Archive for the 'Poetry' Category

Dead Poets
15 December 2008

December 15 2008

I am not much of a poetry aficionado. I rarely write it, and seldom read it. But poetry is a powerful medium of expression and can move one’s emotions and spark one’s imagination like few other mediums.

Srila Prabhupada read and wrote poetry and at school he was exposed to British literature and its exponents. One of the great poets he sometimes quoted was William Cowper (pronounced Cooper – 1731-1800):

William Cowper 1731-1800

Cowper was well known for his love of the Divine through nature:

Jnana das: Srila Prabhupada, in Kenya the great majority of people live in the country rather than the towns.
Prabhupada: That’s nice. “Country is made of God, and city is made by man.” That is the remark by poet Cowper.”

Of course, Srila Prabhupad’s realizations went deeper and broader:

Hyderabad farm

Paramahamsa: Life becomes so artificial. In the big city, people don’t see that they depend on God.
Prabhupada: No, no. City or country, that I don’t say that Mr. Cowper is perfect in his statement. City is also created by God. City is also created by God. God has given you the ingredients, He has given you the intelligence, and you create. Eh? Wherefrom you get the intelligence? Eh? Who will answer this? Wherefrom the man gets his intelligence?”

Nevertheless he appreciated Cowper and men like him for their insights into human life and the natural arrangements provided by Krsna for real human development:

“Actually, I have no desire to start the school in any city. City life, especially in this age of kali yuga, is very much polluted. Poet Cowper stated that the city is made by man and the village is made by God. So in the village there is a natural tendency for Krishna Consciousness, so we want to develop such atmosphere in New Vrindaban. “–Letter to: Satyabhama  —  Los Angeles 27 December, 1968 

Cowper, the son of the chaplain of King George II, expressed his god consciousness through verse, to great effect. As Cowper noted about his own ability to write verse and its effect on others:

… I, who scribble rhyme
To catch the triflers of the time,
And tell them truths divine and clear
Which, couched in prose, they would not hear.

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