Experiments with Translation

Translating life's journey in poetry, prose and pictures

śatakatrayam 1.52: vipadi dhairyam (fortitude during adversity)

विपदि धैर्यमथाभ्युदये क्षमा
सदसि वाक्पटुता युधि विक्रम:।
यशसि चाभिरतिर्व्यसनं श्रुतौ
प्रकृतिसिद्धमिदं हि महात्मनाम् ।।५२।।

courageous during adversity,
forbearing concerning success,
master of the art of rhetoric,
valorous in war, desirous to acquire stature,
and assiduously devoted to scripture;
these are the characteristics of the great! ||52||

compare with nītiśataka 1.41 where he outlined the characteristics of the wicked. the degree of similarity in structure and choice of words in these two verses is really striking.

śatakatrayam 1.51: vañcā sajjanasaṁgatau (i admire the impeccable ones who)

वाञ्छा सज्जनसंगतौ परगुणे प्रीतिर्गुरौ नम्रता
विद्यायां व्यसनं स्वयोषिति रतिर्लोकापवादाद्भयम्।
भक्ति: शूलिनि शक्तिरात्मदमने संसर्गमुक्ति: खलै-
रेते येषु वसन्ति निर्मलगुणास्तेभ्यो महद्भयो नम:।।५१।।

i admire the impeccable ones who–
yearn for friendship with the morally upright,
admire others’ virtues,
are humble towards their elders,
assiduously devoted to the pursuit of knowledge,
enamored of their women,
afraid of being condemned by society,
devoted towards śiva,
possess strength of self-control,
and avoid the company of the wicked.
may they flourish in this world! ||51||

śatakatrayam 1.50: mṛgamīnasajjanānam (deer graze on grass)

मृगमीनसज्जानानां तृणजलसंतोषविहितवृत्तीनाम् ।
लुब्धकधीवरपिशुना निष्कारणमेव वैरिणो जगति ।।५०।।

deer graze on grass,
fish blossom in water,
and the
virtuous thrive quietly, joyfully.
for no fault of their own,
hunters, fishermen, and vile people
prey on them. ||50||

śatakatrayam 1.49: ārambhagurvī (heartfelt in the beginning)

आरम्भगुर्वी क्षयिणी क्रमेण
लघ्वी पुरा वृद्धिमती च पश्चात् ।
दिनस्य पर्वार्धपरार्धभिन्ना
छायेव मैत्री खलसज्जनानाम् ।।४९।।

heartfelt in the beginning,
but dwindling with time;
faint at first,
and blossoming over time.
thus differ friendships of the
immoral and moral,
much like a shadow contracts and lengthens
during the two halves of a day. ||49||

*in case it is not apparent in the first reading, the poet here distinguishes between the friendships of immoral and moral people by comparing it to the manner in which the length of a shadow changes during the course of a day. The shadow is longest during the early morning and late evening hours, and shortest during mid-day. Just as a shadow contracts in length during the first half of the day, so does the friendship of an immoral person, and just as a shadow lengthens during the second half of the day, so does the friendship of a moral person.

śatakatrayam 1.48: udbhāsitākhilakhalasya (that morally depraved brazen man)

उद्भासिताखिलखलस्य विशृङ्खलस्य
प्रोद्गाढविस्मृतनिजाधमकर्मवृत्ते: ।
दैवादवाप्तविभवस्य गुणद्विषोऽस्य
नीचस्य गोचरगतै: सुखमास्यते कै: ।।४८।।

that morally depraved brazen man
festooned by pearls of wickedness,
who can’t recognize his own vile deeds
and has suddenly acquired pots of gold–
will anyone on earth beseech the prince
for even the smallest favor? ||48||