Bhagwanji Bhindi Poetry Book “Horizons from the Edge: Depths of Emotional Escape and Descent”, was launched at Fiji National University in 2019.
This collection of poems by Mr. Bhindi is aimed at the educational system, in a style where poetry is not only used for artistic expression, but as a basis of knowledge for everyday problems.
Mr. Bhindi, through his lifelong experiences in the education sector, has delivered the wisdom gained through experience to meet the challenges of present and future generations.
Horizons from the Edge: The Depths of Emotional Escape and Descent is based on many of the writer’s life realities and experiences. The poems are whirlwind and lively, vicious and painful, knowledgeable and instructive.
In my opinion, the purpose of poetry is to allow us to get out of the cage of the mind defined by logic. Poetry is the language of the heart and the expression of intuition.
Poetry has been the language of the Dharmic religions of India which laid the foundation for ethics, philosophy and non-violence, also known as Ahimsa philosophy which motivates veganism.
Poetry has been used as a tool for meditation, mental well-being and self-realization.
I find the whole book interesting, witty and philosophical. I will endeavor to give an overview of some of the poems that touched me deeply.
The definition of love is a simple yet complex experience.
In the poem, “What is love?Mr. Bhindi offers a discussion on the aspects of love that our younger generation complain about, with a perspective to address them.
Defining time and its effects has been an important goal of science and philosophy. It has been the subject of expressions by writers and artists.
“Elusive Time” attempts to define and capture the essence of time and the role it plays in our lives and relationships.
The mind is complex, a mystery to some, and a focus of study for millennia in Dharmic religions, and has been central to modern psychology and neuroscience.
The study of the mind has also been a central concern of Hindu and Buddhist philosophers for generations.
In Cconnected mindMr. Bhindi tries to capture the driving forces of the mind and the barriers that prevent people from achieving their dreams when they are obstructed by negative thoughts.
As prescribed by the Dharmic religions, meditation is the key to releasing the clogged mind that has now permeated mainstream psychology, and especially positive psychology.
“The forked tongue” gives an important message about how human speech and communication can be subtle and dangerous, not only for the family, but could lead the planet towards war and destruction.
The education system needs to emphasize this at all levels, and it needs to be careful at the managerial and political levels, because leaders are primarily responsible for leading families, careers and also the country. The words of a father or a mother could either build or destroy the lives of children.
The future is uncertain, and there is not much in our hands. The rest we leave to time. We can just do our part and let the universe do the rest.
“Certainty of uncertaintyasks stimulating questions about the future. We can also plan and sometimes take a leap of faith. I believe that we should not be demotivated by uncertainty and we should keep our faith.
“Patience of patienceasks about related philosophical questions.
Seers in the history of time have told us to keep patience, it is indeed a virtue, but what are the limits of patience.
Sometimes you have to take drastic measures to free yourself from being too patient.
For example, we cannot be patient with politicians and corporations to deal with pollution and climate change issues.
Likewise, “the decision” raises an important subject. Sometimes people shy away from decision-making because they fear stepping out of their comfort zone or their loved ones.
Sometimes making a decision is the hardest thing to do, but it has to be done.
All decisions require careful thought. You have to meditate, take advice and even go on a trip to make a good decision.
Other poems in a related theme are, “web of lies” and “Defense mechanismsexplain the weaknesses within our society and also the weakness that we all have from time to time.
Besides, “The languor of lazinessexplains a lot of the things we see in society that keep people from achieving their dreams. The world is not as we see it and there are many things hidden even though we see it.
This is the philosophy of “Maya” given in the Dharmic religions, which is also represented in “The hidden mask”.
In order to free oneself from it, one must make an “inner journey”, which is also prescribed by the Dharmic religions. This trip is not as easy as you think. It takes enormous sacrifice and effort for self-discovery and so the majority of us ignore it.
Besides, “The true value of happinesswonders about the definition of happiness. We keep running after material or immaterial things in life.
Sometimes part of it is driven by our inner quest and sometimes passed down through our family and society, and they further prescribe the definition of happiness.
What happiness really is has been the focus of philosophy and psychology, as well as the Dharma religions. Is happiness absolute or relative?
Is happiness something we can cling to or something that can only be lived, and for how long?
Is despair part of happiness? Can despair and happiness exist without each other?
These are some of the deep questions that have guided spirituality and philosophy for millennia and will continue to lead us in that direction in the future.
We must be aware that technology guides us and clings to us every day.
Can technology make the future of humanity happy or will it bring more misery? Only time can tell.
On a personal level, Mr. Bhindi’s work is strongly motivated by girmit-related heritage.
In “A tribute to ancestral memoryMr. Bhindi reflects on the difficulties of the girmit; the journey across the vast ocean to a small island nation, far from culture, tradition and family.
The Indians of Fiji struggled tremendously in the girmit and also in the post-girmit era, given the hardships of the land, coups and evictions.
Despite these challenges, the Indian diaspora has flourished and left a massive imprint on the Fijian economy and culture.
Mr. Bhindi also reflects on his journey and family struggles while being raised in Labasa. One can foresee how a rocky start enabled Mr. Bhindi to achieve his goals and make an impact in the education sector as a principal and also as an academic at Fiji National University. Humble beginnings go a long way.
Besides, “The reluctant leaderreminded me of our beloved mutual friend, the late Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi.
I remember it was Ratu Joni who introduced me to Mr. Bhindi in 2010 during my short stay at Fiji National University.
Our friend did not wish to be called Ratu (Chief) because of his birthright; but he had done more for country, academia and education by his deeds than by his birthright; that’s why the title of Ratu suited him well enough in my opinion.
Reading this poem made me reminisce and miss our days usually in Suva having deep discussions at lunchtime.
The departure of Ratu Joni was a sad loss for the nation, and his thoughts will always be present in our poems and other writings. He lived the message that a true leader is humble, kind and motivating.
Horizons from the Edge: The Depths of Emotional Escape and Descent is written with the heart and soul of a poet deeply absorbed in poetry, captivated and intoxicated by poetry, and seduced by the craziness of poetry. He is immersed in poetic hypnotism and propelled into poetic pleasure; and for whom poetry is his energy, his essence, his existence and his life (stealing lines from his poems).
This book captures the quintessence of the poet’s thoughts and feelings and is crafted from the poet’s own experiences.
Finally, I would like to point out that philosophical poems do not answer questions; instead, they give you a deeper understanding of the issues so you can find the solutions within.
In my opinion, the ego of science about life and the universe diminishes with the wisdom that everything we know is limited, we don’t have the potential to know the truth, only to approximate it with our limited senses and intelligence; so we don’t know anything.
There is much to be gained from silence and the depth of knowledge within.
Horizons from the Edge: The Depths of Emotional Escape and Descent is an engaging, compelling and emotionally moving collection of poems that resonates very deeply.
I hope Mr. Bhindi’s poems will leave a happy and profound effect on you, as much as they did on me.
- Dr. Rohitash Chandra is a senior lecturer in data science at the UNSW School of Mathematics and Statistics. The views expressed are his own and not those of this newspaper.