Experiments with Translation

Translating life's journey in poetry, prose and pictures

śatakatrayam 1.83: yathā kandukapātena (a ball thrown down)

यथा कन्दुकपातेनो-
त्पतत्यार्य: पतन्नपि ।
तथा त्वनार्य: पतति
मृत्पिण्डपतनं यथा ।।८३।।

a ball thrown down
bounces up immediately;
so does a miserable man,
if he is virtuous.
a non-virtuous man, however,
sinks to the ground
like a clod of earth. ||83||

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śatakatrayam 1.82: bhagnāśasya karaṇḍapiṇḍita (trapped in a wicker basket)

भग्नाशस्य करण्डपिण्डिततनोर्म्लानेन्द्रियस्य क्षुधा
कृत्वाखुर्विवरं स्वयं निपतितो नक्तं मुखे भोगिन-
स्तृप्तस्तत्पिशितेन सत्वरमसौ तेनैव यात: पथा
स्वस्थास्तिष्ठत दैवमेव हि परं वृद्धौ क्षये कारणम् ।।८२।।
नीतिशतके

trapped in a wicker basket,
a snake has lost all hope;
his sense faculties are fading
and he is faint with hunger.
then, by some stroke of luck, at night
a mouse fell into his jaws
quelling his appetite.
what wonder then that
the snake too followed the mouse’s path.
thus, o my dear friends,
be content with what you have!
it is destiny that determines
your success or failure. ||82||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.81: netā yasya bṛhaspatiḥ (with bṛhaspati as his counsellor)

नेता यस्य बृहस्पति: प्रहरणं वज्रं सुरा: सैनिका:
स्वर्गो दुर्गमनुग्रह: खलु हरेरैरावणो रावण: ।
इत्याश्चर्यबलान्वितोऽपि बलभिद्भग्न: परै: संगरे
तद्व्यक्तं ननु दैवमेव शरणं धिग्धिग्वृथा पौरुषम् ।।८१।।
नीतिशतके

with brhaspati as his counsellor,
thunderbolt as a weapon,
immortal deities for soldiers,
heaven as his fortress,
vishnu himself as his protector,
and airāvaṇa as elephant-in-chief,
indra, the king of gods,
is extraordinarily powerful.
yet, he meets defeat after defeat in battle.
thus it is clear–
god alone is our refuge;
manhood and vigor, go cower! ||81|||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.80: aiśvaryasya vibhūṣaṇam sujanatā (might is ornamented by benevolence)

ऐश्वर्यस्य विभूषणं सुजनता शौर्यस्य वाक्संयमो
ज्ञानस्योपशम: श्रुतस्य विनयो वित्तस्य पात्रे व्यय:।
अक्रोधस्तपस: क्षमा प्रभवितुर्धर्मस्य निर्व्याजता
सर्वेषामपि सर्वकारणमिदं शीलं परं भूषणम् ।।८०।।
नीतिशतके

might is ornamented by benevolence,
heroism by restraint in speech,
knowledge by patience,
fame by humility,
wealth by donating suitably,
ascetic practice by controlling anger,
a powerful lord by ability to forgive,
religious practice by honesty,
but let it be known that,
good conduct is the best ornament
any person can have. ||80||
nītiśataka

śatakatrayam 1.79: chinno’pi rohati taruḥ (a tree that is chopped)

छिन्नोऽपि रोहति तरु: क्षीणोऽप्युपचीयते पुनक्ष्चन्द्र: ।
इति विमृशन्त: सन्त: संतप्यन्ते न विश्लथेषु लोकेषु ।।७९।।
नीतिशतके

a tree that is chopped
grows again,
the crescent moon too
waxes again to full glory.
realizing this, wise men
are not too aggravated even when
life is distressing. ||79||