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Inspirations - The Galleria



Poems by R Y Deshpande




I sat by the unmalicious stream

Of Zanskar and in its frozen movement

Saw the tranquil image of Mahakal

Hastening through the valley. Purity

Of its thought had given to the serene

Ranges their snow-white stillness, to the stars

Recounting parables of the great night

A glimmer to burn in its quiet heart,

To the dreams a profundity of sleep

Breaking into calm wisdom. However,

In spite of the summer’s crystalline flow

What had lingered through the long centuries

Was crudity of the same haunting past,

As if emptiness in its spirit’s search

Found a place to live on top of the world.

Underneath the glacier silences

Mahakal smiled; above the peaks touching

The blue of the tall sky Mahakal stood;

Beyond into absoluteness of peace

Mahakal disappeared. He had reached

The void into which all created things

Are withdrawn. To him flowers of prayer

I offer, at the dawn, when it is noon,

At the dusk, in the sombre hour of death,

Until goes out of sight wonder and joy

Of this beautiful Zanskar. Heaviness

Of that Mountain yet difficult to climb

In the paces of time also becomes

A luminous nothing. To be just me

Again I need no dharma, I need

No Zanskar River, no tranquil presence

Of Mahakal and only the non-self

Remains as the featureless sovereign.

But then possibly in a conscious act

When form is dissolved the waters come back

To join the Indus rushing to the plains.


Sunday morning in the early summer

Withinananda drove his new Ferrari

Down the slopes of pines, as if to escape

From the ennui of civilization

When all seemed hollow, as if deserted

Were the assembly lines, as if no plane

Took off at the airport. Never were there

Concert halls and none heard in the loud streets

Chisel-true beats shaping the images

Of time. The well-laid gardens were abloom

But with synthetic flowers and the spray

Of perfumes had brought a wind of darkness,

Another appalling reality.

It was wondrous that the forms of matter

Could be astoundingly rich, that we left

Shadows behind, our own fearsome shadows

Arguing with us as foes. So perhaps

In the mid-night’s silence Withinananda

Got up and decided to go alone

To the Rockies in the north. The pilgrim

 Occupied in his single thought in which

Meet many thousand moods, life’s denials,

The refusals of the rationalists,

Convictions of faith asserted by shine

Of the sword, or else the warring aesthetics,

Must find the sense hid if death means something.

In the mountain hush he saw the engine

Factory of eternity and soon

Put on a purple apron and picked up

A mighty hydraulic spanner as if

The rattling machinery of the world

Would fetch toa vakama to the day.

The old myth that had bewildered the gods,

E’en the poets who know their precise craft,

Must be set aright. Withinananda found

Inaugural path in the joy of works.