagination and calls the moon his “sweetheart”. May be, the sweetheart is a metaphor for some beautiful object or person that the poet is not able to forget; rather he is trying to console hos mind looking at the face of the moon. When the poet visits down the memory lane a lot of things come to his notice. He loses himself in the dream world wishes that the love of the sweetheart may not trickle away from him, since his heart is over brimmed with love for her. Another aspect of Dr. M. Bhatnagar’s poetry is that he is engaged in continuous talk with the objects of nature especially moon as if it is a living thing.
Dr. M. Bhatnagar has poems on midday, evening, night and other parts of the day. In his poem “Midday” he expresses his despair with a sort of loneliness- a desolate hour and in “An Evening” he is impatient waiting for something or someone that is also in desolation. Why does the poet feel like this? Is it because he has left his youthful days far behind? Is it because looking at the world around, he has lost all his charm of life? Or because he feels he is in the dusk of his life? No line in his entire poetry published so far has indicated such fatigue that is seen now.
The poet seems to have entered the stage of renunciation like Lord Budha. No more he is dreaming of beauty and exuberance now. All dreams are his past. A bit of coldness is occupying his mind.
He feels he is crestfallen, with heavy heart, he has to ‘trudge home alone to recite dirges throughout life’. While roaming in the dream world with sweet thoughts he did not foresee that destiny would snuff out all splendors from his life. The poet here represents mankind and indicates that it happens in everybody’s life. Everybody has one day to undergo pangs separation and grief thereby. Everybody has to experience the lonely hours of dusk and recite dirges.
Stars are perpetual partners of deep darkness. While with moon the poet is in high spirit of love but with stars he looks a bit critical, depressed, takes pity on them calling them “poor helpless”. At times he looks a bit self-contradictory. In the same poem - “The Waking Stars” - he describes them as vigilant and indomitable by slumber equipped with its army. The stars may also be a metaphor for somebody who spends sleepless night for the sake of others.
The poet tends to receive inspiration from the vast expanse of the sky, from light, from storm for mankind. This is how he is drinking Nature’s beauty remaining neck deep in it.
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