JUNĀGADH AND THREE NOCTURNAL PRAHARA
OF MOUNT GIRNĀR
GIRNĀR: NIGHT’s FOURTH PRAHARA
Night dissolving every night with
or without the Moon
Time mounts up the Girnār with
gods who never sleep nor lion nor langur
cicada narrate tales of tombs and wombs
of darkness of light of caves
of shunya of purna of apurna
a Hanumāna manifests in a lamp
a Dattatraya’s whiteness mingles with
a Bhairav’s opposite in colour, in sounds
cymbals have yet to ring and the bells
cacophonies of jackals and jungle crows
burst out any moment with
your eye plucking a star
one by one, ākāsa is a bhuta, an element!
At her fourth prahara every night
descend apsaras and gandharvas on this
mountain turning Girnar into an Indra Sabhā!
GIRNĀR: NIGHT’s THIRD PRAHARA
Asoka has finished inscribing his rock edicts
himself during night’s third prahara he likes
black granite of the Girnar turns soft surface as
night matures into a Bhairav’s blackness
and wars have been shunned
into a civilization of the sane
in the presence of the Tirthankaras
ants have no fear nor any insect
no killing no pleasure only penance
of the self – Moksha is in close proximity
of this prahara of the night!
Asoka has finished inscribing his
first rock edict in the night’s third parhara
and it says –
“no living beings are to be slaughtered
or offered in sacrifice!”
A dissolving streak of white robes
i saw in a Girnār’s deep dark niche –
Priyadarshi! Priyadarshi! i shouted
and a moment passed by swiftly in
stillness of silence…
a frog has jumped into a sound of shunya!
GIRNĀR: NIGHT’s SECOND PRAHARA
As the midnight comes on a palanquin
through night’s second prahara
like a bride invisible bride wearing
the bāndhni of the star studded sky
no red no yellow no golden no gulābi
asceticism rules here on Girnār
as he stands like a tall black rishi
craving no desire but to give
He gives gods to us we to gods
each step you climb is a deity
each step you climb is a company
each step you climb is a clairvoyance
each step you climb is a cry
of the unknown but –
Why is Morpheus walking backwards?
you ask in vain and the night’s
second prahara has ended in a cave
the Girnar has hidden himself in!
Morpheus has gone away with the bride
as it rains in winter the drops you feel
were Girnar’s warm tears!
In night’s second prahara the mountain
moves with his unfulfilled desire!
Junāgadh, 8 February 2016
Prahara: The Indian temporal science divides a day and a night into eight units called prahara of three hours each – four prahara of the day and equal number of prahara of the night. Day’s first prahara begins from 6am (assuming that time the sun rises) and lasts till 9am, accordingly day’s fourth prahara begins at 3pm and ends at 6pm. Night’s first prahara begins at 6pm and ends at 9pm. Night’s fourth and the last prahara lasts between 3 and 6am.
This temporal division of time is generally applied to our classical music, particularly to the Hindustani raga system.
Indra Sabhā: Mythology describes Lord Indra’s court as enchantingly beautiful having many members including rishis and devtas as also supernatural beings. Indra or Inder Sabha is an Urdu play and opera written by Sayed Agha Hasan Amanat which was first staged in 1853 for the Lucknow court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. It is regarded as the first complete Urdu stage play ever written. One of the first (non extant) Indian talkies based on this play was called Indrasabha – it was released by the Madan Theatres in 1932.
Tirthankara: Jainism has 24 Tirthankaras or the founding Jinas venerated as breakers of the path across the stream of time to Moksha. Mount Girnār has temples to the Jain Tirthankaras –
Bāndhni is a tie and dye sari auspiciously worn by a bride on her wedding day.
Morpheus is the ancient Greek god of night dreams. He has the ability to mimic any human form and appear in dreams.
PoP, MY ARM AND MY ARMORY
When i walked with no PoP in your street Paris
Montmartre had massaged me with whiteness
i wear now on my arm awaiting Cezanne to
paint his apples not fruit but the glow!
i had no prescience no bone to contend
Peace only white peace of the Buddha
and the Bodhi Tree I found in you
the Paris of Plaster that i wear now!
Like Hemingway’s Moving Feast
Like Baudelaire’d Dreams
Like your summer’s White Nights
come to me the city of Paris!
Paint your Plaster, my Pain, my Poetry
My palm, my arm is also my alm of giving
Whiteness slings to sing the songs of
Piety, the Plaster of Piety, of Poetry!
With an Āzān to Allāh in his ābād
In my city of Goddess Mumbā!
Amrit, 23 March 2016, 19.03
O! THE WHITE ROBED RENOUNCER!
So young you are and so charming
you renounced the worldly life and –
lust and greed and gains and games the –
young would play and the joy of living
you postpone to next life through kshaya
Of karma you empty your wooden bowls
of morsels you see moksha like the full moon
penance you bear the pain you suffer
desires you kill, or do you –
perpetrate violence on self – ?
i have no answer nor courage to ask you the –
young woman, the renouncer – the white-robed
sati, the sanyasin, your naked feet
too tender for me to suffer
my arm slings your anukampā!
Under the ancient tree of the park and –
the vivacious khishkoli on trees –
from trees from trees i see young bald
Chandanbālā waiting from previous life
for Vardhamāna Mahāvira, the Tirthankara!
Why do you postpone joy young lady
the brave renouncer? Give me strength to –
suffer pain, we are all selfish –
aren’t we – in search of a moksha?
Amrit Gangar, 24 March 2016, 19.52
Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based writer, film theorist, curator and historian. During his college days he used to write poems off and on both in English (as also Gujarati) and several of them were published in journals including Kavi India, Mirror, Youth Times, Calcutta Canvas, Bharat Jyoti, an anthology of poems on Emergency, etc. Of late, he has again picked up his poetic thread. He has authored a number of books on cinema both in English and Gujarati languages. His recent book Cinema Vimarsh has won the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi award. For the past decade or so he has been engaged with developing and expanding his concept of Cinema Prayoga, which he has presented so far across many venues in the world and India, including Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.