The Eternal Soul: A Poem by Meenakshi Mohan

Meenakshi Mohan

What do I call you?

Bapu, Mahatma, the Eternal Soul?

You were there

when my horizon had not crossed your shore.

Yet, from the moment

my awakening dawned

I heard of you and revered you

for the person you were.


Pen & Ink Art by Meenakshi Mohan
I heard

your stories of compassion and love.

You advocated for women’s rights,

struggled against discrimination.

You stood for freedom for one’s country and one’s soul

in a nonviolent way.


I learned

of your humbleness and simplicity,

believing in truth and standing for it.

You walked fearlessly with certitude

 in the ostentatious court of King George VI and Queen Mary

in your simple attire of wooden sandals,

 homespun shawl and loincloth,

with your head held high.

Sabarmati ke sant tune ker diya kamal.


Didn’t you say,

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind?

Peace is the most potent weapon of humankind,

and with this philosophy, you marched

to change the world and the course of history.

You came to the world like the Sabarmati River

to enlighten and purify the minds of many oppressors.


We need you, Bapu

in today’s world of disharmony, conflict, and discord.

Let the eternal flame of Rajghat

ignite the minds of all with awakening

of humanity and truthfulness.

Let your humble dwelling of Sabarmati Ashram

be an icon of peace.

Let the message of your beloved hymn

resonate around the world.

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye jo peer parei jaane

per dukhe upkar kare toye

man abhiman na aane re!



Sabarmati ke sant tune ker diya kamal

Translated: The saint of Sabarmati, you did wonders.

Sabarmati was the humble dwelling of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba near Ahmedabad, where the seeds of Indian Independence were planted.

The Sabarmati – The water of the Sabarmati river is considered to be pure. It purifies the water of the Hathmati river, which is impure and makes it fertile and productive for the fields.

Vaishnav jan to tene kahiye jo peer parei jaane
per dukhe upkar kare toye
man abhiman na aane re! 

Translated: A true son of God is the one who knows the pain of others without letting pride enter their minds. Gandhi’s favorite hymn.

Rajghat – A memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, New Delhi. An eternal flame burns there at one end.

1 comment :

  1. What a wonderful saying --
    'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind'.
    Thank you Meenu... always left wondering did the painting inspire the words, or vice versa? Either way, the result is superb.


We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।