Knowledge in verses | Book Review: Shuvrangshur’s ‘Shadows of the Fragmented Moon’

It is a well-known fact that ancient Indian texts still possess valuable knowledge awaiting unfolding. When a writer tries to translate those texts or pen his teachings from this store of knowledge, the text becomes invaluable. Two Indian texts written by Shuvrangshu Roy – 108 meditative poems on the experience of reality based on the Yoga Basishta and the Ashtabakra Gita – a collection of poems that appeals to the reader on a subconscious level.

According to the book, poetry stimulates the tired mind to think and finally speaks straight. The author explores in depth the complexities of the mind and the sense of existence, revealing the various levels of the human being.

Layer by layer, layer by layer, this is your mind
Makes choices, enriches the imagination
When deep asleep, awake wide open
To feel what it creates, to think by thought

Knowing this, doing what you want, knowing it well, it’s all in the mind, “wrote Roy, describing the mind’s calisthenics in words – how thought becomes imagination and continues to expand, albeit only and completely. The author brings to the fore the illusion of the mind which creates reality when awake and imagination while dreaming. He talks about the vortices of time that arise and dissolve in the imagination and how the mind is a small piece of the universe — still largely undiscovered and slipping out of the human eye.

Through his poem titled Brahman, he highlights the fact that age, values, arrogance, religious identity — all are the work of a beautiful mind. “I am a Brahmin, am I a Muslim, am I a Hanuman, am I a Superman,” he wrote to define how identity is associated with animals as they become part of the mortal world. The author explores the concept of God as the mind, the concept of life and death experienced by the mind – the pain that comes with it. He subtly advises readers to abandon worldly confusions and to “just be” and exist in freedom. After all, as Roy wrote at the end of the book, “Rituals are for demons, gods are truly independent.”

The shadow of the broken moon
Shuvrangshu Roy
Penguin Random House
Page 212, 350 rupees

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