Looking at Kurukshetra through
the third eye
Dr. Rati Saxena
Time and man are interrelated. When time subdues the man, there
is chance of delusion and when man tries to hold time, the time
gets set to teach him a lesson. Very interesting thing in this
relation is that time remembers only those, who can stand
straight in front of them. Kurukshetra is one of the literary
approaches in this direction.
When I was trying to learn about Malayalam literature. I heard
about Dr. Ayyappa panikkars long poem Kurukshetra that was
considered very complicated one specially for translation. I was
told that it is impossible to translate this poem. This make me
interested in this poem to read and understand and bring it in
to Hindi through translation. Naturally this was a big challenge
for person like me who had limited knowledge of Malayalam
language. But good poems cannot be limited in the boundaries of
languages. Language is only medium of expression core of the
poem can not kept in the brackets. I tried to read this poem
with help of other people. I was careful that the people who
read for me should not know Hindi much as there interpretation
could misguide me. I wanted to understand this poem
independently that is why I read it line by line. Surprisingly
every line of this poem had strong identity. They are
interrelated but same time they could be read separately. That
is why translation and correlation between meanings have to go
together. That makes translator's job difficult. But same time
it give space for understanding and reach in heart. For a
translator who does not interested in mere language translation,
who wants to reach in heart of meaning, this poem is very
The period of this poem was 1951 to 1957. This was the time when
people started realize the test of discontentment after freedom.
Common was not only unhappy but astounded also. Naturally seeing
all these changes in society disturbed a young mind. Yes, a
young village boy wrote this poem on the canvas of whole world.
It is strange, but not too much, as poetry does not need the
boundaries of age and worldly knowledge. Another specialty of
this poem is that it took almost six years to complete. In first
glance it is a long period to complete a poem of almost 200
lines, but when read it seriously every line is able to give new
direction. It is compelled in such a manner that a number of
ideas settled in few lines. Above all the poem is never loosing
its rhythm. The time is concentrated in form of meaning.
Kurushetra is the battlefield of fight between selfishness of
same generation belongs to same family. When quarrel take place
between "ours" ( Mamakah) and yours (Pandavas), than humanity
returns back few steps. Poetry is an attempt to call it to move
forwards. Kukshetra is not opening the path of sorrows but
trying to search new ways.
This world is a market place, where every one is selling them
and buying them. This is the place where roots are eating
branches and branches to flowers. Life giver is becoming eater.
In this strange time a star of hope goes up in the sky. It's dim
light helps man to revealed the sorrows and unmoral of society.
O love star of my life!
look down, this is my world
the drama stage of men
can you here the sorrows of men
who are dancing and singing
this world is big market
traders come and go here
bargain for themselves
roots are sucking flowers
earth is soloing crops.
Earth is reality and sky is expend of its imaginations. Both of
them interrelated. When man is unhappy, his imagination try to
find the way out. So earth does not have any identity without
sky. That is why man always try to solve his earthy difficulied
looking at sky. Religion is the man made thought, which could
help him to remain him in his humanity. But when religion takes
advantage of innocent people. Temples, churches and mosque
started hurting humankind in place of helping, where does the
common man go? Who can help him?
Under this sky
temples churches and mosque
knocking back the chest of man
be happy while
playing with their hearts
Common man is still hoping for some miracle. Morning sunlight
like innocent girls, like humming evening young girls, with
shining cheeks the moonlight women, Clear days like mothers have
still have faith in God. Sweet innocent girls, like dawn light,
girls wearing skirt like going down evening are still forwarding
for religion. Now question rises, whether religions are really
helping humankind, whether religions are still source of peace
and harmony. This poem becomes significant in modern time, when
whole world is divided in different religions. the cause of wars
are limited to superiority of religions. All religious places
are change in to war houses.
It is fact that man has becoming powerful day by day. He has
controlled the nature even. When man is so powerful that even
death is scared of him, then why he is so sad? This question
rises in every ones mind. Whether power and happiness are
interrelated? If it is not so than why man is blindly trying to
gain more and more power. The poem is putting very significant
questions in front reader. Most of the time poet is including
reader in his thoughts.
The poet has doubt about culture also. The culture should refine
the man. It makes difference between man and animals. But when
the culture it self become blind, Humanity is left on the mercy
of time and space, who can understand the pain of man. The poet
is raising question against so called culture. Whether culture
is responsible for the rise of humanity or it is making him
blind against nature. The nature verses culture is the question
in sensitive minds. Kurukshetra is again rising questions in
Another big question, which disturb man is - why did man born on
earth? Naturally he has some more responsibilities compare to
other creatures because of he has more intelligence. But what he
is doing in name of culture? Woman like Seeta are send away in
the Jungle in mercy of animals. A brave intelligent leader like
Ravan is killed by cheating. The man like Vibhishan and Sugreeva,
who have cheated brother are getting respect. If we try to
uncover the achievements of Ram, who is the model man, we find
that noting is left in his credit. Same way cleverness of
Chankya is also use less. If these were neither happy and nor
could humankind happy than who could be our model? If our
leaders lives couldn't be useful humankind, than what is the
cause to take birth in this world?
The world of astronomy talking about space. time etc. when the
power of atom is glorified, than the earth which is a useful
part of space is still struggling with pain and sorrow. The
songs of human being are burning in the universe of positive and
negative powers. Sufferings of man is reflection of universal
atoms or it is created by man only. Man has a little roll in
Universe. There are number of other creature, which are more
power full than man. The Earth is not only planet in universe.
Than why the suffering is more in the earth than other planets?
This could be question for not only intellectuals, but
scientists also. Kurukshetra is putting it's doubt in this
Poet is putting question on the roll of World Bank. In modern
world we feel same way. So called globalization and world
economy is making life cheap. Do we need some coins in name of
help or we have to grow ourselves from inside. strangely, this
question is becoming bigger and bigger day by day in our modern
At last poet is confident that if we want to find our own way,
we can not follow some one blindfolded we have to reborn in our
Thus the Kurukshetra is a poem of future, even though it talks
about past. it deals with present. This always relevant to the
time of it's reader. This is the quality of poem, which makes it
world wise worthy. Most of the good poems can not be old, if
they are really related to human kind. Kabir is the poet of all
time because of this quality. Kuruskhsetra comes in this
category. This is a poem of thought which deals human emotions,
This is the song of sorrow, which searches the causes of
happiness, This is the path in darkness in search of light.
As I told previously, this poem is challenge for translator.
Translator can not dependant on words and their meanings only.
He has open his third to reach in the core of poem, He has to
rebuilt his own structure and coin his own meaning. The poem is
so strong that a number of translations are needed to understand
the poem in different angles. Translators third eye is not
Shiva's third eye which destroy every thing. Here one has to
search the meaning from ashes and interpreted in ones own time
and space. At last it gives full satisfaction to translator.
Dr. Rati Saxena
K.p.9/624, Vaijayant, Chettikunnu,
Medical college P.O.