Original Oriya Epic Poem By : Poet Gańgādhara Meher (1862-1924)
Complete English Translation By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher
[Canto-11 has been taken from pages 159- 180 of my English Book
‘ Tapasvinī of Gańgādhara Meher ’
Published by : R.N. Bhattacharya, A-217, Road No.4, HB Town, Sodepur,
Kolkata-700110, India. First Edition : 2009, ISBN : 81-87661-63-1]
For Introduction, please see,
‘ Tapasvinī of Gańgādhara Meher : A Critical Observation ’ :
Link : http://hkmeher.blogspot.com/2007/08/tapasvini-of-gangadhara-meher-critical.html
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Oneday, the Day-lord Sun
feeling weary owing to circumambulation
around the earth entire,
so alleviating his physical lustres,
having a hearty desire
for pleasant ablution,
plunged deeply in the blue waters
of the western ocean.
Unable to brook separation
from own lord, with desperation
Day followed him
without delaying a moment’s time.
Ignorant of condition
of a wife bereft of her husband darling,
the naïve-hearted Lotus-maiden
didn’t leave her dwelling.
Despoiling in a moment,
the treasure of her coloured raiment,
Eventide, in the firmament
spread the sheet
of carpet beauteously meant
for the feet of Dame Night.
Seeing the humiliation laden
to the delicate Lotus-maiden,
Śirīsha tree became
dead-like with shame.
At the set of the Sun,
offering worship to Fire-god well-lit,
the high-minded Sage Vālmīki
remembered noble mercy
of Lord Maheśvara.
In the hermitage, adorning a seat
of Kuśa grass, the great seer
had sat and was rapt there
in brooding over good administration
of King Rāmachandra.
Further he was thinking
about the efficiency of the twin offspring,
also how there would be identifications
between the father and his sons.
‘This time, the twins have reached verily
the threshold of royal duty and archery.
If they remain
in such savage sites
among the anchorites,
their precious time would go in vain.
If the twin sons
of King themselves don’t suit
to be efficient in regal actions,
so destitute of fruit
all the merits would be,
like a barren tree.
The sons of a warrior,
if don’t attain
the ornament of warriorship,
to the heroic lineage, that would reap
along with disdain.
Who can say
in future oneday,
the gem-like successor
of King Rāma would not seek for
Kośala’s royal throne ?
That time if there be
no protective power
of regal honour,
ignorance in morality
would be revealed alone.
How would the twins there
sans ideology, be adept,
if in the wilderness here
they are kept ?
Especially kings, the scions
of Raghu’s race,
By an anchorite’s hut
how can this ideology be taught ?
both the brothers bear
the limbs verily
like that of their father.
Rāma shall recognize his sons
at the first sight however.
All his suspicions
apropos this, Śatrughna shall sever.
Rāma shall accept the twins
if given, and by this means
no sort of slur
I shall incur.
But only for fear
of public blemish,
making his heart cruel,
King Rāma has banished his dearest
enceinte wife in the forest,
on the pretext of fulfilling the pregnancy-relish,
though he knows her
to be chaste and virtuous very well.
After twelve years the affection filial,
in his heart may not occur at all.
His sonly affections
he has bestowed on the denizens.
Therefore their consent
he’ll surely seek at present.
Since not a bit
of confidence in own self he does bear,
what shall be the benefit,
if I sincerely endeavour
to convince him thousand times ?
So proper it seems,
at the present hour,
to make a careful consultation
with Vaśishţha, the wise seer
and Lakshmaņa in this connection.’
Meanwhile a royal messenger
with humbly folded hands,
paying homage to the sage, handed over
a letter of errands.
The great sage
reading the letter of message,
came to know : ‘A nice device
has been discovered for the accomplishment
of the desired end;
since an invitation to attend
the observance of horse-sacrifice
King Rāma has sent.’
He continued to ponder:
“Fortune, favourable afore,
near the sea of thought yonder
has shown the shore.
To see the sacrificial rite,
I’ll be very glad
to take the twins as pupils clad
in the costumes of anchorite.
In the sacrificial sphere,
roaming place to place,
Kuśa and Lava shall sing with music
the new Rāmāyaņa epic.
The tale of King Rāma there
the ambrosia of love immortal,
shall certainly capture the minds of all.
Looking at the twin offspring
resembling with the King,
people will surely recognize then
the both to be his children.
Beholding own exact replica,
Rāma shall make his heart immerse
in the waters
of well of love-ambrosia.
To accept twin sons own,
if Rāma be repugnant thither,
would his mother Kauśalyā not fall down
on earth and desperately bother ?
‘The demon-king Rāvaņa
has never been able to touch
Sītā , the Virtuous One’ –
Hearing this depiction
in the epic Rāmāyaņa,
all shall rejoice much.
‘Chaste in fire-ordeal
Sītā has been proved,’ -
Hearing this, who would not feel
horripilated and moved ?
The Rāmāyaņa epic
shall spread the light of learning,
and the entire public
of the three worlds unhesitating,
shall definitely quell
the murk of calumny cruel.”
Deliberating thus, the great seer
rejoiced with heartfelt immense cheer.
Telling the messenger
in sweet words to take rest,
he engaged disciples there
for proper hospitality to the guest.
the noble sage gave her gaily
the tidings of horse-sacrifice celebration
and said : ‘Dear Daughter ! Lo !
King Rāma’s messenger
has arrived here
with invitation to attend the function.
With pupils I’ll set out tomorrow.
Kuśa and Lava also
as disciples with them shall go.
Both shall see many sages there
and shall earn blessings rare.’
Deferring to the opinions
of the great ascetic,
Sītā, with zest enthusiastic,
entrusted him the onus of her sons.
To the disciples then
said the sage : “Dear Children !
At the day-break
journey we’ll make
to behold the nice
observance of horse-sacrifice.
You all the class-fellows young,
with Kuśa and Lava shall render
preparations, for way-long
provided with provender.
Kuśa and Lava Dear !
With yourselves, lutes you’ll bear.
There you’ll fructify your learning
by performing musical tune charming.
The Noble King Rāma,
who is the hero of the epic Rāmāyaņa
and has filled your hearts with delight,
is performing this great sacrificial rite.
From many lands, there must
have come personages august.
Crossing the ocean grand,
Vibhīshaņa, the ornament of Lańkā island,
with many demons together
must have come thither.
Headed by Ańgada,
best bears and monkeys
must have come with Sugrīva,
cleansing their faces with ecstasies.
The great mighty Hanumān, who alone
deems mountain as a tiny stone,
shall be roaming like a lion, meantime
there at the holy place,
gaily adorning his heart with pearl-necklace,
a gift by Sītā, bestowed on him.
Having beautified own bodies, further
with wreaths of various feathers,
along with Guhaka, must have come together
innumerable Śabaras, the forest-dwellers.
Bharata, the noble person,
who, by virtue of fraternal devotion
easily repudiated the rare loving embrace
of Dame Royal Wealth in the palace,
-who, by placing sandals of his elder brother
on the royal throne,
passed fourteen years further
taking food of fruits and roots alone,
-who elevated his life with saintly grace
by binding matted hairs,
at which with upraised face
the peak of Himālaya stares,
-who is verily a true follower
of King Rāma, must be present there
bearing lustres of glory effulgent,
like Moon in the firmament.
You’ll see there
Lakshmaņa, Sumitrā’s son,
like whom there is no second person
in the mundane sphere.
He has trampled the overweening pride
of Meghanāda whose ferocity
made the thunderbolt-wielder Indra rid
of rest and stability.
Entering into Rāvaņa’s heart, the news
of Meghanāda’s demise
formed fierce fire huge,
and immensely swelled in size.
Along with it,
offering the oblation
of physical prowess, the great demon
made the fire excessively lit.
Ablaze with ire,
in the furious fire,
making hot, his own mighty mace,
at Lakshmaņa, the demon hurled apace.
As he bears the spots of wounds done
by the adamantine mace of Rāvaņa,
on own chest and back portion,
significant is his name ‘Lakshmaņa’.
You’ll see with your eyes
what you’ve seen in written letters.
You’ll sing all the stories
in front of all the spectators.
Hundreds of kings
and hundreds of anchorites
scintillating with lustres of penitential rites
shall listen to your singings.
If anyone asks you there
about your identity, you’ll answer :
‘Twin brothers are we,
disciples of Sage Vālmīki.’
When King Rāma will call you,
in his front, you two
shall sing the Rāmāyaņa epic
with charming music.
About your identity,
if he queries with curiosity
you’ll reply : ‘Twin brothers are we,
disciples of Sage Vālmīki.’
If he offers wealth, you, greedless,
will humbly express :
‘Revered King ! For us what will be the use
of taking wealth in the cottage of a recluse ?’
From the sage, when Sītā heard the incident
of horse-sacrifice, that moment
her heart felt smitten with blows
of sudden pangs of sorrows.
She began to muse :
‘The Crest-jewel of Raghu’s royal dynasty,
surely seated on his lap the second spouse.
Blessed is that fortunate lady
in whose austerity’s tree,
King Rāma, the Moon emerging from the sea
of Sagara’s pedigree,
appeared as fruit very tasty.
What penance severe
did she practise, how and where ?
To observe her austerity
very keen is my propensity.
Who’ll tell me here
the rules of her austerities ?
Excelling that penance, hence most severe
I’ll certainly practise.
Of her past austerities
who does know the particulars ?
To the great seers
like Vaśishţha must be known this matter.
As queen, otherwise,
how was she chosen ?
Lord may have espoused her
with their suggestion.
By any means anon
I’ll bring from her
the secret incantation
of penitential power.’
Thinking thus then
an humble letter she began to pen :
“At the lotus-feet of the Great Emperor
among emperors, wherein the wise
behold the banner
of affection for refugees,
also goad for elephants in the form of foes,
and the thunderbolt for mountains of woes,
this poor beggar-maid,
from remote region,
extends modest prostration
with her bowed head.
in the savage region,
she prays to lacerate
the murk of sweet aspiration.
O Illustrious Emperor !
You must have been consecrated
for the sacrifice you’ve started.
And the newly-wed bride
would be seen therefor
by the left side.
‘Enchanted will be she,
the beauteous queen,’
thinking thus, hundred times enhanced will be
all the virtues of thine.
On the sacred occasion
of the great sacrificial celebration,
Your noble self with munificence
will offer gems immense,
and costly silken attires.
Of the suppliant
fulfilled will be all the desires.
An urge for a trifle begging
has occured in my mind, O Great King !
In this regard,
deign not to be niggard.
For kind charity,
here Your Majesty
forms the ocean of benevolence
plenteous with gems of mercy immense.
To know who I’m indeed
there is no need.
Your lordship is the dispeller
of peacelessness for ever,
from the hearts of the hermits, O Glorious King !
Unpayble to the ascetics, you have nothing.
I’m an ascetic-maid.
Therefore by any reason
I won’t be made
an object of thy derision.
With hearty devotion,
people of the world gay,
would get a vision
of the noble queen
who has been
worthy of your lap today.
In yore, what penance utter
did she practise ?
Where how much time did she utilize ?
What incantation did she mutter ?
This much may be
kindly conveyed to me, prithee.
Any other wealth sans this thing
for me is of no need,
O Illustrious King !
On my part, this will be considered
more than the wealth offered
in a crore of horse-sacrifices indeed.
For an another matter
I have the prayer.
Innocent are the twin offspring
of this poor maid always suffering.
For a lift on the lap of their father,
no fortune of favour
both have obtained till now.
Since their birth,
fatherly affection’s worth
verily they do not know.
They have known
to make the life of their mother moan
by singing the Rāmāyaņa epic
in accompaniment of lutanic music.
Bearing the heart built
with human qualities,
who’ll not wail to hear the lilt
of the twin brothers,
wherein feel restless all trees
as well as creepers ?
Enticed with thy holy episode,
the twin offspring
along with Sage Vālmīki are going
to thy royal abode.
By their mind, both are
keenly impelled afar
to have a sight
of thy sacred lotus-feet.
Of thy bygone agony and torment
the saga, they’ll narrate,
hearing which becomes rent
the heart of this maid, unfortunate.
When not heard,
to have it, mind rushes forward,
and the alacrity ardently expressed
is hardly suppressed.
O Great among the scrupulous !
Reminiscence of poor Vaidehī apropos
of the episodic thing,
if your ears bring,
there your noble self shall deem
her love a mere dream,
by beholding the blooming mien
of the new beloved queen.”
Thus the letter she was writing
with her heart overwhelmed by worries.
Drenched it was getting
with tears flowing from her eyes.
‘What more shall I write,’
as she was thinking a bit,
there arrived her twin sons
Kuśa and Lava, smiling with elations.
Both expressed :
“O Mother Dearest !
Glory, immense Glory
to King Rāma of Raghu’s pedigree.
Also Glory to his beloved Queen, the blessed
fortunate and chaste.
King Rāma, Kauśalyā’s son,
is performing horse-sacrifice and here
with royal invitation
has come a messenger.
Asking him we could know,
this world has been now
blessed and glorious
because of Rāma, the King Illustrious.
The great emperor
discarded the public censure
by banishing his wife
Sītā, the beloved of his life.
In the horse-sacrifice, appropriate
for his lawful lady associate,
King Rāma has kept
the gold image of Jānakī on his left.
Was spouse another
unattainable for him ? O Mother !
Jānakī’s husband indeed
never longed for a second bride.
O Mother ! Where did Sītā go ?
To her life has she put an end ?
That matter we could not know
in the Rāmāyaņa, the epic grand.
We’ll go, O Mother ! We’ll behold
King Rāma’s lotus-feet auspicious.
The great sage has told
to accompany both of us.”
Waves rising from the sea
of the twins’ speech-ambrosia,
there immersed the life of Sītā.
The delicate heart of hers
was as though replete with hot sand
and now became flooded by showers
from the cloud of love heartily
bred by Rāma, her husband.
In her mind said she : “Fie ! Fie !
The ever-sinful woman am I,
who was writing the words wrecking
to the noble heart of my King.
Really a frail woman, I possess
a heart very feeble.
Mercy of my lord is endless
Thy kind apology I supplicate
for my fault profane.
O Ocean of Forgiveness Great !
Fate made me thy heart’s bane.”
Keeping the letter secretly
with expression of glee,
Sītā said then :
“My dear children !
Set forth to have a holy sight
of King Rāma’s lotus-feet.
Father Sage was saying,
there you both would sing.
Sweet song of thine
by nature is nectarine.
Forming nectar-stream in the holy
your song will get permeated wholly
in the heart of every one.
If King Rāghava calls there,
you both approaching anear
will extend humble prostration
at his feet, with devotion.
There you’ll see
his younger brothers three.
Also at their feet
with humble homage you’ll greet.
On your heads you both will take
dusts from the lotus-feet of mothers
of the King and thereby make
your life fruitful in cheers.
Near them, you’ll meet
three sisters of Jānakī yonder.
Having her faith, at their feet,
humble salutations you’ll render.
‘You both, whose sons ?’
If anybody questions,
you’ll reply thus:
“Dear sons of Tapasvinī both of us.”
Such words of mother made the hearts of sons
fraught with exhilarations.
Their mind kept blithesome
filled with fresh enthusiasm.
For them, there remained no liking
for eating and sleeping.
Words of King Rāma’s glory
danced in their hearts further.
Apropos Rāma’s story
the twins took rest deep
in the lap of Sleep.
In the flow of the river
of devotion-to-husband there,
Sītā’s life was floating,
and in eddies, was restlessly rotating.
Unable to bring and keep
her life in own lap, Dame Sleep
and apprised : “O Goddess ! Life of Sītā
has today gone beyond
the human heart’s bond.
For twelve years
permeating her bed with tears,
managed to come slowly
in my lap once even.
But today despite my frequent call
in my very sweet tone,
she not at all
paying heed to it, alone
proceeds to the state of heaven.
Idols of eyes, her twin sons,
from her eyes shall now disappear.
All the ten directions
shall seem darkened for her.
In this life of hers
no sun-rise of happiness appears.
So much devoted to her husband,
what fruit did she acquire at end ?
Kindly make her future bright.
Let the poor lady behold it.
Pouring water from eyes
in her life’s basin,
the sobre lady obtained the grand
garden of devotion-to-husband.
Neither any flower bloomed therein,
nor did any fruit appear.
Ah ! Tell me please,
would the life
of the virtuous wife
so desperately suffer ?”
Yogamāyā directed : “Come, My Friend !
Cool night is at its end.
Approaching the devoted Sītā now earlier,
we both will reveal the secret of her future.”
With Sleep, entered Yogamāyā hastily
in the cottage of Maithilī.
By celestial lustre, the sylvan site
continued to shine.
Surface of earth turned replete
with the fragrance divine.
By the aromatic affluence
horripilated, Sītā’s life aroused.
Under the splendour’s influence
her eyes became closed.
There appeared the scene.
Lustrous Sītā has been.
World is being illumed further
by her effusive lustre.
Resplendent with blooming mien,
King Rāma with herself as Queen
has ascended the bejewelled throne there.
Kuśa has sat in the lap of Rāghava,
and in Sītā’s lap, Lava.
Holding the lifted umbrella,
Lakshmaņa, the husband of Ūrmilā,
has stood anear.
Moving the charming chowry moonbeam-fair,
Bharata performs his own duty.
Holding by hand, Śatrughna moves there
the fan prepared with peacock-plumes pretty.
In the mouth of future,
life-lustre of every creature
is flowing apace
forming a stream of river.
Crores of men and women thither
are performing ablutions in the very stream,
knowing it a great place,
sacred, noble and supreme.
By and by, the stream
with its physical expanse
advances towards the ocean of time
in great distance.
Gods and demi-god Vidyādharas with love
are offering from above
of beautiful flowers.
Gods, with demons all,
serpents, human beings
and nymphs celestial,
are permeating there
the entire mundane sphere
with ‘Victory-to-Sītā-Rāma’ chantings.
In every house, in every life, in every city,
in the river-boat, in the bark of the sea,
in every cavern,
at day and night,
in the even and the morn,
in dolour and delight,
in the hearts of the affluent
as well as of the indigent,
the ‘Victory-to-Sītā-Rāma’ chant.
Observing all these,
stood entranced at the scene,
Crest-crown of the chaste ladies,
the Great Queen.
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(Canto –XI of Tapasvini ends)
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POET GAŃGĀDHARA MEHER
Translated into English
Dr. HAREKRISHNA MEHER
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