Synthesis, Devotion, Attitude and Waiting

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I share with you first, two tiny excerpts from the introduction to the book Eating God. Beautiful sentences that made me write this post.

There can be no knowing without love and no love without logic. In a world that splinters idea and emotion, mind and body, faith and reason, into easy binaries, this essential synthesis is often forgotten.
~ Arundhati Subramanian in Eating God introduction.
No experience of separation, however arid, they say, is ever devoid of presence or grace. Waiting is not mere passivity; it can be a state of dynamic receptivity, a radical and alive responsiveness.
~ Arundhati Subramanian in Eating God introduction.

Eating God is a collection of bhakti poetry translations from several different local Indian languages of several different saints of India. Bhakti, meaning the path of devotion. The translation into English has also been done by several different people. Arundhati Subramanian has arranged these emotions and dynamics of devotion together into the bouquet, this book.

I had the good fortune to attend a poetry writing workshop by Arundhati one day in Manipal. That is where I got to know of this book. She read out a poem to demonstrate that a poem should have a certain distinctive tone to it. Without a distinctive tone, a poem would be just a heap of decorated words and images. Sometimes the distinctive tone may become downright attitudinal – like this one, made more beautiful by the way she had read it out –

He’s the master. What can I say
when he says I’m better than the others?

I don’t even have to ask.
He takes whatever I say as a command.
Why should I brag?
My husband is under my thumb.

    He’s the master.

Who am I to serve him, when he
takes joy in serving me?
How can I tell you the thousand ways
he’s with me?
He knows everything, just like god,
and he praises me.

    He’s the master.

I’m always in his arms.
He’s always laughing with me.
He’s the god on the hill
and I’m Alamelumanga.
Do I have to make a statement?
He’s my slave.

    He’s the master.

~ original by Annamacharya, translated by V. Narayan Rao and David Shulman.

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