Monday, October 10, 2011

English Tapasvinī Kāvya Canto-2/ Harekrishna Meher

Original Oriya Epic Poem By : Poet Gańgādhara Meher (1862-1924)
Complete English Translation By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher

[Canto-2 has been taken from pages 19-32 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 :

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Tapasvinī [Canto-2]
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In the kingdom of hermitage
of Vālmīki , the noble sage,
regime of Queen Peace
prevails very nice.
Affluent are her treasuries
with taxes of cool shades paid by trees.

Devoid of deceit,
the trees spontaneously deposit
the tax that implies
yard-stick of their bodies.

In the battle of Nature,
further the gallant army they constitute,
covering own bodies with the armour
of leaves serriedly-fostered stout.

By the exercise of Rain,
they nourish own limbs spright,
and subduing the sultry Summer, again
therefrom bring the wealth of light.

Forming burning fire, some of those
further become fire-arrows
to protect the country
from intrusion of Winter’s entry.

The vanquished Nature
betimes gratifies the trees duly
by offering on their hands the treasure
of flowers and fruits fully.

Bearing in womb verily
the sky-ocean star-gemmed splendid,
every dew-droplet sucks indeed
Sage Agastya’s great glory.

Water of every tree-basin bears
the pride of ocean and rears
the nectarean Moon gaily
in its own belly.

Sītā ’s clamour of lamentation
suddenly entering apace,
trembled the palace
of Queen Peace very often.

The compassionate Peace there got
embarrassed and sought for a chariot
to proceed anon
towards the moaning woman.

Hermit-maidens there
meantime had started
to take care
of new trees and vines, gale-distorted.

As a new voice entered
into their ear-cavities,
they sent the mind centred
to catch it and recognize.

Mind rushed above,
held it then
beheld too.
Neither the cooing of dove,
nor the note of cuckoo,
nor the jingling of lute,
nor the conch-blare,
nor the shrieking of peahen,
but flows there
a female tone pathetically acute.

Swiftly at the spot,
Peace ascending the chariot
of mind of the girls made start.
There flew the flag of bark-skirt.

Peace stood aghast,
as her glance she cast
at the waves of weeping thither;
yet didn’t delay to reach anear.

The maidens began to proceed
and not from very far eyed
a wonderous woman with plight
showering tears from her sight.

Astounded thought somebody :
‘Oh ! It’s a matter strange.
Quite unlikely is such a lady
in this forest-range.

Is she some goddess indeed
fallen on the earth has come embodied,
leaving her divine dominion
due to some immediate imprecation ?

Ascending Airāvata elephant and
wandering in the welkin,
whether Indra’s Queen
has descended on the mundane land ?’

Pondered some other:
‘Whether Gańgā , the Divine River incarnate
laves the earth hither
with her tear-waves upset.

Or whether hailstone-like compassion
from heaven has come below
and on the mundane region
melts gradually by heat of other’s sorrow ?

Or else, this lady with thick black hairs,
a star with cloud appears,
when fell on earth
flows a stream forth.

Had the wailing voice been frightening,
we could say with certitude
that this lightning
has come with cloud.

Where is the dew-dripping moon-light
resonant with cuckoo’s cooing
and where is the severe summer-heat
shrill with cricket-warbling ?

In her hands,
if she had a lute laid,
we could have said :
Bearing pangs of separation
from Lord Vishņu, here stands
Goddess Sarasvatī, wailing woe-begone.’
Thinking oft in this manner,
near Sītā , the hermit-girls went anon;
but courage they could not muster
to give her consolation.

How can Nirmalā purify [1]
in the rains, the deep turbid water
of Mahānadī and thereby
keep it clear ?

In the company of girls, Sītā ’s sorrow
there began to grow,
just as Mahānadī’s flow does swell
mingled with Iba, Ańga and Tel. [2]

The maidens asking nothing encircled her ;
but could not leave her there.
Affections, heartily tight,
became firm fetters to their feet.

Simply gazing deplorably at the lady,
their tranquil eyes shed water
from waves of woes utter,
led by hearts unsteady.

Amid the maidens
all tear-inundated,
there Sītā with lamentations
in dreary life floated
in the flow
of severe sorrow.

A melodious female flamingo as though
cries with onslaught
of internal woe,
in the grove of lotus-blooms all wet,
with water-drops wrought
by the whirl-wind straight.

Unable to brook, meantime
came apace a maiden
before Vālmīki and apprised him
in words woefully shaky and stricken.

“In this forest, O Father !
like an idol of clarified butter,
a woman looks, and appearing here very sad
mourns as though mad.
Addressing the loving husband of hers,
with repetitions,
in solitude she remembers
his virtues and hearty affections.

On her forehead, the glowing grace
a circular mark of vermilion bears,
and to the lotus of her face
as a full moon it appears.

Bejewelled bangle-sets
in her hands are attractive really.
Not drowned, she scintillates
in the shore of sorrow’s sea.

She looks beauteous
with lotus-lustred comely costume,
like seed-vessel in a lotus
with slight bloom.

Tears of her eyes
have drenched her dress.
It’s not easy to recognize
whether a woman or a goddess.”

Hearing all these,
Vālmīki , anchorite the great,
there remained reticent.
With closed eyes,
keeping his body, head and neck straight,
sat for a moment.

Standing thereafter
set forth he,
saying “Let us see.”
Hermit-boys followed him later.

The hermit-girls present in the ashram
curiously went with the friend
who had come
to call them beforehand.

Deer and does went
with their fawns.
Cuckoos, peacocks and herons
went ahead by leaps,
from trees to trees adjacent.
Khañjana birds, pleasing to the eyes, [3]
with parrots, mynas and doves there
smoothly sailed ships
of their bodies
in the ocean of air.

Like a rigorous river,
the valiant army of Peace made expedition
to swave away thither
the severe stones of Sītā ’s affliction.

Of Mahānadī, the great river,
if the mighty current flows,
and upto head swallows
the rocks of Gorge Rāmeśvar, [4]
shall all those be assailed indeed ?
Rather the stream shall shiver
and with reeling head over
shall fall finding no path to proceed.

Won’t Peace-Lady
in this expedition
suffer such condition ?
Let her stick to it.
Engrossed is she
swollen with self-spirit.

Crossing some way,
the great eremite
reached Sītā ’s site.
Encircling there others lay
on the ground, on the boughs nigh
and in the air high.

Near Vālmīki , the charming-figured,
white-bearded white-haired
great ascetic having own body
with sacred ashes smeared,
Sītā , the golden-coloured virtuous lady
resembled Umā, observing austerity
with steadfastness and tranquility,
making her seat
at the soothing feet
of Himālaya, the snow-bodied mountain-lord.

On arrival of Sage Vālmīki,
Sītā , the devoted wife
of Rāma, herself refrained from grief.
In her heart, the eddy
of mental worry
stopped and got steady.

Consoling her,
the great seer said :
“Daughter My Dear !
Verily I know,
Your separation’s dread
has borne an adverse flow.

Spontaneous is the flow of River
to mingle with Sea, her own lover.
She firmly crosses pass and rock
that appear on the way to block.

With Sea when she enjoys union,
her all previous pains plunge into oblivion.
Between the lives of the two thence
really remains not a jot of difference.

Perchance piercing up amid,
any huge mound of sands there
if raises high
and severs the hearts of the loving pair,
verily River cannot die.
Burthen of her life she bears indeed
by expanding own heart to take
the shape of a large lake. [5]

In this world, the exact condition
has happened to you, My Deary !
Aggrieve not unavailingly.
Very severe and dire,
like funeral pyre,
is the form of mental tension.

Father-in-law of thine,
a fine friend of mine ;
so is your father as well.
Thinking the world bitter,
in the hermitage, My Daughter !
unhesitatingly do dwell.

In my hermitage-residence
shall occur for you no inconvenience.
Don’t have bothering
for the would-be offspring.”

Listening to the great among the ascetics,
at his feet she paid tribute,
stood up and from her cheeks,
tears with own saree’s hem wiped out.

“My Child ! May you be the mother
of warrior offspring,”
Thus he consoled her
with sweet words of blessing.

Again he said: “Come, My deary !
further don’t delay.
Amid the maidens you stay
and adorn my monastery.”

“O My Daughters ! Hold soon whatever
things are here.”
When the sage thus said,
all of them respectfully obeyed.

Pulling among themselves, the maiden-mates
held Sītā ’s pretty baskets.
Encircling her affectionately, they
made her exit on the way.

By own wooden sandals smart,
beating and beating hard
on the head of misfortune, the sage
gently stepped forward
before Sītā , the love-image
of King Rāma’s heart.

Clad with scarlet costume, the noble seer
resembled Aruņa and following him
Sītā looked like Sun-beam.
The beam had merged there
in the deep water
of the ocean of sorrow.
Bearing effulgent figure
Aruņa was aglow. [6]

Sans any tweeting,
flocks of birds thither sitting
with concentration
were listening to the conversation
between the great sage Vālmīki
and the great virtuous lady Jānakī .

Seeing their departure
towards the hermitage-site,
birds with enthusiasm and rapture
spread their lilt of tweet.

Lo ! Victory-drum of Peace blared.
Heartfelt contentment
the fawns declared,
with dancing entertainment.

The face of new guest they took
to be the sea of affection.
With longing look,
they gazed her ever and anon.

Aroused from the sea
of peacelessness,
Rāma’s Queen Vaidehī ,
as the Beauty-Goddess
of great victory,
now proceeded to Peace’s country.

Spreading up varicoloured train, flocks
of hundreds of peacocks,
array-wise went on
forming a bilateral procession.

By trunks, the tender elephant-babies spread
lotuses holding up and marched ahead
among their herds in rush full,
with push and pull.

Decked with flower-bunches,
gracefully swang
the leaves in trees.
Cranes line by line
formed flags, fair and fine.
Sweet auspicious notes cuckoos sang.
There blared forth the victory-conches
as the humming of black-bees.

Oft flying from tress, parrots
along with mynas, generous,
on the path offered lots
of showers of flowers various.

Hither Hesperus
formed the kindled worship-lamp auspicious.
In the hermitage of Vālmīki ,
glistered Rāma’s ocular-star Jānakī .

By the bidding of the sage,
keeping the baskets in proper place,
of the hermitage
a girl washed Sītā ’s face.

While girl another,
was just pouring water
from small pitcher
on Sītā ’s feet, thither
from her hand, Sītā quickly took it
and herself washed own feet.

On the seat of leafage tender,
another girl placed Sītā and before her,
on the leaf-dish gave fruits
with some edible roots.

Anukampā, the old hermit-matron,
took Sītā on her lap, later on
washed Sītā ’s forehead and cheek,
with her own hand, lotus-like.

Sprinkling the limpid fair affection-water
from the love-waterfall,
and making Sītā ’s life overall
flooded and cool, further
repeatedly looking at her, she
gently said with words of delicacy :

“By my good fortune, Dear Daughter !
today with your auspicious coming,
you graced my being.
Ye Queen of the Great Emperor !
In gloom keeping your golden fane doomed,
now my tiny cottage, your noble self illumed.

For the whole day, you
might not have taken food due.
In the womb, your son might be moving,
by his feet softly striking.

Eat, eat, My Dear !
Shyness is not proper
at home of your mother.
These maiden-companions
of yours hither
are awaiting you with affections.”

Saying thus, the matron
peeled an orange for her,
gave some pieces, also one by one,
gave bananas, bright fair like camphor.

Tinduka fruits, gave she,
keeping seeds separated therefrom.
Also jack-fruit
piece by piece she put,
and sweet dates wholesome,
with mangoes, very juicy.

“Eat, My Child ! gently eat,”
thus entreating often with words sweet,
gave in her hand, the matron affectionate,
breaking by pieces, seeds of a pomegranate.

“Two pieces more,
two pieces more,”
lastly telling words these,
she insisted then
and fed Sītā , pieces of black-berries,
eight to ten.

Happiness of mother’s love,
Sītā had not experienced in childhood.
In Sage Vālmīki ’s penance-grove
today she realized that beatitude.

Washing mouth after taking food,
she took the seat made of wood, [7]
by the admonition
of the hermit-matron.

A hermit-girl sweet,
gave in her hand
a piece of cardamom.
Sītā , the lady with face handsome,
endearingly accepted and
into her mouth dropped it.

Another girl brought some fine
delicate dry stalks of wild paddies,
and furnished over these
the bed of deer-skin.

With Sītā , there abided
two maiden-companions,
and to their own abodes retreated
the other ones.

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(Footnotes :
[1] Nirmalā is a fruit which is used to purify the dirty water of jar etc. Clearing-nut.
[2] Mahānadī is the name of a great river flowing in Orissa. Iba, Ańga and Tel rivers
are her tributaries.
[3] Khañjana = Wagtail bird.
[4] Gorge Rāmeśvar is a dreadful site in Mahānadī near Sambalpur.
[5] Condition of rivers attached to Lake Chilikā of Orissa in the Bay of Bengal is such illustration.
[6] Aruņa is the charioteer of Sun-god.
[7] As Sītā was pregnant, a high seat was necessary for her.)

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(Canto-II of Tapasvinī ends.)
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