Book: Hare Krishna by Mahathi
Book: Hare Krishna
Publisher: Prowess Publishing, May 2, 2017
Pages (Print Length) Paperback 402 pages
ISBN 978 161 813 284
Kindle Ed. ₹ 321
Paperback ₹ 450
Bhagavad Gita Verse 7, Chapter 4
Whenever there is a decline in righteousness, and a rise in unrighteousness prevails, then do I manifest myself, O Bhaarata.
Mahathi’s 8th book, Hare Krishna is an empowering tour-de-force of the glorious and adventurous saga of Lord Krishna’s childhood in mellifluous versification, inked in prosody of bansuri-like narrative and lyrical ballads. The book is a trans-creation in English by Mahathi based on the immortal Hindu classical epic, Srimad Bhagavatham by luminous spiritual H.H.Sage Sri Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa (see back cover of the book). It is the arduous arrival from Mahahi’s 6th book, FINDING THE MOTHER, another trans-creation in English verse reflective of SRI SUNDARA KANDA, H.H. Valmiki’s 5th Canto of SRIMAD RAMAYANA and well-recognised as an immortal classic of English Literature.
Author Mahathi’s prodigious Hare Krishna is staged as another English literary classic, prodding his literary esteem as “arguably one of the best English poets of the 21st century.” (see back cover of the book). It is set as ballads in iambic meter in 47 dramatic narrative and lyrical poems, with inclusive conundrums offering insightful explanations on critical religious topics related to Lord Krishna and Hinduism to flag 402 pages.
In order to appreciate, understand and absorb with relentless joy the childhood adventures of Lord Krishna as in this author’s book, Hare Krishna, it would be incumbent in body, mind and spiritual upliftment to quest for Lord Krishna. From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia,
“Krishna (/ˈkrɪʃnə/; Sanskrit: कृष्ण, Kṛṣṇa in IAST, pronounced [ˈkr̩ʂɳə] (About this sound listen)) is the god of compassion, tenderness, and love in Hinduism. He is one of the most widely revered and popular Indian divinities, worshipped as the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and also as the supreme God in his own right.”
In his blog, ThoughtCo.com, Subhamoy Das explains,
“As one of the principal gods of Hinduism, Krishna represents mankind’s aspiration to embody all that is divine. Amorous and loyal, he is seen as the ideal husband, and his playful nature is a gentle admonition to remain good-natured in the face of life’s challenges.
As counsel to the warrior Arjuna, Krishna serves as a moral compass for the faithful. His exploits in the Bhagavad Gita and other holy scripture are ethical models of behavior for Hindus, particularly on the nature of personal choice and responsibility to others.”
According to IndiaNetzone, the illustrious and spiritually glorifying childhood of Lord Krishna, being enshrined in the Krishna charitas, with Krishna blessed as the eighth incarnation of God Vishnu, is a significant part of the Indian epic Mahabharata. In the first three paragraphs, under the title: Childhood of Lord Krishna, Indian Classical Tale, Mahabharata,
The mischief and miracles by Lord Krishna in his infant days are still revered and remembered by the Indians as the holy antics by the Vishnu avatara in Gokula with the Braj people.
After the birth of Lord Krishna, his father Vasudeva brought him to Gokula. He was brought up in the safe and secured supervision of mother Yashoda and Nand. The maternal uncle of Lord Krishna, King Kansa was destined to die in his hands and thus the king wanted to kill Krishna right from his birth. During his childhood, Krishna faced several perilous situations that were designed by the notorious Kansa, however no one could slay him for his unsurpassed divine power.
There were great rejoicings and celebration in Gokula after the Braj people came to know about the charming son of Nand and Yashoda. The astrologers predicted that this divine child would kill the demons and the evil, thus he should be called the Lord of the herds and the Gopis. King Kansa somehow came to know that his reason of death lived in Gokula and kept on sending demons to slay all the children of the place.
And within this eternal swirl of a magnificent worldly amphitheatre, author Mahathi garlanded Lord Krishna’s childhood saga in this book Hare Krishna, in euphonious narrative and lyrical ballads. In offering BLESSINGS to Mahathi, Jai Srimannarayana writes,
Touch His [Lord Krishna] story anywhere. It is sweet. Put it in poetry or prose, and it is sweet. Let anyone sing it or write it, and it is still sweet because the very nature of the Lord is sweet. (p v)
Mahathi’s unequivocal due diligence in the pursuit of writing Hare Krishna, based on the epic classic saga SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM by H.H. Sage SRIKRISHNA DWAIPAYANA VYASA is sculpted from his undeterred belief that our fractured society and its social ills make us inhuman in a human world. This is Adharma. And only by following “Dharmic path alone can bring eternal peace and prosperity to the world.” (See back cover of the book).
In his own perambulating over this book, Hare Krishna, Mahathi informs us of his inner soul-searching, saying,
2 years of writing, 2 more years of waiting, strenuous research, a lot of prayers, a lot more of penance, pain, joy, tears and divine rhapsody; a little intuition, a shower of invisible benisons from THE MASTER and a never ending influx of blessings from family, friends, relatives and well-wishers…oh at last ready is HARE KRISHNA.
In typical vintage poetic affluence garnished in fun, pun and satirical brush-strokes, Mahathi reaches out to us with deep-throated emotions that resonate with Hare Krishna in this poem, Pages (first stanza),
Leaf by leaf through the pages of life,
searching for that something amiss,
longing for the eluding bliss…
through the maze of childhood
into the amazing youth…
And takes us to stanza 4,
Love, hate and disgust bubbling out
through the pores of sanity
that remained unchanged but entrapped
in life-long charade
leading my way to the mystic;
the strange and the unknown;
unfelt all these years
I dwelled, drudged and drained…
leaf by leaf through the pages of life…
(Mydavolu Venkatasesha Sathyanarayana to Literary Love,June 7, 2017, Face Book)
Mahathi is the author’s pen name. His true name is Mydavolu Venkatasesha Sathyanarayana. Dr.Madagula Nagaphani Sarma says in the ASHEERVABINANDANALU that the author adopted the pen name perhaps for a reason, in that the name “MAHATHI is the VEENA of divine sage NARADA.” (p viii)
And Evans Terence Mantyk, President and Co-Founder of the Society of Classical Poets, writes in the FOREWORD of Hare Krishna,
To write a book-length ballad is no small feat. Since Samuel Coleridge’s seminal Romantic work Rime of the Ancient Mariner was published in 1978, only a handful of poets have attempted a ballad this prodigious.
It appears evidentiary that Hare Krishna by author Mahathi is the most voluminous ballad poetry book in the last two centuries, in consideration of the following,
1798 – Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel T. Coleridge; lyrical ballads by William
1897 – The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde;
1911 – Ballad of the White Horse by G.K. Chesterson;
2013 – The Ballad of Radheya by K.R. Sharanya
Indian ballad poets of the last two centuries, to include Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949) and Jaishankar Prasad (1890-1937) are not given consideration here relative to their volume collection of poems.
If we can dare to concur that Mahathi’s gem stones of ballad poems in Hare Krishna ascribe him to be “a poet of enviable literary supremacy” (see back cover comments), let us randomly enjoy the bansuri so rich in aesthetics, metaphors, pun and satire for good entertainment.
Take a look at the initial poem, dedicated to LORD SRI KRISHNA VAASUDEVA, titled PRAYER AND DEDICATION (first stanza, p xxiv)
I scrawl ‘Hare Krishna, Krishna’;
my quill as Ram impels!
When sure can quell all sin; my ink,
Why other tales I tell?
A warm, pleasant dedication to Lord Krishna, reciting the Krishna mantra. Lord Krishna can quell all sins. Imagery and satire, using ‘my ink’ to tell more tales.
And the first poem, AVATAR, (stanza 1, 4, p 1),
The two dumb torches glowing in vain
in grim silence of jail…
gloomy, gloomy… who harkens there
a mother’s painful wail?
O’ shackled father’s love
helpless to help thy wife art thou
or save thy child art thou!
Beautiful beginning! Beautiful setting, full of drama. AVATAR symbol of God Vishnu incarnated as Lord Krishna on Earth. And mother Devaki in child-birth pain with her eighth child. Father Vasudeva in panic mode how to save this new-born child.
Continuing AVATAR, (stanza 32, 33, p 6),
It’s new, all new experience;
his own city looked strange,
with rare unknown beauties, and world
as entered virgin age.
It’s Krishna Ashtami, the eighth
diem from full Moon day
of Sravana month. Oh the night
was dim, chilly and gay.
Continuing AVATAR, (stanza 63, 65, p 12)
For once he kissed the child
and tenderly placed
beside his wife, sighed, peeked around
with feelings interlaced.
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare.
Here Vasudeva feeling overjoyed and safe. Something mysterious about to happen. Drama and excitement. And then finally comes the Krishna Mantra, so esoteric, so removal of illusions – All-Attractive, All Pleasure. Beautiful bansuri and drumbeat vibrating a spiritual platform. Transcendental, indeed.
Let us take another random turn to this ballad on LORD BRAHMA (# 18, stanza 1, p 114),
Mysterious are ways of God.
For even Lord Brahma,
Creator-God of life in worlds;
Krishna, an enigma!
Here in this ballad (57 stanzas), author Mahathi aesthetically and rhythmically expresses how Lord Krishna as God-Head incarnated on Earth is able to commandeer Lord Brahma, as creator of the universe, to share Vedic knowledge as the Father of Dharma. As in stanza 37, p 121,
“Created thee Vedas O’ Lord
to lead the human race
through foul mundane rough paths
to gain the sacred grace.”
And I take special note of author Mahathi trans-creation in English in classic Elizabethan style. It is in this genre you will find his literary forte.
And a look at another ballad, KRISHNA ON BHAKTI (stanza 4, p 271),
“Alas they speak of Godliness,
but ask for carnal spree!
These natural human traits can get
from vices never free!”
Bhakti “In Hinduism, it refers to devotion to, and love for, a personal god or a representational god by a devotee.”
Lord Krishna’s concern of “human traits” in the collage of human carnal knowledge begs the question of freeing ourselves from such attachment. Author Mahathi explodes in this ballad our attainment of bhakti – true devotion to Lord Krishna. Imagery so scintillating.
A significant and interesting observation in this book, Hare Krishna is that the author, Mahathi has ended each beautiful ballad with the KRISHNA MANTRA – the 16 word GREAT MANTRA of opulent omniscience …
The mantra is a spiritual call to the Lord, meaning, “Oh energy of the Lord, please engage me in the loving service of Lord Krishna.”
Mahathi was born on June 12, 1958 in Nelore, Andhra Pradesh, India. He first practiced law as an advocate in Nelore, and then joined the Government of India as a Superintendent of Salt at Nelore. His quilted literary journey began in his late 20’s – early 30’s, while pursuing academic studies and graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, and later a Masters of Law degree. His first best poem, Housemaid’s Daughter copped the Editor’s pick (www.enchantingverses.com). This was followed by a First Prize win for his poem, Farewell in the P4 Poetry Competition (www.p4poetry.com). He has four published anthologies of poetry and narratives viz (1) Golden Lotus (2) Plastic Faces and Other Poems (3) Wheels and (4) JUST HUMAN, Be They on Love, Nature, Beauty or Burning Social Issues. Book reviews include, Watching You, A Collection of Tetractys Poems by Leonard Dabydeen (2012); Searching For You, A Collection of Tetractys and Fibonacci Poems by Leonard Dabydeen (2015). Mahathi’s 6th book, Finding the Mother, is a trans-creation in English of H.H. Sage Valmiki’s Sri Sundara Kanda, the 5th Canto of Srimad Ramayana – best acclaimed as an all time classic of English literature. He is also a member of the World Renaissance for Classical Poetry under the guidance of Dr.H. Tulsi. And now Mahathi brings us this book, Hare Krishna, a trans-creation in English of the “eternal Indian epic, SRIMAD BHAGAVATHAM by H.H. Sage SRIKRISHNA DWAIPAYANA VYASA” – revelling Mahathi as “one of the best Indian English poets of the 21st century.”
Here is a book that you will find lavishly entertaining as it reels out the mystical and spiritual episodic childhood of Lord Krishna in beautiful ballads. The book is available here:
BOOK REVIEW: Leonard Dabydeen