Friday, October 28, 2011

English Tapasvinī Kāvya Canto-7/ Harekrishna Meher

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

[Canto-7 has been taken from pages 87-112 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-7)
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“Friend !”, said Sītā, “My evil-doings
account for all my sufferings.
For my actions done whatsoever,
Creator deserves no damnation.
Verily my husband, by nature,
is the repository of compassion.

Thought in my mind, again
even for a while had never occured
that my life can sustain
bereft of my life-lord.
I endured, My Friend !
all the torment bold,
terrible and intolerable, solely to behold
the auspicious face of my husband.

Forming incantation
of inner consolation
in the cavities of my ears
at that time, hope
drove out somehow
the proneness to death’s scope.
The hope itself has expired now.
When it occurs
in my memory,
my life is burnt severely.”

The maiden said : “Friend !
I could not understand
how there was hope and
why it came to an end.
Even if affected by great suffering,
you, the devoted wife, are never uttering
a word of rebuke to the Creator.
Very strange is this matter.”

Virtuous Sītā told,
“When you’ll hear,
the story of my suffering, My dear !
verily you’ll know
all the matter well,
how myself invited the severe sorrow
and how the knell
of my hope tolled.

At Pañchavaţī, oneday
contiguous to the cottage, a golden deer
exhibited its sportive play
with excessive cheer.
Its body, dappled, polished and fine,
dazzled in touch with sunshine.

The splendour of dots various,
spotted in its golden limbs beauteous,
there created illusion
of gems in my vision.
Such sort of deer
I had never seen ere
in city, in palace
or in any sylvan place.

I thought there :
‘In my return journey
to the city, the lovely deer
I’ll take in my company,
and make the denizens surprise,
therewith depicting the sylvan beauties.’

I displayed food to capture;
but to me there didn’t come, the creature.
Alluring my mind, enchanting my vision
ever and anon it appeared
and disappeared
in the forest-region.

Knowing my mind
worried for the creature of that kind,
my husband told me affectionately :
‘Fetching the charming stag immediately
your keen zeal
I’ll fulfil.’

My lord, holding bow with arrow
hurriedly rushed to follow.
Hastily pursuing it, he flew
from the range of my view.
‘Lakshmaņa ! Save me,’
the voice was heard
in the interior of forest there.
My mind thereby felt bewildered.
With mind further,
ears I concentrated.
‘Lakshmaņa ! Save me,’
the voice came reiterated.

Warrior Lakshmaņa was anear,
I told: ‘See dear brother !
Now to our proximity
has come some calamity.’

Consoling my mind, he said :
‘Revered One ! Don’t be afraid.
For, that’s never
the voice of Rāghava, my elder brother.’

“O Friend !
Warrior’s nature brave,
only warrior does understand.
I viewed Lakshmaņa calm and grave.
Heart of a woman is
very frail indeed.
By those words of his,
my perplexity grew rapid.

After my humble request,
harsh words I showered
and sent him in quest
of my life-lord.
All the opulence
of my blissful fortune thence
swept away in his egress-current,
as I forcibly sent.

Hither the embodied hazard
in guise of a sage
appeared as a beggar forward
at the gate of our cottage.

Until retreat of my lord at the gate,
the devil sage could not wait
and severely ere my vision
for alms importuned anon.

When I gave alms, my hand
he snatched by force and
swiftly at the spot
seated me in the aerial chariot.

Humbly much him I prayed,
then with menace reprimanded;
but the evil-minded
paid no heed to whatever I said.

I knew, mere dress
is not the symbol of virtuousness.
The guise is ostensibly honest;
but internally satanic and vilest.

People deem Dharma as the giver
of all auspiciousness for ever ;
but who can know, the Death-god Yama
bears the epithet ‘Dharma’ ?

The wicked rascal then
southwards propelled the plane,
making the way of welkin
tremble with its deep din.
With voice high and profound
I cried, wailed unbound ;
but all my voice drowned
in the womb of the chariot’s sound.

Below as I beheld,
there various flocks
of sylvan peacocks
gazing at me woefully wailed.
Herds of deer, again,
with eyes uplifted
cast on the plane
their looks intimidated.

Intervening the chariot
on the way against him,
an Eagle-king fought
with courageous actions ;
but the evil-minded grim
severed the pinions.

To the journey, wind with abrupt
and adverse blow
couldn’t interrupt
the notorious fellow.

Rows of mountains on the way
with heads aloft
couldn’t intervene the plane.
To apprise the people mundane,
I cast looks in dismay,
distressed down-dropt.

In the sound of the aerial plane,
all my voice would go in vain,
knowing thus, that moment
I threw down all my ornament.

I beheld, rivers perplexed within
as though remained stable
and became incapable
with their limbs emaciated and thin.

Contracting own bodies
afraid of the rascal thither,
all the tall trees
twined one another.
Quiet remained there earth afterwards.
Concealed own selves all beasts and birds.

Directions, east, west and south,
gradually plunged into the mouth
of deep darkness veiled.
No spot of earth was seen
and the rascal propelled
the chariot in between.

Corners of quarters
ahead looked refulgent.
By degrees, to me, the light
seemed to be forest-fire there.
Nigher and nigher
as the chariot went,
countless congregations of lustres
appeared bright before my sight.

I thought : ‘All stars afar
shunning the skies,
at the time of day are
shining effulgent array-wise.
Bereft of Moon,
abandoning the firmament soon,
they have kindled in their heart’s core
the separation’s fire,
or, my mundane life has to expire,
I myself therefore
am entering into the city
of Yama, the Death-deity.’

I beheld further,
charming citadels splendid
shone row-wise there
with gold-pitchers amid.
City-citadels arranged in arrays
gradually looked attractive to the vision.
The city has been embellished by Sun.
He has adorned with his rays
the pitchers placed at the crescent
of palaces and made them effulgent.

In my mind’s board
meanwhile thought occured :
‘Surely the saint is a messenger
of the Death-deity.
Anyhow to the death-city
proudly I’ll enter
lifting up my sharp-edged sword
of devotion-to-lord.’

In the city’s corner, the saint got
alighted from the chariot
and stepped ahead, as he could mark
the path to a pretty park.
With marble-plates, the alley was magnificent.
Bearing enormous
flowers and fruits thus
the garden was ebulient.

Very pleasant to the eyes
were more and more Asoka trees
bearing clusters
of fine flowers.
In the garden came to the notice
a resplendent jewel-decked edifice.

The saint told me : ‘Stay here,
You’ll never adhere
to estrangement any sort,
from your consort.
Now here expired the affliction
of your forest-dwelling sultry.
Do enjoy the pleasure empyrean
by adorning this country.

Any thing unattainable
in the three worlds entire,
will be very easily available
to yourself now, when for it
you cherish a desire.
Thousands of pretty maidens
extending hearty affections
shall serve at your lotus-feet.’

Summoning a thousand maid-servants
adorned with ornaments,
he emphatically gave order :
‘Knowing this good lady
as the queen of my heart really,
you all shall render
sincere service to her
with heartiest devotion proper.

As she likes everyday
you all will obey,
also make her hear
my praise and power.
Utmost attempt
you’ll make to tempt,
so that her mind,
to my riches, be inclined.’

Saying thus, the saint went.
My heart overwhelmed with amazement.
I could not know
who the yogi was,
where he brought me now
and what his country was.

Queen of his heart verily
how was I made ?
I’ve borne the body of daughter-in-law
of King Raghu’s ancestry.
I’m not dead,
I really recall.
Kauśalyā’s son Rāmachandra
is my sole shelter, be-all.

Heartily confident
steadfast again I became there.
Whoever may be the saint,
what’s the fear ?
In my life, as long as I remember,
Kauśalyā’s son Rāma is my sole shelter.

The land may be even
the death-dominion or heaven.
Deities may be wandering here.
But my mind, who can allure ?
Kauśalyā’s son Rāma , sure,
is my sole shelter.

For me what’s the need
of thousands of maids indeed ?
Where are my ablutions and foods ?
My life-lord aright
might be roaming in the woods,
and my mind is at his feet.

If hundreds of Sarasvatī, Goddess of Speech,
lovely-lute-handed do anear reach,
and play the tunes melody-imbued,
in my ears how can these be valued
even like a single word
expressed from the mouth of my lord ?

Deliberating thus thence,
rivetting mind at the feet of my husband,
I forgot my life-sense
and could understand
nothing, except the thought of my lord
and how days elapsed of their own accord.

But in that country,
for me all days and nights seemed
like gods’ time. [1]
Further I deemed
that dominion
to be gods’ land prime,
and filled my life anon
with heavenly bravery.

I prayed to the God Almighty
to confer on me the divine prowess
and devotion-to-husband worthy
for the heart of a goddess.
In the nectar of the feet of my lord
my hope sheltered.
For my thirst and famishment there
I didn’t care.

Maid-servants brought
perfumeries a lot,
immense ornaments effulgent,
with numerous items of foods,
and in flattering moods
told me with words affluent;
but there my mind
never cherished any of that kind.

By and by, from conversations
of maids, I learnt there :
Bearing audacious might,
Rāvaņa is the conqueror
of the three worldly regions.
Hearing his name, the heart
of the god-king Indra trembles with fright.
His kingdom is Lańkā, the isle sea-girt.

Brought I have been to that land
by the pseudo-saint,
the immodest villain.
Uniquely magnificent
are his city and palaces grand,
inaccessible by Kinnaras and men. [2]

Wherever his mind rushes,
his desire the timorous deities fulfil.
While in eyes flashes
the ruddiness utter,
there occur panic and peril
in the mind of Brahmā, the Creator.

The name of Rāvaņa when I heard,
I could know,
his overweening conceit
was churned by Siva’s bow.
I thought, how a dog has dared
to drink the nectar of sacrificial rite.

Oneday in truth,
as I could find,
the evil-minded fiend
bearing the glow of fire
appeared before me there.
With sinful desire
in sinful words in his mouth
babbled extolling own power.

Beholding the tears torrent
from the cloud-mass of my distress,
the dire darkness
of his pride far aside went.
Of his hope’s lightning,
the streak frightening,
gleamed with shine
in that cloud of mine.

From the very day, My Friend !
when I came to know
that the sinner brute
has touched my hand,
then raising from the touched place,
pervading the body, the acute
intolerable feverish woe
makes my life restless.

Of my limbs, all hairs,
for me, seem like venomed arrows.
To my mind thought occurs,
how herds of does
wounded by the arrows of hunter
would be suffering sorrows severe.

Tolerating internally
the intolerable dolour,
by Dharma, my mind stable I had kept.
I had then only
great hope unswept.
For women, always Dharma is the valour.

Once however
without knowing of the wretched demon,
alms I handed over,
being obsessed with illusion.
If he tries to display
his prowess now again,
him I would slay
or by his hand, I would be slain.

In the world , if Dharma is true indeed,
the world will see my marvellous deed.
Like a mountain
may be the heaped cotton of sin.
A spark of virtue does contain
the power for burning it to ruin.

Lo ! Friend !
Dharma, being Truth Grand,
there poured as if
ambrosia in my life.
Before me, a monkey delivered
the message of my lord,
and against Rāvaņa demon
made an altercation.

My lord, the jewel of Raghu’s dynasty,
with the power of monkeys
took the step hasty,
and over the ocean built bridge.
Crossing the inaccessible waters there,
furiously waging invasion
in Lańkā, my lord lodged fear
in the life of the great demon.

There started my lord
the sacrifice of battle not feasible at ease.
Lanka with scare shuddered,
hearing the roars of monkeys.
All who were warriors
in the ancestry of demons,
came there with powers,
and in the sacrifice became oblations.

On the path of virtue,
there was only one
who found rescue
at the feet of my lord, Raghu’s scion.
In the battle-sacrifice grand,
he, like the stable ritually-sanctified pillar,
wearing the fearlessness-garland
around his neck, stood anear.

Blood of demons flowed crore-times more
than the tears streamed from my eyes before.
Floating in the sea of sorrow meanwhile,
affrighted Rāvaņa became a draught
for the cruel crocodile
of my lord’s shaft.

Of Raghu’s pedigree, the great scion,
my lord called me later on.
Affectionless looks at me he cast
and expressed at last :
“In the worldly region,
no sin is more than evil company.
Relation with the evil companion
verily gives vigorous agony.

In the evil mansion
of the lust-blind
great demon,
you were in captivity.
Sin might have touched the cavity
of your mind.
I can therefore
accept you no more.
By accepting you, sure,
I’ll incur public censure.

If water from cloud comes below,
can the cloud keep it again in prop ?
Like the fire-flame aglow,
if burnt in fire, the water
becomes united thereafter
with the cloud up.”

I pondered :
‘My life I’ve sustained
solely in order to extend
service at the lotus-feet of my lord.
To touch those feet, if
myself unworthy,
what more is the necessity
of this trifle life ?

I’ll burn my body
looking oft at the auspicious face
of my life-lord.
More than this
what can be my bliss ?
After the end
of this body offered,
my life shall surely
obtain a place
in the holy limbs of my husband.

By virtue of Dharma benign, [3]
if survives this body of mine,
I’ll acquire doubled affection
from my lord, the life-companion.’

Then I said :
“Let fire be kindled well-lit,
and this maid
will enter into it.”

Unhesitatingly obedient
Lakshmaņa, with hesitant mind,
kindled the fire swiftly now.
Flames of fire, with the blow
of conducive wind,
hurried up for leap into the firmament.

Casting a longing look there,
at the lotus-face
of my life-lord,
and approaching the fire-place
by my inner valour,
I declared :

“O Sun ! Moon ! Wind !
O Sky ! O Fire !
You all do know the mind
of creatures of the world entire.
If my mind, even slightly,
has been prone
with love to anybody
sans Rāma alone,
adept you are
in consuming all, O Fire !
so hastily please
now burn me at ease.

In the city of demon,
I was kept in prison.
If he has bound me with sin,
I’ll never be able to get a sight
of my lord’s lotus-feet
till crores of births mine.
Therefore, O Fire !
destroy me in pyre.

You never know discrimination,
whether a sinner or a virtuous one.
By dint of your nature
you take away life of a creature.

If Dharma stands true
evermore in this world, sure,
my Dharma will rescue
me from the censure.”

“O Dharma ! In my body
with your excellence entire,
have a stance steady.
Intimid with me enter into the fire.
Not possible if
in my present life,
then after my demise
for my lord’s sake,
at his feet you’ll make
myself a maid-servant please.

After my body perishes,
it will turn into ashes.
For a tree, taking them
you’ll make use as manure.
Giving the wood of the same
in the hands of a carpenter,
you’ll get my being prepared
as a pair of sandals fit
for the sacred feet
of my loving life-lord.”

Looking oft at the auspicious face
of my life-lord,
I, frightless,
approaching the fire, entered.
Seeing this incident,
my lord moaned and Lakshmaņa as well.
Soldiers also cried that moment
with pathetic wail.

From countless eyes, tears
gushed forth heavily.
I got drowned by the wail-waters.
Fire became cool, I felt verily.
The mourning cries
filled the circle of skies.

Divine speech in my favour appeared
in the welkin above,
and my life-lord
could know my chastity with love.
Because of Dharma, the fire extinguished.
By Dharma’s power,
my life there
remained unperished.

All my pains burnt in the flame.
By fortune unbanned,
maid I became
at the feet of my husband.

I mused : ‘The lotus-feet
of my lord, I certainly attained ;
since in poignant plight,
my life I had sustained.’

My lord seated me in the plane,
accompanied by monkeys and demons then.
Towards Ayodhyā he set out
return-expedition in aerial route,
with happiness and revelry
of his great victory.

Crossing the desert land
of separation in my dry life,
I achieved the love-ocean grand.
Ineffable bliss emerged in my life.
Thence I deemed this
mundane region filled with bliss.

In one’s own life
if remains grief,
in the whole world, no sign
of happiness is seen.
In one’s own life
happiness appears if,
all the world looks aright
replete with happiness to the sight.

With the piles
of opulence, I got
entered the same chariot,
where I had fallen
in the pitfall of perils.
Whatever seeing in my vision
I had wailed before,
oft seeing the same in view,
now my glee grew
more and more.

The chariot with gems aglow,
its marvellous gaits, the ocean below,
clouds above, mountains, rivers
as well as trees,
for my eyes
all became givers
of heartiest gaieties
in unbounded series.

All the woodland
of previous dwelling sites,
pleasure-bowers, charming mountains and
smoke-matted-haired hermitages of anchorites
were beckoning my mind,
as I could find.

Having unkempt hairs,
hermit-maidens there,
hearing from far
the din of aerial car,
were amazingly gazing with upraised faces,
yielding reminiscences
of the bygone happiness with cheers
in my mental sphere.

Their holy affections,
endearment mingling with exhilarations,
lips lovely with soft sweet utterances
and loving calm guileless glances,
all showered ambrosia immense,
on the glebe of my reminiscence.

All the names of those dear
hermit-girls, one by one,
blooming as lotuses appeared clear
in my mind’s lake gay,
when the nocturnal murk of separation,
previously poignant and piled,
vanished far away
and the day-spring of happiness smiled.

Aroma of their bygone love imbued
my life with beatitude.
With the sight of comely
vast sylvan extent,
my mind was not yet content,
the chariot proceeded swiftly.

My mind could not restrain
itself from the pretty forest, the repository
of natural splendours and glory.
The mind was again
in the firmament wide,
where passed the chariot aerial ;
on the other side,
absorbed became it,
at the holy feet
of my mothers-in-law in the capital.

In the company of my dark-figured
handsome life-lord,
my mind merging in sportive beatitude,
with the comely colours of three sides thither, [4]
shone semi-circular
like rainbow in a new cloud.

When life-like son
repaired to the forest-region,
my father-in-law,
the king of Ayodhyā, tormented with grief,
extinguished the lamp of his life
and went to heaven near Indra.

Seeing the country kingless,
Bharata rushed to my lord
in the forest, and in distress
with folded hands implored.
That time still
we were at Chitrakūţa hill.

Brave Bharata, being very modest,
in front of my life-lord, came
and made earnest request
to receive the lordship of Earth-Dame.
Keeping the devotion-to-father
immensely stronger,
my lord Rāghava didn’t utter
any consent in this matter.

My lord said : “Dear Brother !
Father gave up his body mortal;
but didn’t swerve from the truth.
Now unscrupulously turning ruth,
how can I strangle
the tender Dharma-bird fostered by father ?”

With wailing flow,
falling at my lord’s feet thither
Bharata prayed then :
“Revered Brother !
To serve thy holy feet, kindly allow.
Leaving the earth, when Sun
goes to the setting mountain,
him can his ray ever shun ?”

My lord said : “Brother ! At night
Moon, cool-rayed and bright,
verily eradicates forth
all the distress of earth.”

In reply Bharata humbly told :
“Rays from Sun, Moon does acquire.
Bearing thy sandals, bejewelled and charming,
my head, like Śesha, the serpent-king,
will be able to hold
the earth entire.
On this head of mine,
when jewels, effulgent,
of thy sandals shall shine,
enemies will think me to be a serpent.”

My lord handed over the sandal-pair.
On own head Bharata placed them there.
With tear-suffused vision,
to the capital he retreated,
and to remove the affliction
of Dame Royal Wealth, his mind he rivetted.

As fourteen years ended,
Bharata, very anxious,
was awaiting all of us,
and our chariot
reached the spot.
Therefrom I descended
and took dusts from the feet
of my mothers-in-law with delight.

Beholding my husband thither
with wife myself and his younger brother,
Bharata immersed his mind free
in the river of revelry.

Returning the sandals at the feet
of my life-lord,
worship he offered
with parasol and chowries bright.

My lord shone coronated as King;
Myself became his Queen darling.
Knowing his mind there
service at his feet I did render.
Need of every kind
arising in my mind
was satiated in proper way
without any delay.

Ascending the boat of love in cheers
we, the royal couple,
sportively enjoyed there
in the sea of pleasure.
Enthusiastically curious,
both of us
immersed many years
in the waves of wealth ample.

Who had known that Fate
has writ on my forehead-plate
the scripts of limitless sufferings
and the submarine fire of calamity
emerging suddenly
would destroy all the things ?

Like the sky scarlet,
at the doom of day’s brilliancy,
at the last facet
of my fortune, I bore pregnancy.

With heartiest affection
more and more, my life-lord
then attentively endeavoured
to fulfil my desire of conception.

Later on oneday
I expressed before my husband :
‘Lord My Dearest !
I would like to play
in the environ of forest
with my Forest-maiden friend.’
Ere the night dawned, my consort
sent me with Lakshmaņ as escort.

Bringing me to the bank of Jāhnavī, [5]
alighting from the boat,
what Lakshmaņa said gently . . . ”
With these words choked became her throat.
She mourned there
ahead seeing the sorrow severe.

She floated in the current
of tears incessant.
The hermit-maiden companion
consoled her with support anon,
and wept connecting own face with hers.
When wailing reached ears,
other hermitesses apace
arrived at the place.

To the alcove immediately
they took both the wailing ladies,
and pleasing their mind affectionately
described various things at ease.
Among themselves, merging in parlance deep,
apropos several matters
such as watering plants and culling flowers,
they rested in the lap of Sleep.

* * *

(Footnotes :
[1] One day of gods’ time is equal to six months of the mundane people.
[2] Kinnara = A kind of demi-god.
[3] Dharma = Righteousness, here ‘Devotion-to-husband.’
[4] Here three parts of Sītā’s mind have been indicated. Firstly her mind was impressed by the sylvan beauty ; secondly it was rapt in seeing the beauty of sky and lastly it was anxious to render worship at the feet of mothers-in-law.
[5] Jāhnavī = A name of River Gańgā.
* * * *

(Canto – VII of Tapasvinī ends)
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