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RUSLAN MSU-NEWS INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR ON IVAN TYUTCHEV ARTICLES / PRESENTATIONS
RUSLAN"S NATIONAL SEMINAR DELHI: RUSSIAN CULTURAL CENTRE NATIONAL SEMINAR STUDENTS' CORNER
FAIRY TALES RECALLED BARODANET
ARTICLES / PRESENTATIONS
(Presented at the International Seminar on Fyodor I. Tyutchev's Bicentennial, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, November 5-8, 2003)
The universality of "Silentium!" and "The Golden Boat"
BEFORE MY EYES
Dr. Devil Dasgupta
(Professor and Offg. Head, Department of Russian, Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara.)It is not strange for human beings to feel lonely, empty and sententious, for often does one fail to communicate with oneself, and as much with others. With this failure in communication the question of loneliness is attached, and it may not be wrong to say that all human beings are essentially lonesome. One is born with the freedom to think but is devoid of the freedom to express, especially in view of the so called 'Human and Social Norms'. One finds a better outlet in being a hypocrite, than to speak out one's mind. Remembering the blind philosopher " love invariably ends in frustration", one extends that any object of love for the human being is a world, different from the rest, only own to one's own, and dearest of all to one. It is both rare and difficult to find a person whose heart has no "Secret Dreams", that find manifestation only in one's aspirations.
Fyodor Tyutchev (1803-1873) and Ravindra Nath Tagore (1861-1941) have been two household names for Russia and India, each of them enjoying a special place in the hearts of their readers, world over. While the 'philosopher poet' (1) Tyutchev's motifs include nature, romance and personal fate, socio-political conditions of the then Russia, emancipation of the Serfs and so on, Tagore's poetry is marked with his insight into both the philosophical and psychological realms of the human mind. While nature plays a centre-stage, in Tagore's poetry, there is hardly any facet of life that he did not choose to reflect upon in his poetry. Loneliness is one of them.
While Tyutchev says: "Seal thou thy lips, to none impart / The secret dreams that fill thy heart", Tagore emotes: "Dark thundering clouds, a dense pouring. / Lonely do I sit on the bank, hopelessness devouring." and both touch the chords of the same sentiment: in wishing that one's dreams come true, but "Within it let them blaze and die / As do the silent stars on high / When oer the earth nights shadows stray / Delight in them and silent stay.", unfortunately is the reality.
Is silence, then, the only way out ? Is the pessimism of Tyutchev in his lines " Thy sentiments to none confide; / From those about thee thy thoughts hide, / For when voiced what are they but lies!.. / Churn up a stream, and silt will rise / And darken it Drink, drink thou deep / Of waters clear -- and silent keep." .. to be understood as the only recourse ? Or is there that "Inner Soul" whom one could confide in? Is it only the physical distance and barrier as portrayed by Tagore: "A tiny farm, me the only soul around -- / Playing its game, curved waters surround. / On the other side in view, shadowing trees in a varied hue / The hamlet, with its sky overcast, it is at dawn. / This side on the tiny farm, its me alone." to be understood that the other side also exists? Hope? Optimism? That the trees out there in different shades and shadows are ready to share one's emotions, thoughts, secrets and dreams? Are they prepared to be an outlet for one's state of mind? Is nature in any way the perpetual listener, to whom one could dedicate one's tender feelings? Why in that case one is still not able to express and feel less loathsome? Why in that case one looks for a known face to listen to and understand and assure? Does one not endlessly wait for that acquaintance, the one who would understand? Tagore's lines: "Singing a tune, rowing a boat, whos that approaching ! / Looking at him it seems a familiar face, a known being. / With his sail he blows away, looks nowhere but goes away, / Waves helplessly break on the shores like tender lace -- / Looking at him it seems, it truly is a familiar face.". Isn't it that even the familiar face is indifferent? If not then why does he float away?
Indifference, apathy, insensitiveness and insensitivity are human traits, conspicuous both to oneself and others. A normal reaction, therefore, is to find an easy way out in ignorance and suppression. On the moral plane the one's idea of life is a system of conduct of life which, determined by the individual's persuasions, ideological integrity and concerns. One's position in relation to any socially significant issue constitutes ones thoughts of life in as much as it corresponds to the objective logic of the development of a social reality, and it reflects the actual alignment of social forces, affecting this development. The criterion of truth and rightness of a particular idea, therefore, is based on its conformity to the progressive tendencies in the development of society and the interests of the advanced social forces. It constitutes one of the most important features of the individual's personal development, determining his place is the historical process. The development of the individual is at the same time one's conscious choice of a particular position on life. The substance of one's own choice of a certain mental position is, therefore, determined by the ideals and values of the society, a class or a social group, to which one belongs. But this in no way dents the role of the individual oneself in determining ones attitude to the world.
State of mind is an expression of the social activity of the human being, which is based on some ideological conviction and adherence to principles. The moral basis of an active position in life is the principle of unity of thought and deed, expressed in one's striving to realise a social, including a moral, ideal in practice. The active standing of life is countered by a passive one, in which one assumes the position of a detached and neutral observer. In the moral sense, such passivity is identical to indifference, which, more often than not, nourishes treachery and desertion. A special case of departure from an active position in life is the gap between thoughts and deeds, which testifies to the declarative, formal nature of man's conviction, and at times to his moral hypocrisy. Often one is forced to choose such recourse. Tyutchev says: " Live in the world of self -- thy soul / Of magic thoughts contains a whole / Bright universe Let not the noise / And light of the day dispel the joys / That meditation gives to thee / Hear thy heart's song -- and silent be!".
What then about the question of sincerity, the moral quality, characterising one with ones acts that manifests itself in a person's doing and saying that, what one believes in? Thanks to one's golden harvest thanks to which the ordinary boat could transform into the "Golden Boat", is it not expected that the creator of the golden content be understood as a part of the catalyst. Tagore's lines: "There is no place, no place, too small is the boat of thee. / Its filled with the golden paddy that belongs to me. / The August sky over, dense clouds hover, / On the empty river bank, me, lonely, in miseries afloat -- / My only belonging stands taken away by the Golden Boat." Here lies the deepest Tragedy of Tagore that he is being surrounded by the beautiful nature, the bearer of hope, but at the same time his best abilities throughout the year are ignored. His dilemma between optimism and tragic pessimism abounds his mind, and he sees that his offering of his entire life's activity in the hope of its fruition is a false hope altogether. Is then there no value of the creator? There is the deep sense of tragedy associated with the carrier of hope, the "Golden Boat" itself, that it has no room for Tagore. His life's earning are just dedicated to the enrichment of some one else, the one, who behaves more strange than ever.
Tyutchev makes a journey into the innermost depth of the mind. His realisation of the necessity to mute comprehension of life is relevant. " Live in the world of self -- thy soul / Of magic thoughts contains a whole / Bright universe Let not the noise / And light of the day dispel the joys / That meditation gives to thee / Hear thy heart's song -- and silent be! "... he expresses.
Is it, therefore, true to believe that universality rests in the common concern of ones being lonesome? Is loneliness and emptiness not the best state of mind, when one is true to oneself, however little one may be understood by the others? One is most creative, expresses oneself in the most beautiful manner in loneliness and in solitude only that the ray of hope lies. The best realisation of one's self finds its blossoming in the expression of the fact that gap of communication is a universal phenomenon. Unfortunately such feelings are often accompanied with sadness and pessimism, and, therefore, pessimism too is a way of life. Without depression, pessimism, loneliness and the feeling of emptiness, human beings are not human beings. Like love, hatred, ambition, emotion, passion, enduring, truthfulness, deceit, pity and the rest are human qualities, universally acceptable and accepted, loneliness too is a human quality, rather a state of mind. They are present in every human being in different proportions. It is also true to note that there is the need for one to behave human, and in this humane behaviour itself and in this feeling of loneliness, that one's vision is clearer, expressed in the following poem:
BEFORE MY EYES
Just before my eyes...
No longer exists the foamy blue sea !
Nor do I any longer wish to be lost in the skies.
All that I wish is to trace the path to eternity --
I wish to spread my wings of magnanimity.
I observe, how the world so indifferently cries ...
Just before my eyes.
No longer exits the foamy blue sea !
Its depths conquered and waves overcome by me.
Conquered with joy, overcome with sorrows...
They seem to hold no promises for the morrows.
The corals on the shores or the pebbles on its bed --
That seem to others like an oasis, but for me:
No longer exits the foamy blue sea.
Nor do I any longer wish to be lost in the skies...
Sweet tales and words, to tell, the entire world tries,
For its heights unravel the miseries of a kind,
Sorrows and all that -- yes the slavery of the mind.
Truth remains unmasked right from birth till one dies.
On the good earth we tread on, do reality lies
I do not any longer wish to be lost in the skies !
All that I wish is to trace the path to eternity --
So much of falsehood, deceit and pity.
Do they really mean anything or to anybody ?
Do they not make the stream get lost,
In the desert of mankind, in the sea of humanity ?
Not here, somewhere else -- a word of truth and honesty --
All that I wish is to trace the path to eternity.
I wish to spread my wings of magnanimity...
To drift alongside time -- not to stop it but to feel:
The brightness of life and its magic powers to heal,
All that is dark, all that is blind.
Unravel the mystery and not to be unkind.
Let me be free to go, to see and help all earthly things, we otherwise pity,
I wish to spread my wings of magnanimity.
I observe, how the world so indifferently cries...
From what we read, learn or hear.
How long will they befool us, oh my dear ?
What is my role, where do I stand ?
What should I do, where do I land ?
What makes it go, what makes a dent or does the poor one rise..?
I observe, how the world so indifferently cries.
Just before my eyes --
A new vision, a dream, a path and a goal --
To fulfill a wish, to introspect into the soul.
Peep into my entity and realise for self:
'I stand here and this is my role'
I hear the knock -- my entity cries ...
Just before my eyes.
(Original in English)
"Seal thou thy lips, to none impart The secret dreams that fill thy heart Within it let them blaze and die As do the silent stars on high When oer the earth nights shadows stray Delight in them and silent stay." Thy sentiments to none confide; From those about thee thy thoughts hide, For when voiced what are they but lies!.. Churn up a stream, and silt will rise And darken it Drink, drink thou deep Of waters clear -- and silent keep. Live in the world of self -- thy soul Of magic thoughts contains a whole Bright universe Let not the noise And light of the day dispel the joys That meditation gives to thee Hear thy heart's song -- and silent be!
(Translation by Elyena Zheleznova)
The Golden Boat
Rabindra Nath TagoreDark thundering clouds, a dense pouring. Lonely do I sit on the bank, hopelessness devouring. Stack-piles of paddy, harvesting is near ready, The flooding river, touching sharp with its razor edge, far from sober -- While reaping the crop, heavy rains took over. A tiny farm, me the only soul around -- Playing its game, curved waters surround. On the other side in view, shadowing trees in a varied hue The hamlet, with its sky overcast, it is at dawn. This side on the tiny farm, its me alone. Singing a tune, rowing a boat, whos that approaching ! Looking at him it seems a familiar face, a known being. With his sail he blows away, looks nowhere but goes away, Waves helplessly break on the shores like tender lace -- Looking at him it seems, it truly is a familiar face. Oh dear mine, where do you drift, to which foreign land ? Please do anchor, just even once, on my lonely shore of sand. Depart you desire where, give away to whom you bear Only do accept with a moments smile My golden paddy, just do come for a while. Receive from me as much you wish, all that you could. Any more left ? No more, for Ive filled so much as your boat would. My lifes longing on this sand, allowing me to remember no other land All I have bestowed in layers to thee -- Wouldnt you now, kindly accept me ? There is no place, no place, too small is the boat of thee. Its filled with the golden paddy that belongs to me. The August sky over, dense clouds hover, On the empty river bank, me, lonely, in miseries afloat -- My only belonging stands taken away by the Golden Boat.
(Translation from Original Bengali poem Sonar tori: Dr. Devil Dasgupta)
"Russian 19th Century Verse", Edited by Elyena Zhelyeznova, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1983.
"Sanchayeeta", Rabindra Nath Thakur, Vishwabharati, Kolkata, 1966
THE MANIFESTATION OF HARMONY WITH NATURE IN THE POEMS OF F.I. TYUTCHEV AND R. TAGORE
(Temporary Lecturer, Department of Russian, Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara.) " In nature all is harmony,
A consonance forever agreed on,
And tis alone our phantom freedom
That is disturbingly off-key."
(F.I. Tyutchev, 1865)
It is a known fact that the natural objects like trees, rivers, sky etc. are regarded as living objects in pagan belief. They are not mere immobile, lifeless things but are living gods. They have been worshipped by the pagans in the ancient times. They are being worshipped by them even in these days. Ancient sages and hermits in India repeatedly preached that the natural objects and phenomena in the universe were living and should be revered with solemnity. The Vedas and the Upanishads emphasize the fact that all these natural objects should be given due regard since they are indispensable for the existence of man and the mankind. Hence, man should live with nature in harmony. Man should not prevail over nature; he should learn to exist in it peacefully. Man should not try to enslave nature, he should try to enamour it.
Greek mythology also propagates the concept of living natural objects. Natural objects and phenomena are not soulless in Greek mythology. Pagan features of Greek mythology concede the natural objects as divine entities and urge man to live with nature in equilibrium.
Nature in all its forms and manifestations is also present in the poems of known and unknown bards. They have described its beauty; they have expressed love for it.
But the tune we hear in some of Tyutchevs poems is very different from other European and Russian poets. He tells us not to think nature as soulless.
Nature is not, as you believe,
A waxen mask, a soulless face
She has a soul, the power of speech,
Freedom of will, and love she has
(F.I. Tyutchev, 1836)
He describes nature as mother of man. All the natural objects and phenomena are living in his poems. They are divine. Thus, snow laden hills; stars in daytime; spring are divine.
It is interesting to note that mysticism of Tyutchev is not devoid of naturalism. The poems like "Day and night", "Why moan, why wail you, wind of night" do not carry forward the idea of struggle between good and evil, sin and redemption. His poems find that man and nature are inseparable; they live in harmony with each other.
Tyutchev in later period (since 1850) snaps his ties with naturalism. He emphasizes more on human soul (Compare the poem: Bright sun, a gleaming, sparkling river! -- F.I. Tyutchev 1852). Here we find that human soul is stronger then nature. The present paper does not attempt to search for the cause of his deviation from naturalism and inclination towards Christianity. However, it is interesting to note that he could not ignore naturalism entirely in his later period. His conscience oscillates between pagan ideas and Christian belief.
It has been said and proved by many critics that F.I. Tyutchev has been influenced by various ideas of philosophers. Influence of Shelling and Goethe in his poems cannot be refuted. Greek mythology finds its place in his poems. B.M. Kozyrev in his letters on Tyutchev (Vide: Literaturnoye nasledstvo, Moscow) notes that Tyutchev has been greatly influenced by the ideas that water is the beginning of everything and everything is full of God.
However, one cannot deny that he has evolved his own thought and it is not just borrowing of alien thoughts. These alien thoughts and ideas have only helped to develop his worldview. It may be said that he has soaked his brush in the colour of wisdom and knowledge and painted his masterpieces.
Indian poet R. Tagore also displays inseparability of man and nature. In his various poems he ascertains the concept of harmony of man with nature. He is convinced that man and nature are complementary to each other. A flower cannot exist without aroma as aroma finds its expression in flower and flower finds its completeness in aroma. Similarly, nature and man reach the level of completeness together. The existence of man has converged with the diverse beauty of nature. This convergence reaches the Kingdom of Truth.
Trees, forests, rivers, seas, thunders, storms are all parts of nature. Man exists harmonically in that. He writes in the poem Eternal life (Ananta jiiban) in "The morning song" (Prabhaat sangeet): There is a sea in the midst of this world. The water flow is silent there. Flow of life from all sides is continuously coming to that sea. Flows from the sun, the moon and millions of stars are coming. All smiles, all songs, all lives are flowing into that sea. We find proximity of these lines with a sloka of Mundak Upanisad: yathaa nadyah syandamaanaah samudreh / stang gacchanti naamruupe bihaya / tathaa vidbaannaam ruupaadwimuktah / paraatparang purusmupaiti divyam. It is interesting to note that Tyutchev attached much importance to water and moist (vlaga). He also deals with the idea of continuity (stikhijnost).
In one of his poems Running away from the school (skul paalaane) R. Tagore writes that the same soul has brought the sense of life surreptitiously in the veins of man and in the veins of trees. Nature mysticism of Tagore leads him to convergence with nature. That convergence is accomplished by perception (anubhuti). In his poems the poet chants that he was a particle in dust, he was a tree in the midst of other trees. He will remain as a particle in the dust and will remain as a flower in the bunch of flowers.
The existence of poet is being moved and expressed in tandem with the evolution of nature. The poet was hidden under dust, he was hidden in grasses, in water, and he had suddenly come out of that to roam around the world. Tagore writes in the "The Religion of Man": The first stage of my realization was through my feeling of intimacy with Nature.
Tagore says that the ultimate expression of life has taken place in the infinite beauty of the Universe. But this growth of life has been motionless in the beauty of the Universe. However, a new voyage of life has started in human mind and the infinite beauty has transformed into the form of infinite love in human mind. Tagore tries to achieve freedom in both of these spheres by attaching himself closely with the Universe in beauty and by appending himself strongly with the mankind in love.
Tagore believes that this harmonic convergence of beauty and love, nature and man brings infinite freedom. He sings: My freedom is in light, is in this Universe / My freedom is in dust, in grasses / I lose myself in the distant bank of body and mind / My freedom floats above in the melody of songs. Then he sings: My freedom lies in the midst of human mind / It lies in the difficult tasks that defy sorrow and danger.
Thus, harmony with nature is the ultimate goal of man, which can free him from agony and woe and carries him to the state of rapture and joy. One cannot refute the fact that ideas of ancient Indian ascets and their experiences composed in the Upanisads have been imbibed in the poems of Tagore, but it is incorrect to say that these ideas have blanketed his own ideas and made them hazy and blurred. On the contrary, he has enarmoured his own ideas with these ornaments of ancient wisdom and knowledge.
This paper, however, does not try to find any analogy or anomaly in the poems of F.I. Tyutchev and R. Tagore. The present study has only tried to show how pagan ideas and thoughts have helped these two poets of different countries and cultures, different space and time grow on their own. Pagan ideas of nature worshipping and harmonical existence with nature have not burdened their poems, but have helped them to blossom to totality.
Published by Ruslan, the Cultural and Literary Department of Russian, Faculty of Arts, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, INDIA.
(TELEFAX: + 91 - 265 - 2786336)Launched by: Prof. Kailash Chandra Upadhyaya, Vice Chancellor, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on September 15, 2002
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 19, 2003