A Season for Contemplation

Paul C. Blake
Paul C. Blake
Independent thinker/writer

My Poetic Offering by Manab Manik

With sincere adoration and devotion for matters concerning contemplation, the poet, Manab Manik, has revealed himself in a quiet yet sparkling way—one that follows a path to communion, discernment, and enlightenment—one that explores a personal relationship between the Beloved and his lover—and one that still addresses a specific or generic inhumane condition in society to a certain extent.  

The sweet communion is exemplified in the poet’s journey towards transcendence  through his discourse of Immanence, evident in several of his holy sonnets like My Poetic Laurel Plant Is Thine, Basking in Thy Light, and Thy Glory in Monsoon, just to mention a few.

With great luminosity, he poet writes in the opening lines of My Poetic Laurel Plant is Thine.
Thou art Apollo shining bright,
No dark cloud can brood o’er thy sight.

Then, he compares his heart to a laurel plant guarded by his writing in which he allows only this Radiance to enter. Finally, in his sweet communion, he petitions this Radiance to bless his heart’s growing endeavor.  In another sonnet, Basking in Thy Light, the poet like a lover dozes and dreams of this Radiance likened to Apollo who went in search of his mortal lover, Daphne. The Radiance is comforting, as the lover snuggles into warm rays that dispel his aches and pains. 

In Thy Glory in Monsoon, the poet attends to the Radiance as a form of Moisture, a benevolent solution to quench a certain drought in his discourse of Immanence which seems also synonymous with love. How heavenly teardrops reflect the image of Deity to the prospect of conversion is a clever way to address a sinful human estate.  He writes in the concluding lines:
The rain-drops, the angels’ tears, sketch thy image,
I find thy fair face and run to thee like a true page.                                                                      Let thy love-rain fall on the dry land of hatred,
One day aloud thy good deeds will be read.

It is with also a great discernment that Manab has become a disciple not just in his communion with Immanence but with that Presence that now leads him into deeper meditation.  In his poem, My Prayer, he realizes the omnipresence of his Deity in the living as well as the non-living, and questions the sometimes inaction of his Beloved—for example, his Deity’s inattention to Asifa, a little girl who was raped and murdered in a temple in Kashmir.  The poet refuses this dark chamber of worship and calls for divine power as he worships in his good deeds to the helpless people. He acknowledges:
Oh my Lord! In my heart’s dark chamber thou shine and shine,

With deeper appreciation, the poet expresses his amazement and desire for the burning radiance he has come to know. He reveals this desire in the first stanza of his poem, Thy Growth in My Heart.
My wonder knows no bound as I gaze and gaze thee,
In my heart I have planted thee as a laurel tree.
In my heart’s fertile mead thou grow and grow,
The jealous weeds overtake thee with pride and show.

Now, Manab has entered into the interior of the Garden of Eden, Shantibon, for yet greater contemplation to experience the music of the birds and bees and of the whispering winds—a place in the heart where he can abide in peace wherever he goes. It may well be a reverberation of Edward Hicks’ painting, Peaceable Kingdom.  Manab’s sonnet, She Is Singing Thy Song, reminds us of William Blake’s poem To Autumn from his “Poetical Sketches.”  Presently, Manab writes:
Kash flowers’ fragrance still floats in this festive mood,                                                            The perfumed breeze reaches thro’ the veins and heart as food.

Similarly, Blake wrote:
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;                                                         
…The spirits of the air live on the smells
Here, both poets seemed to share the sentiments that though the glorious buds fade, the scent of their fragrance lives on. Again, the notion of the Transcendental hovering over as spirits of Immanence.

With quiet discernment, Manab has entered into a stark enlightenment as he caught a glimpse of his own immortality in the Immanence surrounding him.  Several poems reveal the poet’s stark enlightenment—Thy Eternal Spring, Thy Eternal Light, Thy Timelessness, Thy Glory in Vernal Beauty and Thou Art an Immortal Lotus.  The notions of timelessness and an immortal lotus are compelling in the poet’s discovery of himself.  In his poetic lines, the medium of his thoughts, he senses beauty, eternity and timelessness. In Thy Timelessness, he queries:
Who can impede the spreading of scent of flowers and fragrance?                                       
I’m drowsed in thy hypnotic perfume and abundance.

He then declares the ‘beyondness’ of time and swears to it in his final couplet.
Thou know not Time’s flow or any season,                                                                                Save thee must my mighty lines from any treason.

Manab’s sensibility to his immortality has come to fruition in his reflexive poem, Thou Art an Immortal Lotus.  At the end of this cumulative penmanship, perhaps he has discovered something about himself in his poetry—the ‘I know.’  Here, the unattainable becomes attainable. Here, now is a place made holy where the lotus resides, and where Apollo looks after her. Part divine, part human as in her earthiness, she possess an attribute of the luminary—Apollo. The poet writes:
The lotus feet of the Lord shines and shines in thy heart,
Thy life and fragrance I sketch with love-ink in my art.                                                        When can thy beauty, glory and fragrance fade?                                                                  
In every age thou’ll live when my verse ‘ll be read.

In this spiritual journey, the poet, Manab Manik, has informed with devotion and tender heartedness to his meditations of the sublime and contemplative ways.  In the spirit of John Donne’s holy sonnet number VI, Manab has embarked on a pilgrimage but not his last mile or last race, I suspect.  However, he too like Donne has come to embrace certain spiritual transformation in the transition from one state of being to another. This is obvious in Donne’s final couplet:
Impute me righteous, thus purg’d of evill,
For thus I leave the world, the flesh, the devill.

Like the poet John Donne, Manab too has begun to invoke a similar transformation in the final couplet of his summative meditation, My Poetic Offering, as he petitions his Deity.
Oh Lord! Save this flower from the fierce fang,
With head bowed upon thy feet I blank.

Manab in this poem has recognized that in the nameless Deity even his cultural deities like Shiva and Kali reside. Yet, in the following stanza, he compares the supreme Deity to the sunflower and the lotus. He did rightly so, citing the lotus as he alludes to its transformation from a state of Becoming to a state of Being—the movement from the muddy waters of the world beneath to the airy, luminous world above—the estate of self-actualization—a beautiful flower.

Amazing! The enlightenment! Sparkling and refreshing are these thoughts!  Thank you Manab Manik for this beautiful revelation.

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