Experiments with Translation

Translating life's journey in poetry, prose and pictures

śatakatrayam 1.72: prārabhyate na khalu (the worst kind of people)

प्रारभ्यते न खलु विघ्नभयेन नीचै:
प्रारभ्य विघ्नविहता विरमन्ति मध्या: ।
विघ्नैर्मुहुर्मुरपि प्रतिहन्यमाना:
प्रारब्धमुत्तमगुणा न परित्यजन्ति ।।७२।।

the worst kind of people
do not begin their tasks
out of fear of being thwarted;
mediocre folks begin,
but stall when beset by difficulties.
as for the best among us all,
they do not abandon what they began
in spite of being repeatedly resisted! ||72||

śatakatrayam 1.71: ratnairmahābdheḥ (the gods were not content)

रत्नैर्महाब्धेस्तुतुषुर्न देवा
न भेजिरे भीमविषेण भीतिम् ।
सुधां विना न प्रययुर्विरामं
न निश्चितार्थाद्विरमन्ति धीरा: ।।७१।।

the gods were not content
with mere jewels from the ocean,
nor were they scared of
the most lethal of poisons;
“without obtaining the life-giving nectar,
we will not rest,” they determined.
thus they say,
the resolute do not give up
without accomplishing their goals. ||71||

to learn the back-story that inspired this poem, read this.

śatakatrayam 1.70: manasi vacasi kāye (how many are there in the world–)

मनसि वचसि काये पुण्यपीयूषपूर्णा-
स्त्रिभुवनमुपकारश्रेणिभि: प्रीणयन्त: ।
परगुणपरमाणून्पर्वतीकृत्य नित्यं
निजहृदि विकसन्त: ख्यापयन्त: कियन्त: ।।७०।।

how many are there in the world–
whose minds, words, and bodies
are pure, as if bathed in nectar?
who delight the three worlds
with their string of virtuous deeds?
who constantly magnify
even the smallest virtue in others? —
very few, my dear, very few.

śatakatrayam 1.69: tṛṣṇāṃ chindhi bhaja kṣamāṃ (quell desire, cultivate patience)

तृष्णां छिन्धि भज क्षमां जहि मदं पापे रति मा कृथा:
सत्यं ब्रूह्यनुयाहि साधुपदवीं सेवस्व विद्वज्जनम् ।
मान्यान्मानय विद्विषो ऽप्यनुनय प्रख्यापय प्रश्रयं
कीर्तिं पालय दु:खिते कुरु दयामेतत्सतां चेष्टितम् ।।६९।।

quell desire,
cultivate patience,
give up alcohol,
do not yield to temptation,
speak the truth,
follow in the steps of the wise,
serve the intelligent,
honor the honorable,
cherish even your enemies,
be modest,
but guard your fame,
and be kind to the poor.
this etiquette is expected
from gentle folk. ||69||

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।।

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||