Prabha Shankar Dwivedi (Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati)


Dr. Prabha Shankar Dwivedi is an Assistant Professor of English at Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India. His areas of interest include Modern British Poetry, Comparative Literary Studies, Indian Aesthetics and Poetics. He recently published an edited volume on Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: Comparative Perspectives with Routledge publishing House.

“Metaphysics of Boundary: Configuring the Bhagavadgītā in the Modernist Paradigms”

This paper seeks to unveil the truth of boundary/border as expounded symbolically and overtly in the Bhagavadgītā in innumerable contexts, and its transcendence and concretization in the modernist paradigms.  A boundary is always a constructed entity, it is never born with that whole, which it divides or separates after coming into existence. It is actually a violation of the wholesome organic being of anything that is material in form. The Bhagavadgītā holds the view that boundary cannot make any essential change in the true form of a being; its transcendence should be treated as a state of development. The beginning and the end of a material life is no more than the different stages of growth to the soul, having crossed the frontier of mortality it resumes immortality, its true state. Here, the emphasis is on the fact that the state after the end is the perpetuation of the state before the beginning of that temporal state, which was confined by the boundary of the end. The Bhagavadgītā doesn’t see the end (death of a body) as an end but as a perpetuation of the ever-ending beginning, or, in other words, it sees the beginning of eternity in the end of temporality, which T. S. Eliot in his East Coker of Four Quartets communes as “In my beginning is my end.” The Bhagavadgītā stresses on the transcendence of body to the level of soul, breaking all the boundaries of material needs. Body itself is perceived in both Indian as well as Western philosophies, as a means of confinement; it is the service of the body that the soul is engaged with. W. B. Yeats in his famous poem, The Tower, considering the body irrelevant to the soul, writes “What shall I do with this absurdity – . . . that has been tied to me /As to a dog’s tail?”, and therefore, the transcendence of this confinement, insisted upon by Bhagavadgītā, is followed by Yeats, who metaphorically transcending this detention in the body, says, “I have sailed the seas and come/ To the holy city of Byzantium.” in his poem, Sailing to Byzantium. The Bhagavadgītā’s concept of dissolution of boundary has very much been prevalent in all the ages but in the modernist ideals it very explicitly gets revealed through appropriate symbols in the literary productions of the time.