Book Review – कामायनी by जयशंकर प्रसाद

कामायनीकामायनी by जयशंकर प्रसाद
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Kamayani is arguably the best poem written in Hindi language in contemporary times. The vision behind the poetic plot and the flights of imagination by the author shines in brilliance in every page of this book. The poem retells the tale of Manu, the primordial man who survived Pralay (great flood) and then worked to regenerate humanity from that catastrophe. The poem covers the emotions, thoughts and actions that turmoiled primal father of mankind Manu after the deluge.
Each chapter in the book covers these different emotions like Chinta (Anxiety), Asha (Hope), Kama (Sexual Love), Vasana (Passion), Lajja (Shyness), Karna (Action), Irshya (Jealousy), Sanghrash (Internal Conflict), Nirved ( Renunciation), Darshan (Philosophy), Rahasya ( Mystery) and Anand (Bliss).

The poem also covers the contributions made by Shraddha (Faith) and Ida (Intelligence) on this recovery journey. The author has liberally taken from Vedic literature where this tale was first told but the brilliance of Kamayani lies in the way the author has reimagined the plot and lyrical poetic verses in which the tale is retold. Metaphorically Manu represents the mind of humanity engrossed in different emotions as it works on the unsurmountable task of rebuilding from scratch after the great flood and the faculties of head and heart are represented by Shraddha and Ida respectively.

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