Articles and Reviews

Sunday, October 16, 2011

JNANPITH AWARDEE Chandrashekara Kambar -Part 1


JNANPITH   AWARDEE   Chandrashekara Kambar : Poet-Playwright:
                      “In  Search  of  Shiva-pura”1

     Chandrashekara Kambar, playwright-poet-novelist-critic, holds a unique place in the field of post-independence Kannada literature; he fuses modern sensibility with traditional forms of performance and expression.  With 22 plays, eight poetry collections, three novels, and 12 collections of research articles on theatre and literature, Kambar is one of the most significant writers in Kannada, today.



     In the light of the rural vigour and gusto of Kambar’s poetry and plays, it is not a coincidence that he was born in a small village called Ghodgeri, in Karnataka.  Born in 1937 into a poor family of blacksmiths by profession, Kambar had to struggle for education from the very beginning.  But, while he was growing up in his small rural place, he began to absorb the very spirit of popular performances like ‘Sangya Balya’ and ‘Lavani’; and he developed an undying 
love for their music and theatricality.

Kambar’s works, totaling 44, have been translated into English and other
Indian languages; and most of his plays have been staged in different parts of the country.   This article focuses only on his poetry and plays; after introductory comments on the characteristics of each, the article goes on to  analyse, in detail, the most recent works of Kambar in poetry (Ellide Shivapura) and drama (Shivaratri).
                                          
Poetry:

Kambar’s first collection of poetry was published when he had just
completed his college education, Mugulu (‘Bud’)in 1958.  The Modernist movement was at its peak then and Adiga was its high priest.  Although Kambar shared many concerns like those of cultural identity and self-consciousness of the Modernist poets, he dared to be different from them even in his first collection: he went in for the musicality of folk-rhythms and folk-dialect.  His next collection, Helatena Kela (‘Listen, I will tell you’), published in 1964, established him as a major poet who differed from both the Modern and Modernist poets.  To date, he has six collections of poetry to his credit, of which while Takararinavaru  (1971) got the Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award, his next collection Savirada Neralu (1979) got the Kumaran Asan Award.  His most recent collection, Ellide Shivapura (2009; ‘Where  is Shivapura’)  appears to bring together all of his socio-literary-political concerns.

      Since his first major poem, “Helatena Kela” (‘Listen, I will tell you’), can be considered seminal to the entire poetry of Kambar, an analysis of the poem constitutes the best starting point  to discuss the major themes and concerns of Kambar as a poet.       

     This long poem is, in its form, a Dappina Pada (a narrative poem sung publicly to the accompaniment of a small percussion instrument called ‘Dappu’ ; it loosely resembles a ballad), which is an established  form of oral tradition in North Karnataka.  Kambar’s poem, written in quatrains in which the second and the fourth lines rhyme and are divided into 21 parts,  retains all the features of the oral tradition (invocation; the singer’s humility –he asks the audience to generously ignore his faults; the refrain repeated at the end of each part –‘with Listen, my friend, I will tell you a story / Sit before me an open mind’; etc.).   The story of the ballad concerns the radical change that comes over a once peaceful and self-sufficient village called ‘Shivapura.’  Once, a demon comes near the village in the form of a terrible tiger; he kills the feudal chief Gowda, and returns to the village transforming  himself as the Gowda.   Assuming all the powers of the earlier chief,  he introduces many changes in the village like opening a school for which the traditional Garadi (training place for  wrestlers) and the ancient banyan tree have to be pulled down.  The Gowdti (wife of the Gowda) sleeps with him and becomes pregnant.  Owing to her desires resulting from her pregnancy, she devours one by one all the organs of her son.  The son is suspicious of the dupe but is helpless to confront him.  Once, he hears a voice from a deep well (into which his father’s body-parts had been thrown) that there is a saint in the eastern direction who can give him the holy water which has the power to  destroy the demon.  The poem ends with the son staring at the eastern direction and patiently waiting for the saint’s  arrival.

      This is a seminal poem in the sense that it introduces all the major themes running through Kambar’s  poetry; and they can be formulated as shown below,  with the qualification that almost all the following concerns are common to both his poetry and plays: sexuality, tradition and change,  the ontological problem of reality and illusion, and the theme of ‘quest for Shivapura’ which subsumes all other themes and concerns. 

a)                                Sexuality:  The theme of sexuality  pervades both Kambar’s  poetry
and  plays to such an amazing extent that, as a few critics note, it appears to be almost an obsession with Kambar.   Kambar views sexuality as the most powerful and creative/destructive drive of the human world, and he establishes his own equations which build up a consistent myth.   To start with, Kambar always equates human sexuality with that of nature, and then goes on to treat both the Woman and the Earth, the media of fertility, as one; the barren woman automatically reflecting barren earth.  Usually, such a barren woman has an impotent husband, thus forcing the woman to seek a suitable mate in others.  Once she finds such a mate and gets impregnated by him, rains pour down to satisfy the parched earth.  However, the mate the woman finds could be a hypocrite posing as her husband; it does not matter to her.  Kambar examines all these motifs and their variations, poem after poem.

     There are many  successful poems like ‘Kadu Kudure,’  Hori,’ ‘Kuduri Sidda,’  and others which address the issue of all-powerful and wild sexuality which  doesn’t brook any social or moral taboos,   and is the cause for the continuation of the race.  Kadu Kudure’  (‘Wild Horse’) describes vividly the vigour and abandon of all-consuming sexuality through the image of a wild horse: the horse is born in the far east where the Sun is born and where ‘green’s’  mystery is solved; it is born in the clouds unending;  like a falling star, it comes galloping from a black forest,

      “kicking the earth and boring  a pit there,/wetting the pit, /
        moving   carelessly  like a stream overflowing with water,/
        carrying those who dare to ride  it / beyond seven valleys/
       and throwing them down, dumbfounded.”   

        (This song, which brilliantly recreates through its quick ballad-rhythm the very pace of the wild horse, was incorporated in the film of the same name;  Shimoga Subbanna who sang this song for the film won the national award for ‘best singer,’ for that year.)

        Hori’  (means bull) begins with a vivid picture of a powerful bull:  Breaking free from ropes, snorting  fiercely, / slipping from the hands of self-proclaimed strong men, /pawing  the  earth  impatiently, leaping over fences, / Oh, look—there  comes the bull.”  As the poem develops, it equates man’s youth with the bull, both of which brook neither fences nor taboos.   
         
       Kudari Sidda” (Sidda and the horse) narrates, in the form of a traditional ballad, the story of a man who was gifted, by an ochre-robed monk, a black horse with the condition that it should be returned to him after three months.  The horse was so powerful that it could jump over valleys, run through jungles, and win every battle for Sidda.  The horse and Sidda had so merged with each other that they could be mistaken for one.  At  the appointed time, when  he had to return the horse to the monk,  he lies and thus loses the horse; when he finds it again, it is no longer obedient to its master and carries him away to the unknown.  The poem establishes the equation between the horse and woman when the monk in ochre robes : “ glancing at him mischievously, ‘what do you think a woman is? / woman is similar to a horse,’  he said.”   Very adroitly, the poem comments on woman’s unbounded sexuality and man-woman relationship.

      We find another variation of the same theme in the poem “Peacock, O Peacock.”     It narrates the story of a childless woman and a drought-hit village.  She develops companionship with a peacock in the forest.  When she conceives, the drought-hit village also gets life-giving rains.  But her husband suspects her and gets the peacock killed.  In the end, she leaves home and disappears.  Very naturally, the peacock in the poem becomes a symbol of virility, wisdom, and beauty, the three qualities Kambar always associates with Nature.  When the woman meets the peacock, the description that follows is highly picturesque and suggestive:

                  As the peacock danced, so did it rain,
                    Like a web woven of sparkling stars;
                    Like the ceaseless rains in the month of Shravana,
                     pouring down the Sun- god’s semen;
                    Like filling up the life-juice into the innermost,
                     the capital of Kubera, Alakavati of endless riches.”     
                              
    The whole poem, structured in the form of a ballad with refrain and repetitions, equates human world and natural world at one level, and at another, contrasts  the sterile human world with the virile natural world. 

     In this context, interestingly, there is a folktale in Bundeli language which also associates human beings and peacocks.  Agrahara Krishnamurthy, who discusses this tale in his column “Kanimoli,” 2  points out that this is a tale told by  grandmothers to their grand-children while she puts them to sleep.  A merchant has two sons; while the elder one, Jeto, is interested in business and such other worldly affairs, the younger son, Laro, isn’t interested in worldly affairs including marriage.  He always wanders in forests, seeking the apsara (a heavenly woman) who, sitting on the wings of a peacock, awaits him.  One day, during heavy rains and lightning,  he disappears from home.  Villagers searching for him hear, at daybreak, a peacock’s cry and when they look at the sky, they see a blue light gradually rising high in the horizon.  In Indian mythology, peacock is the mount of Saraswati, the patron goddess of wisdom and fine arts; also, the blue colour symbolizes mystical wisdom.  Hence, this tale, which can be interpreted in many different ways,  establishes that rich folk-imagination always functions through complex  myths.   

       Helatena Kela” gives us a total picture of the ‘myth of sexuality’ that Kambar  explores, poem after poem and play after play.  In the poem, when  the demon-tiger terrorizes the village and the  Gowda   goes out to hunt it, the village is in the grip of a severe drought:

      “ In the river, there were no waves;/ the banyan tree couldn’t yield any shade;
      The village alleys were totally deserted;/ it was as hot as in a crematorium.”

Only when the demon disguised as Gowda returns and his wife becomes
pregnant, clouds burst and it pours down heavily.  When her son confronts her with his suspicions, “ She just laughs freely/and asks her son to appease the hunger of her pregnancy.”   Here, Kambar appears to view Woman, the medium of fertility, almost ®moral regarding fulfillment of her sexuality.  In fact, it is not an exaggeration to state that no other Kannada poet has explored the nature of sexuality, so deeply, so movingly, and so picturesquely as Kambar.

     In this context, it is interesting to see the way Kannada oral narratives deal with sexuality.  In the long oral epic Krishna Gollara Kavya 3 a king with seven wives consults  the astrologers as to what they should do to get an offspring; and they are advised to leave the palace, to go to a place where four roads meet, and digging up the earth there to raise an orchard.  When the fruit trees grow, bear fruit, attract birds from far and wide and the birds build nests on the tree-branches and raise their chicks, the king’s wives also will become mothers.  In other words, this oral epic also equates fertility in Nature with fertility in the human world; when one suffers, the other also suffers.  Another oral epic, Junjappa4, registers the same equation in a different way: once, the chief of the ‘forest-cowherds’ suggests that, whenever they contemplate marriage and want to test the suitability of the boy and the girl, they should not consult astrologers but the would-be couple should  plant a few seeds and water them for a week; if saplings come out of the seeds, they can go ahead with their wedding plans; but if the seeds get burnt out and die, it is a sign that the marriage should not take place.  In other words, in Kambar as in many oral narratives, Man and Nature are bound by the same principle of fertility and growth; both are interdependent.   

b)                              Tradition And Change: 

        The contrast between the first and the last part of  Helatena Kela” 
introduces another major theme of Kambar’s poetry –‘tradition’ and the ‘change’  brought in through colonial occupation and education.

     Shivapura, on the bank of Ghataprabha, is a beautiful small town full
of greenery and peace.  There was an ancient banyan tree on the river-bank, so huge that a hundred bullock carts could take shelter in its shade.  In its shade, cows were mated and  village-elders met, and new-born babies smiled there; Hari preached, the Vedas were developed, and Buddha gave his sermons under this tree-shade.  These details build up a picture of a culture and tradition that are ancient, creative, and wise.

     The demon who kills the Gowda, transforms  his form, and returns to
the village disguised as  the old Gowda.  He,

            Rises late in the morning, lends money on interest,
              And conducts a meeting of all the villagers, in his chavadi;
              For the sake of the village children, he proposes,
             To pull down the Garadi, and build there a school.”
(chavadi: the office of the village chief; garadi: training place for wrestlers) 

     When all the villagers happily agree to the ‘Gowda’s’ proposal,  gather
together, pull down the Garadi and begin to dig the earth for the foundation of the school- building, they come across huge roots of the ancient banyan tree, criss-crossing.  The plea of the old man, Kariyajja, not to cut the tree is ignored, the roots are cut, and the school-foundation is offered prayers.   Very soon, Kariyajja dies.   These details give us a negative picture of ‘the change’ that takes place in the village; ancient traditions and wisdom are destroyed and new, alien institutions  are  introduced.   In this context, Kamabar appears to privilege tradition and view any change (obviously introduced by the colonizers) as destructive including ‘opening of schools’.   From this point of view, Kambar seems to be an out and out ‘traditionalist.’

     However, if we consider the entire poetry of Kambar, we realize that
Kambar’s view of ‘tradition and change’ is highly complex and ambiguous:  while he appears sad that an ancient and creative tradition is in decline, he also registers his awareness of the limitations of such a culture, which was based on hierarchies and exploitation; and he registers such ambiguous stance in poems like “nammajja” and “Gangamayi.”

     Nammajja”  (‘our grandfather’) begins equating the grandfather with an ancient banyan tree (the symbols of tradition in “Helatena Kela”).  On its innumerable branches forming a canopy across the river, wounded and weak birds writhe and shriek in pain.   The next three lines develop this ambiguity further:

      The innumerable  branches of the tree are  enough  to cremate,
      at least, three newly-delivered women; during the Panchami festival,  
     young girls tie swings to the branches and sitting on them, they sway
    smiling happily, and singing  like peacocks.”
     
     The details of the grandfather that follow complete the ambiguous view of the poet towards tradition and change: the old man smiles like fate that none  can fathom; when the speaker in the poem is happy  that he  buried the old man’s corpse long  ago, he finds the old man’s roots and reflections in the old well in his backyard.   The modernist poet Adiga also, in his famous poem “Bhuta”5  (past/ ghost), uses similar images to connote his ambiguous attitude to tradition:

     They haunt me, the mysterious fetuses of the past;
     The stale air of the sunken old well
     rises on all fours crawling  upside down, . . .
    As I grope peering in the darkness
    suddenly flashes a line of golden ore, . . .”  6   

    The poem “Gangamayi”  (‘Mother Ganga’) is more bitter and severe toward tradition, symbolized by Ganga considered holy and pure by Indians through ages.  In this poem, it is the village pond that is named (satirically)  ‘Mother Ganga,’ within which,

          a million screams and screeches of dogs, foxes, pigs,
         parrots, and nightingales.  . . .
         Once the boil in the east bursts oozing blood and pus
        the movements  commence here: . . .”   7

      The long poem continues this tone of disgust and anger: the pond is the last resort for dead bodies of orphans and bastard children; its water is used by the villagers for all their activities including  drinking and cleansing themselves as well as their animals;  and though myths and poems celebrate  its ancient glory and holy water, none is sure of what they are.

     It is a historic fact that the entire Indian society entertained  from the very beginning, and continues to have, self-contradictory/ambiguous attitude to the changes in the Indian society introduced by colonial masters.  While, on the one hand, Indians were happy that ‘modern education’ helped them remove many cruel old beliefs and practices like casteism and gender-discrimination, on the other hand, they were troubled by the fact that such ‘modern education’  posed a threat to their ancient culture and literature, creating a  sort of intense aversion among the younger generations towards anything that was Indian.  The consequent ‘Yes, but . . .’ attitude was to be found even among great thinkers and writers like Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Raja Rammohan Roy (in Bengali), and Shivarama Karanth and Kuvempu (in Kannada).   Kambar, though born later, is no exception to this position.

c)                               The Ontological Problem of Reality and Illusion:

     In many of his celebrated poems and most of his plays, Kambar introduces two characters who are look-alike; between them, one is true and the other is an imposter.  But the problem is, how do we distinguish the authentic one from the imposter?  This problem is as old as the Upanishads  that formulate the problem as ‘sarpa-rajju ’  (‘serpent-rope’) looking the same in darkness.   Kambar raises this problem in many of his major works, through such devices as   ‘doubles,’ and  ‘substance and shadow.’ 

      The device of ‘doubles’ appears  first in “Helatena Kela,” in which the real Gowda is killed by a demon, who later transforms himself as the Gowda and enters the village.  None but the Gowda’s son suspects that the one they see could be an imposter.  The same device is employed in plays like Rishyashrunga and Huliya Neralu.
     Among the major poems that dramatise this issue, we can cons
ider “The Player King and the Clown” and “ That Tree and This Tree.”     As K. Satchidanandan points out in his introduction to the collection of English translations  of Kambar’s select poems, the poem “The Player King and the Clown is paradigmatic to Kambar’s  poetics of inversion.”8  In this poem, the clown gives up his costume, pranks and identity; and appears before the audience as the king himself.  The audience accepts him happily.  When the real king’s face is seen, the clown declares that it is the face of a buffoon and asks the audience to laugh at the face.  Even when the director comes on the stage and declares who is who, the audience does not listen to him.  The question here is, how does one become a king or a clown?  Is it by intrinsic merits or when others  accept one as such?  In other words, how do we distinguish between maya or illusion and reality?  The advaitin Shankaracharya declared that we can see through maya when we come out of avidya or false knowledge; but what is avidya?  One question leads to another leading to an endless maze of  questions with no answers.

       Another celebrated poem of Kambar, “ Aa Mara Ee Mara” (‘That Tree,
This  Tree’),  dramatizes a variation of the famous Upanishadic  episode “dw¹suparª¹ sayuj¹ sakh¹y¹m  . . . ”(two parrots on the same branch of a tree)9 and it adroitly raises the same  ontological question at an abstract level: are illusion and reality absolute or do they depend on each other to be defined?  The poem poses this question through ‘substance and its shadow.’   There is a tree on the bank of a pond, and there is its reflection in water.  Their relationship to each other is paradoxical: while their roots are the same, their stems are different; one laughs   when the pond’s water is disturbed but the other trembles.  The poem ends with a sad comment on the split consciousness  of the modern man:

       Do you know what the tragic weakness of this story is?
       The point or space where /   the real tree and the tree-in-water meet/
      has disappeared for ever.”

The poem registers, through apt images of the tree, the relative nature of
Illusion and Reality: each is false or true only in relation to the other.

       There are many other poems which raise such haunting questions.
 For example, the memorable  poem or song “ marthenendara  mareyali hyanga” (‘Even If I wish to, How Can I Forget?’).  In this poem, rather ruefully, the poet wonders at the astonishing strengths and regrettable weaknesses of Mao Tse Tung; and sadly records that the  ‘Brave New World’ promised by him was never delivered:

                You said you would give a form to the non-existent,
                   You declared you would wall-in space,
                   You promised you would bring another sun
                    to create the living and the non-living;
                          Even if I want to, how can I forget you!
                     . . .
                    You changed only the name of the colour,
                     and you didn’t recognize the jaundiced eye.       

                                 
d)                               Quest for Shivapura:     Shivapura’  is the name of the fictional ideal
society that recurs in all the works of Kambar including drama and poetry.  In fact, his long allegorical novel Shikharasurya (2010) explores extensively  the nature of such a society and its values.

     In  poetry, the first poem that describes the fictional ideal society is “Shivapurada Hadu”  (‘the Song of Shivapura’) in the second collection Helatena Kela.  It begins with the following lines describing Shivapura:

     “ To the birth-place of greenery, / To the forest where songs grow,/
      To that place which warms  our cold bodies, / Which grants dreams to our eyes,/
      Which protects our youth, / Which makes flowers smile even through thorns,/
      Victory to such a place, Shivapura.”

It is interesting to observe that not much has changed about the characterization of Shivapura, even after a period of four decades.  Ellide Shivapura, Kambar’s most recent collection (2009), is his most amibitious  exploration, through extended metaphors and motifs, of the ‘ideal society.’

                                       *********

                          Shivapura:  the Maze of Binaries

     Ellide Shivapura is a collection of 55 poems, organized in four parts: ‘Ghodageri,’ ‘Hampi,’ ‘America,’ and ‘Bayalu.’   While the first part draws a geographical-cultural map of Shivapura, the second and third parts function as negative models; and the fourth part attempts to locate the point at which all the binaries dissolve.

     The first part has a series of lyrics that describe the location and cultural contours of Shivapura.   It is a small village, in which “small streets do not lead one anywhere / from the village;/ And one has to enter the village / only through a small rugged path.”  This village, isolated from the rest of the world, has no burden of long history and no poetic fancies of lotuses and swans playing  in lakes. 

            “In the river, there were no lotuses born of poetic fancy;
                Neither were there swans;
                We were the ones, adolescents like me,  that used to swim.” 

But, now, the river’s spendthrift youth has already disappeared, and the water is only stale.   Now, when the river overflows occasionally, one is not sure if it is due to flood water or tears.   There were old trees whose age one could only guess; but now all those trees are cut down by the city-people.  Most importantly, there used to be grandmothers who would tell their grandchildren exciting stories about gods’ adventures  and they, through their tales, would bring to the earth the heavenly abodes of gods.  But now such mothers and grandmothers are no more, and no more one can hear such poetic and exciting works of imagination.

     The second and the third exhibit negative models opposed to Shivapura.  The first part analyses kingship and power through such once-glorious capitals as Hampi and Delhi.

     Hampi, the capital of the medieval Vijayanagara empire, was renowned for its pomp and power, and for its incessant wars  waged either for survival or for subjugation of others’ territory; and in course of time the empire was humiliated in war and was ransacked by the victorious enemy forces.   In the decisive war, “ mass assassinations and   brutal murders took place;/ cowardly deaths and valiant martyrdom.”   While fleeing the subjugated city,

            “ frightened, when they emptied the Temple,
               they left behind its gods and their incarnations,
                skeletons everywhere,  hands and legs broken,
                strewn all over the streets, helter skelter.”

Today, when one wanders through the streets, suddenly a trunkless  head  may fall into his hands, making him wonder:

              “ Which god’s head is this?
                   No light in its eyes, and no wind passes through its broken nose;
                   even if one calls, the mutilated ears cannot hear;
                   and words haven’t escaped from those half-opened lips.
                           To which trunk shall I join this head?
                            Or,
                            shall I throw it away,
                             to lapse into its nightmares, again?          

     Delhi is another ancient  power-centre, a capital which has seen many empires rise and fall, and which still thinks it is the controlling centre of this country.  In one of his earlier poems on Delhi, he thinks of it as a cabaret dancer, who “ covering her wrinkled body/ with the best foreign dress available,  / cunningly enacts the role / of a  sex-hungry  adolescent cheat.”    In the poem “Delhi  in Ellide Shivapura, the poet calls it a wily but pleasure-seeking woman who smiles brilliantly through her new dentures.  The poem ends with these biting lines:

      “This eternal virgin  goes through a new marriage, every day!
          The wedding party of politicians elected by counterfeit voting,
          gorges itself on a rich  repast till it gets unsteady on its feet.
          She meets out varied pleasures, like Vividha Bharati,
             to suit the taste of all and sundry.
             O you media-maidens!  Sing wedding songs,
             to her -- the grinding mill of pleasures.”

     America as a whole is a negative model for different reasons: it is a country in which the moon is dead; it is full of colourful malls that sell dreams to suit each and every person; and queen America spends all her time sitting in front of the mirror.  To quote a few relevant lines:

            “ Did you hear the news?
               Weaving a net of  all the four organs of the Forces,
               they hunted down the deer in the Moon, the Americans –
               Then, one poisonous arrow struck him also,
                and the Moon lay dead.
                . . .
               Poor fellow!  The Moon was a poet;
               And, in his poetry, there were only girls,
               alluring beauties of mini skirts.                
              . . .  ( “ The Moon died”)
                  “ It is a shopping complex, selling dreams.
                       One button in front of each shop—
                      One pit for one button –inside the pit an attractive woman.
                       . . .
                       When you come out of one, another woman in another box;
                        Yet one more woman in one more box –
                         Rows and rows of beauties”   (“Market that sells dreams”).
               
                “ Queen America is obsessed with mirrors.
                   . . .
                     the self-proclaimed temptress of the universe,
                     who, standing always in front of the mirror,
                     admires herself as the most beautiful woman,
                     who flatters herself
                    that whoever approaches her is going to rape her –
                     To her
                     my salutations”   (“ To Queen America”).

     In his quest for the ideal society, when Kambar privileges Shivapura in relation to the empires, past and present, he is still caught in binaries – of the rural vs. the urban, the village vs. the city, and arts vs. technology.  As long as he is caught up in such binaries, his quest is doomed to fail.

        The last part shows  us that the poet is aware of such lure of binaries.  Perhaps it is due to such a realization that the quest in the last part is for a way to transcend all binaries—in myths, language, politics and life.

      The first major lyric in this section dramatizes the ‘Sun myth.’   When the Sun beams with arrogance that ‘there is only one sun and in this world Truth is one,” his wife Sanjnya  breathes life into her own shadow on the earth and sends her to her husband.   The Sun accepts the Shadow (Chaya) as his wife and begets two children, Shani and   Yama.  Now, in addition to himself he has two more sons – “two more truths.”  Commenting on this myth, the poet says:

        “ Now, tell me; Is there only one Truth in this world?
           If there is only one eye during day, there are thousand at night.
           If there is only one Truth for the day,
           for the night, in order to hoodwink it,
          there are thousand truths”  (“ The Sun’s Shadow”)

It is this realization that there are more truths than one that, perhaps, allows one to transcend the binaries and thus give up one’s quest for ‘Shivapura’ which can exist only in relation to another society. 

     Among those who have understood this truth, the first one is Bahubali. 10  Bahubali, the brother of emperor Bharata, defeats his brother in single combats and then, at the moment of victory, he renounces everything including  his clothes, and stands on a hill in meditation.  He is one of the revered saints in Jainism.  In the following lines, the poet addresses Bahubali/ Gommateshwara  thus:

            “ To him who was born on the earth
             but lifted his head amidst clouds, 
            To him who taught us the way to understand both the worlds,
                      I bow”  (“Bahubali”)

    Another instance is of mystic poets like Allama Prabhu,11 who transcend the demands of language.  Before we construct a sentence, we have to choose the subject; but the subject demands a verb and needs an object.   Further, for the sentence  to be acceptable, the subject, verb and object should be in a particular order.  When one has constructed such a sentence, one realizes that that was not the sentence he wanted to construct.  If one attempts to talk of his love at present, by the time he has said it, it will be his past love.

             That’s why
                language has to become non-language
               and sound should become soundless”  (“ My today’s love”)      

To the question posed in the beginning, ‘Where is Shivapura,’  the answer given at the end is ‘Nowhere.’  Hence, the last part is called ‘Sky and Space.’

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                      I bow”  (“Bahubali”)
    Another instance is of mystic poets like Allama Prabhu,11 who transcend the demands of language.  Before we construct a sentence, we have to choose the subject; but the subject demands a verb and needs an object.   Further, for the sentence  to be acceptable, the subject, verb and object should be in a particular order.  When one has constructed such a sentence, one realizes that that was not the sentence he wanted to construct.  If one attempts to talk of his love at present, by the time he has said it, it will be his past love

             That’s why
                language has to become non-language
               and sound should become soundless”  (“ My today’s love”)      

To the question posed in the beginning, ‘Where is Shivapura,’  the answer given at the end is ‘Nowhere.’  Hence, the last part is called ‘Sky and Space.’

                     *************************** 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you