Friday, May 21, 2010

Sri Aurobindo : His Poetics and his Poetry

Many know Sri Aurobindo (Aurobindo Ghosh) as a mystic and as a poet . But how many in India know of his poetic theories? His critical views lie scattered in the numerous essays he published from time to time They are the gems of Indian aesthetics.Being the product of Western liberalism, Sri Aurobindo could successfully harmonize Indian aesthetics with Western thoughts . Aurobindo's essays , therefore, deserve a niche reserved for the best critical literature of the world.

According to Aurobindo, poetry is better described than defined. While trying to analyze poetry through description we make two kinds of mistakes . We think that poetry is only an elevated pastime . This kind of mistake is made by the uneducated people .Aurobindo admits that pleasure is one of the aims of poetry . Aurobindo asserts that poetry is not merely an aesthetic pleasure of the imagination , the intellect and the ear . They are not the true recipients of the poetic delight . They are not the creators of poetic delight, either. They are only its channels . Sri Aurobindo says the true creator or the true hearer of poetic delight is the soul. Poetry ,therefore, transmutes pleasure into the highest form of delight- a divine Ananda (supreme bliss)

While describing poetry the learned among us are apt to make another kink of mistake ..They consider poetry as a matter of "correct and exquisite technique " . Aurobindo admits that in all arts technique is an important first step towards perfection . Poetry makes use of the rhythmic word .This word has a sound value, a thought- value and together they make a soul- value . This power, says Aurobndo, soars high beyond the" laws of mechanical construction ". A poet does not have to create with his eyes fixed on the technique .

According to Sri Aurobindo the rhythmic word of the poet is the highest form of speech available to man . Poetic utterance has a great intensity . Why? .It is because the poets use words in a special way . We use words as conventional signs for ideas . as if they had no life in them! .It was not always so . Words had a life of their own . They denoted feelings and sensations . Sound has a natural property to raise vibrations in the soul . This made primitive languages very powerful . This power was lost when language gained in clarity and precision . Poetry tries re-gain this lost power by making use of the suggestive power of sound .


I consider Revelation as the most stupendous expression of Sri Aurobindo"s poetic genius . Among the Indo-Anglian poets only Sri Aurobindo could have conceived and written such a short poem of immense power . Only the blessed can have the rare vision of the Divine . Sri Aurobind belonged to the blessed few who could experience the vision of the many- splendoured but awesome Divine! To have the experience is one thing , but to put that into poetry is quite a different thing . The poet joins hands with the mystic in Aurobindo in shaping the poem . The seemingly unutterable experience of revelation is concretized through tangible imagery -wind-blown locks, a startled bright surmise, a cheek of frightened rose, a hurried glance behind , a thought ere it is caught - all these capture the fleeting moment of divine revelation .

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