When born, they said he came into the light!
He realised soon it’s another kind of gloom,
where innocence had lost to odious blight
and wisdom went crisscross in carnal looms.

With his one foot on earth and one in space
he strived too long thinking of his perdu
third foot, its mystic feel and unfelt pace.
Where’s that sacrificial head ready for due?

In darkness of daylight, in wakening dreams,
in mirroring meditative resplendence
rested his spirit till flowed ambrosial beams
at dusk, enlightening his inner lens.

Then danced he merrily and touched with sole
his bowed down head, when rose his waiting soul.

 

Once an advocate, Sathya Narayana joined the Government of India as Inspector of Salt in 1984 and received two service promotions. In May 2014, he took voluntary retirement as Superintendent of Salt.

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10 Responses

  1. Satyananda Sarangi

    Hello Sathyanarayana Sir.

    This turns out to be a really good poem on Lord Buddha. There’s a different dimension to Buddha – despite being the mainstay of Buddhism, he is considered the ninth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu in Hinduism. This is the effect Lord Buddha has left on the Indian culture i.e. unity in diversity.

    Reply
  2. James A. Tweedie

    Winston Churchill once said of Russia: “It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.” The same words could be applied to Mr. Narayana’s poem–the subject and “key” in this case (as kindly pointed out by Mr. Sarangi) being the Buddha.

    Although I am a Christian I can appreciate the author’s descriptive characterization of the Buddha as representing the embrace of opposites or, in other words, being the fullness and completion of all things–the “unifier” and the “path” of enlightenment for not only himself, but for others.

    The poem effectively blends the mystical, intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual rationality of the Subcontinent into the Western form of a sonnet. It is beautifully written and one I could effectively use to illustrate both a Hindu and a Theravadan (and to a lesser degree, Mahayanan) world-view in my comparative religion class.

    I enjoyed the poem and could not help but smile at the closing, playful couplet.

    Reply
    • C.B. Anderson

      With all due respect to Buddha, lines 2, 5, 9 & 11 are metrical disasters, and lines 8 & 14 are anything but decent English.

      Reply
      • Sathyanarayana Mydavolu

        Dear Sir Anderson, thanks for pointing out my mistakes. I will try to improve my craft. Without friends like you it’s not possible to correct oneself.

  3. Leonard Dabydeen

    An absolutely emblematic poem of the Great Buddha in a dance ritual of cosmic indulgence. In the rhythm of darkness, light and dreams, Sathya reflects on Buddha’s ‘mirroring meditative resplendence’. And the couplet, at the end of the poem, leaves the reader with imaging of a classic Indian dance style in a metaphorical poise of spiritual dignity. At times there appears to be dribbling in metrical balance in a stanza, but the rhyme and rhythm effortlessly discharge any hiccups to a Western sonnet approach.

    Reply
  4. Rajendra Singh Baisthakur

    Truly great poetry. “darkness of day light” reminds me of Milton’s “darkness visible”. “awakening dreams” too is an expression par excellence. The concept of Vamana, the 5th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, occupying earth and heaven with his two legs and placing the third leg on the head of demon king Bali, who donated him place of three feet, is used in a beautiful way. This poem will have a timeless life in English Poetry.

    Reply
    • Leonard Dabydeen

      I beg to concur with you, Rajendra Singh Baisthakur that Sathya’s poem, Cosmic Dance, ‘will have a timeless life in English Poetry.’ I truly love the ending couplet with such deep classical dance performance imaging.

      Reply
      • Rajendra Singh Baisthakur

        Thank you Mr Dabydeen. Mr Mydavolu’s explanation about cosmic dance in the last two lines is enlightening.

  5. Sathyanarayana Mydavolu

    Dear Satyananda Sarangi, dear Leonard Dabydeen, dear, James A. Tweedie, dear Rajendra Singh Thakur, thank you very much for your comments. Sir,
    In fact in this poem I was not referring to Lord Buddha. But since Mr. Mantyk is a staunch Buddhist, he inferred so. I am very happy about that. In fact Buddhism had its roots in Hinduism and both run on almost same lines.
    Philosophy is best said through symbolism and cryptic aphorisms. In this poem I tried to portray a spiritual practitioner’s (Saadhana) effort in understanding various symbolic representations depicted in our scriptures and epics.
    In the second stanza I tried to explain the meaning of Lord Vamana’s (or Lord Trivikrama) pose occupying the earth and sky. Here earth refers to material world and sky represents the spiritual realm. But it’s not enough conquering the worldly and spiritual domains…finally one has to offer a sacrifice of self…i.e. the still lingering feeling of ‘I’ and ‘me’. That is symbolically shown as the head of Emperor Bali.
    In the third stanza I tried to explain the advanced next stage of spiritual practice or Saadhana and how it’s experienced. Dusk represents in fact not darkness, but the time lights glow in darkness.
    The last couplet is about Lord Siva or Lord Nataraja’s cosmic dance. The Lord takes a different shortcut route to raise His Kundalini Shakti…by touching His head (Sahasrara chakra) with His foot. This is the last act of His Cosmic dance. He already raised Kundalini long ere, but dancing is the sacred occasion when He taps His divine head to invoke that Cosmic force and remains immersed in it enjoying the Cosmic Aanandam by melding with the Source-spirit or Para Brahma.

    Reply
  6. Sathyanarayana Mydavolu

    Dear Sir Anderson, thanks for pointing out my mistakes. I will try to improve my craft. Without friends like you it’s not possible to correct oneself.

    Reply

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