Jahnabi's Musings

Contemplating life in poetry, prose and pictures

your many forms, o ma!

अविद्यानामन्तस्तिमिरमिहिरद्वीपनगरी
जडानां चैतन्यस्तबकमकरन्दस्रुतिझरी ।
दरिद्राणां चिन्तामणिगुणनिका जन्मजलधौ
निमग्नानां दंष्ट्रा मुररिपुवराहस्य भवति ।।३।।
–सौन्दर्यलहर्याम्

o ma,
for the ignorant,
you are an island-town
sun-like
blazing light.
for the dull,
you are a stream
cascading with nectar of
flowers of consciousness.
for the poor,
you are a necklace of
philosophers stones.
for those sunk in existence,
you are the tusk of varaha. ||3||
–saundaryalaharī

varaha_avtar_killing_a_demon_to_protect_bhu_c1740

dust of ma’s feet

तनीयांसं पांसुं तव चरणपङ्केरुहभवं
विरिञ्चस्सञ्चिवन् विरचयति लोकानविकलम् ।
वहत्येनं शौरि: कथमपि सहस्रेण शिरसां
हरस्संक्षुद्यैनं भजति भसितोद्धूलनविधिम् ।।२।।
–सौन्दर्यलहर्याम्

o ma!
from the tiniest mote of dust
on your soft feet,
brahma fashions untold perfect worlds.
even with his thousand heads,
ananta can barely lift it.
crushing it into a fine paste,
śiva besmears his body,
sprinkling ash, as it were.||2||
–saundaryalaharī

lord_vishnu_on_ananta_de53

waves of bliss

शिव: शक्त्या युक्तो यदि भवति शक्त: प्रभवितुं
न चेदेवं देवो न खलु कुशल: स्पन्दितुमपि ।
अतस्त्वामाराध्यां हरिहरविरिञ्चादिभिरपि
प्रणन्तुं स्तोतुं वा कथमकृतपुण्य: प्रभवति ।।१।।
–सौन्दर्यलहर्याम्

when yoked to the goddess,
śiva prevails over the world.
without her, he can barely move.
o goddess,
when even viṣṇu, śiva, brahma
and other gods worship you,
how can an unworthy person
even dare to praise you or worship you? ||1||
–saundaryalaharī

shakta_ardhanari

value of newness

पुराणमित्येव न साधु सर्वं ना चा ‘पि काव्यं नवमित्यवद्यम्।
सन्त: परीक्ष्या ‘न्तराद्भजन्ते मूढा: परप्रत्ययनेयबुद्धि:।।
मालविकाग्निमित्रे १।२

also, from kālidāsa’s play, the mālavikāgnimitram:

just because something is ancient,
does not mean it is perfect.
nor does a play’s newness
make it censurable.
wise ones choose
after scrutinizing carefully,
while fools just follow the crowd.

śiva: a god of contrasts

एकैश्वर्ये स्थितो ‘पि प्रणतबहुफले य: स्वयं कृत्तिवासा:
कान्तासंमिश्रदेहो ‘पि अविषयमनसां य: परस्ताद्यतिनाम।
अष्टाभिर्यस्य कृत्स्नं जगदपि तनुभिर्बिभ्रतो न अभिमान:
सन्मार्गालोकनाय व्यपनयतु स वस्तामसीं वृत्तिमीश:।।
–मालविकाग्निमित्रे १।१

the verse quoted above is the opening verse of kālidāsa’s play mālavikāgnimitra. i translate it below:

The world’s sole sovereign,
he bestows riches abundant to the poor,
yet himself is clothed in deer skin.
His body is intertwined with his beloved,
yet he is superior than ascetics
who have mastered their senses.
Supporting the entire world
with his eight bodies,
he is not arrogant.
May He, the great lord, dispel
your dark ways,
and illuminate the virtuous path.

shiva_as_the_lord_of_dance_lacma_edit