BHUBANESWAR: Mystic Kalinga Festival hosted renowned mythological author Devdutt Pattanaik on its second day here, where he delivered a lecture on Bhakti in Indian mythology citing classical Odia texts and songs.
“In Bhakti poetry one is even allowed to abuse God, something which is not possible on Twitter these days as some people think our Gods are too sensitive,” Pattanaik said, elaborating many dimensions of Indian bhakti poetry that revolves around surrendering of oneself with complete devotion and human passion.
The theme for the three-day long Mystic Kalinga festival for this year has been set as ‘From the Carnal to the Cosmic: A Celebration of Bhakti Poetry.’ Highlighting prominent features of Bhakti poetry, he said “Bhakti literature is essentially feminist by nature since it does not differentiate between Gods and humans. Laxmi Purana in Odia is the best example of feminist literature produced some five centuries ago.”
During the session, young Odia culture researcher Prateek Patnaik sang select verses from classical Odia texts and Devdutt Pattanaik explained Bhakti poetry in Odisha is a by product of Tantric and probably Buddhist tradition of Odisha, which speaks about complete surrender before the Almighty.
Referring to female mystics in Indian mythology, the author of “My Gita” said , after Jaydev’s Gita Gobinda, many writers started to use female protagonists in vernacular Bhakti poetry of India.
During the day, writer Arshia Sattar talked about the evolution of Ramayana from Sanskrit to vernacular language and the change of status of Ram from a human being to God. To reinforce her talks, she said Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana has had a strong impact on Indian society as it standardised all versions of Ramayana.
On the second day of the festival, two sessions of Bhakti poetry were held where poets Bishnu Nayaran Mohapatra, Kedar Mishra, Sharmila Biswas and Sitakant Mohapatra discussed about sacred poetry of India. In the session of Bhakti poetry recital, Anand Thakore, Danish Hussain, jerry Pinto, Mani Rao and Rahul Soni read English translation of many famous poets such as Tukaram, Surdas, Tulsi Das, Andal before an enthralled audience.
In another session Bollywood actor and story teller Danish Hussain held a session on Indian story telling called “Qissebaazi” where he conveyed that there are always many sides of a story and there is no actual ending to a story. The concluding sessions of the festival witnessed mesmerising dance and music performance of Sanjukta Wagh and Shruthi Vishwanath .