Beyond The Beaten Track: Offbeat Poems From Gujarat (Heritage Collection)

Holiest Center (Balmukund Dave)

Wandered far on pilgrimage, yearning to perceive the holy
to Ayodhya, Mathura, Puri, Kanchi, and sacred Kashi.
Visited these, bathed in sixty-eight sacred waters
and also brought a pot of pure Ganga water.
Still found not, Lord, even one blessed place, where
I could fulfill my hankering of sighting You there!
And so many days of such search passed
and even more in life’s routines elapsed!

As on every evening the two of us
were chatting on our verandah
my beloved gazed upon our nascent bud
covered her with palav1 and bent over her
joyously suckling her on a runnel of nectar.
I found in that gaze, Lord, the world’s holiest center!

1 End portion of sari

તીર્થોત્તમ (બાલમુકુંદ દવે)

ભમ્યો તીર્થે તીર્થે, ધરી ઉર મનીષા દરશની,
પુરી, કાશી, કાંચી, અવધ, મથુરા ને અવર સૌ
ભમ્યો યાત્રાધામો અડસઠ જલે સ્નાન કરિયા;
વળી સાથે લાવ્યો વિમલ ઘટ ગંગોદક ભરી.
છતાં રે ના લાધ્યું પ્રભુ ! પુનિત એક્કે તીરથ જ્યાં
શકે મારી છીપી ચરમ મનીષા તું દરશની !
અને એવા ઝાઝા દિન વહી ગયા શોધન મહીં,
વહ્યા એથી ઝાઝા સતત ઘટમાળે જીવનની !

અમે બે સાંજુકાં સહજ મઢીઓટે નિત પઠે
વળ્યાં'તાં વાતોએ, નયન નમણાં ને સખી તણાં
ઢળ્યાં'તાં વાત્સલ્યે, મૃદુલ નવજાતા કલી પરે-
ઝૂકી, ઢાંકી જેને અરધપરધા પાલવ થકી
ઉછંગે પિવાડી અનગળ રહી અમૃતધરા !
મને એ ચક્ષુમાં પ્રભુ ! જગતતીર્થોત્તમ મળ્યું.

Category in Beyond The Beaten Track

Man - Woman Relations


The sonnet uses the episode of mother suckling an infant to good effect. Here is the husband in search of the divine, wandering everywhere for its manifestation – but the divine was there all the time at home! One is reminded of the race between Ganesha and Kartikeya for going round the universe, and how Ganesha won it by just going round the parents – Shiva and Parvati – creators of the cosmos. God, says the poem, is neither nowhere or everywhere. It is right here, and now!

About The Author

Balmukund Dave, Matriculation (1916-1993) hailed from a brahmin family residing in the village of Mastupura in Vadodara district. His schooling was in Mastupura and the city of Vadodara. He shifted to Ahmedabad and took a job in a publishing house. He also had a stint as a journalist. Thereafter he worked in Navjivan, a Gandhian publishing house, from which he retired after some thirty years. After retirement he edited a periodical published by Navjivan. Dave once suffered grave tragedies: in the space of two calamitous days he lost his son and his father. Dave’s poetic sensibilities were forged by the beauties of nature, the dawn ‘bhajans’ of his grandmother, the hearing of marriage songs, and the reading of contemplative, serious, inspiring works. When he shifted to Ahmedabad, he joined Budh Sabha, a colloquium of poets. He was a close friend of Venibhai Purohit, another poet. Dave published poetry, children’s verse, sketches of people, and edited compendiums. Dave saw the mission of the poet being similar to that of the country exorcist who takes out the poison of a snake bite or exorcises spirits; like the exorcist, the poet, he felt, should eliminate poison in people. He once commented that as a poet he was enamoured of nature’s beauty, love, and devotion to God, in that order. He was recipient of Kumar Gold Medal.