There is no easy definition of spirituality.
There certainly is no dictionary definition of it.
So I decided to make sport of finding how different people defined spirituality. But every explanation I found was merely another shade of grey. No one really could honestly define it.
I suspect that spirituality should be seen, not as a word but rather, as something that ranges from the metaphysical to the paranormal.
But my guest today, Arundhathi Subramaniam, has embarked on a more difficult mission—writing about it.
As a poet and a writer of succinct prose, she offers us a window into her lasting—and perhaps growing—sense of spirituality.
Her ability to write on this undefinable subject is an impressive skill. A skill that enables her to corral the many wayward strands of spirituality into something we can all understand—introspection.
In this episode I also dive into something else that defies me. What’s poetry?
Arundhathi Subramaniam recites three of her poems in this episode.
ABOUT ARUNDHATHI SUBRAMANIAM
Described as "one of the finest poets writing in India today" (The Hindu, 2010) Arundhathi Subramaniam is the award-winning author of thirteen books of poetry and prose. Her most recent volume of poems, Love Without a Story was described as "a breathtaking and heartwarming book" (Poetry Book Society Bulletin), "a unique poet of our times...in a league all by herself" (Indian Literature).
Widely translated and anthologised, her book, When God is a Traveller, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2020.
She is the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including the inaugural Khushwant Singh Prize, the Raza Award for Poetry, the Zee Women’s Award for Literature, the International Piero Bigongiari Prize in Italy, the Zee Indian Women Award for Literature, the Mystic Kalinga award, among others. She has written extensively on culture and spirituality, and has worked over the years as poetry editor, cultural curator and critic.
As prose writer, her books include the book of essays, Women Who Wear Only Themselves, the bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic.
Link to Arundhathi Subramaniam on Amazon: https://amzn.to/38LNLEt
WHAT'S THAT WORD?! - PORTMANTEAU
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in the segment "What's That Word?", where they discuss the the word "portmanteau" and its Humpty Dumpty origins.
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Cover pic of Arundhati Subramaniam: Meetesh Taneja