Reminding the global community the essential need of universal brotherhood and collective efforts to tackle global menaces, Panorama International Literature Festival concluded its 10-day long event gathering writers from across the world. The event was on the theme World As One Family inspired by the famed mantra from Vedic literature Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Hundreds of poets from across the world participated in the event that was conducted virtually this year due to the pandemic.
When the event concluded, it was one person, who appeared in the radar of literary enthusiasts from across the world- Preeth Nambiar whose vision and dedication was the very reason behind the success of the event conducted by Indus Scrolls Press Publications, Delhi, a non-profit media venture. A globally known author, metaphysical poet, educationist and philosopher, he does not need any introduction.
Writing about a person that you have never seen in your life before is quite difficult, but to be honest I really felt that I knew him somehow for many years. Here is the outcome of a few hours of conversation with the poet that was an enlightening experience for me and I hope you would cherish it too.
When did you start to get more close to words? At a very young age was poetry a kind of a magical world where you could feel absolutely you and you could express yourself?
On the journey from timelessness to eternity, our genes have peculiar qualities attached to it. I earnestly believe it is when a favourable circumstance arises some of the traits expresses themselves. The so-called ‘my’ love for words could be similar to that. Though born in Kerala, I spent the first few years of my life in other states with my father who was employed in central government service. However, we had to return to my ancestral house in Kerala soon where I spent most of my childhood.
Though born in an aristocratic family, there was almost nothing left to make my childhood a happy one. It was during my struggle with a miserable childhood and loneliness I started seeking solace in reading that finally resulted in scribbling my own. After the death of my grandmother, who introduced me to the rich epics of the country, I returned to the maternal home, the surrounding had a rich soil suitable for writing more.
In many parts of the world, we have war. Why are you fighting to throw art to spread the deepest meaning of love, companion, solidarity and peace? Do you really believe in your unconscious mind..that you deliver them, light, tenderness, and harmony?
From history, we learn that conflicts and wars were part and parcel of the human race since its origin. Just like our mind seeks a problem to find its existence, we need a ‘problem’ for the existence of a society. Look at the word ‘serenity’, the word itself will be lost if there is nothing other than serenity in the world. Serenity exists as there is a calamity. So is the world too. The funniest part is that even if we manage to tackle one issue, we will find another issue to fight for. I am afraid there is no end to this.
Meanwhile, music, arts, literature etc. are good remedies for bringing a sense of peace within. The knowledge of the essential nature of oneness of our lives would certainly help to ease the situation for which literature could play a major role. Music, arts etc. are universal languages that could help people from various cultures to gather and realize once again the nature of oneness. More important is nurturing the values of humanity and for the environment for the healthy coexistence in the planet for which literature can play a major role.
In fact, I dream of a world without a border, with a single religion that is humanity with a philosophy of oneness of the entire universe, maybe just a dream!
Why do you believe written words are so important for you as an individual for you like a part of the universe?
Everything in the universe expresses in their own way, the written word is just one among myriad means of expression. The translation for ‘alphabet’ in Sanskrit is ‘Akshara’ which means it is one that cannot be destroyed. Words, when documented, stay here forever giving it the same meaning even if centuries pass. We learn about ourselves through those written words, yeah?
Poetry rather than a physical form of written words is an experience. You may find poetry in a grass tip swaying in the breeze; you may find poetry in a gentle and graceful movement of a dance form. Something that evokes a feeling in a reader that is beyond the scope of verbalization – I would call it poetry.
When you meet a poet or an artist from a different part of the world..and you see his own unique gestures and face mimics, during the process of the pronunciation …what happen that moment inside you…Do your perception change how different culture faces the same topic …let’s say love from another aspect of you?
Soon after my studies in Sringeri, one of the centres established by Adi Sankara who consolidated and spread the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, the non-dualistic nature of the universe, my teacher Swami Nityananda Bharati asked me to set a journey. There were no plans as such, however the journey through Hampi, towards northern India that ended up on the banks of the mighty Ganges was a truly enlightening experience though I didn’t realize it then.
India is so diverse that you can find almost the entire world in it. While it is burning hot in one part of the country, you would see freezing temperature in another part. When you see the richest leading the most luxurious life in mansions, you can find people dying in hunger in a slum. There are philosophies that take you to the peak of serenity, yet there are doctrines that teach you to live in violence too. It is interesting that all these mutually coexisted in India.
Once you see this and understand the true nature of life, you would throw away all those prejudices and realise one of the greatest values that we have to behold in our lives – that is not to judge anything, let it be through its appearance or by considering time, space etc. Let me tell you, in order to find the true merit of a person, ask him/her about the places that they have travelled. In other words, the area that they covered is the area of the planes of consciousness. However, when you travel, your companion must be your own aloneness.
Probably a silly question in between, though not connected to the topic – why are cows considered so sacred in India?
I would connect it to the question that I answered previously. I understand the concept the cows being considered sacred is often mocked at by various other cultures. This is what I understand from many conversations that I had from citizens from other countries. The truth is that the concept is often criticized from within India.
We will have our answer once we visit Indian villages. If we read the history of India, cows were the centre of their lives. Starting from milk they consume, curd, butter, clarified butter ie. Ghee, buttermilk, everything is a part of their daily life. While dried cow dung is used as firewood, they are also used in farms. A quick look at this would reveal that cows are almost the very life for them. Any cruelty towards these animals would perhaps affect the very economy and perhaps for this reason they are considered sacred so that people would be careful enough to protect them.
It is not only scientific, but a deep-rooted faith too. A person from another culture, faith or geographical region would find it hard to understand this unless they visit those villages and learn their lives closely. I repeat, the key is to remain non-judgmental.
Can you tell briefly about the Panorama Literature Festival? How did the idea originate and its evolution?
We have been learning much about other cultures and the concept of peace and harmony. However, I believe that knowledge is complete only once it is personally experienced. In order to bolster the values of peace and harmony, we must know others, we need to have experience of various cultures and traditions. Panorama Literature Festival is an outcome of this thought. I am glad that the event is being welcomed by writers from across the world.
Unlike traditional literary festivals, the programmes are designed to give writers a holistic experience by travelling around and learning the culture and tradition of the host country and state. While Panorama International Literature Festival is dedicated to introducing various topics connected to humanitarian values, the national event is conducted to bolster national integrity among Indians who share diverse cultural values.
Nowadays many organisations are organising conferences and contest…So and poets…authors getting several kinds of awards…So do you really think that maybe we have lost the real road and meaning of poetry in name of fame and more self-promoting we have mixed the pure meaning of poetry…What is your opinion like an individual, but also like an expert organiser and coordinator in this field?
The real problem is that the majority of the organisations that we find in social media are for branding and promoting a person or organisations alone. If you do research, you will realise that most of such organisations exist only in the virtual world. First of all social media platforms should have strict regulations to add a page as an organisation. Secondly, people should have discrimination while taking part in events so.
Unfortunately, social media, for many, is a centre where they get an easy dopamine dose. I have seen profound works in social media failing to grab any attention, whereas works that don’t even qualify to be called a ‘work’ gather attention from a number of people. Maybe because of one’s ability to influence people or by using the marketing functionality available in social media, substandard works would perform well, however, in the long run, only the quality will define the fate of the work or of the writer. So is about the organisations.
Nevertheless, I am glad that there are plenty of platforms, though virtual, for writers to showcase their works. My request to fellow writers is never to be trapped by such organisations that are intended for self-promotions or get addicted to these dopamine doses, but nurture and harness the qualities within to give birth to timeless literary works. It takes a lot of pain too!
You have been silent over your political stances – is this because you are neutral or are you running away from your own responsibility as a writer whose stances would have impacts in a society especially in a country like India?
I earnestly believe in the power of written words in social change, however, I am least interested in politics, or to great extent I hate even the word. In a country like India I see the people being terribly exploited by politicians. Except for urban India, the education sector in Indian villages is in pathetic condition. Though the present government is struggling to bring some reforms in the field, the ill effects of the ruling of a few political leaders of the bygone are still haunting the country. More serious is the growing religious fundamentalism which we can find spreading in the rest of the world too. Looking all around, I feel like India is a living volcano, the eruption of the same could be fatal for the rest of the world too. Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, these turmoils were and are part and parcel of the human race, if not visionary leaders, nature itself will find a solution to see everything back to normalcy.
Is poetry functioning in your life like when you have fallen in love and you have the first crash?
Experience of falling in love or a crash would certainly help you pen something connected to it in a later time, however, as far as I have experienced, it is always ‘emotion recollected in tranquillity’. Personal experiences are the bedrocks of a writer’s career. If a person is destined to become a writer, I feel like, often tragedies become his or her companion which is essential for the growth as a writer too. Pain purifies the self and from such purity alone we can expect the greatest works.
What do you think is the biggest purpose of poetry? Why do we feel so bound by words? And this interactive role they play in our lives..who is the director…the creature or the creator?
I would say that the primary purpose of poetry is to bring a sense of silence within the writer. It is more like smiling or bursting into tears – once it happens, it is over! However, if presented well, it would serve the purpose of documenting subtle human emotions, the times he or she lived or the culture he or she represents. See, we learn a lot about the bygone, going through literary works.
Have you ever been to Greece? What do you know about my country?
There are strong connections between Greek and Indian cultures. In the Classical Period, Rome and India were the two great empires that emerged as the most powerful nations on the map. Both began their classical periods before the common era and stretched nearly five centuries into the common era. Both civilizations had organized governments, social classes, and religions. Though not an expert in history, personally, I feel like there is much to be studied when it is about the historical connection between these two countries.
Like many of the others of my age, I also grew up reading the timeless works of Homer such as Iliad and Odyssey. Unfortunately, I haven’t got an opportunity to visit Greece though I cherish that dream.
Put us in your biggest dream like a person, like an author and like a citizen of this magic life.
I earnestly believe that finding inner peace is the solution for many of the problems that we face in our daily lives. I dream of a place which could be called Love Dale that would welcome a person who stumbles in his/her life and who is seeking serenity in his/her life. I would like to gather a few holistic sciences such as Ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, spirituality etc. to help regain vitality within. I also dream that the same would act as a centre to inspire people for humanitarian values, to propagate holistic education and to unite people from various cultural backgrounds.
Did this pandemic bring us closer to our real self? Did this Covid 19 push us to our limits but do you believe we have discovered ourselves and we redefine the human relationships?
With due concern for the entire world affected by the pandemic and respect to all those who lost their lives in the battle, I still believe that the pandemic was a blessing to humankind when it is about reminding ourselves a few vital things. One is certainly about men’s presumption that he is the most powerful in the world. The pandemic shows how silly we are though we challenge nature with all those exploitations. We have seen how beautifully nature has repaired itself when we limited ourselves within the boundaries of our homes. Unfortunately, if political leaders do not take the necessary steps, I am afraid people will once again continue their exploitations and we will end up with a deadlier encounter with another pandemic. Nature has its own ways to balance it, though we would blame her for the ways she adapts to execute her plans.
If you had the opportunity to meet yourself at a very young age accidentally on the street one sunny day…what would be your advice to him?
That’s interesting! Well, I would simply pat on his shoulder and say to pursue the path fearlessly! The universe already has a plan for him and for every life here. My advice would be to inhale deep the beauty of the universe and enjoy the moment. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘it’s the not the destination, but the journey’ that matters. However, leave not an opportunity to lift up a person on the way who has stumbled in his/her life.
About Lena Kyropoulos II
Lena kyropoulos – has traveled to many neighbourhoods around the world, 53 countries to be exact, as a businesswoman, www.pitapasta.com and export executive. She has studied Physiotherapy but her big love is journalism. She works for our expatriate channel-media platform. in Toronto, Canada and www.bcimediainc.com and writes for the digital newspaper Aristeia: www.aristeia.online, as well as the Italian magazine www.scambimediterraneranei.eu. Recently, she started her collaboration with the President of the Journalists of Macedonia Thrace Mr. Fanis Papadopoulos and www.politispress.gr Together with her teams they created the show “PERSONALITIES” As a radio producer on the Greek Diaspora radio www.radiomelodia.gr shows with the Anastasios Chatzitheofanous, personalities all over the globe who can inspire people. She loves colourful people, tender souls, she loves refined tastes, travel and foreign languages – she speaks 4! In 2019 she comes out 8th in all the Balkans at Eurovision of Poetry, among 49 countries, and for 2020 she is the Ambassador of the Institution officially for Greece, which is supported from Forbes and UNESCO. 2020 she is the radio moderator on the radio show “PERSONALITIES ON AIR” with BCI MEDIA, ECSTACY RADIO, RADIO STRIMONICA AND MEDITERRANEAN TV IT. In 2020 she became the Ambassador for communication and personal development in Ecumenical Delphic Union. In 2020 she became also the councillor for World Writers foundation. Peace, solidarity and a non-violence world is her big vision