Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Stylistic Interpretation of R.K. Singh’s Poem
“Sexless Solitude”

- Dr.G.D.Barche, Dhule

Needless it is to talk of the heat and height R.K. Singh has acquired in the realm of poetry. Generally he is stamped to be a tough poet. He is also labelled to be a sex proned poet. To me he is like Dronacharya constructing the Poetic Chakravyuha and naturally it needs an Arjun to deconstruct it and come out safely with the booty. One such chakravyuha is his poem ‘Sexless Solitude’. And now let us see how I break it, enter it, and come out of it.

Sexless Solitude

I don’t seek the stone bowl
Buddha used while here:
she dwells on moon beams

I can see her smiling
with wind-chiselled breast
in sexless solitude

Her light is not priced
but gifted to enlighten
the silver-linings

Obviously the poem has a protagonist. He is a seeker in search of “what type of life should be chosen?” He sees two ways of life before him, viz., the life of detachment (Vairagya, Sanyas) as lived by Buddha with his begging bowl: the other is the life of domesticity with woman as nucleus with her inborn gift of glow and gravitation that stem from her lips, breast, etc. And the seeker opts for the latter. Apparently that is all. But then is that really all? No. So let us enter the poem and explore the facts.

On the face of it the shape of the poem is very plain and simple. It has three triplets with three lines each evenly arranged. As for sentences, the first triplet has ‘two sentences and second and third have one each. But the moment we enter the poem, it is noticed that the poem has 14 sentences as under:

triplet 1 : I don’t seek the stone bowl. Buddha used the stone bowl. Buddha lived here. I seek the reju-vinating sex. People choose sex. People live here. She dwells on moon beams. 3+3+1 (7 sentences).

triplet 2 : I can see her smiling in sexless solitude. She is smiling. She has wind-chiselled breast. She is in sexless solitude. (4 sentences).

triplet 3 : Her light is not priced. Her light is gifted. Her light enlightens silver linings. (3 sentences).

Now when we think of the allocation of these lines and sentences, then it becomes obvious that in the first triplet first three sentences of two lines are allocated to Buddha and his way of life, i.e., the life of austerity, detachment (Vairagya), and remaining three underground sentences and one line and the next two complete triplets are reserved for the protagonist and his way of opted life, i.e., the domestic life, the life of involvement with woman at its centre. Evidently domestic life with woman as its nucleus becomes the main focus. And the beauty of this latter part lies in the poet’s vision and skill of unfolding the nature and scope of this woman centred domestic life.

A close and careful reading makes one see the fact that the third line of the first triplet, viz. “she dwells on moon beams” gets foregrounded as it doesn’t go well with the first two lines. Why does the poet do so? Let us look into this deviation device. The protagonist has firmly refused to go in for the life of detachment and sanyas. Naturally the other choice is the domestic way of life which cannot be thought of without “woman”. So the camera moves to ‘woman’. Now a woman can be thought of as interested in dreams, whims, creams, etc, a mundane physical sensuous life, or in ‘moon’, beams and hymns, etc., a higher life of imagination and emotion. And obviously the protagonist opts for the latter. This foregrounded line can be made more clear as follows:

Moon beams + heavenly
hymns … + unearthly
She dwells on
Day dreams + human
creams … + earthly

To the protagonist the mundane domestic life is confined to food, sleep, fear and sex, the way it is lived by animals. To him there are higher planes of life. So in the second triplet he talks more about the woman and even about himself. Here the third line contains the phrase “In Sexless Solitude” which is deviant and needs interpretation. The adjective ‘sexless’ takes human and physical noun after it, for instance,

Sexless man/woman +concrete

but in the poem it is used as:

Sexless Solitude -human .

Now the fact is that ‘Solitude’ does not simply mean ‘loneliness’. Here it refers to a state which is fully devoid of excitement, agitation, disturbance. Now such a state cannot be experienced by man as man or woman as woman. The desired tranquil state can be experienced by one who transcends sex. The word ‘sexless’ means beyond sex which is the attribute of angels. And therefore the phrase “sexless solitude” would mean ‘angelic/divine solitude’. In Sanskrit it is termed as “Samadhi” --a state free from dualities and sensual operations. The nature of this ‘solitude’ can be better understood from the following lines of Wordsworth in his poem “Daffodils”:

"For oft when on my coach I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude.
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

That is, solitude is that blissful state in which one is restored to the third eye, the right vision, the divinity.

Further the phrase ‘In Sexless Solitude’ has ambiguity regarding its placement. It gets joined to both-the protagonist and the woman as follows:

I can see her smiling … in sexless solitude.
She is smiling with wind chiselled breast in sexless solitude.

The two parallel streams present in the first triplet, are also present in the second. Here the first foregrounded feature is the use of the modal ‘can’. The structure “I can see’ connotes two things, ‘I see’ and ‘I can see’. That is, the way one sees in the mundane life and the way one can see in unique moments. For example, when Arjun wished to see the ‘Brahmadiya Form’ of Lord Krishna, then Shri Krishna told him that he won’t see that Form with those physical eyes and that he needs divine vision (Divya Drashti) to see that Form:

na tu maam shakyase drashtum a neineva swachakshusha
divyam dadaami te chakshuh pashya mei yogamaiswaram (11/8)

Similarly, here ‘similing’ doesn’t mean only a physical act but the divine one denoted by ‘moon beams’ and ‘light’. The ‘smiling’ or ‘shining’ or ‘brightness’ (anand) gets manifested through lips, eyes, breast and skin. And this brightness/anand can be seen as sensuous and also as divine. And it is the physical eyes that see sensuality and the unique vision that sees divinity. And here we see that the protagonist and the woman both have both the gifts. The woman has the potentiality to experience and manifest the divine glow and the protagonist to see it.

Deviation is also noticed in the use of ‘Wind chiseled breast in the second triplet as under:

Wind-- blown pollen ' Wind-- chiselled breast
[-human ' [+human
[+negative] ' [+positive]
Wind-- scattered grains ' artist-- chiselled image

Generally ‘wind’ scatters, blows, tears things, but here it has carved out the breast. Then the word chiselled ‘takes [+ human] [ + animate] subject, e.g., sculptor chiselled the picture : but here it is ‘wind’ which is [–human] [– animate]. So now the whole interpretation would be as follows: the breast of the woman is not simply the lump of flesh and blood but the unique creation of great artist like ‘wind’ which in Indian context is known as god (Vayu Deva). Again the breast is not only the centre of sensuous attraction but also the eternal source of feeding and fascination. Again it is noticed that here the word ‘breast’ is used as singular, while it should have been plural ‘breasts’. And in singular form it points to be the part of one’s body where one’s emotions and feelings dwell. Finally, the second triplet can be interpreted to mean that the protagonist has the potentiality to glide into the state of sexless solitude (Samadhi) and see the woman wrapped in divine beauty and light, love and luminescenee. The poet talks more about this light and glow in the third triplet.

Surprisingly enough the third triplet itself stands out foregrounded as the first two triplets begin with the first person pronoun ‘I’, while it begins with the possessive adjective ‘her’ and noun ‘light’. Obviously here the whole focus in on “her light”. what does this ‘light’ mean here ? A very close reading of the poem helps us see the word ‘light’ referring to the glow emanating from her lips (smiling), face (moon beams), breast (wind-chiselled) – in brief from the whole body. The light means vitality (Chaitanya), life. This thought becomes clearer from what Othello says in Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy Othello before killing Desdemona:

“Put out the light, and then put out the light.”

It is the light, the chaitanya in the person, place or thing that works miracles. No light, no life, nothing. Therefore the poet has very carefully projected the significance of her light as follows:

her light is not priced
but gifted to enlighten
the silver-linings

The poet has used three devices, viz., the use of enjambment at the end of every line, the use of juxtaposition in the first two lines and non-finite clause in the third line. These devices beautifully reveal the nature and value of ‘her light’.

The first line instead of having a pause at the end moves on to the next line putting up the question: ‘if the light is not priced then how is it? And soon the answer follows ‘but gifted’. This results in juxtaposing ‘Priced’ and ‘gifted’ which are opposite in nature. For instance, the former is concerned with perishable objects like table, chair, cow, horse, etc., while the latter with the eternal like tears, laughter, smile, sadness, etc. Further, ‘Price’ is a man-devised act, while ‘gift’ is that of God, Nature. For instance see the following lines from Shakespeare’s Troilus And Cressida:

She is a pearl
whose price’s launched above a thousand ships
And turned crowned kings to merchants.

Here the focus of ‘Price’ is the ‘body’ of the woman and not that of ‘light’ in her which is beyond price. On the other hand, the qualities like joy, smiles, light, and sadness are abstract and spring from within. Let us see the following lines from Tennyson’s poem, ‘Tears Idle Tears’:

‘Tears idle tears, I know not what they mean
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes.

Similarly, in the Taittiria Upnishad, it is conclusively said:

anando brahmati vyajanat
anandatev khalu imani bhutani jayante

That is, joy, is God i.e. joy is the gift of God and joy is at the root of all creativity. Naturally and obviously the poet is talking of that light and luminescence of the woman that comes from within and can be perceived in her eyes, face, lips, breast, skin, etc., as physical as well as divine.

‘Her light is not priced but gifted’ has one more meaning, viz., in the world there are things available on paying the price, e.g., redness on lips by buying lipstick, smoothness and colour on the face by cosmetics, etc., but the light, the joy, etc. comes from Nature alone; the custom of marriage can bring man-woman together, but the feeling of sex can come from Nature; similarly, the protocol of sanyas can be performed by man, but the real detachment/vairagya could be possible by the grace of Nature/God alone from within.

Again, the second line, instead of taking a pause at the end, glides down to the third line generating the curiosity: “What does her light enlighten’? And this quest is answered in the third line: ‘the silver-linings’ which actually means ‘jijivisha’ – the strong eternal desire to live and continue living. This desire to live ad infinitum is further reinforced by the Infinitive clause: “to enlighten the silver-linings’. In the Biblical context also it is seen that initially when Adam was alone, he was sad. But when Eve was created by God and when Adam saw her he was filled with joy, zest and zeal and spoke out – “Flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone”. This fact stands verified from Shakespeare’s plays as well. For instance one cannot think of Macbeth without Lady Macbeth. Even on the battlefield he surrenders to the destiny only after the sad death of Lady Macbeth:

Out Out brief candles.
Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more:

Thus, the poet has tried his best to unfold two streams of life that have flowed from time immemorial. These two paths are as follows: (i) Buddha way of life, i.e., the life of restraint and discipline (anushasan) which helps one see the divinity within and without and which is accepted by a few select people and this fact is indicated by allocating only two lines for this sort of life; (ii) Domestic (grahastha) life, i.e. the life of worldly pleasure with sex (woman) as its nucleus and which is preferred by the majority of people and this fact is hinted at by allocating seven lines. This two tier pattern of life is pointedly highlighted by: (i) the use of colon (:) at the end of second line in triplet one; (ii) two contrastive parallel structures of which one is visible and the other hidden as follows:

I don’t seek stone bowl ' I seek stylish belle
Buddha used while here ' People Choose while here

Further this domestic life equally has two streams, viz., (i) Worldly, life that is confined to sex and sexual joys, (ii) Life that transcends sex and worldly pleasure. This fact gets manifested by two contrastive parallel visible-invisible structures:


She dwells on moon beams
I can see her smiling
With wind chiselled breast
In sexless solitude


She dwells on dreams creams
I can see her enticing
With youth chiselled breast
In lustful solitude

This two-tiered domestic life, viz. sensual and divine, earthly and unearthly, is hinted at in a subtle way by the open-ended expression at the end of all the three triplets.However, the protagonist in the poem is inclined to choose the life that transcends routine sex though in the domestic world. And this fact can be seen oozing out from the two parallel opposite symbols:

Stone Bowl <--------> Sexless Solitude
^ ^
' '
' '
' '
Buddha <--------> Protagonist

Here ‘stone bowl’ is a very strong symbol referring to Buddha’s mind that had acquired firmness and one pointedness. Obviously ‘bowl’ signifies human skull in which mind dwells and ‘stone’ points to passionlessness, firmness of mind. The phrase ‘sexless solitude’ also refers to the same state of mind which the protagonist acquires in the ‘grahasth’ life. Here ‘solitude doesn’t simply mean ‘loneliness’. It implies aloneness, ‘Zero state’. And ‘zero’ is bowl shaped. The ‘sexless’ doesn’t mean without sex. It means that state which transcends ‘male’ - ‘female’ features. It symbolizes an angelic, divine state very much identical to that which is symbolized by ‘stone bowl’. Thus these two phrases have unique cohesion.

‘Divinity’ in ‘mundanity’ is equally suggested by the lexicals and their cohesion as follows:
' moon beams '
' smiling '
' wind-chiselled breast '
' light '
' silver linings '

It is seen above that ‘stone bowl’ and ‘sexless solitude’ point to the state of divine joy. The similar joy is communicated by the lexical items above. This joy and light emanates from the key organs of the woman, e.g., moon beams (face), smiling (lips), light (eyes), and bewitching breast. The interesting thing is that all these organs are bowl shaped and have been the eternal source of both the sensual and ethereal fascination and gravitation, illuminating silver linings in man. For instance, when Allauddin saw beautiful Padmini, he became lascivious, but when Vivekanand saw a beautiful woman, he glided into the divine state.

Generally, a man as man thinks of woman and a woman as woman thinks of man. This way of thinking makes one biased, partial, etc. For instance, a man finds a woman fascinating in one moment, and the next moment the same woman may become repulsive to him. This is because the sense perception keeps changing from moment to moment for very many reasons. Obviously the protagonist seems aware of this fact of life and so he talks of that what he sees in ‘sexless solitude’. And as it has already been stated that in this state one transcends this duality and sees things beyond sense stratum. In Mandukya Upanishad, ‘aum’, i.e., God, is depicted as follows:

eishah yoni sarvasya
prabhavapyayohi bhutanaam

Here ‘yoni’ means sex-male or female and either of this ‘yoni’ is the abode of God in everything and this God alone is instrumental for all creativity. This fact also makes it obvious that the attraction, the gravitation between male and female is not the attractions of the opposites but that of the likes, i.e., divine and divine or sense and sense.

This prolonged discussion can now be summed up thus: Broadly Life offers two ways of living, viz., of detachment – attachment, of withdrawal-involvement, of sanyas-grahasth etc. Very select people go in for the former. Mostly people including the protagonist opt for the latter. In the domestic sex centred life, too, one can have exclusively sense-centered life as well as that of transcending the senses. And the protagonist in the poem prefers the latter. Either of the ways is not superior or inferior but with different scales and qualities of experience and consequences hinted at by the parallel structures.

1, Atharv Aptt. Satsang Colony,
Deopur, Dhule-424005, India.

Monday, September 14, 2009

“Sanjaya” and “Dhrutrashtra” Reconstructed In The Capsule Poems of R.K.Singh

“Sanjaya” and “Dhrutrashtra” Reconstructed
In The Capsule Poems of R.K.Singh
- Dr.G.D.Barche

After going through R.K.Singh’s new collection Sexless Solitude And Other Poems Gwilym Williams says :

What’s really behind R.K.Singh’s unceasing output of verse? Is a question I have asked myself more than once. Why does he strive so long and hard? Or is it simply anger at the way the world, or India is ?
Now the questions that arise are : Does a poet carry something at the back of his mind, while writing poetry? Does he deliberately strive so long and hard, while writing? Does he Try to give Vent to his hidden anger, hatred, etc., through his poetry? And surely the answer to any of these and similar questions won’t be straight this or that.

As a matter of fact ‘to think this way’ is misreading a poet and his poetry. The fact is that broadly a poet, like all others, lives a two tier life, viz., private & personal & social and scriptural. Now the common people simply live and keep living, but a poet being gifted with more lively sensibility, wider knowledge and esemplastic imagination, he sees and feels more and even reconstructs what he sees and feels. So when a creative artist writes, may be a novel, a drama or a poem, he creates a mini world with very many characters representing different facts of life. Therefore, it is not just to associate protagonist or characters of a poem with the poet. As a matter of fact a genuine creative artist transmutes his personal and private agonies into something impersonal and universal. When we go through the poetry of R.K.Singh, we see this very fact executed.

While going through the capsule poems, i.e. short poems with cognitive content in his recent collection Sexless Solitude And Other Poems, it is noticed that he has tried to project two categories of people in two sets of poems, viz., (i) Sanjaya type people in set-I, i.e., those who remain detached and can see things as they are. Sanjaya is a well known character in the great epic The Mahabharata written by Maharshi Vedvyasa. He was blessed with special vision by Lord Krishna. As a result of that he could see what was what on the Kurukshetra, the battle field, the place of the great Mahabharata war; (ii) Dhrutrashtra type people
in set-II, i.e., those who get attached to the things and fail to see their real nature. Consequently they suffer. Dhrutrashtra, in the epic, suffers and makes people also suffer simply because he fails to see truth as truth. Here the protagonists of two sets of poems can be looked upon as two different persons or the same person with twin facets.

Now first we take up those poems which have Sanjaya type characters : the first poem to be taken up in this context is : “Awareness Matters”. The poem runs as follows :

Each death has a passage
To surprise the dead
Awareness matters

No solace the cow’s tail
In the river’s midst
Heaven, far, too far

Here the pointed eye of the protagonists in the poem is quite evident. He sees two types of persons, viz., one dying and the other dead who receives the news of the former’s death. That is, a man dies. The news of this man’s death fills another man, living dead, with surprise. The point is that here everybody is dead in the sense that every moment he is in the fear of death. Therefore, Shakespeare has already said, “Cowards die many a time before their death …”, (Julius Caesar). The very idea of death fills dread & depression in every body. He is surprised and shocked by the deaths like ‘untimely death’, ‘unnatural death’, ‘unkind death’, and so on. But then the protagonist could see, the cause of this dread and surprise to be ‘the ignorance’ or ‘the absence of knowledge’ about death. The Cycle of life and death is eternal as it is said in The Bhagvad Geeta “Jatasya hidhruvo mrityu, druvam janma mritsyacha”, i.e., if birth is there, then death definitely follows it. So according to him instead of surprise and fear, one should develop ‘awareness’, ‘awakening’ regarding the incident of death. He also refers to the orthodox religious faith according to which after death one goes to hell, then there he comes across a river which he has to cross to go to heaven. And for crossing this river cow’s tail can help that person. But then the protagonist pooh-poohs this idea. He is sure about the idea of heaven to be an illusion and hence ‘far, too far’ and that ‘awakening’ alone matters.

In another poem ‘Death’ the protagonist traces out another tendency rampant among people in our country or rather everywhere, viz.,, ‘Without living/life lost in existing’. That is, people do not know ‘how to live life’. They simply continue existing by ‘evading the fact/of living in fear/and manipulations’. Their all endeavours ‘for thoughtless peace‘ are directed ‘to fight off death’. Again instead of ‘living life’ properly, they waste their time and energy in rationalizing their follies and failures and resting faith in ‘re information or resurrection’ of some noble soul to right the wrongs. On the contrary, the truth is that man is the architect of his fate which is rooted in ‘living life’ properly with well planned things and rightly directed actions. The main idea of the poem ‘without living life’ can be explained thus : when our country got freedom, its population was roughly thirty six crores. Then in succeeding years more efforts were made in promoting hospitals and doctors to fight off death, but nothing was done to check the growth of the population. Then the growth of the population was allowed, but the relevant resources and moral values were not taken care of. And now people are resting their hope in the faith of ‘re-incarnation or resurrection’ of someone to face and find out solution for the present explosive situation pertaining to peace and population.

The way T.S. Eliot has projected modern man’s life in a long poem like ‘The Waste Land’, the protagonist of “Is This All?” has done that here in a short space of two triplets. In the first triplet he unveils the life style of modern man which is characterized by three acts, viz., (i) propitiating gods through the cocktail of prayers; (ii) living animal life, i.e. confined to food, sleep, fear and sex; and (iii) boasting and advertising the worldly achievements. And hence he raises the question whether this three tier life is all. Then he very vividly highlights the mind of the modern man in the second triplet. That is, his mind is dominated by negative and narrow thinking, ‘fungus of illusions’ and ‘toad-stools of damned tracts’. The answer to the yes/no question – Is this all? seems to be that such a negative and narrow thought based life is not worth. Perhaps he wants to point to Vivekanand’s message that each soul is potentially divine and the goal of life should be to manifest that divine as against to simply ‘live animal existence’.

The protagonist in the poem “Journey” is equally very minute and mature observer of the usual phenomenon of ‘journey’ very often undertaken by the people. He is of the view that a meaningful journey should have proper direction, definite destination and duly discerned destiny. But then the fact is that most of the people don’t bother about any of these corporate considerations. And that whosoever sets out on journey, they have either flickers or flashes, i.e., ever changing scales of brightness on their faces. And the protagonist firmly states that he doesn’t give any credit to such shifting shades of joys. To him the joy that oozes from proper understanding of the goal is steady and non shifting. He also observes the fact that the journeying people inside the train and distantly drifting hills, houses, trees, etc., outside ‘bear the same indifference’. That is, he sees no life, no sense of sharing, relating or love among the people inside and the natural phenomena outside the train.

Then, a very common but crucial observation is noticed in the poem “Arriving Early”. The scene is of ‘a Waiting Hall’, may be at the Railway station or Cinema theatre. It is full of men and women. The protagonist here observes that men are happily engrossed in chatting and commenting on the topics ranging from love affairs to Shariat (marriage contract) without any fear or care, while women and particularly wives find themselves uneasy and chained as their range in all respects is bound and binding. And hence a man’s wife ‘murmurs about arriving early”, while the hubby of that wife ‘looks for some poetically active faces’ in the waiting hall. This, in a very poignant way, points to the position of women in our society. All taboos and defined tracks are for women and none for men. This inequality and partiality have vitiated men-women relationships and created distance and distaste in social life.

The protagonist’s subtle eye also notices the newly growing tendency of arrogance and unashamedness of the new generation in the “Barbed Wire Fence”. Here he has tried to show how the garage guards make water in the open and even show ‘their dick’ to the maid in the adjoining house. Similarly, boys and girls ‘make love in the bush’ unmindful of the children’s park, on one side, and the residential house, on the other. The protagonist is concerned about this fast growing phenomenon of young boys and girls chatting for hours together and even at times resorting to the forbidden acts least brothering about the time, the place and the public opinion.

The protagonist who is so perceptive like Sanjaya about the world around is blind like Dhrutrshtra with regard to his personal inner world. For instance just see his pain and suffering in the poem “Overload”. Here we see that he doesn’t get normal sleep. So he drinks to have sleep. In that drugged state ‘the electric circuit in the brain’ goes awry and he starts muttering unwanted things in unparliamentary language unmindful of the concerned victims. His mind is so much overloaded with deep discontent that its unloading alone seems the way out. He finds himself helpless regarding this process of loading-unloading that has set in and continued unchecked. Now the point is that the protagonist considers this problem to be chronic and incurable, but the fact is quite the opposite. There are ways out, only one needs the eye and the will which he doesn’t have. For instance, here is a way suggested by Maharshi Vashistha to calm down the mind : “Manah Prashamanopayah Yogah”, i.e., the yogic practices calm down the mind.

Protagonist’s pitiable condition is seen in the poem- “Again And Again”. He cannot relax, meditate or even dream on his so called sacred bed. Further, now he fails to have the unusual ‘naked company’ of his beloved ‘with tingling laugh’ and ‘slurred with passion’. Above all he fails to have successful love making. Now here we easily see his ignorance about the basic facts, e.g., one cannot have the same experience again and again ad infinitum; change is the law of nature, and that one can have meditation, relaxation, happy company of any one and successful sex, only if ‘mind’ is in proper order. Milton has rightly said “The mind is its own place and in itself can make / A heaven of hell and a hell of heaven” (P.L. 254-55). So what is needed is to explore the right way to set the mind right.

We see the protagonist in a slough of despair in “The Dead too Are Restless”. He is of the opinion that his one time ‘misplaced dreams’ have now “turned nightmares’ causing havoc in him. Those ‘nightmares’ have become highly chronic and gone beyond cure. To him even the paths of meditation, gods, yoga or any other’ Psychic mumbo-jumbo’ do not seem to be of any help. They are like beasts, the outcome of years’ nourishment, and can now die only with his own death. But then he doesn’t see peace and panacea even in death as ‘the dead too are restless’. This fact has to be understood in two ways : (i) there are dead bodies that don’t burn easily on the funeral pyre, in the sense that either their tongues came out or certain organs fall apart, etc., while getting burnt. And this fact can be seen as their restlessness; (ii) there are people who leave their houses and retire into the forest as sanyasis. Now such people are as good as dead for the society. And the fact remains that even these so called sanyasis no longer remain at ease within and without. But again the truth is that the protagonist is wrong. He doesn’t have the ‘Vision Proper’. The channels like meditation, prayers, yogic practices, etc., are competent enough to restore any chaotic person to his sole self, to his blissful self provided he practices them under proper care and training.

Intense miserable condition of the protagonist is evident in “I Want To Sleep”. Now the sleep is the Nature’s gift to the human as well as non-human creatures. The sleep comes to anyone in the same way as light enters the house the moment the windows and doors are opened. But here we see the protagonist complaining for not getting sleep. His argument for not getting the sleep is ‘the sick and the sickening’ people around him from whom he has carried ‘germs and allergens’ which keep him ‘tossing and turning’ the whole night. He also believes that right from the time of his birth he has ‘never slept well’. He now wishes to sleep without the help of ‘pills, drinks, magazines or sex’. And the type of sleep, that he wishes to have, should be’ thoughtless prayerless in peace’. This whole account simply shows the protagonist’s blindness to the natural phenomenon of sleep. The sleep snatching factors highlightened by him are groundless. I have seen people sleeping in the hospitals beside the serious patients and even beside the dead. When the body and mind are free from all sort of traffic jams, then the sleep comes to the person the same way as the beloved goes to the lover of her choice. Huxley has rightly said “rolling in the muck is not the way of getting clean”. Instead of lamenting over the loss of the sleep, one should explore and expel the sleep breaking basic factors.

The protagonist is seen in the inferno in the poem “Passion”. He suffers from the worldly worries and anxieties, on the one hand, and from the strong sexual urges, on the other. Then the growing age comes in the way of the sexual gratification. So he turns to the drugs which ‘hardly help reach climax any more’ and his quest for ‘ecstasy’ remains ‘a far cry ‘. During the day he keeps working the whole day without any rest and respite as he says :

I smell hell all day
Suffer shrinking passions
In the hollow of my mind

Here again we see his blindness to the fact that senses can never be gratified. Maharshi Vedvyas has very firmly put it as “na jatu Kaam Kaamanam upbhoge na samyate’, that is, the sensual desires can never be satisfied. Even Bhagvan Buddha has said “trushna doospur hai”, i.e., desires can never be gratified.

The short sightedness or even the blindness of the protagonist is quite visible in the poem “Conclusion”. Here he wishes to “Clean the cobwebs of legends’ because they ‘veil the vision’ and offer moral lessons for the future generation ‘with doubtful glories’ and they, instead of pushing people forward, make them ‘move backward’. Now the fact is that everything of the past or present cannot be held out for ‘forward’ or ‘backward’ movement. The stream of life goes on flowing with its own built-in mechanism. Further he sees the whole country and particularly the mega cities like Delhi and Bombay in the jaws of ‘empty slogans’, cheating and lust. Particularly he is more concerned there about the ceremony of ‘midnight lust’ concluding like ‘a tragic poem’. In brief, the hero of the poem feels hurt to see the present tragic state of things. He wishes to do something, but being weak and confused, he simply gets excited and poetic, like Bahadur Shah Zaffar, the last emperor of our country.

The protagonist is seen devoid of any hope of salvation in “Nirvan-I’. The word ‘nirvana’ is made of two units : ‘nir-vana’ of which ‘nir’ means without , and ‘Vana’ means burning, i.e. without burning or suffering, Unfortunately he sees no chances of ‘nirvana’ in the present set up of life. Generally ‘lightning’ and ‘rain’ are life givers but to him ‘lightning’ ‘frightens’ and raises no fire, and ‘rain’ doesn’t quench ‘the earth’. He sees no creativity in his daily work and no joy in ‘a kiss’ of the parting partner. Finally, at night he is ‘sulking with a glass’ in the dark and the idea of ‘nirvan’ seems ‘stupid’ to him. Now this can be called a defective, flawed or mono-directional thinking of the person. There is solution, salvation, nirvana, the only needed requirement is the proper training and growth of the mind.

Thus , here over a dozen poems have been discussed concerning two opposite aspects of human mind. The attempt is here made to show as to how the poet has very pointedly projected two visions, viz., that of Sanjay and Dhrutrashtra through very short but well knit poems. Very novel and creative use of language which is the poet’s forte has not been here even touched upon. The present article helps us mark the eagle eye that the poet has regarding sweet-sour aspects of the human behavior, human life as a whole. Before closing this talk, a humble suggestion is that the poet should show a ray of light, a way out, even while projecting the darker or negative aspects of life through the protagonist of his capsule poems. For instance, instead of saying ‘I smell hell all day’, cannot the protagonist say, ‘Hell I smell’, though heaven is not far to seek”?

1, Atharv Aptt. Satsang Colony,
Deopur, Dhule 424005 India

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