AS THEY CROSS THE SIXTH HEAVEN (Prologue of Canto-2 of Sudhakar Gaidhan’s, Epic Poem “DEVDOOT THE ANGEL”) / Translated by Vishwas Vaidya

Prologue of Canto-2 of
“Devdoot” (meaning “angel” literally) was a giant bird1, whose life mission was to keep flying throughout an epoch, hopping from one space to another and leap along from one infinite sky to another. The space trotter bird would occasionally descend onto the world of mortals for a breather from his hectic spaceborne itinerary. Passage of time was wreaking ravages of aging upon him also.
Eventually, he matured from his old age to a grand ripe old age.
And on fine day, son of a hunter dwelling in the world of mortals happened to inadvertently hurl a lethal arrow in his direction. The arrow pierced right through the heart of our giant bird. The hunter boy was actually trying to hit a cloud with his arrow, which unfortunately fatally wounded our winged hero. There was an earth-shaking thunderous roar in the sky, akin to the one we hear during a lightening storm from thundering clouds. Like a giant lightening hitting the ground, the divine bird collapsed on a deserted island in the midst of ocean. He was lying immersed in the pool of his own blood. The blue assault of a lethal arrow severely wounded him.
At the moment several flocks of birds were travelling through the sky at the moment. It caught the attention of some of them who happened to gaze at the island. The curious spectacle attracted several of them as one after another of those birds descended on to the island. They all were wonderstruck by the sheer enormity of the imposing size of the bird. “Listen, this is one of our rarely seen ancient ancestors” wondered one of them loudly. This remark kindled a spirit of fond affection tinged with curious interest among the crowd; and all of them arrived at a common decision.
“It would be a sin on our part to allow our grand ancestor to die smarting under excruciating pains and wounds like this…particularly when he has been victim of an arrow launched by a human being.
Let us speed-up his death by piercing his body with our beaks all over. This will grant him an instant salvation” With this traditional approach reigning in their minds, all of them were about to unleash themselves on the wounded bird..then suddenly the voice emerged from the injured mass of “Devdoot” bird, “Wait for a moment my children, listen to me. don’t you stress your beaks by piercing me repeatedly. I am but a setting sun gradually sinking beneath the horizon. Before I sink further, please allow me to share my heart with you. My only last wish is to hold a philosophical dialogue with you all”
The mass of assembled birds were all ears after listening to the final wish of the giant bird. Their collective focus was trained in his direction. They started eagerly collecting pearls of wisdom poured through the flow of every single word uttered by him and let their souls and hearts rock along the swinging discourse woven around birth and death. Their minds wore a blooming smile as they soaked in the nourishing vibes.
Canto 1 ends at this point1. Canto 2 starts below. Scope of this translation covers Canto 2
As the winged mob was cherishing his experiences across the globe and beyond the universe, the supreme mentor and torch-bearer, could not help challenge them further, “Is there a single volunteer amongst you, who is willing to enter heart of the universe and return safely to the earth?”
“0 king of birds, I would be more than happy to avail of such a rare opportunity” a bird named “Avdhut”2 comes forward to take on the unique adventure. He sets along the journey towards traversing the universe as commanded by the supreme Guru. Along the journey the Guru and disciple pair engages into an interesting debate.
However, suffering from a scorching thirst along the grueling journey, he starts feeling suffocated midway in the universe. That forces him to beg his Guru to grant the sanction for his return journey.
The Guru graciously grants him his request, as he returns on the earth.
His return re-triggers the brain-storming debate among the winged assembly. The debate was nothing short of a collective discourse enriched with all shades of life. All the major topics are being it a carnal desire or a religious prayer! The audience savors all colors of life. Streams of diverse thoughts mingle among each other, deeply enthralling each and every participant. Journey of their spiritual quest inches along as it starts traversing the globe.
Then a moment comes when the entire audience chants the name of Divine Creator along their way as guided by their torch-bearing Guru, cross Himalayas and also the Bramhavarta 3. They aim now to get ready for the salvation. Hence, they pursue a path in search of heaven.
This is the narrative of our story at the end of Canto II. What follows is the story line as described lyrically in subsequent cantos in the original Marathi Epic poem. However, for the sake of completeness the same is reproduces here in a summary form, covering all the remaining cantos (namely canto #3, #4 and #5)4
As they cross the sixth heaven, the concept of God greets them. This again triggers their debate and brain-storming. But nothing concrete really emerges out of the same. Now they struggle with all their might to cross the seventh heaven. The idea is to unravel the mystery behind the divine creation of the universe and to stumble upon the center of the universe: and at that illuminating moment, they hit upon the secret behind eternal cycle of creation and destruction, destruction and creation. The secret is in the form of an utterly tranquil formula; which is they discover at the blue canopy of the sky and at that defining moment, essence of their own being resonates with the essence of the soul of the universe; as they are blessed with the divine sense universal empathy, shared by the heavenly soul of the Creat or.
Now if somebody plucks off leaves of a tree, they feel the if somebody would have chopped their own ears. Now they struggle to regain their own previous level of normal sensitivity. However the torch-bearing Guru, persuades them from their attempts to become their former selves; Finally their individual sensitivity is entirely surrendered. Then only they turn into an integral part of the universal empathy beyond the considerations of animate/inanimate and birth/death. This is how their life-mission is consummately fulfilled. And again, the canopy of universe resumes its tranquil and soothing morning; merrily pursuing the cycle of time…. which is governed by the phases of blooming and aging. Notes:
1 It would be interesting to note a curious coincidence. The Smithsonian Institute, Washington’s discovery of a thirty- million-year-old fossil of a giant bird reminded a critic of Devdoot. Devdoot’s characteristics remarkably resemble those of the real-life giant bird: gigantic size, flying over oceans, living aeons ago. Raymond T. Rye II of the Smithsonian Institute, on reading Devdoot, found the coincidence “a rare occasion when science and poetry can meet with such magnificent blend of serendipity”.
2 “Avdhut” is a Sanskrit proper noun. It is a Sanskrit term from the root ‘to shake’ that, among its many uses, in some Indian religions indicates a type of mystic or saint who is beyond egoic-consciousness, duality and common worldly concerns and acts without consideration for standard social etiquette. In the context of our story-line our “Avadhut” is a great sage being a senior disciple of his winged Guru.
3 “Bramhavarta” the region between the rivers Saraswati and Drishadwati in India.
4. The original Marathi epic poem entitled, Mahaavaakya: Samgra Devdoot (Complete Devdoot) is penned by the epic poet Sudhakar Gaidhani. The original Marathi Epic poem consists of 5 cantos and 555 pages. It is packaged as a single poem of 555 pages. The first canto was translated into English by Prof Dr Om Biyani and published in 1991. This translation covers the second canto of the original Marathi epic poem. There are three more cantos which will be also translated into English in due course.
Sudhakar Gaidhani
Nagpur (India)
Sudhakar Gaidhani (18th September-KHAPA-Nagpur, INDIA)is a globally renowned poet. He writes poetry in his mother tongue Marathi. Most of his creations have been internationally translated into many languages such as English, Romanian, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Macedonian, Arabic, Swedish, Croatian, German, Russian, Greek, Albanian, Turkish, Tajik, Vietnamese, Tamil, Hindi, Bengali and Gujrati. He has received many State, National and International awards including WILLIAM BLAKE NTERNATIONAL AWRD from Contact International Journal from Romania and “SILVER CROSS For CULTURE– WORLD MEDAL from World Union of Poets- Italy.
Gaidhini is M.A., M.F.A. from Nagpur University-Maharashtra. Interestingly when he was studying for his MA, one of his own poetic creations was assigned for study as part of the MA course work for Nagpur University
Contact International journal has dedicated its Oct.Dec.2021 issue to Gaidhani’s poetry with the honour as–;
Diploma de Honor from
Del Alma Administration-Colombia.
He has published his 6 collection of poems, 2 epic poems, 125 Short Radio Plays and 3 full-fledged dramas which have also been staged.
Municipality Khapa City has constructed a beautiful garden spanning two acres at Gaidhani’s birthplace. The garden is named after him as a token of honour viz. Mahakavi (epic poet) “SUDHAKAR GAIDHANI GARDEN” in 2006.
World Academy of Arts and Culture- USA/World Congress of Poets has conferred upon him The Honorary Degree of DOCTOR Of LITERATURE (Litt.D.) held in 2017 in Mongolia.
His literary works are available in the several World Libraries including
Library of Congress-Washington, USA.
Regarding the two epic poems penned by him, viz. Mahawakya ( Grand Discourse) andYogininchya Swapnaswalya (Shadow’s of Yoginis’ dreams)
Mahawakya consists of 5 cantos in 555 pages.
Yogininchya Swapnasawlya consists of 260 pages and 8 cantos.
On the face of it this modern epic poem may sound to be based upon traditional topic. However, it crosses the barriers of conventional Sanskrit epic poems. It sports a distinct modern identity. Its protagonist is a female and not a male like conventional ones.
Vishwas Vaidya (India)
Vishwas Vaidya is an internationally published poet apart from being an engineering research professional.
You can describe him as your friendly neighbourhood poet, living in his hometown of Pune, India.
Growing up as a Math savvy, language hating school kid, it wasn’t until he stumbled upon Tagore and other poets
He runs a literary group on social media called International Poetry Readers of Vishwas Vaidya on a social media platform as its founder member.
As a veteran engineering research professional in the area of automotive embedded systems, he has published many international research papers and articles. He has also filed numerous patent applications.
One of his engineering articles has been translated into German. His poetry has been translated into many European languages.

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