Amrit Gangar

JUNĀGADH AND THREE NOCTURNAL PRAHARA

OF MOUNT GIRNĀR

 

GIRNĀR: NIGHT’s FOURTH PRAHARA

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Mainak Bagchi’s photography

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

Notes:

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, curatoramrit 1 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.