Blog Editor Mira T. Sundara Rajan writes:
The Standard Edition is now complete!
All 4 Volumes of Mahakavi Bharati’s poems have now been published! The books are available on Amazon. You can buy them from amazon.com by clicking on the following links.
Volume 1 – Desiyam:
Volume 2 – Deivam – Thathuvam:
Volume 3 – Kannan Pattu – Panchali Sabatham – Kuyil Pattu
Volume 4 – Bharati Vazhkkaiyum Pira Padalgalum
The books are also available on Amazon’s websites all over the world. Just go to your national Amazon site (Amazon UK, amazon.co.uk; Amazon India, amazon.in; Amazon France, amazon.fr; Amazon Germany, amazon.de…) and search for “Mahakavi Bharati.” You can pay in your local currency, and may receive the books even sooner.
A summary of each volume follows:
Mahakavi Bharatiyar Kavithaigal (4 Volumes)
Edited by S. Vijaya Bharati, Bharati’s granddaughter.
Volume 1: Desiyam (National Poems)
“His powerful words kindled passion and patriotism in the hearts of the Tamils.”
Bharati was an ardent Indian nationalist, an impassioned advocate of social reform, and a pioneer of the Freedom movement in early twentieth-century South India. He belonged to the extremist party of the Indian National Congress, and worked alongside the great leaders of the Freedom movement, including Tilak, Lajpat Roy, Bipin Chandra Paul, and Sri Aurobindo, from the North; and G. Subramania Iyer, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, Subramania Siva, and Surendranath Arya in the South. Bharati’s contribution was unique – as a journalist and writer, his powerful words kindled passion and patriotism in the hearts of the Tamils. A true visionary, he anticipated freedom and independence for the three hundred million Indians of his day, at a time when the entire world was dominated by British Imperial force and a decline in British power seemed unthinkable. For Bharati, freedom meant freedom at every level – political, social, and personal – and for every individual, irrespective of caste, colour, gender, or religion. Almost a century later, has modern India fully caught up to his ideals?
Volume 2: Deivam-Thathuvam (Devotional and Philosophical Poems)
“Ekam Sat: Truth is one.”
Bharati’s Devotional and Philosophical poems sing of the various aspects of God by different names: Vinayagar (Moolam, the source of Creation), Murugan (Light and Beauty), Lakshmi (Wealth), Saraswati (Knowledge, Wisdom, and Inspiration), Shakti (Energy) – Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Rudra, Siva (the Destroyer), and so on.
Bharati’s philosophy of life was drawn from the findings of the Vedic Seers: Ekam Sat (“Truth is one.”). This principle was the basis of the Hindu philosophy of Advaita, founded by Adi Sankaracharya. The Vedic Seers’ concept of God (Paramporul) was two-fold: Being (Siva) and Energy (Shakti) – Man and Woman – Absolute and Relative; the rishis saw the various aspects of God even in the infinitesimal forms of Nature, and worshipped them.
On the basis of the Advaitic principle, that all is one, Bharati aspired to establish a Kruta Yuga, a new era, in which the equality of all beings is recognized – the animate, and even inanimate, objects of Creation. This is the state of Immortality, the life of a Deva – a life in which there is no death, sickness, or inequality, and there is freedom and happiness for all.
Volume 3: Kannan Pattu, Panchali Sabatham, Kuyil Pattu
This volume includes 3 of Bharati’s major works, treasures of poetry and philosophy that deserve a place among the classics of world literature. Panchali Sabatham has long been known as a modern Tamil epic, in the millennia-long tradition of classical Tamil literature, and the unforgettable Kannan and Kuyil poems are poetical narratives of sparkling fantasy, engaging humour, and divine insight.
Kannan Pattu (Songs of Kannan):
“These are more than mere ideas…”
“Preoccupied from the earliest times with divine knowledge and religious aspirations, the Indian mind has turned all forms of human life and emotion[,] and all [the] phenomena of the universe, into symbols and means, by which[,] the embodied soul may strive after and grasp the Supreme.”
“These are more than mere ideas,” says Bharati, and he has carried this experience of life to the “extreme possibilities.” In his Kannan Songs, dedicated to Krishna, Bharati’s devotion has “especially seized upon the most intimate human relations.” These relations are not just “symbolic” to Bharati. He has experienced them, in a real and advaitic sense, as he saw his own ‘self,’as well as all other forms of creation, as manifestations of God.
Panchali Sabatham (The Vow of Panchali):
“. . . an epic which revives and gives new life to Tamil language.”
The story of Panchali Sabatham was selected from the great Indian epic, Mahabharata. The war between the Pandavas and the Kauvaras described in this epic was the theme of the Bhagavad Gita, the core of Hindu scripture. And Panchali, the heroine of this “modern Tamil epic,” was Bharati’s own vision of a new woman (pudumai penn) who embodied his ideal of free womanhood and her place in Indian culture.
“ . . . discover, if you can, the hidden meaning of this fantasy,”
As the poet tells it, as he was sitting under a tree in a mango-grove in Pondicherry one day, when he fell into a dream…Kuyil Pattu was the result. It is the work of the poet’s imagination, a “fantasy.” The story is extraordinary enough for legend – the tale of a damsel, and her two lives, first, as the daughter of a hunter, and, second, as a beautiful little bird, the kuyil – which is known, like its Western counterpart the nightingale, for its lovely song.
The theme of the story is eternal Love. At the end, Bharati concludes by writing that the story may have some philosophical implications, and invites the Tamil pandits to discover what might be the hidden meaning of this fantasy.
Volume 4: Bharati’s Autobiographical and Other Poems
“You are Rati, the Goddess of Love! I surrender myself to you . . .”
What better source than Bharati’s own, autobiographical poems, Kanavu (Dream) and Bharati Arubattaru (66 stanzas in Bharati’s life), to tell us truthfully about the poet’s life?
This 4th Volume is a collection of autobiographical poems, as well as other poems on several themes, including Love, Nature, and Greetings to the great people of his times. Of these, the poems that he wrote on his wife, Chellamma, form an important part, as they depict the special contribution made by the poet’s wife to his life and work. She was beautiful, understanding, and totally dedicated to her husband; she managed the poet’s difficulties and transformed his life into the life of a deva.
Katchi (Vision) was formerly published as Vachana Kavithai (Prose Poem), and is a work of monumental literary and spiritual significance. Katchi may be considered modern Veda Mantras that Bharati wrote in Tamil. The language and content of these mantras are new creations in form, style, and imagination, unique in the history of Tamil literature.
These four Volumes of Bharati’s poetry, edited and published by the Mahakavi’s granddaughter, fill a vacuum in Bharati studies by providing the first-ever Standard Edition of C. Subramania Bharati’s Works. It is a primary work of its kind, and supercedes all publication of the poet’s works to-date.