The Ganges and Other Poems by Mahathi is a brilliant poetry cum prose book on the River Ganges, with many other devotional poems inside. It’s inclined towards Bhakti, and seems emanating from Hinduism. The book is religious in its narrative and stirs a sense of spiritual mystery, awe, and fascination in readers’ hearts.
The book starts with an extensive, yet brilliant, forward. As it progresses, we see the book is divided into three sections. Starting with the first section, it’s about Prayer – it has some 4 prose/eulogies dedicated to the lord Rama. The following lines briefly sums up the love of the poet towards his faith in the lord Rama: “SiaRam, SiaRam – their names as Holy Pslams, and forms as frozen Om, I say Pranaaams.”
The second section (The Ganges) is about the great river Ganga. It consists 7 short prose cum poetry work. This section is purely read like literature juice. The poet introduces us to the mythological and religious history of the river Ganga. Through the poems and prose, the author narrates the connection of the King Bhageeratha and the saint Janhavi with the river Ganga.
The river was a cosmic entity. It came down on the earth with a history of its own. If you read and understand the verses, the long history you will grab in short time. However, the author has used too many verses and spoke highly of all actors, thus it’s recommended to reread this section. It’s a different type of literature, well high on juice and requires a careful understanding of the words to decipher the exact meaning. For those who are deep into religious activities or familiar with Hindu theology, the book is just another cake walk.
“While washing off their sins, O Ganga pure ignite in them Bhakti and Vairagya!”
Why the river is also called Bhageerathi? Your answers are right here in the book!
Section three – Saadhana – is the longest part in the book with around 57 prose and poems in it. The poems and prose in this section is mix of both rhymes and free versus. The author, here, explores the gamut of emotions attached with his life, worship of gods, and his faith. Rather, this section is easy to understand and connect. The poems/sonnets/verses/prose are of different length and takes the readers on a different ride as compared to two previous sections in the book.
This section could be used by many at various occasions. From short to length, this collection is an exciting one to explore and savour. Poet Mahathi is a genius of poetry and free versus, the way he stitches meaningful and historic stories through his words is superb. Last section’s richness is way simply great. Overall, the book is a great read!