The poem 'Heaven if you are not on earth', originally written by Kuvempu in Kannada has been translated by C. Naganna. The entire poem is divided into 3 stanzas and the first two lines appear to be distinct. The poet feels that heaven cannot be anywhere else except on earth because it is believed that heaven is supposed to be on a higher field far away from earth & it is only the blessed who can reach them. Added to it, nobody who has visited heaven has come back to report the nature of it and it remains a mystery. That is the main reason people are advised to do good to reach heaven. The poet feels that heaven cannot be anywhere else other than on earth. He continues with the same idea & further feels that if we cannot be gods, then there can be no gods & the same with heavenly nymphs (Angles). He expresses this idea with a strong belief that human beings are a combination of divine and demonly qualities & the moment the divine qualities excel; he turns to be almost to an angel. A beautiful description of nature is presented. A river or stream rushes fast & reaches the sea & loses its identity & the waves roll back as surf onto the shore. The sunshine is quite tender & acceptable to nature and this sunshine is spread throughout the green garden. When we see a combination of these beautifully working in nature, it is equated to heaven. The poet tries to describe the joy of good harvest as experienced by the farmers and when it is night, the presence of the moon further tries to create a heavenly atmosphere and this beautiful nature as experienced by the poet is converted into words and written in the form of a lyric or a poem and this creature of literature is bound to create heaven on earth and in this circumstance, the poet who creates heaven through his poetry or song.

'Heaven if you are not on Earth' is a poem in translation where Kannada’s national poet Kuvempu highlights nature and describes how human beings with their behaviour might try to reach divinity.

The poet in an extraordinary way tries to proclaim that heaven is supposed to be here on earth and not somewhere far away and very lightly justifies it.

The gods according to the poet are supposed to be here on Earth and he equates it to good behaviour and concern of a few people, rightly so with the heavenly nymphs too.

The poet describes nature and tries to concentrate on a few divine aspects as per his analysis. He focuses on the concept of a river trying to negate its existence while it merges in the ocean or sea and how beautiful the entire atmosphere is when the waves reach the shore forming a surf. On the other hand, the tender sunshine is spread on the greenery and this beautiful spectacle is equated to a heavenly experience on earth.

The poet in the last stanza tries to how the nature around us appears to be very lovely and especially so during the harvest time when the farmers rejoice as they have had a very good yield and this enjoyment comes to life on a full moon day and such a spectacle is equated to heaven. The poet tries to imbibe and spill the essence of nature so that the readers who are unable to enjoy nature the same way as the poet does will get an opportunity to visualize nature through the poet’s description. To conclude, the poet feels that it is the poet through a beautiful narration of nature has created heaven on this earth.

Questions and Answers

I. Answer the following questions in a word, a phrase or a sentence each.

Answer: (b) Poet.

Answer: Heaven lies all over.

Answer: The sunshine leans on verdant gardens.

Answer: All divine entities like a god, heaven and nymphs are the creation of the human mind.

Answer: Only if we become Gods.

Answer: We ourselves the human beings are the nymphs.

Answer: The stream is roaring and rushing fast.

Answer: (b) and (c)

Answer: The heaven spills around the song of nectar.

Answer: The sun is described as gentle.


Answer: (b) on earth

Answer: (c) gentle sun

Answer: (c) heaven can be seen in the harvest and moonlight

II. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of 80 – 100 words each:

III. Answer the following questions in about 200 words:

Answer: The poet says that man can become god, a nymph and make this earth as heaven, only if he is in union with nature. The poet personifies the entities from nature. He hears the stream roaring and sees the sunshine leaning. The poet perhaps wants to attribute human qualities component of human life. The poet continues to personify nature and mentions how the man in communion with nature is responsible for heaven to be on earth. In the splendour of the harvest and in the beauty of moonlight on nature which forms important we can see heaven.

Answer: The poet brings out his rationalistic outlook of heaven. He suggests that one should perceive divinity and enjoy the heavenly bliss in the company of nature itself. Hence the poet argues that we need not seek heaven after death. We can enjoy the heavenly bliss in look at nature on this earth itself. The poet tries to introduce us to the different forms of heaven that exists on earth. The poet emphatically states that the bliss that one experiences while looking at the streams that are leaping down, roaring from the top of the hills, the waves that come rolling across the sea carrying surf at their edges, the tender rays of sunlight falling on the sprawling green garden and the gentle sun warming up the earth make this earth a heavenly place.

Answer: According to the poet there is no heaven in reality, and strongly believes that Heaven and earth are not separate entities. The poet refers to our beliefs about 'God' and 'heavenly nymphs'. He expresses his conviction, that there is no God and it is man himself who is God. He firmly believes that we ourselves are the nymphs, and the nymphs are to be nowhere else but on this earth only. Heaven and God are mere of man's imaginations. He tries to tell us, the different forms of heaven that exist on earth like the green forests, the stream that leaps down the hills, the waves that roll across the sea, the moonlight and the splendour of harvest appears more beautiful than imaginary descriptions of the man. Hence he suggests that one must enjoy the pleasures of heaven looking at nature.

Answer: In this poem, Kuvempu urges us to understand the power and beauty of nature which we see through our eyes. The poet considers concepts like 'God', 'nymphs' and 'heaven' as myths are created by humans. In the poem, the poet is quite radical in his approach that he is denying the existence of gods which we adore. He strongly feels that God resides in everybody and we ourselves are gods. He believes that only humans as gods live on this heavenly earth. For him, heaven is not something beyond the boundaries of this world, since the earth itself possesses all that the so-called heaven promises. In order to break the illusion of heaven in man's mind, he presents before us charming sights of nature and argues that nothing can be more heavenly than forms of nature which lie all over. In the first two lines, he makes a direct address to nature and declares that if heaven does not exist on the earth where else can it be. He justifies his statement by referring to the streams that leap down roaring from the top of the hills, the rolling surf at the edge of waves, the tender rays of sunlight falling on the green garden, thus the sun makes earth heaven.

Answer: The poet tells the reader that the poets who enjoy such heavenly sights imbibe the beauty of nature and spill the nectar of heaven on earth and celebrates the joys of heaven through his poetry. The poet tells that if at all there exists an entity called heaven, it exists only on this earth. The poet presents before the reader’s beautiful imageries of nature. In the last stanza, the poet states that one visualizes scenes of heaven lying all over in the splendour of harvest and of moonlight. He concludes the poem by celebrating poetic talent. Poetry is the rhetoric act. Poet brings beauty by using the right poetic devices which surely hypnotize the readers. Thus we have been enjoying reading poems. There is a famous saying that the poet sees what can’t be seen by the sun, it means the poet has such a vision that he can go beyond the capacity of the sun. The poet can only bring the heavenly world in front of the readers. Thus poet tells the poet imbibes and spills the song of nectar over the readers. The nectar itself makes the works eternal and those works please the minds who read. Therefore, the poet says that the poet creates heaven on earth

Answer: In this poem, the poet Kuvempu stresses and warns his readers gently that heaven is not somewhere in the skies but here on this beautiful earth. He gently questions us, as a poet, if heaven is not here on our earth where else it can be. He wonders if we the human beings with all our traits of humanism, compassion, love and forgivingness cannot be Gods, who else can we think God is. He points us to watch the beautiful streams rushing past and the rolling bubbles of water can be seen and the soft sun lighting our green gardens, especially, the radiant sun makes, us feel that the earth is heaven. He asks us to view heaven when the gentle moon spills milky white light, during the full moon on the heaps of grains harvested and think that heaven is here on the earth. He tells us that a poet inspired by all this natural beauty writes beautiful poetry which is as sweet as nectar. By writing such poetry the poet creates heaven on earth or inspires us to think that earth is like heaven.