As the third installment of our humble tribute to Amal Kiran alias K.D. Sethna, we are publishing the reminiscences of Shri R.Y. Deshpande, eminent poet and Aurobindonian scholar.
With warm regards,
My First Contact with Amal Kiran by R.Y. Deshpande
My first contact with Amal goes back to 1951. At that time he was living in Bombay, and I a student of Nizam’s College, Hyderabad. I’d sent to him a set of my poems of the time and sought his guidance. He was prompt, and warm, in his reply, and even wrote that I’d a genuine poet in me. One of my poems was entitled Where do the Nebulae Go? Its genesis was what our professor in the physics class had told regarding the stars and the galaxies and the nebulae. According to the scientific ideas, they are constantly drifting away from us, drifting towards some far-off mysterious destination. The Red-Shift is a metaphor for the search of that Unknown. Amal liked a few lines and commented so, saying that they are “felicitous”. But he also said it looks somewhat “nebulous”. But I took this “nebulous” as a compliment, the adjective bearing the quality of the nebula itself, as if having a definite aim in its journey in the night sky. But what came to me as a wonderful surprise was he published one of my poems, of course with a lot of corrections, in the November 1952 issue of Mother India, which was coming at that time from Bombay. He said that it is a good sonnet coming from a student, and deserves all encouragement. But there was more to it than just encouragement! I was pretty happy, and also felt kind of important.
But the concrete “encouragement” came about a month after the publication of the poem. His office had sent by money order a sum of Rs five, as was the custom in those days for Mother India to pay to the authors. I did not know that I’d be rewarded this way also, and had least expectations. Promptly on receiving it I sent the amount to the Mother as my offering to her, an offering which you may call great or small depending upon how you look at it. The money order receipt came to me with her powerful and beautiful signature.
Here is the sonnet that had appeared in the periodical:
I am a student of Thy Infinity
With a heart simple like a blossoming flower;
Out of hushed caves there wakes an ecstasy
In a blank breast to drink Thy endless shower.
A god-will sprung from the rocky void of sleep
In a stream of magic rushes through my being
Of dumb nakedness to the soul’s silent deep
And all a light that is a flickerless seeing!
I am a student of Thy Truth’s triumphing
And I carry my heart to the dream-distant Sun
Where a giant wideness shall its wonder-wings
Spread over my trance in a deathless union.
Life shall new-glow in the lore of spirit-fire
To clasp the Unknown in a white flame-desire.