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MAPLE VEDAS by K. Gandhar Chakravarty

The latest in a long line of scriptures, MAPLE VEDAS explores the voyages of the Gods of India – Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali – as they visit the northwestern lands of the globe in the past, the present, and the near future. Peopled with other characters like a prophetic moose, a secretive walrus, and a charming groundhog, the interactions and dialogues of this third millenium testament force you to rethink history, religion, and your place in all of it – wherever you come from.

Colour with Original Artwork by Tara Chartrand, Chris Dyer, Collen MacIsaac. 6 x  9 . 78 pages. ISBN 978-1-926716-05-3. $18.88

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MAPLE VEDAS by K. Gandhar Chakravarty

The latest in a long line of scriptures, MAPLE VEDAS explores the voyages of the Gods of India – Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Kali – as they visit the northwestern lands of the globe in the past, the present, and the near future. Peopled with other characters like a prophetic moose, a secretive walrus, and a charming groundhog, the interactions and dialogues of this third millenium testament force you to rethink history, religion, and your place in all of it – wherever you come from. In Maple Vedas, we discover that the Gods of India continue to roam Canada and the United States – perhaps standing beside you on a city bus – but they have come in new incarnations. Will you recognize them?

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Cover artwork by TARA CHARTRAND

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P R A I S E   F O R   M A P L E  V E D A S

“Gandhar has messed with identity and time in a Puckish and magical manner…. Like in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a primary motivation to lose one’s individuality and deconstruct reality. Gandhar has done that with excellence while merging the maple with the tulsi leaf…. classic.”

Let me just take a deep breath and exhale first. K. Gandhar Chakravarty, a Montrealer of Indian origins, has come up with a 38-page poetry book, close on the winged heels of his earlier production Kolkata Dreams from the same publisher. Let me now take a deeper breath. This young man – traveller, musician, poet, band leader, religion aficionado (no, not nut job, please, just an analyser of the spirits of godliness from Ganeshism to Rastafari) – has come up with a series of thinly concealed poetic barbs that gnash, lash, caress, frolic, froth and then release you into the humdrum streets of Montreal and the green Canadian wilderness in the company of disreputable Hindu gods who would have been smoking something by now if they were still around. Another deep breath. So, in a mild but genial and intelligent manner, Gandhar has messed with identity and time in a Puckish and magical manner. Combining insects, worms, animals, asses, monkeys, seagulls, mantis, monarch butterflies, crabs, and scorpions, he has created a book of short green poems that combine the dour mapleness of Canada with the stoned madness of Indian and Buddhist aphorisms.
Almost like a narcotic dream at times, there is a blurring of fantasy and fairy reality as the Hindu god Shiva, with his dreadlocks flying, boards a number 24 bus on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal and watches butterflies and dragonflies, while his mistress goddess Parvati, leans on him and addresses him with cute Indian female caution:
Thus Parvati whispered sweetly to Shiva:
“One day, if you smoke too much,
you might fall down.”
One can hear the sing-song tonality seeping out of the lines.
Irrational love, irrational politics, irrational philosophizing are corner stones of subcontinental religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, or Jainism. That is why loss of personal identity is fundamental to explaining why the so-called Eastern religions mix humour with irrationality in the hopes of future bliss. Either that or you ingest spliff after spliff. Like in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is a primary motivation to lose one’s individuality and deconstruct reality. Gandhar has done that with excellence while merging the maple with the tulsi leaf.
The inside cover page states “To be read aloud”. Is that a threat or warning? So I started reading it aloud and naturally there are sections where one is beside oneself. Deconstructing religion and addressing Bengali infatuation for certain Hindu idols like the “butter pilfering” Krishna and a bonged-out Shiva make for memorable moments. Gandhar should know that messing with religion gets fatwas unleashed. But here he is on safe territory, because subcontinental religions “swim in the void,” so to speak and do not always unleash fanatics. 
So here are some classic moments from the book:
Shiva to a mallard in Lafontaine Park!
—Hare duck!
I love you so much.
And:
One day, Hanuman took a day off.
He spent his holiday in the Bush Lands of the West,
leaving his mace behind.

As Krishna becomes Chrisna towards the end, here is some scorching Canadian multiethnic perversity:
Shiva hopped a Vancouver taxi one evening
after smoking a joint at an old friend’s.

As they rode through the village,
the driver spoke in a thick Turkish accent,
his throat chaffed from cigarette smoke:
“You see these?
“These are the gays…
“This is their… territory.”
Shiva, stoned, knew better than to protest

In Maple Vedas, there is a unique irony and deconstructive explosiveness that passes you by like a mild thump in the hills. A great follow-up to Kolkata Dreams.

- Rana Bose, Author


“An amazing display of talent, Chakravarty synthesizes life and times through transmigrations for the beautiful secrets and freedom offered there. The branch of the Maple Vedas extend to a musical fifth, an opus, a poetic Smriti, where we wind ourselves into hearing position by the strum and tone of the turning page, seeking our own genus through the words of surrounding companions—delightfully charged!”

~
In sacred knowledge, parallels prophesy universal wisdom, where information belies pedantry, erudition, and reveals itself through awareness, exchange, and experience, syllogistic and inductive. Hindu Sanskrit philosophy, ritual orality, recites seers’ Vedic knowledge by Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda ... in their culminations and singularities, the parallels portray knowns, at once, simple and immense. K. Gandhar Chakravarty unfolds Vedic in verse, in a karmic journey to green maple, sugar maple and pine, venturing on foot, on wings, on the back of moose, swimming, canoeing, wandering throughout the eastern lands of the northern North, New Foundland, Niagara, and westward to Vancouver. All along the while, opening concealed fruits evident in the chance meetings between Hanuman, Shiva, Chrisna, Rhanna, Kali ... and Moose, Mallard, Dragonfly, Wasp, Loon, Grasshopper, until their propensities disclose tenets the poet hears and jointly speaks to.
Thus leading us to accompany the seeking on this image-ridden journey into solar lights shining only for us, versified, and swimming for all time, here and now. An amazing display of talent, Chakravarty synthesizes life and times through transmigrations for the beautiful secrets and freedom offered there. The branch of the Maple Vedas extend to a musical fifth, an opus, a poetic Smriti, where we wind ourselves into hearing position by the strum and tone of the turning page, seeking our own genus through the words of surrounding companions—delightfully charged!

- Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Poet

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