Writers International Edition

Gita in Verse: Rhyming the Wisdom of the ‘Song Divine’ by Dr Srilakshmi Adhyapak

The Bhagavad Gita stands as an immortal beacon, illuminating the profound depths of Hindu philosophy and spiritual wisdom. Its teachings on duty, renunciation, devotion, knowledge, and liberation have guided seekers across millennia. In ‘The Song Divine’, Dr. Srilakshmi Adhyapak has undertaken the ambitious endeavour of rendering this timeless scripture into a sweeping poetic opus.

The collection comprises 18 chapters, each mirroring the corresponding section of the original Gita. Through a tapestry of rhyming verses, Dr. Adhyapak retells the epochal dialogue between Lord Krishna and the mighty warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. The poetic form she employs is a blend of rhyming couplets and longer stanzas, lending a lyrical cadence that becomes the vehicle to convey the Gita’s metaphysical concepts.

Right at the outset, in the ‘Invocation’, the poet establishes a devotional atmosphere, fervently invoking divine grace for her ambitious undertaking. The opening chapters transport us to the heart of the metaphorical ‘kurukshetra’ – the moral dilemma confronting Arjuna. The vivid imagery depicts his anguish at facing his revered kinsmen as foes, and Krishna’s rousing call to rise above personal ties to uphold his dharma as a warrior.

As the poem cycles through the central teachings, one is struck by how deftly Dr. Adhyapak translates the Gita’s abstruse ideas into a lyrical format without compromising their essence. The nature of the immutable Atman, the working of the three Gunas, the paths of knowledge and action, the futility of rituals without true understanding, and ultimately Krishna’s supreme transcendental reality – all these profound themes find expression through her rhyming cadences.

The poet’s background as a medical professional seems to have infused her verses with a certain scientific precision and clarity, even while conveying lofty metaphysical truths. One can discern the painstaking efforts to ensure the verses remain true to the philosophical core of the Gita. Yet, her devotional spirit finds avenues for sublime outpourings, as in verses that depict Krishna’s cosmic form:

“Galaxies swirling in orbs magnetic,
Movement generating the trisyllabic chant kinetic.
Worlds varied, contained within,
An orchestrated symphony playing therein.”

Dr. Adhyapak’s command over rhyme and metre is truly impressive, enabling the loftiest of themes to be rendered in a sonorous, melodic flow. The rhyming couplets in particular have a profound resonance, distilling entire philosophical insights into just a couple of lines, as in:

“Attachment to outcomes of actions performed,
Bondage to a world of illusory charms.”

The epic battle sequences of the initial chapters give way to more introspective verses as the narration progresses. Vivid metaphors convey the transcendental visions, as in the magnificent eleventh chapter. The stylistic highlights keep varying, from pithy aphorisms to extended storytelling stanzas, all woven together by the unifying thread of the rhyming scheme.

In her preface, Dr. Adhyapak has stated that this is not a scholarly translation but rather an attempt to make the Gita’s wisdom accessible through poetry. Judged by this objective, ‘The Song Divine’ is a remarkable achievement. It serves as a lyrical primer that could inspire readers to venture deeper into the original scripture.

While it does not seek to replicate the nuances and expansive spirit of the Gita verbatim, this poetic rendition captures the philosophical essence with commendable fidelity. As such, it offers a refreshing pathway for the modern sensibility to be initiated into one of humanity’s oldest and most profound spiritual texts.

In essence, ‘The Song Divine’ is a melodious offering that could kindle interest about the Bhagavad Gita’s sublime wisdom among poetry lovers and spiritual seekers alike. Dr. Adhyapak’s labour of love has birthed a lyrical garland that makes the Gita’s munis echoe rhyming down the ages, into our present times. This monumental undertaking deserves applause for its inspired verses and poetic verve in unravelling the profound ‘Song Celestial’.

Prof (Dr) Attrayee Adhya Chatterjee
Author-Poet & Educationist
Varanasi, India

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