11

Picture Story narration in the end

Poem of transformation, Transformation of poems

Narmadaprasad Upadhyay

Poem is the Gopigeet (Gopi’s song) of art, when this Gopigeet echoes, the colours come into form, the feet jive, the musical notes change into melodies and stretch themselves and the banks of river Yamuna become damp with the flute’s tune. Then the poem is not just a Gopigeet, it also becomes a Krishnageet (Krishna’s song). Art and poem might be two different words, but, they are one, like Radha and Krishna.

The body’s helplessness is its limited pride and the same compulsion lies with the language, hence, just as Radha and Krishna appear to be separate bodies, the art and poem have also been divided into separate prides in the limited capacity of language; but this compulsion does not apply to emotion. Emotion is the synonym of unity. It is the dispersant of duality, therefore, when art and poem unite on the surface of emotion, their duality is dispersed. The dispersal of this duality takes place at the moorage of love.

Pushpita’s poems are an evidence of this dispersal of duality. It is a compulsion to call them poems, otherwise they are just colours, jive, and are the restless tunes of flute. Their expression is endless like the sky and edgeless like the galaxy. Their internal journey is the journey of the creation of colours, the spilling of bliss from the mind; it is the ascent of the tunes of creation, and descent of the darkness of imitation. The poems contain the reflections that are full of vibration and sounds that are full of music; the lines formed with words form the shapes, fill them with colours and fragrance and they also install meaningful life in the emotions; hence we do not realize that when do the words become pictures, flowers, and synonyms for the love of Radha and Shakuntala. 

The biggest quality of these poems is their spiritual beauty. It appears that the concept of visual of Indian beauty has come alive in these poems. These poems contain the live pictures of love and separation. I was surprised to see the beauty of delectable Indian miniatures of the medieval times made in different art styles in these poems. It appeared, as if the talent of artists who make these miniatures like Molaram, Nihalchand, Chokha, Manak, Nainasukh and Mahesh has transformed into lines of words.

This is a unique fact with reference to the Indian painting tradition that the miniatures made in different styles of medieval times are not the transformations of mere love, separation or nature, the poems have transformed through the medium of pen in them. Be it Abhigyan Shakuntalam of Kalidas, Geet Govind of Jaidev, Rasikpriya of Keshav, Baramasa of Kavipriya, Satsai of Bihari, Rasaraj of Matiram or Rasbeli of Puhkar, their vignettes have transformed into all representative picture styles of Rajasthan and the hills. On one hand, poetry based miniatures were made in states of that time like Mewad, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kishangarh, Nathdwara, Boondi, Kota and Alwar and small areas like Devgarh, Sawar, Shahpura, Baneda, Bagor, Begun, Sirohi, Ghanerao, Riya, Uniyara, Amber, Jhilay and Isarda in Rajasthan and on the other hand poetry based pictures were made in states of that time like Kangra, Basohali, Guler, Noorpur, Mandi, Chamba, Garwal, Jammu, Kullu and Bilaspur and small places like Tirasujanpur, Alampur, Nadon, Hindoor and Nahan in the hills. Besides these, the local artists from Malwa, Khandesh, Vidarbha and Bundelkhand to classic Punjab made such poetry based pictures on the basis of their own talent and practice without selflessness. Pictures were also made on incidents of Ramayan, Mahabharat and Bhagwat, but the lamp of faith of Indian artists continued to burn in the devotion of Radha and Krishna’s love.

This was a rare incident that took place in the world of Indian art, because such moments had never come across in the history of international art when musical notes and melodies, couplets and triolets appeared on board through the medium of colours and lines. Our sages also overlooked this great incident. The learned men were involved in their interpretation and the artists were busy in the technical analysis of poetry based pictures. The Rameshwaram, which used to give the vision of inner discipline and combined art and literature, had disappeared.

The original pride of this heritage has been forgotten, but it remained alive somewhere in the creation of rare values and Pushpita’s poetry is the evidence of this rare life and its rhythm.

‘Rasa gagan gufa me ajhar jhare’ (jl xxu xqiQk esa v>j >jS) ‘

All the poems of this collection echo in this line of Kabir. The minds engrossed in the desire of love, they are not minds; they are caves, the bliss seeps continuously in these caves. The bliss falls from the sky and then it becomes the stream of life. The favourite miniature of Jaipur School goes into the expression of this sentence. Holding each others’ minds, wrapping the desires as wide as the sky, Radha and Madhav are eager to be wound up together. The clouds have covered the sky, the bliss is pouring down slowly, and both are engrossed in the experience of this rainfall. The sky is also filled with rain and so are the minds. It appears that these lines have become synonym for this transformation –

You are inside me

Like the drops in a cloud

Your golden love

is like the Sun’s golden warmth

I see you inside me

like the colours in a rainbow

One can find love, separation, respect, adoration and worship in these poems, words are not just words, they have become the mountain peaks of the feeling of compliance.

This miniature painting literally resides in our eyes.

As lips

my eyes sip

the beauty of

your eyes

and the beauty

seeps

till the lips...

Even in these lines, the emotional transformation of Deccan school can be seen, wherein the eyes of Radha and Krishna are communicating with each other. Both are eager to wind with each another, and they are reading the meaning of love in the eyes of one another. A deer is the witness of this wonderful posture of love, which is running speedily perhaps in the search of identifying love for itself and there is a young girl sitting behind it, engrossed in her memories and recalling the moments of her union.

Your eyes read me

like the first book of love

The deep roots of meaning

are hidden in the words

and

love

opens in the eyes

and remains like the eyes

Only eyes

recognize the love

They write

the new words of love

for recognition

for the new discovery of love

When their minds stand together in front of the mirror, then the entire love is present, as if the God is in there in the form of love in the reflection and then these lines become the synonym of worship.

The clench of love experience

cultivates the mind’s earth

As the mind that stands

in front of the mirror

with its love, for the first time

These lines have materialized in the beautiful notation of Kangra School. Radha and Krishna are certainly seen watching their reflections in the mirror; but, what is visible is the reflection of their minds full of love.

To become rare in spite of being common is the dynamia of love and the representatives of this dynamia are Radha and Krishna. When Radha unites with Krishna and later comes back to herself, she urges that Krishna should not take her back to that form, which she was before this union. She wants to become Krishna and that Radha be left alone. Jaidev has sung this emotion in the last triolet of Geet Govinda. The same emotion can be seen in this scene of Kangra School and the same emotion can be read in these lines:

Like Radha’s mind

I live in memories of

Krishna’s affection

and I become Krishna

waiting for you

for love...

Clouds and rain play a significant role in the love pageants of Radha and Krishna. Jaidev’s Geet Govind begins with rainfall. There is rainfall, but, it is spread across the journey from rainfall to spring. They both try to avoid exposure to rain, their eyes communicate without coming into contact. The conversation between their eyes can be seen, read in this fascinating miniature of Kangra School and felt through these lines –

In love

we have become the skyline of clouds with clouds

we are like the skyline of ocean made with the sea

While looking at each other, a thirst of desires is created somewhere in the mind-

Somewhere deep inside

lie the eyelashes of your eyelids

that write the deep pleasure of memories

that create unrealized thirst of desires

In a miniature of Kota School, the girl is drawing the picture of her beloved on the board. Her concentration is amazing. It appears that she is drawing the picture of her lover with the colours of love spilling out from her eyes. A girl is sitting in front with colours in her hands, probably, the painting is not being made with these colours, the colours in the lines of love are being filled with the eyes itself. This image has come alive in these lines –

You are my canvass, on which

the eyes draw the lines of love

and the lips fill it with

wet colours of rainbow

Love is beyond the words and lines, when it is written on paper, the words are not written, soundless sound is written, and that can be read only by the fingers of a follower of creation. Rajasthan’s Thikane Sirohi School is its evidence, in which a lover is immersed in making the charming face of her love. One of her friends is helping her in this painting and another is standing behind under the shade of a beautiful green tree and introducing the soundless sounds of love to the prickets. These lines are being realized in this picture –

You are a white and blank paper, spotless,

beyond the words and lines, on which

I create, unwritten sounds that are soundless,

read by the fingers of a creative soul,

and heard, by becoming charming face of affection.

A miniature painting of Kangra School shows Radha waiting for Krishna like a confounded deer and watching the flow of the river amidst the greenery of the nature. These lines start echoing spontaneously –

The tune of river’s love

is in the river’s flow

The moon light is made to

make the words

with the sound of the river’s flow

The poet recalls Kalidas, unequalled exponents of vision of Indian beauty and then she remembers the outcome of the love of Dushyant and Shakuntala, their secret marriage (Gandharv vivaah) and their bodies of love. The artist has drawn Shakuntala’s pose in this matchless miniature painting of Hindoor School with complete dexterity.

These lines echo while watching Dushyant and Shakuntala amidst the natural beauty of Himachal Pradesh –

That which is known only by the body of love

creates the expressions of experiences

the memory of touch of the picture of Kalidas’s Shakuntala

Further...

The fire of vital breath is the evidence of love

Lips have become the flowers of ‘forest flame’

and put a mark of love on the forehead of love

And

the breathes have read, spellbound, the first ‘mantra’

where the musk of ‘deer like mind’ is fragrant

The name of King Sansarchanda (1775 – 1823) is famous in the world of art. He and his predecessors had registered the pageants of Radha and Krishna with complete faith. In the second half of eighteenth century and initial decades of the nineteenth century, the pictures that were made in the main centres of this School, Tirasujanpur, Alampur and Nadon are the everlasting heritages of Indian art tradition. King Sansarchand prepared the world famous picture series based on the incidents of Geet Govind. These pictures got fragmented in different places, from the National Museum, New Delhi, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to the major art museums, galleries and personal collections all over the world. Dedicated art researchers like Dr. Mohinder Singh Randhava, Dr. W. G. Archer, Dr. Carl Khandalawala, Sh. N.C.Mehta, and Sh. Rai Krishnadas carried an in-depth study of this art style, and established it as one of the best art styles of the world. At present, learned men of art like Dr. Vishvachandra Ohri, Dr. B.N.Goswami, Rai Anandkrishna and Jagdish Mittal are searching the original dimensions of this art. The paintings of this School based on the incidents of Geet Govind define love through the medium of colours and lines.

The speciality of Kangra School is the depiction of greenery and nature full of birds and animals. It is living nature. The Radha of this School is matchless, a delicate figure, like the tender stem of the tree, possessor of untouched beauty is found only in this School. The art skill is so minute that if Krishna is tying the flower braid in Radha’s hair then each petal of each flower can be counted. The artist’s imagination is prodigious. It appears that the imagination of Jaidev, Keshav, Bihari and Vidyapati has come alive.

In some instances, one can see Radha and Krishna walking along the woods, green-flowery trees and the chirping birds on the trees. Radha and Krishna can be seen looking into the eyes of one another, one arm of Krishna surrounds Radha’s waist. Radha is immersed in emotions. In some instances, Radha and Madhav are sitting under the shade of a dense tree, Krishna is moving his fingers along the length of Radha’s hair and is immersed in the past moments, and in other instances, Radha is sitting under the shade of a thick trunk tree with shyness and opening her mind in front of Krishna. These might be fascinating pictures moulded in shapes, but these are true flawless pavonine description of love, vibrations of meaningful love. While glancing through these pictures, a number of lines from the love poems from this collection strike the mind suddenly –

In love,

body of love arouses inside the body

The ears

can listen the soul’s ‘love’ words

The lips

can share the feelings of mind

And,

with the virtue of my mind

I am creating ‘love’

in your heart

which the ‘World’

can know by the name of ‘love’

And know

what is the recognition of love

that makes it the strength of the world

A fascinating world famous art style developed in a small estate called Basohali, similar to Kangra. The portraiture tradition of Basohali flourished during the reign of King Kirpalpal (1678 – 1693). During that period, special qualities of Basohali School came to light. Great artists, Devidas prepared a beautiful painting of ‘Rasmanjari’. Illustrated Geet Govind was ready. Pictures were made on the basis of Ragmala. In this style, the eyes were very fascinating with sharp nose; side profile and live poses. Greenery full of freshness and combination of contrasting colours to portray the background is a speciality of this School.  The depiction of Krishna pageants is incomparable. These pictures illustrate the emotion of the heroine, anxious for union and feeling shy and helpless as she is unable to show her beautiful face to her beloved.

One can recall these lines –

To find the exclusive love of nature

I am in front of you, dedicated,

not with body,

but, seeping through the body

for sinking into an unending tune

to liberate the strangeness within me

The transformation that took place on the basis of Radha – Madhav’s love in the art styles of the medieval times, became the transformation of the main male and female characters. The artists saw the image of an ideal hero in the dark slim figure of Krishna and that of a heroine in Radha. The artists became more and more aesthetic and Radha became more and more attractive. 

The world of these poses of love is extraordinary in Indian literature and art. The tradition of literature and portraiture were not only present together but they were also contained in one another. The texts like Vishnudharmottar Purana analysed the methodology of the art of painting from scientific perspective. The mythological stories written from Rigdev, Ramayan and Mahabharata till seventeenth century are full of references to portraiture. The Indian artists took inspiration from these texts and also applied them. This type of application was done in Kishangarh, a small estate of Rajasthan. During the reign of King Rajsingh (1706-1748) in Kishangarh, the tradition of portraiture flourished. He was himself a good artist, but this style reached its peak during the time of King Kunwar Sawant Singh. He was a devotee of Krishna. He had a lover, whom he addressed as a fashionable heroine, in other words, attractive and well-dressed. Sawant Singh also composed songs in the name of Nagari Das and on the basis of these poems, the great artist Nihalchand created the immortal Radha, who wrapped all the paradigms of Indian beauty within herself and attained the fame of being known as Indian Monalisa. Radha is the illustration of the beauty of a sinless adolescent girl, it is like the star, Swati (one of the constellations), which accommodated in the shell of Kishangarh style and became a priceless pearl of art. In fact, Kishangarh School does not contain the portraiture of Radha’s beauty, it is the Radhaism of beauty. Kishangarh’s Radha contains all the qualities of the main female character of Sanskrit poem. Apart from Kishangarh, the love pageants of Radha and Krishna were beautifully designed in Mewar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Alwar, Boondi and Kota.

In Malwa, especially in a small estate named Radhogarh, Radha and Krishna were illustrated in a beautiful way. King Dhirajsingh (1695-1725) produced poetry based pictures under his patronage. On one side in Devgarh School, the couple picture of Radha-Madhav engrossed in love amidst the greenery of plantain trees is seen and on the other hand, veiled Radha sitting in front of Krishna in between the greenery is seen in Kota School. During Mughal period also the love of Radha and Madhav was portrayed. In the latter part of Mughal rule, the sensuous form of Radha with shyness has been depicted. The kind of Kanheri style that Sh. Narmadaprasad has been searching was made in Khandesh (Maharashtra) in 1765, the local effect is evident. It also happened that the hero and heroine were portrayed on the basis of Radha’s poses.

The details of the styles which have been mentioned with respect to the scenes of contact, the same styles have also shown unique transformation of separation. Almost all the representative schools have depicted the actors writing letters in separation; but, the portraiture of Guler School is unique in which there is mild smile on the face of actress and in spite of smouldering in the heat of separation she is writing a love letter of her heart with the cool ink of her memories. One can remember these lines –

You have come like a letter

in the letterbox of my life

and became the love-letter

of my heart

There is an unrivalled picture made in Kangra School, in which Radha is breathing in the darkness of night into her body and she is listening to the voice of her own separation. Behind this scene, a female messenger is shown passing some information to Krishna. Cheerless Krishna and Radha, both have become the models of separation.

Eyes filled with dense clouds of agony of separation

live day and night with rainfall of tears

heard deep inside, is my voice...

One of the portraiture of Guler School shows Krishna who has forgotten everything.

I search the path for myself

in the lines of your palms

sitting alone, waiting for me

singing an endless tune of affection

A cry to call

In the styles of hills and Rajasthan, especially, Kangra, Guler, Garwal and Uniyara, separation has been portrayed in an amazing way. In one instance, a fearless heroine is moving ahead on her path, drenching in rain, running under heavy rainfall, with the anxiety of love, in another instance, she is engrossed in the ocean of memories watching the sky filled with clouds and thundering. In some places, she is in the proximity of birds and animals amidst the nature under the moonlight and making an unsuccessful effort to overcome her loneliness and wrapping the past and future moments in her eyes, at another place she is sitting quietly with her head placed on the knee trying to pacify herself with memories and trying to console herself that she is not alone. Memories and memories, melancholy, and surrounding recollections, these are the inheritances of separation.

I want to be the pleasure-drop of your thirst

and get immersed to be free

from the anguish of detachment

Memories recall memories

the fragrance of memories of mind

In a corner, in some earthy place

that is touched by the lips of beloved

the tree of love grows

and the whole body becomes more magical

than a ‘wish-fulfilling divine tree’

the roots of sad mind

are in the sandy river

thirsty and thirsty....

All these poems of Pushpitaji are dedicated to love, but, this love is supernatural love, behind the thin veil of worldly love, the statue of the God of supernatural love is placed. This statue is created with the words of faith, it contains the auspiciousness that takes in the grand form into itself, all the salutations and all the offerings are created for the God with the same faith. This feeling is shown in one of the pictures of Awadh School and these lines of Pushpitaji are synonym for this portraiture-

I create God in words

with the ink of tears, and

I create in my God,

the God of faith.