Experiments with Translation

Translating life's journey in poetry, prose and pictures

śatakatrayam 1.68: jātaḥ kūrmaḥ sa ekaḥ (one tortoise alone)

जात: कूर्म: स एक: पृथुभुवनभरायार्पितं येन पृष्ठं
श्लाघ्यं जन्म ध्रुवस्य भ्रमति नियमितं यत्र तेजस्विचक्रम् ।
संजातव्यर्थपक्षा: परहितकरणे नोपरिष्टान्न चाधो
ब्रह्माण्डोदुम्बरान्तर्मशकवदपरे जन्तवो जातनष्टा: ।।६८।।
नीतिशतके

one tortoise alone
bears the weight of the
whole wide world on its back.
the pole star too
too is applauded greatly
as all the celestial bodies
revolve around it.
on the other hand–
most other creatures haven’t
the slightest inclination
to help others.
they are already dead when born.
like wasps trapped inside figs,
they try to fly in vain. ||68||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.67: itaḥ svapiti keśavaḥ (vishnu reclines in the great ocean)

इत: स्वपिति केशव: कुलमितस्तदीयद्विषा-
मितश्च शरणार्थिन: शिखरिणां गणा: शेरते ।
इतोऽपि वडवानल: सह समस्तसंवर्तकै-
रहो विततमूर्जितं भरसहं च सिन्धोर्वपु: ।।६७।।
नीतिशतके

vishnu reclines in the great ocean.
on one side, are his followers,
and on another, his enemies.
mountain upon mountain also takes
refuge in its deep waters.
it has also swallowed
the fiery fires of destruction.
wow! how broad, mighty, and powerful
is the ocean! ||67||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.66: kṣīreṇātmagatodakāya (we all know that long time ago)

क्षीरेणात्मगतोदकाय हि गुणा दत्ता: पुरा ते ऽखिला:
क्षीरोत्तापमवेक्ष्य तेन पयसा स्वात्मा कृशानौ हुत: ।
गन्तुं पावकमुन्मनस्तदभवद्दृष्ट्वा तु मित्रापदं
युक्तं तेन जलेन शाम्यति सतां मैत्री पुनस्त्वीदृशी ।।६६।।
नीतिशतके

we all know that long time ago,
milk gave all its qualities
to water with which
it was finely blended.
seeing milk boil and bubble,
water offered itself
as an oblation to fire.
now, seeing his friend in agony,
milk was aching to
jump into the flames.
therefore, isn’t it befitting
that milk is cooled
by adding water to it?
this, o dear one,
is what friendship means. ||66||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.65: pāpānnivārayati (she drifts not into waywardness)

पापान्निवारयति योजयते हिताय
गुह्यं निगूहति गुणान्प्रकटीकरोति ।
आपद्गतं च न जहाति ददाति काले
सन्मित्रलक्षणमिदं प्रवदन्ति सन्त: ।।६५।।
नीतिशतके

she drifts not into waywardness,
but steers toward auspiciousness.
she conceals her vices,
and displays her virtues.
she does not relinquish the hapless,
but gives generously in dire times.
such are the qualities
of a friend worth cultivating–
thus the wise proclaim. ||65||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.64: ete satpuruṣāḥ (they are virtuous)

एते सत्पुरुषा: परार्थघटका: स्वार्थान्परित्यज्य ये
सामान्यास्तु परार्थमुद्यमभृत: स्वार्थाविरोधेन ये ।
तेऽमी मानुषराक्षसा: परहितं स्वार्थाय निघ्नन्ति ये
ये तु घ्नन्ति निरर्थकं परहितं ते के न जानीमहे ।।६४।।
नीतिशतके

they are virtuous who
abandon their own goals for others;
they are mediocre who
support others’ goals as long as
these align with their own;
they are demons in the guise of men
who counteract others to advance ahead.
now, what should we call them who obstruct
others in vain? ||64||
nītiśataka