Dr. Samuel Johnson, while assessing the poetical merits of Dryden made a remarkable comment about the latter in such words as. 'He has the gift of the right word'. Bhartruhari was right when he said, -Vanyeka samalamkaroti puru-sham ya samskrita dharyate' (It is singularly the speech which is well-refined and possessed of by a man that serves to adorn him). Again one could observe Sri Sankara, the great commentator eaying, -Vagmino hi purushah abhibhavanti anyan' (men of oratory excel all the rest).
All these utterances invariably point to the fact that among writers the one who has seen the soul of words and expressions triumphs and the rest disappear into oblivion. If I am asked what exactly is the dividing line between a prose-writer and a poet, I shall hasten to inform that the gift of words will suffice for the former, but the latter must of necessity evolve himself from the gift of the right word.
In this world of books one comes across a variety of them. However, it is not every day that one comes across an alluring book of verses and, of course, it is only rarely that one is required to write a Foreword to it Hera I am happy to point out at the very outset that Prof. K. U. Menon, the author of 'The Two Flowers', has the gift of the right word. These poems have been com- posed by him at inspired moments, for the very essence of his writings will show that unless one maintains a higher level of consciousness, one cannot have the power to ex-press these thoughts. Since he himself has pointed out in the Preface the factors that contributed t6 this compilation there is no need to enter into them again here.
Poetics cannot be enjoyed by a random reading. Unless one knows oneself a bit- of the art of pressing maximum amount of thought into minimum number of words, the chances are that one might fail to absorb the essence of the whole verses. In the nistant case one will no fail to observe the' allusions atonce inspiring, as one's glance meanders romantically through ·the sun/set and sun/rise (pp 7-8), 'Songs of Kalindi' (p. 30), -Radhakrishna Gopi Dance' (p. 32), Tattvamasi' (pp. 34 & 39) etc.
On the whole this is a fascinating book of verses.
Rather it would be apt to say that it is a collection of inspired thoughts coming out from a holy source as do sparks from the eternal fire. While congratulating Prof. K. U. Menon for having composed these enchanting verses, I wish his work wide public appreciation.
The verses included in these two pieces of poetry in the succeeding pages are the final outcome of the emotional, sometimes devotional pleasures, and at times the mental stresses and strains, which I have experienced in the face of some of the most beautiful as well as some of the most awesome and painful aspects of Nature in her elemental yet powerful setting, and of man in his divine and devilish moods, both of them, disturbing. The vagaries and contra-dictions in the things around as created by God had also set my mind pondering over the whole set up round about us in our everyday life.
While serving at the Army Educational Corps Training College and Centre at Pachmarhi, the summer resort of the Madhyapradesh Govt., during the monsoons which is very heavy there, the place being the epic centre so to say of the Satpura Ranges, the sight of heavy blue-black Nimbus clouds rolling over the Dhupgarh, the highest point of the Satpuras was an every day event. Watching this used to bring to my mind and imagination the vivid picture which Vyasa Bhagawan has etched in his Srimad Bhagawadam, of the atmosphere at the time of Krishnavataram. This was a vignette of perennial interest as Shreekrishna, is my patron deity, installed and worshipped by lakhs of devotees at Guruvayur in the Trichur district of Kerala State. The first of the two pieces included in this book took shape in my mind while I was working as the Chief Instructor at the A. E. C. Trg. Centre at Pachmarhi. Written at one sitting, it was later on enlarged and touched upon.
The second piece had an entirely different back ground in its genesis. It was the result of an attempt to piece together haphazard and at times unique sights and experiences, ideas and observations of twenty four years of my life in khaki before the second world war; and in olive green during that war.
I had the good fortune to travel the length and breadth of this vast, colourful and variegated land rich in every kind of resources - almost that of a sub continent - but poor in everyday material life comforts. At the same time it is immensely rich in cultural, artistic and literary health and beauty. I had very many opportunities to move, mix and watch at close quarters the rich mosaic of city, town, urban, rural and even tribal life.
The rugged, jagged, barren rocky cliffs and mountains of the North West Frontier Province (now in Pakistan) - the two days I spent in Fort Landi Khotal on the Khyber pass was a very memorable one - at Kohat, Bannu, Quetta and Razmak. the dry arid deserts of Rajasthan, the rich, flat un-ending Gangetic plains of Uttar Pradesh, the thick rain forests of Kerala, Assam and Karnataka ; and to crown all the beautiful flower valleys of Kashmir at Liddar, Lolab, Gulmarg and Soaamarg; the simple yet beautiful rustic and tribal women of the villages and the glaringly loud painted beauties of the red light areas of Delhi. Agra, Lucknow, Bombay - some of these I had chances to see as a tourist sight seer- - these experiences gave rise to curious. interesting, conflicting at times sad and serious thoughts In "my mind. After the war, back in the civy street, I used to sit and ponder over the odd, very often incomprehensible way the CREATOR HAD JUXTAPOSED mutually Conflicting sometimes quite contradictory values and facts. It is these random reflections, which I have made an attempt to record in my second piece.
My object in projecting the above mentioned ideas through these two poems of mine is twofold. I would like every educated Indian to give greater effort and attention to a detailed and analytical study of the Bhagavad Geeta. Only such a study will enable him to understand, appreciate and cherish the essential truths and values that lie covered up in the vast, widespread complex material and spiritual gifts thrown all around us by our CREATOR. Geetha is undoubtedly the one single great achievement of human intellect guided by Divine inspiration in this world.
Secondly I have made a conscious effort to bring before the reader the diversity, variety and abundant availability of "pleasures" gifted By God to Man. Most of these are so very tempting and at the same time ephemeral in their character and make up so much so man is liable to loose his way and forget completely the be-all and end-all of his journey of life - salvation, which is only another name for attaining union and communion with his CREA- TOR. This he can achieve only through TOTAL DEDICATION AT HIS LOTUS FEET!
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