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Sunday, November 30, 2014


If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.
                                                                      -  Isaac Newton

I am truly humbled with the kind of literary stuff I come across in my life. I read great works of wisdom masters who include Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore whose masterly work "Gitanjali' transcended me from mundane thinking.

We have so many poets who stirred the mankind with their writings and amongst them is Subramania Bharati, the great Tamil Poet after Thiruvalluvar whose classic work Tirukkural should not be missed to read.
Some books come to our life only when there is divine intervention. The same happened to me some days ago. I was exposed to a translated version of Bharati's works authored by Prema Nanda kumar. In fact, that book was published by Sahitya Akademi and I tried to to buy it but could not procure as it was out of print. I searched for other scholarly translation and immediately I was landed up to Usha Rajagopalan's translation - Everyman's Selected Poems of Subramania Bharati.

The book offers the treasure of information about the life of Subramania Bharati. He is one of the greatest 20th century Tamil Poets. You can read more about Bharati at Wikipedia. He was a child prodigy. Bharati was his title conferred on him at the age of eleven which means ' one blessed by the goddess of learning'.

His works are philosophical. When you read it you get a feel of reading Indian Ancient Texts : Vedas /Upanishads. His poems are devotional and catching his imagination on Nature is difficult to fathom for a lay reader.

Some of my favourite lines of Subramania Bharati are :

The hand opens a lock,
Wisdom opens the mind.

The mind controls the breath,
Right action shields the body.

I came across a baby fire,
I kept it in a tree hollow,
The forest charred and cooled.
Fire Power - is it young or old ?
Whoosh, crackle, snap, sizzle.

Me we reap quickly the fruits of our effort.
May we earn wealth and joy, fame on earth.

( credit: Usha Rajagopalan's book: Selected Poems of Subramania Bharati )

His poem 'The Goddess of Beauty' is very touching. His other poem on the greatness of 'worker' is equally inspiring. His poems on 'Awake, Mother India !' helped in strengthening Independence Movement from British.

History reveals that great people have not lived fully on this planet and they came only for a short sojourn but during that short period, they made ripples. Bharati who moved India with his fiery poems also died at the young age of 39 much like Vivekananda who also left his body at the same age. Hope these stalwarts continue to inspire succeeding generations !

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