Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

Book Reviews

Buddhist Precept and Practice: By Richard F. Gombrich. Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi-7. Price: Rs. 275.

Of all the countries in South East Asia wHere Buddhist religion is practised, Sri Lanka is considered to be the custodian of pure teaching, Theravada, which is older than the presently popular Mahayana of the northern countries. The author of the present thesis examines how far this belief is correct. For this purpose he has paid a number of visits to the island, consulted many academics and leaders of thought. He has also interviewed a large number of monks apart from members of the laity.

He points out that the ideal of pratyekabuddha, individual achievement of Nirvana, has appeal only to the higher grade of practitioners. The discipline it involves is too strenuous for the common folk. The result is they have slided into a religion in the name of the Buddha which holds visions of paradise for those who are reasonably righteous in their living. They worship local gods and have their own system of ethical adjustment. Even among the monks theory and practice are different.

In his systematic account of the Ceylonese people, the author gives their history and the geography of their land in detail. He examines to what extent the religion of the invaders from the West has made inroads in the traditional heritage. Was Buddha a man or God? Did he come to Ceylon and establish a following? What is the role of the primitive religion of spirits and godlings in the personal life of the country? These are some of the pointed questions that the author raises and seeks the answers from the rural areas.

The author has a racy style and keeps the reader interested. His approach is sympathetic and his conclusions are broadly acceptable.


Astrological Key in Mahabharata (The New Era): By Paule Lerner. Motilal Banarsidass, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi-110 007. Price: Rs. 120.

Paule Lerner who authored this amazing book, found many similarities and correspondence between the names of the characters in the epic and those of the astronomical and celestial bodies. With this key she unlocked the doors of the citadel of the epic, entered into the depths thereof, examined every nook and corner with an astrological lens, of incisive and searching talent, and came to the conclusion that the celebrated battle, in all its phases and with all the heroes and characters male and female involved, was but an echo of an ongoing combat between celestial and demonic beings, through their terrestrial incarnation and as a projection of siderial phenomena, whose appearance at a pivotal moment in the course of time, constitutes a threat to the ancient tradition.

The author opines that the epic as we have it is a composition of many writers of different times. Apart from the astrological readings, main features of all characters, physical and psycho­logical, are delineated in their true colours, with explanations where ever necessary. Main story from beginning to end is also presented. The first two chapters out of the thirty-one deal with the principles of Astronomy, Precession and symbolism of the Precessional Eras. These two chapters and a zodiacal chart enable an ordinary reader also to understand the subject to a great extent. The book is self-recommendatory.


Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare: By K. D. Sethna. Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry. Price: Rs. 35.

How can one describe a pilgrim’s rapture when he con­fronts the Triveni Sangam? Critical categories take leave of one’s literary arsenal when reading Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare. Sri Aurobindo, William Shakespeare, K. D. Sethna. Here is a book not to be quaffed at a single sitting, though slender it be. Sri Aurobindo missed no word or nuance of Shakespeare. It is impossible for K. D. Sethna to be careless when dealing with Sri Aurobindo’s pronouncements on the Bard of Avon. Only when we too can turn in such dedication that we can adventure in the Shakespearian spaces illumed by Sri Aurobindo’s seer-vision.

This book is about Sri Aurobindo and Shakespeare. Sri Sethna finds certain affinities between Shakespeare and Sri Aurobindo and prepares us to trace them:

“Sri Aurobindo is that extraordinary type of Yogi whose aim is to reach up to the Superhuman, the Divine, in order to strike upon life – strike not with a lash of light urging man to renounce earth by a mighty mass-movement towards Nirvana but with a sort of supa-Prospero’s staff so as to awaken man to the possibilities of a divine drama on the stage of the world. Sri Aurobindo would recreate human life.”

Both Sri Aurobindo and Shakespeare have “the sheer demiurgic power of creation.” Sri Aurobindo admired the Eliza­bethan Viswamitra for creating a world of his own, a Hiranyagarbha-power, “the luminous mind of dreams.” While Sri Aurobindo’s admiration for Shakespeare is deep, he is not uncritical. So he says: “The greatest minds have their limitations and Shakespeare’s over-abounding wit shuts him out from two Paradises, the mind of child and the heart of a mother.” Sri Aurobindo’s comparatist criticism weighing Shakespeare alongside the Sanskrit dramatists is full of illuminations.

K. D. Sethna misses none of the significant pronouncements of Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare seen in the ground of English literature. In the process we gain a grammar of dramatic poetry (not merely poetic drama) which brings into our vision superb wielders of the poetic line like Keats and Browning. Sri Aurobindo on Shakespeare is rich reading in every way for the book also reveals Sri Aurobindo’s utter humility as a critic. As if abashed by his own lofty pronouncements, he says: “These are tricks of language, and idiosyncrasies of preference. One has to put each thing in its place without confusing issues.” Our grateful thanks to Sri Sethna for this astute analysis of a dramatic poet by an epic creator.


College Teachers and Administrators - A Handbook: By I. V. Chalapati Rao. Booklinks Corporation, Narayanguda, Hyderabad-500 029. Price. Rs. 90.

Education is an important conduit of social and economic change. The quantitative expansion of education, particularly higher education, in the post-independence period is indeed impressive. However, the qualitative aspects of education are causing concern. There is hardly any academic atmosphere in our educational institutions including universities. The educational standards have nosedived at all levels, in spite of significant growth in public outlay on education.

It is widely believed that the expansion in education is poorly planned. While the masses suffer from illiteracy and ignorance, the emphasis has all along been on higher education, particularly university education. Consequently, those who come out of schools and colleges are ill-equipped to face the challenges of life. The document entitled, “The Challenge of Education ­A Policy Perspective” has pertinently pointed out, “A pre­ponderant majority come out of educational institutions with very little capacity of self-study, poor language and communica­tion skill, a highly limited world view and hardly any sense of social and national responsibility.” The book under review, containing 31 chapters, throws useful light on some of the neglected areas in the educational field.

It looks as if the educational institutions are functioning to produce degree-holders. There is hardly any attempt to promote a spirit of enquiry and a sense of social responsibility. The stress is on examination results, and extra-curricular activities are left in the lurch. Educational institutions remain closed for weeks together due to trepidations engineered by students who often become pawns in the hands of politicians. Most teachers welcome these developments though not overtly as private tuitions are primary for them. The author has rightly observed, “Decline in academic standards can, therefore, be attributed to the fact that teaching is lecture-based, teacher-paced and examination-oriented” (p. 49). There is practically no accounta­bility in the educational field.

The author, who is a distinguished educationist with vast experience as a teacher as well as an administrator, has done a very good job by presenting the role of educational administra­tors in improving the image of educational institutions. The book has dealt with all aspects of educational reforms, keeping in view the need for toning up quality. It is an extremely useful guide to all those who are serious about initiating measures to obviate the obtuse atmosphere on the campus.


Sankara: By I. V. Chalapati Rao. Published by Telugu University, Kalabhavan, Hyderabad-4. Price: Rs. 18-50.

            Jagadguru Adi Sankaracharya was almost unique in the history of thought. He combined in himself the attributes of a poet, a logician, a devotee and a mystic as well as being the architect of the monastic system of philosophy that bears his name.

Throughout the international world of philosophy Sri Sankara is recognised as the Prince Philosopher of Non-dualism (Advaita) who laid out the Path of Knowledge (Jnana Marga) as the means to the realisation of the individual’s oneness with the Supreme.

Another important aspect of Sri Sankaracharya is his great contribution to Hindu religion through his yeoman service in purifying the path of devotion (Bhakti Marga). Sankara’s greatness lies in the fact that he did not make the institution of religion a rigid “nut” affair, but made it as flexible as possible within the framework of Vedic prescriptions.

Mr. Chalapati Rao, the author, is of the opinion that “Sankara’s message has a special significance in the present world and modern times ... when there is no catholic outlook or deep and spiritual life.” He feels that never before in the history of our country the values had dipped so low as they have now. And, therefore, he undertook to present briefly the life of Sankaracharya, the humanist, poet, integrator and philosopher, for the benefit of the younger generation.

Mr. Chalapati Rao is a distinguished educationist. He served over thirty years in different capacities – as Principal, Deputy Director of Higher Education and Director of SCERT,. Hyderabad, besides working as Registrar of the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad. He has authored about twenty books of intrinsic literary and cultural value. His latest work, translation from Telugu, the autobiography in three volumes of Andhra Kesari T. Prakasam would be of great value to readers all over the country and abroad.

The book under review is divided into eleven chapters and covers all the important events in Sankara’s illustrious life. The social and secular aspects of Sankara’s life and teaching have been focussed very well. The presentation is both analytical and interesting. The book is a welcome addition to the many volumes available now on Sankara, and should be read with profit both by students and intelligent lay persons.


Paper Boats (1921), On the Sand-dunes (1923), The Nature of Creative Art (1950): The new centenary editions of books by K. S. Venkataramani. Published by Sri K. Narayanaswami, 5, Brindavan Street, Mylapore, Madras-4, on behalf of the Birth Centenary Celebration Committee. Price: Rs. 15, Rs. 15 and Rs. 5, respectively.

K. S. Venkataramani (1891-1952) is that rare bird that warbles in our neighbourhood once in a while and flies away one knows not where. Unlike Keats’s nightingale, Venkataramani knew all “the weariness, the fever and the fret” of life. He had a share larger than is given to men of his gifts and academic attainments, of life’s agonies and less of its ecstasies. Yet, suffering did not sour his temper or sear his soul. He derived whatever joy he could from looking at the stars in the sky, the flowers in the field, the monsoon clouds laden with fertilising rain-drops, the river eddying its way to the sea, the catamaran and the climbing waves, in short, whatever bountiful Nature offered to man as its gifts, both tangible and intangible.

Venkataramani was a thinker and writer, idealistic to the core of his being, with an unshakeable faith in rustic simplicity. With a poetic streak in him, he turned everything he saw and fell into words of beauty and charm. The spoken or the written word had for him not the ordinary meaning attached to it. The vitality of a word depended on the degree of suggestive strength which the creative artist imparted to it by his own personality. He said: “For purposes of trade and commerce and the inanities of daily life every word has no doubt a clear meaning attached to it almost as if it were by a statute. But it is really dead weight in an atmosphere of art unless the creative artist by his magic touch raises the dead and makes the word live by reflecting his soul.”

Venkataramani’s writings – he wrote short stories, novels, essays and Gitanjali type reflections in poetic-prose on life, nature and God – can be best appreciated if one looks upon him as a patriot first and foremost, an apostle of Arcadian simpli­city and an advocate of the Advaitic view of the oneness of the ultimate Reality. He wrote both in English and Tamil and he rarely let go a sentence without embellishing it without a simile or a metaphor or with the magic touch, as he would put it, of the creative artist. The temptation to quote Venkataramani is too strong to resist but space forbids giving free reign to one’s desire.

“Paper Boats”, which appeared in 1921, when Venkataramani was 30, is a collection of essays on village life and social customs as well as profiles of archetypal individuals – the grandmother of the joint family, the successful man under the British Raj, the village untouchable, the Hindu pilgrim and the fisherman. “On the Sand-dunes” (why sand-dunes when “dunes” would suffice) contains Venkataramani’s credo – set your face against industrialism and urbanisation.

“The Nature of Creative Art”, based on a series of lectures that Venkataramani delivered at some universities, presents his exalted view of creative art and criticism, both of which, accord­ing to him, are the two sides of the same coin. Both become authentic, even indistinguishable, when they spring from “Swaanubhava”. He places on the same pedestal the Advaitin, the poet and the rasika.

Venkataramani needs to be read to be really understood. Even if one doesn’t agree with all that he says, the manner of his telling holds one in thrall. The style is the man.


Great Indian Patriots: Volumes 1 & 2: By P. Rajeswara Rao. Mittal Publications, New Delhi-110 059. Price Rs. 250 and Rs. 225, respectively.

P. Rajeswara Rao, a leading advocate and a journalist, is last in the line of the great Andhra journalists in English such as Rama Rau, Khasa Subba Rau, Iswara Dutt and M. Chalapati Rao.

It was said that A. G. Gardiner remarked on seeing biographi­cal sketches of Iswara Dutt that Iswara Dutt was his Indian edition. No doubt if Gardiner were alive today, he would unhesitatingly have hailed Rajeswara Rao as his super Indian edition. His early acquaintance with all great men of his times and the inspiration he drew from Iswara Dutt’s My Portrait Gallery and Sparks and Fumes impelled him to take to the art of writing biographical pen-por­traits of patriots, statesmen, politicians, scholars and sages. He is a past-master in the art of painting pen-pictures and thumb-nail sketches. Every sketch is replete with interesting facts and fascinating anecdotes spiced with personal touch. The brevity of expression and the beauty of language go together to make every biographical piece a sparkling gem – chiselled and cut nicely.

Volume I consists of lives of 60 great men beginning with Andhra Kesari and ending with Rajaji. These 60 sketches which were published in “Indian Express “ every week came in book­ form entitled “Profiles in Patriotism”. The first edition was exhausted in no time. Meanwhile, he wrote some 51 sketches beginning with Mahatma Gandhi and concluding with Indira Gandhi. In these volumes, the readers feel inter-faced with giants like Jawaharlal, Subhas Chandra Bose, C. P. Ramaswamy Iyer, Tej Bahdur Sapru, M. N. Roy, Jinnah and a host of pre-independent and post-independent stalwarts.

The author’s ability to handle the English language with effortless ease arrests attention, and compels admiration, though he did not make any tall claims of his being a student of English language and literature in the introduction.

The printing and get-up are attractive. The volumes deserve a pride of place on bookshelves of book-lovers.


Brahmavidyaa: The Adyar Library Bulletin, Vol. 55.1991. The Adyar Library and Research Centre. The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras-20. Price: Rs. 100.

This valuable bulletin contains nine research articles written by eminent scholars. The first one entitled “H-Sound in the Pratyahara Sutras of Panini”, after a long discussion, concludes with evidence and illustrations that Panini in his enumeration of Samskrit letters took into account, not the phonemics but the articulatory processes only, and that ‘H’ in ha-l is different from the h in ha, ya, va, ra and t. This difference is highlighted in four places. The second article “Propagation of Written Literature in Indian Tradition” deals with topics like “Vidya­dana”, its benefits, “Scribe”, “equipments for writing”, copying of the manuscript, exhibition and deposit of manuscripts, etc., based mostly on the text Kriyakalpataru. Some outstanding philosophical issues that figure in disputes between Mimamsakas and Buddhists, is the third. The article “Winning over the worlds through the Agnihotra” is a translation of a relevant portion of Jaiminiya Brahmana, with the samskrit text in Devana­gari script. This text cautions us against committing errors in the performance of the ritual. “No body in this world should enjoy things for himself” is the message conveyed herein. “Why the Asamavayi Karana” is another article, which shows why a non-inherent cause is necessarily to be admitted. Dr. Kunhan Raja in the last essay concludes that there is nothing which stands in the way of the popular tradition making Sankara and Mandana­misra contemporaries in the 8th century A. D. There are reviews of sixty-two books highly helpful to students and scholars alike.


Encounter with Islam: Edited by Dr. S. D. Kulkarni. Published by BHISHMA, B7-8 Sreepal Apartments, Panch Pakhadi, Thane-400602.     Price; Rs. 320

A book of this type, if properly understood, is the need of the day. The editor dared to bring to limelight the harm done to India by Sultanate and Mughals, and present the essence of Islam and Muhammad’s teachings very objectively corroborating his statements by quoting verse and chapter from the Koran and the writings of contemporary eye witnesses. In addition to the subjects, Muhammad the prophet, first four pious caliphs, etc., expansion of the Sultanate and sway of the Mughals – all ranging from 1206 to 1856 A.D. in chronological order, are also described. Contributions of kings like Akbar, etc., are not left out, Shivaji’s heroic part is portrayed. Defects of Hindu kings are also pointed out. We have to learn lessons from history. This book should neces­sarily be studied by all Muslim brothers, pseudo-secularists and Hindus also to have a correct idea of historical facts and then introspect themselves.


The Mother - Education. Part Two.: Sri Aurobindo Book Distribution Agency, Pondicherry-2. Price: Rs. 30.

This compilation consists mainly of selections from the Mother’s correspondence and conversations with the students and teachers of the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. The first section consists of written statements, the second of conversations. Most aspects of education with the exception of physical education are discussed.

Mother’s advice and answer to a question “How can one develop one’s thought?” is as follows– “You must read with much attention and concentration, not novels or dramas, but books that make you think. You must meditate on what you have understood. Talk little and speak only when indispensable.” According to Mother, everyone should learn Sanskrit – Sanskrit that is behind all the languages of India (p. 219). It should be the national language (p. 113). Truth, harmony and liberty should be the guiding principles of the new ideal of education (p. 7). The section on National Education deserves a keen study.

This book is full of valuable suggestions which, if followed, will usher in a new and brighter India.



India Plunges into All-Round Chaos: By Pratapa Ramasubbaiah. Published by Marxist Adhyayana Vedika, Hyderabad. Price Rs. 25. (Part I - English and Part II- Telugu)

The author participated in the freedom struggle as a Congress­man and later joined the Communist party. He had later on resigned from CPI and decided to remain an independent Marxist thinker. He continued his studies into Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in the light of world national freedom struggles and International Communist Movement. He is a prolific writer on matters of con­temporary interest, one of them being a book on Spanish Civil War.

The book under review is a collection of selected articles in English and Telugu. Part one of this volume, in English, contains thirteen articles beginning with “Human Elements in Shakespeare’s works” and ended with “The Place of Muslims in Free India.” Part two also contains thirteen selected articles written in Telugu. The first is (when translated into English) “Alround Distress Extending all over” and the last one “Retreat of Communist Movement”. All the articles incorporated into this volume are of topical interest. As time passes they lose their novelty and, often, their readability. The only exceptions are the articles on Shakespeare, Kalidasa, Vavilala and Sthanam Narasimha Rao. Though it is possible for a non-Marxist student to be prepared to read the works of Marxist writers with the object of learning from them, it becomes either difficult or uncomfortable to read Marxist thought injected into classics like Ramayana, Bharata, Kshetrayya Padams and even the science of Ayurveda to give them bad names.

To conclude, the book offers difficult reading for one who is not a Marxist. However, there is a very strong under-current of sincerity based on the belief by the learned author that Marxism is the panacea for all the ills of mankind. In the various articles the learned author has expressed many opinions emphatically. It is difficult to agree with most of them. The exceptions are his views on corruption in public life, double-face of the politicians, role of Muslims in Free India and Reservation for jobs.



The Agamasastra of Gaudapada: Edited by Vidhusekhara Bhatta­charya. Motilal Banarsidass Pvt. Ltd. Delhi-7. Price: Rs. 200.

This is a reprint of the first edition published in 1941. This is a very critical edition of the text Agamasastra, otherwise known as Gaudapada Karikas, because this is based on many manu­scripts and editions. Samskrit text is given in Roman script and the editor gives his translation in English, which is followed by the editor’s own commentary wherein he quotes many passages from many Buddhist and other philosophical works also.

His interpretations are based on a wide and deep study of Buddhist philosophical works which, according to him, have greatly influenced Gaudapada. He differs from Sankara, who, he feels, grossly misunderstood the original import of the Karikas. Every assertion of the editor is based on documentary evidence.

The Karikas are older than the Mandukya Upanishat, which has drawn much from the former. The four books were originally four independent treatises. By the time of Sankara the original text has undergone some changes. The actual name of the author of Karikas was Gauda. Neither Paramarthasaara, nor Yogavasishtha can be considered as the basis for the Karikas. These are some of his conclusions. Pre-Sankara teachers of Vedanta and a conspectus of the contents of the Agamasastra, are presented for critical, historical and philological understanding of the Agama­sastra. This book is of great help to all students of Advaita philosophy.



Sankara Grandha Ratnavali: Volumes 12,13 and 14. Sadhana Grandhamandali, Tenali-522201. Price Rs. 30, 35 and 35, respectively.

All devotees of Sri Sankara and students of Advaita philosophy are highly beholden to the publishers for having brought out these precious books in Samskrit with Telugu commentaries by eminent Pandits.

Volume 12 : This contains Lalita Trisati Stotra with Sankara’s commentary. The original text is followed by a translation by T. Raghava Narayana Sastry who was not only a scholar of high repute, but also an Upaasaka of high order.

Three hundred names in praise of the Goddess Lilata are in the Advaitic interpretation as against the Saaktic interpretation given to the famous Lalita Sahasranama by Bhaskaracharya. A daily recitation of this Stotra which is embedded with the Bijaaksharaas of the Panchadasi Mantra is believed to be highly efficacious. The translation is the most authentic one and we commend it to all the devotees.

Volume: 13: Contains Upadesu Sahasri of Sankara. It consists of 116 prose passages and 694 Slokas in Samskrit. This work is quoted very often by Suresvara and later Advaita writers. Like other minor works (Prakaranas) of Sankara, this also explains the main tenets of the Advaita doctrine, citing Upanishadic texts. This work was translated to some extent by late Veluri Sivarama Sastry, a famous scholar and poet and then completed by Sri Sambasiva Sastry who also is an eminent Pandit.

Volume 14:  This contains three Prakaranas Vakyavritti, Hastamalakiya and Adhyatmapatala. Vakyavritti is a scholarly exposition of the famous Mahaavaakyas “Tattvam asi”, etc. It consists of 53 Slokas only, but the commentary thereon in Samskrit extends to over 208 pages. It discusses all technical problems in detail.

            Hastamalakiya written by Hastamalaka, a direct disciple of Sankara, contains 12 verses in Samskrit. That it was commented by Sankara himself speaks of the greatness of this work.

Adhyatmapatala: Apastamba, the well known author of Dharmasutras, devoted a chapter therein to discuss spiritual matters. It was also commented upon by Sankara. All the three are translated by Laxmavadhani, a scholar in Veda, Bhashya, Mimamsa and Vedanta, now a Sanyasin. These volumes deserve to be read by all students and followers of Advaita philosophy.



Advaita Vijayu Vaijayanti: By Sri Kasikaanandagiriji Maharaj. Price: Rs. 10.

Mahishaasuramardani Stotram with commentary in Samskrit, and Hindi and English translations. Price: Rs. 10.

Ambaashtaka Stotram with Samskrit commentary and Hindi and English translations. Price: Rs. 10. All the three are available at Bharati Samskrita Vidya Niketanam, 12 Shankar Kunj, Asalfa Govinda Nagar, Ghatkopar, Bombay-84.

Bharati Samskrita Vidyaniketanam is doing signal service to the Samskrit language and Advaita Vedanta by conducting Samskrit teaching classes in selected places, arranging for teaching of Sri Sankara’s Bhashyas, and by publishing valuable Samskrit books like these under review, in addition to the maintenance of a school.

Polemics of Dvaita and Advaita Vedanta is the theme of the first book. Dvaitins maintain that the famous verse “Khsetrajnam chaapi maam viddhietc., in the Bhagavatgita declares that Jeeva is different from Pararnatman. Dvaitins presented their arguments and challenged the Advaitins to counter them. Sri Kasikaanandagiriji, an intellectual giant proficient in almost all lores, took up the cause of Advaita and rebutted the arguments advanced by the Dvaitins. This booklet gives a summary of these discussions and is highly educative.

The other two books, famous Stotrams in Samskrit, contain the original texts in Devanagari script, a lucid and detailed Samskrit commentary by Kasikaanandagiriji, Hindi and English translation by Dr. Usha Bhise. The Mahishasura Stotra is full of alliterations and is not easily understandable. Such a text is made easy by this commentary. So is the case with the second one.



Parvateesaprabhu Satakam: By Prof. Kota Sundara Rama Sarma. Tripurasundari Pratishtanam, Chintaguntapalem, Machilipatnam. Not priced.

Bhavagopi: By Sri Kuchi Suryaprakasa Sarma, Anakapalli. Price: Rs. 10.

Muvvala Chetikarra:  By Sikhamani. Book Centre, Visakhapatnam-I. Price: Rs. 15.

Alalaku Votamiledu: By A. Surya prakash. Rachana Publishers, Pant Road, Armoor. Price: Rs. 7.

Antarvani: By Yelchuri Vijayaraghava Rao, Ram saran, 4A/45 Sion West, Bombay-22.

Abhyuddhayam: By Yelchuri Vijayaraghava Rao. Address as above, Not Priced.

Bhutana masmi chetana: By Sattiraju Krishna Rao. Kalyani Publications, Basantnagar, Hyderabad-27. Price: Rs. 15

It is often asserted, of course with a pardonable flair for generalisation, that industrial age and brilliant poetic output do not go together. Industrial advancement, scientific and technical progress, and resultant material values no doubt have a scuttling effect on the leisurely rhythm of life which critics of yester years believe was a necessary pre-condition for spontaneous poetry, rich in aesthetic values. This viewpoint may or may not be true but one may not fail to take note of an unbriddled upsurge of contemporary poetic output, thanks to the availability of the so­ called social issues easy to ruminate upon, non-compliance of scholastic and metrical regimen and an explosion of mass media. It is hard and perhaps hazardous to evaluate in the contemporary poetry in the context of accepted canons of poetic excellence. But there is no denying that some poets novicial and some reputed, have something to say especially in the social milieu. Their thought patterns, flair for muse and totality of literary impact may not be above average but they deserve attention by dint of sheer sense of timing and the quickness in poeticisation. In the grist of the mill quickness few poems of classical tone and tenor appear once in a way and reach the readers for whom they are meant. The general poetry of the often concerning itself with special problems and exuding abundant social com­mitment, has come to stay as an order of the day. It is in the nature of things that protagonist of time tested formulate and his antagonist co-exist.

Prof. K. Sundara Rama Sarma, a polyglot, a poet, a pedagogue and NRI who has held high positions in and outside India, and has recently started a humanitarian foundation in India in memory of his wife, is a multifaceted personality. In the heart of Pune city on a hillock the temple of Parvateeswara (Eswar on the mountain) is situated. Inspired by His Darshan Prof. Sarma composed a Sataka in Telugu and later in Sanskrit at the behest of late C. D. Deshmukh. Thus the present work is in Telugu and Sanskrit. The present Sataka has attracted many encomiums from stalwarts like Viswanadha and Jammalamadaka among others. It has gusto, spontaneity, scholarship, fine imagination and rich imagery in both languages. The poetry is cast in classical mould and one expects Prof. Sarma to come out with more classical works. On the whole an appreciable poetic work.

            Bhavagopi by Kuchi Suryaprakasa Sarma employs Gopi-­Krishna lore for its subject. It has classical metres and lays stress on aesthetic excellence. The concept of Madhura Bhakti permeating althrough the poem interprets the Jeevatma and Paramatma concepts in the relationship between Lord Krishna and Gopis. Each of the fragments of thought in this context with one or two verses employed to portray a single incident flash a fine thought. Mellifluous style with a generous sprinkling of pun and rhetoric, more often than not aimed at suggesting Krishna philosophy, make the poem a shining example of purpose­ful Chamatkaras.

Sikhamani, reputed modern poet, comes out with a very potential poetic volume Muvvala Chetikarra containing forty-three poetic pieces in verse libre, all of them very readable and inspiring in their content and manner. The title itself is symbolic of human limitations vis-a-vis his aspirations in the social spectrum. The poet presents life from various angles. Philosophic under­tones, powerful utterances, fine poetic imagery, a deep concern for human welfare and chiselled poetic craft make this volume easily one of the best in the genre.

A. Suryaprakash in his poetic volume Alalaku Votamiledu containing 40 pieces reflects the present day poetic order. The volume is named after one of the pieces herein. In the first piece the poet assumes a pedagogic stance and tries to define poetry at length. Poetry he avers is a symbol of the beautiful, metrical display of thought and a means for social welfare. Mini poetry also has its own share in this volume. The perpetual practice of a poet aimed at excellence and social purpose is an ocean and the present pieces are its waves. One hopes that by dint of practice Suryaprakash would bring out bigger volumes of poetry from his heart’s ocean.

Yelchuri Vijayaraghava Rao a flutist of global repute is a versatile culturist. He has been trying his hand at poetry also with a considerable measure of success and the present volumes Antarvani and Abhyuddhanam bring together few of his poetic compositions.

            Antarvani has thirty-eight pieces published previously in various journals. Vijayaraghava Rao’s imaginative faculty is evident althrough. Though he is not committed to any poetic ‘ism’ as such, an eye for the beautiful and his human approach make the pieces mostly written in free verse readable. Abhyud­dhanam gives a glimpse of a more mature poetic approach. Nineteen pieces compiled herein have variegated content and thought. Abhyuddhanam, the title piece, gives a glimpse of Vijaya­raghava Rao’s poetic viewpoint. He feels that a poet’s heart should respond to many thoughts and beauties of the unlimited universe. This piece appears to be the best in the compilation considering its extent and intense passion for human values. Equally good are smaller pieces like Adyantalu reflecting the eternal quest and Sadhana of the poet. In fine, a poetic escapade of a maestro with latent talent and sense of projectionism.

            Bhutanamasmichetana by Sattiraju Krishna Rao has Geya and classical metres. Though a maiden venture the present poetic volume testifies to the fine imaginative faculty, spiritual undertones and a flair for the beautiful. While all the pieces (thirty-three in all) are generally good, pieces like “Sitakoka chiluka” come in for special mention. On the whole a com­mendable effort.


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