Background of Durvadal By
Hari Bhau Upadhyaya
I am neither a poet nor an artist. I am a humble, fragile but a highly inspired ordinary traveler who always tries to move forward. Whatever ideals and principles of humanity I have in my mind, whatever goals I have for public service, I have tried to move forward towards them, and will continue to do so. Those thoughts, those ideas and those good inherited acts which inspired and encouraged me, gave me hope and courage, guided me from time to time during my attempts to achieve my goal, emerged as these ordinary poems. A collection of those is ‘Durvadal’. Since there is no miracle, flavor and smooth flow in these so how can I expect it to find a place in the literary field? I can hope that it may inspire and help those who are devotees of humanity and want to progress towards that. If this happens, I will consider this publication to be a success. I will be satisfied if readers find it useful and helpful in developing a progressive society.
Even if I am not a poet, I do have some thoughts about poetry. I think poetry is not a one sided affair. Simple process of writing, its flavor, the way the words are strung together, and the format in which it is written does not make a complete poetry but they are different parts of it. The poem walks closely with the human life as a companion. It is born from the heart’s tender feelings and with its continuous smooth flow it makes human life sweet and showers happiness.
In 1930, during the freedom struggle, while in Jail, the definition of poem that came to my mind is expressed in the following couplet in the Poem (Kavita) Page 27:
A swan started its journey from
Deep within the lake of a heart,
Flies high in the wide open sky
It sings and showers elixir that
Flows smoothly to the earth
And transforms itself into a poem.
My first written available poem, a prayer for auspicious Radha Krishna (God) was written in Kashi in 1910.
Roaming in Vrindavan,
Holding vanshi in hand,
Accompanied by flute charmed Radhika
Happily playing and frolicking,
Shri Hari takes away sorrows of all
And brings bliss and joy to the world.
In this, poet has requested Bhagwan (God) to remove all sorrows and give happiness to the entire world. Along with this, look at the last lines of other poem, written in Nov. 1958
I am thirsty for Your sweet love
And have faith in Your sweet sweetness.
I wait for the sweet union with You
My soul is impregnated with your sweetness.
Songs by cuckoo and even crow
And even snake’s poison is sweet,
Sweetness resides in the forest,
In people and in the hearts.
There is sweetness in the life
And in the world.
Sweetness is there during the fun and enjoyment
And in Yoga as well as in sickness since even in the sorrows,
There is a flavor of sweetness.
In the last lines the readers will notice that poet sees sweetness everywhere. In one poem written before that:
With your auspicious heart
Bless us with the auspicious boon”
Poet has experienced auspiciousness in deities and demons and heard chanting of Shiv Shiv (God) everywhere in the created nature.
Now focus on the other poems written in between these two time periods.
In “Rules of creation” page 5:
“Laugh at me ------------------------------------------------universe.”
This poem was written in Indore in 1920. The author of above poem at that time was restless and struggling. To get some calmness to the heart, he went to a park, but he felt that everything there was making fun and laughing at his pathetic condition. Then his sad heart cursed them. He told the flowers,
“Today you can laugh
But tomorrow when you will be crushed under the feet;
I will ask you how much you can laugh now.
He tells moon, yes, you can play hide and seek at my pitiable situation,
But there is a dark cloud approaching to cover you in the darkness.”
Which reader will not sympathizes with the poet after reading this? But immediately after the publication of this, one elderly gentleman friend said: “Hari Bhau, I like the satire in your poem but I had never thought any poet, specially someone with so much compassion like you will imagine or wish anything bad for anyone. This does not look like a work of a good poet. From a poet, people expect inspiration, encouragement, joy and happiness.”
His comment helped me to reconnect with the usual feelings of my heart. I thought Bhagwan (God) has sent a word of caution to me at the right time. Compare this to “Spring” (Basant) on page 6 which was written after that.
“What do the tender leaves say----------------------------------------spring”
The newly born tender leaves bring strength to life, cuckoo’s voice wakes us, the entire world is waiting to welcome spring.
In 1917, in Juhee, based on Shri Arvind’s English poem, following poem was written.
Certainly one day this old body will be destroyed,
A new born life definitely will bring joy and happiness to the world.
These three are one---- Ishwar, independence and immortality,
Their equality will be proven if not today then tomorrow.
In this, Ishwar, independence and immortality are considered a single unit and it is hoped that this unity will be proven in future.
Call of this independence and unity took me under the wing of worth worshipping Bapuji (Gandhi ji) in 1921 and made me write “Immortal Child” (Amrit-Santan) on page 53 in 1925.
Wake up; get up O immortal child,
Staying still is not in your nature
You are, but an active soul.
In this, humanity is considered a generous gift. After this, in “Salute to Maalav Bhoomi” page 54 and “Rajasthan” page 55 one can hear the voice of utmost hope, bright future and spiritual development. Durvadal starts with Worship of nature (Prakriti Poojan) and ends with Devotee and the Divine (Abhed Poojan). “Sweet union” page 116 (Madhu-Milan) gives glimpse of Divine pervasiveness (Mangala Yatno Hari).
In “Babool and Rose (Babool and Gulab)on page 17”, “Khad (Compost) on page 11”, “Lamp (Deepak) on page 19”, “Foundation and Top” (Neeve or Shikhar) on page 20, an attempt is made to uplift the status of less fortunate, so called “lower class” people by pointing out the good in them and to seek good even in evil. Everyone sees Bhagwan (God) in Ram (Incarnation of Vishnu) but to try to see Bhagwan (God) even in Ravan (Demon King, defeated by Ram) is suggested. In 1956 ‘Blessed Kingdom” (Mangal Raj) on page 24 was established where:
Bulganin becomes Buddha,
Snakes showers elixir,
Stone smiles, Kajal (Black eye make up) is white,
And lion pats deer.
Do you not want a Ram Raj (God’s Kingdom) like this?
There is a history in the poem “Khad” (Fertilizer) on page 18. In the beginning my pseudonyms were: “Maalav Mayoor” and “Bharat Bhakt”. Patriotic poems were written as Bharat Bhakt and others as Maalav Mayoor. Later I published Maalav Mayoor magazine also.
I have thought a lot about my role in life. There are three types of people; like dog, bull and cow. Dog-like is opportunist, when scolded, it moves back but when opportunity comes it takes the advantage. Bull-like believe in ‘might is right’ and takes whatever they want with force. Cow grazes grass and gives milk without taking anything and giving all what is hers. I like the ideals of cow. But we worship cow as mother. It did not seem appropriate to use that, as it seems like I want to uplift my status to her level. I never liked the value of false status. I was looking for a name that may not be liked by people but provides valuable service to mankind. Bapuji (Mahatma Gandhi) always said that we have to produce best from the waste. I thought “Khad” is that thing that in itself is a waste but produces valuable crop. I adopted “Khad” as my name. To celebrate my happiness “Khad” (Fertilizer) on page 18 was written.
“Bhav Poojan” (Worship of Ideas) starts with “From where can I get perfect flowers to offer and poem ends with “I offer sharp thorns at your feet.” We must offer our best to Bhagwan (God). This poet offers his best which are thorns, even if he tries to get flowers. So what can he do? He offers the thorns to Bhagwan (God). “Bhagwan I offered You what I got from You” “Bhav Poojan” (Worship of Ideas) ends with “Give elixir to others and drink poison yourself”. What can be better than to offer Bhagwan (God) crown of thorns and shower him with elixir!
In “Rashtra Poojan”, (Worship of Nation)“My life to you” (Jeevan Nisar) on page 56 and “Hymn of life” (Jeevan Mantra) on page 57 have special importance. In “Jeevan Nisar” the poet felt everything in his birth land is alive and his vision for future is divine, splendid and magnificent.
“Your rocks and pebbles are my adorable Deities,
Chirping of your birds is a sound from universe.”
In “Hymn of life”
‘With new light, new message, new strength and new progress,
May hymn of my life be
New effort and new sacrifice”.
Which reader will not say “Yes, this is my hymn of life as it should be for everyone.”
Now we go quickly through “Daridra Poojan” (Worship of the Poor) and “Guru Poojan” (Worship of the Mentor) and then continue to “Dev Poojan” (Worship of The God) as in the last one “Abhed Poojan” (Devotee and The Divine) next step is to reach Bhagwan. “Guru” here refers to Mahatma Gandhi.
In the starting poem “Amazed” (Hairan) on page 78 in “Dev Poojan” (Worship of God) the devotee, thinking about Bhagwan (God) is amazed to find Bhagwan (God) at her home.
She is amazed to find that his memory brings more joy and happiness than his presence but why she is not satisfied with the memories alone?
Confused and surprised poet, sometimes, requests, sometimes gets upset and then ask for forgiveness. Finally he reaches to his correct goal and says in “Auspicious name” (Mangal Naam) on page 83:
I live to look at Your lovely form,
I live to see the affection in Your eyes,
I live with Your sweet memories in my heart
And I live to always chant your auspicious name.
However, when Bhagwan (God) came, devotee is afraid of His greatness, power and brilliance and says in “Will You really Come” (Aaoge) on page 85:
Do not come as a master for You will oppress me but
Come as a friend and You will be victorious and conquer my heart.
Sometimes, poet has felt unity with Bhagwan (God). At last he finds Bhagwan’s (God’s) love. Although poet started with a lifeless idol of God, he progresses to become aware of the supreme consciousness and the divine love. When God says “ ask for a boon” devotes becomes thoughtful “what should he ask? Are prayer and worship performed to get something?” When Bhagwan insists, she says in “Wish or Desire” (Abhilasha) on page 98:
“Keep on asking and let me continue thinking“
How beautifully devotee asks for continued company of Bhagwan (God) during this dialogue!
Abhed Poojan (Devotee and The Divine) starts with “Offering” (Arpan) on page100 by saying
“I offer everything to You as a manifestation of my worship and prayer”
Whatever I have done good or bad, I offer to You because You are everything, You perform all actions, I am but a tool. This was written in Ajmer Jail in 1930. Before that in 1923, in “What is the difference’ (Kya Fark Hai)onpage 111 poet wrote
“We are not different from each other;
I am just what You are.
Can a water drop be different from the ocean?
I am only what You are.”
In 1950 he writes his experience in “Meditation” (Ekakar) on page 102:
“While lost in nothingness
I found myself complete.
The world is lost,
I found unity in differences.
Differences and struggles vanished,
And I found pure eternal peace and complete blissful joy.”
In other poem “True love” (Sacchi Preeti) on page 104 he says
“Today I have found true love.
I lost my physical form
But my heart found eternal happiness
Provided by king of seasons----the spring.
Suddenly my sorrows and unhappiness
My self-centered chains of worldliness and poisonous spells of demons
As I reached
The highest level happiness.
Success came from love,
From the knowable unknowable came
And from my heart You came in this divine kingdom.
The poet finds happiness in discovering minuteness in massiveness, movement in stillness and Bhagwan in man. This happiness is expressed in
My Beloved’s kingdom (Priya ka raj) page 105:
“Be ready to welcome Bhagwan.”
“Who has permeated the entire universe
Which is one of the forms of my beloved,
For me He has come to my humble door
Discarding his glorious crown”
I realized that
He exists in everything and everywhere;
In the flowers, in fragrance,
And in lamps.
Wherever I see,
I find Him.
It is all due to His love.
Today it is the difference only of words
In this loving world,
Whether He is the beloved
Or I am.
When finally devotee found Bhagwan (God) then he started to question Him. Now in this friendly relationship it seems normal to ask, in “Who is great?” (Mahan Kaun) page 108:
“Tell me, if you are the great one or I am great?”
If you are the great one then what favor you did by creating everyone smaller than you?”
Bhagwan (God)! How come you are great? The great ones are those who make others greater than them. You did not make anyone even equal to You. It requires an immense effort to reach to You. Devotee, who is considered smaller than You, is better, as he runs to help others in need. A question that comes to mind is if Bhagwan (God) is alone and can be reached through knowledge then why is there this creation of universe and illusion? He asks
“If this charming creation is only one of Your form,
Then what is the difference
If I stay trapped in this illusion
Or try to get myself free from it?”
When there is no difference between Bhagwan (God) and the poet, he wondered why universe is called illusion? He says
This is a strange game of nature
That what one sees is not real
Whatever is hidden is secret
And one that is hidden is truth”.
Finally he decides
“I am created by You and now I recognized You,
Then truth is, that I am also real (truth)
You and I are The truth.”
Living so close to Bhagwan (God), the poet is concerned that Bhagwan (God) may be thinking that the poet wants something from him, so he writes.
“I do not desire fame or even You
I only want to continue having some kind of relationship between You and me”.
This kind of relationship was established between them but now it started looking sweet. He says
“This is a sweet auspicious union.”
In the last lines of this poem, the writer has the same confidence in the readers
I am thirsty for Your loving affection and I have faith in your sweetness.
Devotion requires devotee to offer his life to Bhagwan (God). We teach the citizens to offer their life to the society. Both are equally good but it is easy to see society and not Bhagwan (God). In imagination, Bhagwan (God) is definitely better and wide spread therefore one who has offered his life to Bhagwan (God) has already offered it to the society. The first step is towards the society and last is Bhagwan (God). There is no contradiction here; one helps us to reach other. Offering to the society or to Bhagwan (God) is the last action. The beginning of this is the service which ends in offering.
In Durvadal wherever Bhagwan, Dev, Prabhu, Ishwar (God) and related names are used, if one does not like those, he can kindly replace them by the society related names. I can say it with confidence that the readers will not find anything but desire to serve humanity and God from one to the other end of this book. It is not because Durvadal has on purpose selected the collection to emphasize this point, but the truth is that this writer has never written either poem, prose or any writing where this is not been an essential theme. In view of that it is not unreal to expect respect for Durvadal from the readers.
In publication of Durvadal, first of all I want to thank my dear friend Viyogi Hari ji. Unexpectedly, one day in the train, I read a few poems to him. He liked them and asked to see the whole collection. Out of those, what he selected are now for the readers as Durvadal. He kindly edited this also. I am glad that it has been edited and approved by one of the great and well known Hindi poet. I am grateful to him. I am grateful to the publishers of the magazines where these poems were initially published. In addition my thanks to my friends who encouraged and inspired me to publish this.
May we all worship truth,
May we all be fearless and pure,
May we all perform our duties
And do not get defeated by sorrows and unhappiness.
National Week Haribahu Upadhyaya