Letters to IC: Legends of Divine Desi Poetry

Letters to India Currents

Dear India Currents,

It was a soothing experience to see our index finger pointing to a higher truth in the December 7, 2021 issue of India Currents. Why call it DESI when its core is universal?

The first quote is from William Blake, an English poet known for an Upanishadic core in his heart. His lines are as if translated from our Vedic literature: anorapyaniyan, mahato mahiyan. In modern technological terms, it will be expressed as covering from microcosm to macrocosm. Only a poet can create such a highly condensed truth.

Why a poet? In the Sanskrit language, the word KAVI or poet has three meanings: a Poet, a Visionary, and a Physician. All three have the power of therapeutic healing.

Poetry, unlike versification, sprouts and springs from the heart, a stringed organ of the body beating in an unerring rhythm. Even a momentary rest of the heart is called cardiac arrest! This rhythm spontaneously erupts in higher truths like a geyser. Thus Valmiki created the first poetry when he saw a hunter killing birds in mating, and got renowned as an aadya kavi or a primordial poet.

References to our highly acclaimed poets like Meerabai, Kabir, et al prove that their vision was “plenty, plenty,” which is far more inclusive than the optical measure of “ twenty, twenty.” These poets represent our Bhakti Yoga characterized by total devotion to God while abandoning the falsehood of the world we lived in. At this juncture of time that we live in, we have to transition it to Karma Yoga, fixing things that need to be fixed, but in God’s name. An attire alters but the body remains the same, as evidenced by Dhoti, sarees, and even neckties getting untied from our culture. To continue changing is a part of God’s framework. We cannot at the same time, turn our back to God. It will be dangerously destructive to turn our face from Him. THAT IS WHAT WE SEEM TO BE INCLINED TO DO.

This is aptly forewarned in a Sanskrit aphorism:

Vinashkale viparit buddhih.

When about to perish, we dash toward doom.

I thankfully applaud Anuradhaji’s group of Poetry of Diaspora Silicon Valley. I hope they nurture this precious seed of timely thoughts. There is no alternative for us but to be spiritual to survive and thrive. We have traversed too far on a perilous path.


Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar

Atlanta, Georgia


Dear Bhagirath ji,

Thank you for your thoughtful response. You aren’t incorrect in your understanding of poetry, music, art, and all that speaks to the human condition. In referencing our Desi heritage, we don’t remove ourselves from the ubiquitous human experience, rather we give ourselves space to accept that which is an unspoken and, at times, a hidden truth. It also helps others contextualize what we might derive pleasure and beauty in. You and I are coming to the same conclusion from opposite ends – perhaps a result of age and time.

I look forward to hearing and learning from you, Bhagirath ji. Happy New Year!


Srishti Prabha

Managing Editor, India Currents

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