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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sitakant mahapatra on The Coloured Yolk of Love

Radha-Krishna Love:
Vrindavan: The Coloured Yolk of Love
                                                                                 Sitakant Mahapatra

        Gopikrishnan Kottor is already a known voice in modern Indian Poetry in English. Vrindavan, I find, have won very favourable notice in literary journals, poets and critics. In his hands the eternal love between Radha (by legend his maternal auntie) and Krishna acquires a new dimension. The poet quotes very appropriately Chandidas:
“The essence of beauty springs from the eternal play of man as Krishna and woman as Radha.”
        Man as Purusa and woman as Prakriti is well-celebrated in our philosophy. Krishna is the Blue God, who spent his childhood with cowherd boys in Gopapur not far from ‘Barsana’ where Radha was born. The poet, in his brief preface, describes the landscape of Brajadham and its various institutions and temples including the associated legends. Widows flock to Vrindavan seeking redemption in Krishna’s love.
        The series of 214 poems begin with The Arrival and ends with The Departure. Radha’s love for Krishna is a sweet mix of erotic passion, intense desires, solicitations and spiritual ecstasy. Love is divinized. The blue eye of peacock tail is symbolic of the Blue God, his dark cloud-colour, the peacock feather decorating his head and his yellow garments. Jayadev, the celebrated Sanskrit Poet of Gitagovinda speaks of him as Pitabasan Banamali. Jayadev delineates Radha Krishna’s numerous dalliance on the Yamuna bank, in plain, explicitly erotic and evocative lines; the rasleela on its bank (along with sixteen thousand gopis). Kottoor may have been inspired by that epic.
        Kottoor in the Latin ‘Pavonina’ with which he begins gives what all the reader is going to meet throughout the book.
Drops of rain
play upon me
the stops of your flute;
Impassionate the wind
swivels in me ecstasy
as upon
a wet plantain leaf;
Running all over Vrindavan
bruised,
tethered to you.

        Late Niranjan Mohanty’s Krishna was on a slightly different pitch. It was not so detailed nor so long in describing their intense intimacy. Here the poet goes to even very small details. The procession of events include ‘early spring in Vrindavan’ Kamdev’s plight, mango season, golden willow, Jasmines et al. Radha is ‘filled up’ emotionally and physically. The body and soul could never be seen in isolation.
        In Max Muller Bhavan Lothar Lutze once recited, both in English and German, two poems of mine and two poems of Agyeya on the Krishna theme, since brought out in a volume titled Living Literature. Kottoor, no doubt, operates in a different plane.

        The ‘story’ is well told with competence. More power to Kottoor’s elbow.

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