On The Cold Dark Black Girnar: A Hanumana & Another

On February 15, 2016 by admin



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Amrit Gangar




The sun has yet to tilt up perhaps a mile more to peep out of the ancient cleavages of the mount Girnār, much older than the Himālayas! No snow, only dark black rough rock that had once inhabited cultures and civilizations ranging from Shivaite to Buddhist to Jain to the primitive. Here on one of its peaks, as the legend goes, one Pāvāhari Baba was first initiated into the mysteries of practical yoga. Dattatraya had his abode here. In ancient times, the Girnār was called Raivata or Ujjayanta, and has been the temple-abode of the Jain Tirthankaras – Bāhubali, Neminātha, Pārsvanātha. In its womb, the mount Girnār nourishes mines of mysteries and caves of curiosities that never go to sleep at night with their eyes open, punctuated by the full moon or no moon and the strange sounds of cicadas. The sun is steady here in his movement, serene and soothing, intoxicated by his own fire, without soma.


Lions stalk here, the ash smeared naked fakirs walk here fearlessly. Fear roams here fearfully in the narrow untouched virgin niches of the Girnār! A little away, hordes of bats hang on walls of the Adi Kadi Vaav, the fiftheenth century deep, dark ,unusual step-well, and the Navghan Kuvo, the well shy of a few years of being a thousand years old. A Gujarati proverb still lives and circulates around unsurreptitiously, “Adi Kadi Vaav ne Navghan Kuvo, Je Nā Juve te Jivto Muvo,” meaning, “Whoever has not seen the Adi Kadi step well (vaav) and Navghan well (kuvo), meets with death before dying.” But on the hills, death turns into life with Bhairav on the black rocks of Girirāj. Bhairav manifests here, and there. Shiva’s blue neck has gone bluer and no river flows from his thick black matted hair.


Here on the Girnār plains flows a river named “Sonrekh”! “Oh! Se āmarā Subarnarekhā!” who said this? Where are you Sita? Abhiram? Where is your deserted airstrip? Your childhood playground? Ask all your gods, Girnār, to sing in chorus, “Aaj ki ananda… jhulat jhulane Shyamchanda…” From a Buddhist cave emerges a Shiva, in a Bahurupee! Buddha is tired of smiling here. Mahāvira, the Digambara, has dissolved into the wide open ambar, the sky that caresses the Girnar so giddily! Madness stalks here in the marrow of Time…


And here on the Girnār, Hanumāna wears on different manifestations as the dark Bhairavs keep leaving behind their tantric footprints, you thought were yours! And one of the eleven faces of Hanumāna stares at you winking the monkey wink; still the sun has to tilt up many meters more to embrace the misty dawn of the hills overlooking the town of Junāgadh. Three poems for one wink…








“O! Lords – Sun! Wind! Indra! Brahma!


O! Bhutas! Let me turn taller than the mountain


longer than the ocean,” prayed Hanumāna for Rāma


his tail lengthening enlengthening on


the steps of the Mount Girnār


somewhere someone is chanting


Sundarkānda, the red shot eyes


you thought were owl’s were


the ash smeared naked fakir’s


the nāgābāwā, the Girnar’s child!




“O! Sāgara! O! Vāyu!” prayed the vānara


plunging into the Rāmāyana


ocean paving the path, the vānara


after vānara after vānara –


brilliance of the dawn awaiting as


Lambe Hanumāna caresses my face with


a long soft tail you thought was his


it was lion’s! Gir’s real governor!



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Pliable gods and pavitra


every fifty steps a new Hanumāna


new avatāra new energy new darkness


of the Bhairava!


Rokadiyā Hanumāna is unlike the Lambe


yet like all his creed with sindoor


and oil that eats devotees’ coins


stuck on the body, the rokdā you said


mythifying the money you never earned!




Rishi Girirāj inhabits many a divine vānara


with heads small, eyes big wide opened or not


belly flat or ballooned, Hanumāna


fascinates the mountain with a memory


Sahajānand and his discovery of


Rokadiyā Dev Hanumāna an


embodiment of truth satisfying all


desires truthful –




Paint any stone vermillion and a


Hanumāna is born in search of a truth


waiting for the Ushā, her light!



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Ekādash-mukhi Hanumāna, words tell you


before you count the heads


hands and eyes doubling!


from a corner as the bell chimes and


lamp flickers devouring the dawn


appears Lopāmudra, saying –




“O! sage born out of the pot, O! ocean of mercy


Hanumāna’s yantras and mantras are not new to me


you have revealed them to me!


Tell me about the armor of the eleven-faced Hanumāna!”


Girnar baffles you with vermillion stones all


Hanumāna covered with mythologies unmummified




Don’t search for meanings here ever


smear your body with ash of memories


mysteries you search for are malapropisms!




Junāgadh, 8 February 2016




Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based writer, curator, film theorist and historian. He writes both in English and Gujarati languages.

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