Human is created
To manifest Godliness
To spread Love and Light.
Human is Immortal
Death is a shadow
Mortality is a mask.
- Shri Makarand Dave, from “Homage to Mother Liberty”
Shri Makarand Dave, also lovingly known as a saint poet, ”Sai Makarand”, in the Gujarati literature world and beyond, took his last breath on January 31st, 2005 at 5.30 am IST at his Nandigram residence in Valsad, a town in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Even at an age of 83 years and with an ailing body for the last few years, Shri Makarand Dave adhered to his life motto to get something meaningful done before it ends. He kept on working till the last moment to convey the message of divinity through his literary works, his social work and his spiritual work, which has reflected all through his life.
Shri Makarand Dave’s ever shining glory as a renowned poet, writer, thinker and philosopher has crossed the borders of the Gujarati world and has enlightened the spirit of the world around. He has been a realized divine Master for many of his students and has been recognized as a great seer and a mystic by many, who have been blessed to be in his presence. As said by his wife, Kundanika Kapadia, also lovingly known as Isha, and a renowned writer herself, “…in living with him, I had many divine experiences. He had contact with the subtle world. Even regarding his journey beyond, he had provided an indication but we were unable to understand it. Just a few days before leaving his body, he had said that he was going to go in Samadhi (Yogic sleep) and when he was asked about his return from Samadhi, he observed silence…”
In the presence of many of their loving friends and amidst an atmosphere of deep sorrow and prayers, Shri Makarand Dave’s holy body was cremated in Nandigram, on February 1st, 2005 at 10.30am IST, at a place pre-designated by him.
Shri Makarand Dave was born on November 13th, 1922, in a small town of Gondal in the Rajkot district of the Indian state of Gujarat. Youngest amongst five brothers and sisters, Shri Makarand Dave was primarily inspired by his god-loving parents that brought him very close to literature and philosophy. While pursuing his studies, he was in his primary years of college education in Rajkot when he quit his studies to join the 1942 freedom struggle of India that was inspired and guided by Mahatma Gandhi. He then stayed in his hometown for a long time to take care of his ill mother before he went on to settle down in Mumbai (Maharashtra, India) and finally made Nandigram his permanent residence along with his wife, Kundanika Kapadia and a few of their dear friends. All along the way he lived an exemplary life, continuously and profoundly contributing to the literature world with his collection of well over 50 books of poems and essays on various spiritual subjects and traditional scriptures, both in Gujarati and English. He had received prestigious awards like Ranjeetram Gold medal, Meghani Gold medal, Gujarat Gaurav Sahityakar Award from Gujarat Sahitya Academy, Narsinh Mehta Award, Aurobindo Award for his philosophical and other works.
Shri Makarand Dave always strived to strike a balance between the ancient and the modern and together with his wife, Kundanika Kapadia, they conceptualized and established Nandigram, away from the pangs of the mechanical life of modernization into the peaceful and joyful lap of nature, which has become a thriving center for cultural, spiritual, educational and caring institution for not only the surrounding tribal villages but for the world far and beyond.
His first visit to America was in 1989 and a last one recently in 1999. His travels, visions and dreams inspired his collection of poems titled, “Immortal face of America” and his writing, “Homage to Mother Liberty”. His vision beyond comprehension and his profound subtle insight unfolded deeper meanings of works around the world, ancient through the modern, focusing on the eternal message of ultimate unity and truth. His compassion for the humankind had no borders and inspired the foundation of Divine Darshan in the USA through one of his disciples, Jyotsna (Jessi) Shah , which is committed to nurture art and culture in this significant era of discovery and perennial dissolution, contribute its might in uniting our world… spreading our love and respect for
Life and its manifestations through diverse forms… and create the conscious, where various currents of culture unite and flow freely towards world harmony, and peace.
In his own words,” “From myriad experiences, our mind attempts to grasp what seems real. This is apparent reality. We are seeking reality behind all appearances. Infact, there is no wall between our inner & outer perceptions. To grasp our inner being, we have to travel deeper into our consciousness. It is at our core that the process of manifestation of plethora of creation emerges. Creativity is unique, as is its manifestation, in different forms of art. Divine Darshan is a harmonious attempt to perceive and understand the cosmic rhythm. Our creativity then, although expressed through local colors, fabrics and tunes, finds a universal expression…,The world wants fiddlers and music makers, not fighters and war mongers… the former are engaged in building bridges between different cultures whereas the latter are eager to fight till finish and refuse to acknowledge different opinions or any other type of opposition”.
Following excerpts from Shri Makarand Dave’s recent works, as is, will give us a glimpse of such a great yet humble seer and an amazing mystic:
From “Homage to Mother Liberty”-
· “On 29th of June in 1999, I with my wife Isha Kundanika visited USA. Our friends arranged a visit to the Statue of Liberty. I told them that we were not tourists but pilgrims, and I would be far happier to see the spirit of liberty embodied in a metallic mold than to see a mere metallic statue…We went in a traditional Indian way to pay our homage to the Dearest Lady of this great Nation…We were full of devotional fervor. It was divine sight….we sat together and meditated silently on the manifested form and the spirit of Liberty…We felt that our worship was positively received, as an aura of divine acceptance encircled all of us.”
· “When this image of the Mother is imbued by the nation, the whole nation is filled with kinship. Moreover, that Mother-image evokes within each and every person lofty ideals and produces a noble character. If the Mother of the nation lives in each individual, then the nation becomes a family with solidarity, unity and brotherhood as well. May we find such a Mother in the Statue of Liberty, as to liberate our souls from both physical-mental slavery as well as the slavery of ignorance”
From “Immortal face of America”, Eternal Seeds of Love, which is dedicated by Shri Makarand Dave to Joseph Campbell and John Muir who kept aloft the spirit of America through words and woods (collection of Gujarati Poems translated into English by Prasanna)-
· “Amidst the rush and roar of the New York City the Muse gave me a gift to see the “Immortal face of America” unveiled at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I felt that the Eternal Seeds of Love are still fresh and vigorous to sprout a-new. The serene calm and peace that passeth understanding enveloped me like an armor of Light. The phenomena repeated many times….I also visualized that luminous and loving face manifested in your First and Foremost lady with a Flame that lights the path of Humanity. I know that you do not worship Her by any ritual but She is very much in your hearts. I hope this feeling of yours extends to the rest of the world. I have witnessed the luminosity and light of hat Flame in the Faces of your great Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln. Again I have found it shining in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and others. It is in the hands of the new generation to keep the Face untarnished and the Flame undiminished.”
Dr. Paul R. Fleischman said, “In this book of poems that the reader will find a voice of delight and reverence… a radiant dream… This volume of poems was written on his first extended trip outside of India, and his first visit to America, in 1989… Unlike poetry that is intended to be expressive, artistic or emotional, this book with its religious concerns, scriptural overtones, mythic engagement and transgression of body-mind-self boundaries, has a classical poetic chore: to exert a personal influence on the reader, to be life-changing. This collection of poems is like a web strung in the path of sunlight, which has captured and stored life transforming energy in beautiful language...”
One of Shri Makarand Dave’s unique creations is his play “Prometheus” which has been written in a classical style. His in-depth vision has lent a modern understanding to the mythical story of the Greek god “Prometheus”.
At an age of 80, Shri Makarand Dave, the mystic poet-writer has shared his wisdom and insight on the unity of truth through two of his unmatched monumental works, “Bhaktamar” and “Shiva, The Light of Lights”. Truth is beyond the frontiers of time and space. The mysterious spiritual stories in this latter book, despite being metahistoric, are just as relevant even today. The divine truth that they expound has not changed; the potent message thus transforms our way of perception of the world around.
As Shri Makarand Dave said in his former work “Bhaktamar”, “The Indian myths are full of historic incidents as well as their spiritual meaning. Even the names of the persons are full of double interpretation.”
Some say he is no more but those who met him say that he is now more!
Jinesh Desai can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org