Faith

Poet akin to Brahma

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In the eleventh paddhati of his Subhasita Nivi, Vedanta Desika describes the qualities of a great poet, said M.K. Srinivasan, in a discourse. A good poet does not deal with unpleasant subjects. He possesses jnana. He is not atheistic. He has good conduct. He knows how to tell good from bad. He is rich in worldly experience and in knowledge of the Sastras. He has clear thinking. Because of his knowledge of the scriptures, his poems aim to explain them. His works have the navarasas. Whatever he wants to convey about his characters, he conveys effectively. Desika says a good poet is akin to Brahma. He who uses pleasing words, figures of speech, metaphors and similes in his poem is a great poet. But such poets are rare. These rare poets use words that do justice to the rasas portrayed. Instead of indulging his imagination to a great extent, he prefers to keep his poem close to truth.

Desika compares a great kavya to the Saraswati river, which originates somewhere, and appears hidden sometimes. In the same way, a good kavya does not openly state many things. It is up to the reader to make an effort to understand the poet’s intention. The words of great men are like oysters that nurture a pearl. From great men come wise sayings, which are pleasing like pearls. Great men never repeat themselves. They always have something new to offer us by way of advice. Ignorant people may misinterpret the words of great men. But the utterances of great men do not lose their value because of such misinterpretation. How does it matter from whom wise words emanate? It was Krishna, who had been brought up by cowherds, who gave us the Bhagavad Gita. But do we not regard it as the fifth Veda? Sensible words are to be valued whether they come from a child or from an old man.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 3:02:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/poet-akin-to-brahma/article26524470.ece

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