Prayers To Lord Murugan
Lord Murugan is the “ancient Dravidian god of fertility, joy, youth, beauty, war and love. He is represented as a six-faced god with twelve hands.”
Ramanujan seeks the blessings of Lord Murugan, to sharpen his sensibilities and deeper love towards fellow human beings in his poem ‘Prayers to Lord Murugan’. He says, “Lord of the sixth sense/give us Back /our five senses”.
Lord Murugan is regarded as the God bestowing both plenty and fertility, in the Dravidian religious tradition. There is similarity in the basic religious outlook and themes, between the Dravidian and Hindu traditions with overlapping modes of worship and ritual. Murugan is the God with six faces and twelve hands.
Ramanujan has described the attributes of Lord Murugan in the following verses. “Unlike other gods/you found work/for every face,/and made /eyes at only one/Woman. And your arms / are like faces with proper/names.”
Summary/ Analysis of the poem
The poet quotes God Shiva, Lord Murugan and other Gods of the Hindu mythology in his poems. In the poem Prayer to Lord Murugan, the poet expresses unmistakable in the perception of a tradition as well as in ironic posture. No focus is given on contents and context, the subject matter is clarifying. In the present poem, Vasavanna’s dialogue is representative of Indian concepts of the ignorance causing births to occur through wombs and unlikely worlds.
At a number of occasions, there is interrogation in ironic mode. Ramanujan clearly marks a visible paradox in these lines; a typical and radical mode of expression. But as a great child of Indian tradition, Ramanujan making utterances grounded in counter-culture sensibilities and further makes radical subversion of the dominant cultural representations. As a resident in western modern culture, Ramanujan was aware of western culture. For him, modernity appeared to be afflicted with Oedipal repressions and violent dismissals of the immediate tradition of operations.
Ramanujan’s ‘Prayers to Lord Murugan’ are a good example of his quest for the human touch in life. He prays:
Lord of the twelve right hands
Why are we your mirror men
With the two left hands
Capable only of casting
I choke, for ancient hands are at my throat.
The poet is conscious about people of the modern generation who ‘Having no clear conscience, he looks for one in the morning news. Assam then, Punjab now, finds him guilty of an early breakfast of two whole poached eggs.’
‘Looking and Finding’. The poet firmly believes that days can be golden, apples beautiful, if eyes can see only days and apples.
Help us read
The small print.
Lord of the sixth sense
Give us back
Our five senses
The height of his secular human search comes in the last stanza of the poem where the persona seeks:
Lord of answers,
Cure us at once
In the poetry of Ramanujan, human relationships are described through its all complexities to bring out the suffering of the self. The persona of many poems is wedded to doubt/ and only married to woman ’The persona is ‘Looking for a system, Although Ramanujan appears and wears a mask of secularism, his poems grouped as ‘Prayers to Lord Murugan’ shed subjective identity here. The Hindu poems attest, through a developing process of the implication that the persona or the mask cannot provide a consistent amour to the self because it can never fully cope with the variety and depth of inner life brought into interplay in one’s encounter with reality. Thus Ramanujan through his prayer motif is successful in inscribing the self. It assumes the qualities of a persona. It also becomes an object. These prayers reach a climactic point with the last three lines:
Lord of answers,
Cure us at once
Ramanujan harps on the essence of the religious faith which is universal:
Adjust my single eye, rainbow bubble,
So I too may see all things double.
Style and Structure
In the poem “Prayers to Lord Murugan,” A.K. Ramanujan conveys his meaning by employing the alliterative device. An example of this device is given below:
Lord of green
growing things, give us
in our fight
with the fruit fly
will the red flower ever
come to the branches
of the blueprint…
(Prayers to Lord Murugan, 114)
This passage unquestionably abounds in alliterative and rhythmical lines; it is also rich in internal rhyme. The repetition of /g/ sound s in the first two lines in “green”, “growing”, and “give”. And the repetition of /f/ sounds in the last two lines in “fight”, “fruit”, and “fly”. The poem, taken as a whole, is incantatory in effect and in its earnest invocations to Lord Murugan, the ancient Dravidian God of fertility, joy, youth, beauty, war and love, having six faces and twelve hands. Speaking of the naked Jaina monk, the poet writes as follows:
A naked Jaina monk
ravaged by spring
fever, the vigour
of long celibacy
lusting now as never before
for the reek and sight
Some solved questions and answers
Q. 1 Whom does the writer quote in this poem?
Ans. The writer has quoted Gods of the Shiva’s family in this poem.
Q. 2 What is the basic theme of this poem?
Ans. In the present poem, Vasavanna’s dialogue is representative of Indian concepts of the ignorance causing births to occur through wombs and unlikely worlds. At a number of occasions, there is interrogation in ironic mode. Ramanujan clearly marks a visible paradox which marks a typical and radical mode of expression.
Q.3 How have human relationships been brought out in the poem?
Ans. In the poetry of Ramanujan, human relationships are described through its all complexities to bring out the suffering of the self. The persona of many poems is ‘wedded to doubt / and only married to woman’. The persona is ‘Looking for a system. Although Ramanujan appears
and wears a mask of secularism, his poems grouped as ‘Prayers to Lord Murugan’ shed subjective identity here.
Q. 4 What is the poet’s perception in this poem?
Ans. In the poem Prayer to Lord Murugan, the poet expresses the unmistakable perception of a tradition as well as in ironic posture.
Q.5. What message does the poet try to give us through this poem?
Ans. Ramanujan tries to bring out the essence of the religious faith which is universal and has emphasised on secularism which implies tolerance toward all religions.