Jahnabi's Musings

Contemplating life in poetry, prose and pictures

death of poems

बोद्धारो मत्सरग्रस्ता: प्रभव: स्मयदूषिता: ।
अबोधोपहताश्चन्ये जीर्णमङ्गे सुभाषितम् ।।२।।
नीतिशतके

wise men are envious,
powerful men conceited,
others are killed by their stupidity.
so what of witty poems?
ever neglected, ever useless.
–nītiśataka

ode to light

last weekend, i started reading with my brilliant sanskritist friend RB of harvard the nītiśataka, a much-loved volume of sanskrit poetry attributed to bhartṛhari, one of the early sanskrit poets. these verses purport to provide guidance on ethics and morality. it is one of three volumes, the other two are on love / passion (śṛṅgāra) and renunciation (vairāgya). occasionally, i will be sharing my translations on this blog.

दिक्कालाद्यनवच्छिन्नानन्तचिन्मात्रमूर्तये ।
स्वानुभूत्येकमानाय नम: शान्ताय तेजसे ।।१।।
नीतिशतके

glory be to light!
unbound by limits of direction or time,
eternal, inexhaustible, infinite.
the only embodiment of knowledge,
the ever steady,
it is known only to itself. ||1||
nītiśataka

a day like this

on a day like this,
i can speak to her.
caught amid thick rain,
i can open my mind.
as clouds rumble
and lightning flashes,
in this sunless dense darkness.

no one else will hear me.
it is lonely,
not a soul around.
just the two of us,
siting face to face,
shrouded in sadness.
the sky pours rain endlessly,
as if we were alone in the world.

this society and world
are completely illusory.
illusory too the buzz of life.
as our eyes interlock,
i drink sweet nectar.
i reach for her heart with my heart,
all else blends into the dark.

will it hurt anyone in the world
if i am able to release my heart’s burden?
on a rainy monsoon day
in the corner of a room
if i whisper a few words to her,
will anyone give a damn?

the wind howls in a frenzy,
lightning flares up the sky.
those unspoken words of my heart–
wish i could utter them now,
in this torrential rain.

এমন দিনে তারে বলা যায়
এমন ঘনঘোর বরিষায়।
এমন দিনে মন খোলা যায়–
এমন মেঘস্বরে বাদল-ঝরোঝরে
তপনহীন ঘন তমসায়॥

সে কথা শুনিবে না কেহ আর,
নিভৃত নির্জন চারি ধার।
দুজনে মুখোমুখি গভীর দুখে দুখি,
আকাশে জল ঝরে অনিবার–
জগতে কেহ যেন নাহি আর॥

সমাজ সংসার মিছে সব,
মিছে এ জীবনের কলরব।
কেবল আঁখি দিয়ে আঁখির সুধা পিয়ে
হৃদয় দিয়ে হৃদি অনুভব–
আঁধারে মিশে গেছে আর সব॥

তাহাতে এ জগতে ক্ষতি কার
নামাতে পারি যদি মনোভার।
শ্রাবণবরিষনে একদা গৃহকোণে
দু কথা বলি যদি কাছে তার
তাহাতে আসে যাবে কিবা কার॥

ব্যাকুল বেগে আজি বহে যায়,
বিজুলি থেকে থেকে চমকায়।
যে কথা এ জীবনে রহিয়া গেল মনে
সে কথা আজি যেন বলা যায়–
এমন ঘনঘোর বরিষায়॥
-রবী ঠাকুর

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