śatakatrayam 1.28: varaṃ prāṇocchedaḥ

by Jahnabi Barooah

वरं प्राणोच्छेद: समदमघवन्मुक्तकुलिश-
तुषाराद्रे: सूनोरहह पितरि क्लेशविवशे
न चासौ संपात: पयसि पयसां पत्युरुचित:।।२८।।

it would have been far better
had himālaya’s son died
when he was mercilessly clobbered
by arrogant Indra’s thunderbolt
that was emitting balls of fiery flame!
alas, at the moment of
his father’s great suffering,
he instead jumped into the ocean
to save his life!
totally inappropriate! ||28||

This poem is also based on a story found in Sanskrit literature. According to this narrative, mountains were once believed to have wings and went around flying. At one time, Indra cut off their wings with his thunderbolt. No mountain was spared. Maināka, the son of Himālaya, was the only one who escaped by diving into the ocean. In this verse, the poet is chastising him for his cowardice. Had Mainaka chosen death when his father was suffering, it would have been far better. Note also the use of the Sanskrit term ‘ahaha’ (meaning, alas) in this poem. This expression occurred in the previous verse in the anthology as well. In that case, it meant ‘wow.’