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The “Ahana” of Shri Aurobindo Ghose
[C.S. Bharati]

A thing of truth is a force for ever. And the most stiking peculiarity of Shri Aurobindo Goshe’s new book of poems, Ahana, is its uniform adherence to poetic truth. Truth is to poetry what fact is toscience. And whatever aspect of the poetic art may appeal most to the mind of the lay reader, the poets themselves have aways regarded true poetry as the right expression of the soul-truth of things. The Vedic name for the pot, Kavi, means a seer.

It is not the tender melody or the flowing rhythm of Shri Goses’s lines, nor yet his assured mastery of certain difficult and rare form of English metre that captures one’s heart, so much as his Aryan clarity of vision and straightness of utterance. For instance, the first poem “Ahana” (Dawn) which aptly lends its name to the whole collection – is characterized by an almost Vedic directness. Read these lines:

“ To be content with our measure, they say, is the law of our living.
Who is the nomad then? Who is the seeker? This gambler giving.
All for a dream, in a dream? All the old, all the sure, all the stable?
Lightly are staked for a lure that never was laid on the table
Her we have the spirit of Yoga depicted with the ease of a master. Of course there are terrible difficulties and many defeats on the path. But God tempts.
“Honied a thousand whispers come, in the birds, in the breezes,
Moonlight, the voices of steams, form hundreds of beautiful faces
Always he cries to us, “Love me”

Shri Ghose’s poetry is, of course, deeply affected by his profound study of the Veda, and his seer-like insight into the true, Ayhuyatmic (spiritual) meaning of that Ancient Record of God experiences.

Above all the gods the Veda mentions Rudra, Vishnu and higher still, the great God who is simply called the ‘Deva’. And above Him is that, the unthinkable. In two of his finest poems, ‘Who’ and the Parabrahman’, Shri Ghose gives some luminous and beautiful thoughts on the most High. Stray quotations can convey no idea of the splendor of these poems.

But Krishna is the humanized symbol of the All-pervading and All-loving Vishnu. And Krishna-symbolism has been, in the past, one of the most rapturous themes for the Indian poet’s heart. In Hidusthan and in Bengal, in the Maharasthtra and the Tamil land, the older seers have written some of their best songs about the picture of the cowherd boy, his flute and his kine – of God, His love and His illuminations. And Shri Ghose’s realization of Krishna Lila, the sport of God, is portrayed in the following lines:

For his flute with its sweetness ensnaring
Sounds in our ears in the night and our souls of their teguments baring.
Hales them out naked and absolute, out to his woodlands eternal,
Out to his moonlit dances, hi dalliance sweet and supernal,
And we go stumbling, maddened and thrilled to his dreadful embraces.

“In the moon light,” “ The Rishi ” and “To the Sea” are other remarkable poems shaped in Aryan beauty and truth. “In the Moonligh” is especially remarkable as containing the verdict of the higher Indian culture on what is known as “Modern Science”. That science has attempted to know all about the earth and has undoubtedly been crowned with a partial success, but giddy with this slight success, she tends to ignore the fundamental Essence of the Universe, it ultimate Being. Man is a living, aspiring soul. And the most momentous question that concern him here are: “How shall I live best? And what shall I aspire for with the utmost yearning of my heart, consistently with my high dignity of a soul – a flaming spark of the substance which perishes not?” And if science ignores these questions with a thinly veiled scorn, in her last generalizations, then says Shri Ghose:

Her days are numbered and not long
Shall she be suffered to belittle thus
Man and restrain from his tempestuous
Uprising that immortal spirit strong.
The old shall perish; it shall pass away,
Expunged, annihilated, blotted out;
And all the iron hands that ring about
Man’s wide expansion shall at last give way.
Freedom, God, immortality; the three
Are one and shall be realized at length.

The last two lines mark the whole spirit of the poem. Shri Aurobindo Ghose is one of those who make us proud that we as born as Indians.


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