Tuesday, October 11, 2011

English Tapasvinī Kāvya Canto-1/Harekrishna Meher

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

[Canto-1 has been taken from pages 3-18 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-1]
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Who art thou, O Lustrous Goddess !
with sacred effulgent attire,
and with comely tresses
surpassing the splendour of sapphire ?

Passing through the fair fine vesture,
thy physical lustre
manifested magnificently
fills my heart with great glee.

Art thou Moon-beam indeed
solidified and embodied ?
At thy feet rolls down darkness in masses
in the disguise of long tresses.

Stars and planets, bright
and intersticed aright,
forming many a gem-ornament
embellish thy limbs excellent.

Flower-garlands countless and white,
on thy neck shine exquisite.
With marvellous dexterity
wreathed are all in unity.

Enchanted the world seems
by the fragrance of thy holy limbs.
In life, O Goddess !
further emanates cheerfulness.

What are you pouring
bearing in hand thine ?
By drinking that, people are scintillating
like deities divine.

Again what incantations
are you initiating
to the persons
properly selected by your grace ?
Light they are creating
dispelling the darkness apace.

On thy foot-marks charming
white lotuses are blooming.
So significant it doesn’t seem
to speak thee as ‘Moon-beam’.

With penury’s mire
replete is my life’s mere.
By water from clouds of hardships dire,
turbid has been its interior.
Looking at Autumn-like thee indeed
now itself turns pellucid.

O Gracious Goddess !
now blooms my heart-lotus.
Perhaps it could possess
the riches of thy feet lustrous.

Life has been fascinated in fact
by touch of thy sacred feet.
May your good self act
as your sweet will deems meet.

To the hermitage of Sage Vālmīki,
my mind has rushed to have a view
of the exiled Jānakī .
Her worn-out heart, alas !
how did she sew ?
Her life how with whom did she pass ?

O Compassionate Goddess ! Be kind
to bestow strength so that my mind
be sanctified by seeing
and my hand by writing.

River Bhāgīrathī in the woodland
was flowing with her waves bold,
dashing forth in the west strand.
Proceeding to behold
the sylvan scenes, she as if
was stepping feet in perplexed life.

Standing in that strand,
Sītā, the Princess of Videha land,
with profound mental suffering,
at the east, was staring. [1]

Tears from her eyes,
on her bosom were constantly falling,
just as clouds arousing
in the west quarter
permeate the setting-mountain,
with the water of incessant rain;
Or, as from the proboscis
of the elephant-king,
drops of water
falling on the heart of a lake continuous
saturate the evening-lotus
with perpetual sprinkling.

“Oh ! Lord ! uttering with sigh,
perplexity and tenderness,
uncontrolled while sitting on the surface
of earth, the Queen fell supine, senseless.
Nobody was nigh
to help and give solace.

At whose feet then were hundreds
of serving maids,
her cruel calamity nearby
now none could eye.
Alas ! alas ! thus
the manner of Fate, furious.
Whose heart, by this sight
won’t be obsessed with fright ?

Beholding the hazards,
Forest mourned in the mouth of birds.
Gale blew as exhalation.
Further as inhalation
hissing sound was heard.
Like waves of wailing, leaves shivered.

Hither and thither
staring in eyes
stirred with surprise,
stood the herds of deer
with their minds perplexed,
just as noticing mother’s mourning
without comprehending its meaning,
her children feel embarrassed.

To fight against Fate, there roared
Palm Tree with furious figure,
raising his hand with sword.
Shaking frequently the quiver
of Weaver-bird’s nest, he as if
drew an arrow of leaf.

In the quivering river, water-drops
forcefully jumped over
and forsaking the wave-tops
fell down on banks there.

Loading lead-cartridges anon
in the wave-cannon
did Bhāgīrathī fire
at Fate, with severe ire ?

All the lotuses with perplexity and unease,
forming lotus-troops by rows,
in the pool, fought with arrows
of black- bees.

On earth, forest-flowers fell down
shunning stalks of their own.
Besmeared with dusts, they further
became engrossed in pugilistic encounter.
Shattering the web-chains of Fate,
Creeper lashed forth, irate.

Bearing the heart frustrated
and the body emaciated
there arrived, rushing with armies
the seriously angry Cloud.
Startling others’ eyes
by the rumbling, deep and loud,
he defied Destiny and betrayed menace.
Again and again sprinkling on Sītā’s face
soothing drops of water,
he vivified her.

When Sun-god saw
the misfortune of the noble daughter-in-law
of his own race,
he shamefully concealed his face.

All the Direction-damsels that moment
sitting despondent,
trembled the skies
with their rumbling-cries.

After some time, regaining consciousness,
the Great Queen, in desperations
utterly hopeless,
scanned all around the ten directions.

As her eyes went on,
replete with King Rāma appeared every direction.
Himself he has seated
with heart melancholy, dispirited.

With folded hands afront
has stood Lakshmaņa, wise and patient.
Eyes of both the brothers
have formed streams of tears.

Rāma remains quite unable
to ask him Sītā’s whereabout.
To apprise, not a single syllable
from Lakshmaņa’s mouth comes out.

When she looked at the Sun,
there appeared anon :
Rāma has sat down-dropt-faced.
On the head, his hands are placed.

To Bhāgīrathī, as her eyes turned, she saw :
Rāma walks after Bhagīratha.
Like Gańgā ’s stream,
tears from the eyes of Rāma flow.
There he sinks below
and sweeps away some time.

Therefrom turning her vision,
she viewed own womb and all of a sudden,
herself burst into tears
in incessant showers.

Abashed she felt alone,
seeing the grasses verdant
and became inclined
to go to the slab of stone.
But thinking something in her mind
to proceed thither, reluctant
the noble Queen remained.
Flurry of her cry grew unstrained.

From her burnt face,
expressing apace
confoundedly afflicted and
dispirited tone,
she numbed the woodland
with pathetic moan.

Of the devoted wife
of Rāma, there spread
the wailing tone :
“Alas ! Alas ! O Lord of my life !
Ocean of compassions !
Cloud of affections !
Yourself, at which evil moment
had clasped the hand of this luckless maid ?
And for her alone,
became an abode of dreadful torment.

Ignorant of my lord’s immense
Supreme excellence,
a bow I had kept inside
with great pride.
Snapping asunder the bow just like
a sugar-cane stick,
you had thought of this bride
as the sweetness of its juice indeed.

Never regarding me as the fetter
of your feet, while wandering
in forest-regions,
you, the great warrior,
took me with yourself smiling
in effusive affections.

Considering the fetter
of feet as heart’s pearl-necklace,
you rambled later
in many a hermitage and holy place.

On me, in the forest you did bestow
affections unending and benign.
How shall I forget them now
which have permeated this life of mine ?

This ignoble maid in hunger
would be worried,
thinking thus indeed,
delaying no longer,
in mood spirited and jolly,
you had brought fruits
along with edible roots
in the forest regularly.

No sleep would approach,
for the beloved In the leaf-couch,
thus thinking,
you did prepare
many a swing
on your lap-couch for her.

Fastened with the affection-chain
of my trifle self, crossing the main,
great battle you waged anon
against Rāvaņa, the ten-headed demon.

Yourself bore many severe
strokes of great weapons there.
Those wounds on your part
were necklace of your heart.
For the pendant of the necklace,
considering befitting and well,
you lovingly did place
myself as its mid-jewel.

When suffered my mind,
seeing on thy body several signs of scar,
always you consoled me in words, kind
and imbued with nectar.

Such were the words of my lord :
‘My Love ! Blood-oblation I offered
in the battle-sacrifice
and became able
to acquire thyself nice,
the wealth unattainable.’

The signs of scar set
by many an arrow-tip
have disappeared not yet.
Alas ! great calamity arrived.
Myself, luckless maid, became deprived
of your benign lordship.

From the board of thy heart, deign
to efface my reminiscences inner,
lest sorrow would reign
and haunt thyself restless for ever.

I’m very vile indeed.
Let thy citizens be satisfied.
Let me perish.
Dispelled may be thy blemish.

Therefrom shall arise
the glory indestructible,
whereof the image indelible,
may be prepared
in your heart please
and be preserved, O My Lord !

This Sun is the progenitor
of thy high pedigree.
For the welfare
of the world, always
bounteously free
are his hands of rays.

This Bhāgīrathī is indeed
the world’s nurse-maid embodied.
Of your ancestry
she is the eternally renowned glory.

By thyself, I have been repudiated,
solely for keeping the glory protected.
O Illustrious King !
On thy part, this deed is becoming.

On this glory’s banner,
portrait of this maid-sinner
shall be everlasting;
but it is adverse and astounding.

Fie on my life ! O Lord !
Thyself, merely for me,
though unstained, now suffered
the share of infamy.

Shunning the sacred feet of yours,
where shall I take my recourse ?
When fire expresses
own inability to turn
my body into ashes, [2]
whereby shall I burn ?

With thy splendour,
all these grasses are rich.
Sans them, my harbour
whom shall I beseech ?

Even in stone, thy mercy
signifies favourable efficacy. [3]
Adhering to me further
why would these grasses suffer ?

For the jewel-treasure
in my womb you have established,
what’s the protective measure
you’ve not admonished.

In my heart I had borne
the strong hope-tower
that I would adorn
your lap by this jewel; but fie !
the hope resulted in sky-flower.
O Destiny ! Unto thee
unending thanks and
salutations a thousand.

For the son whose father
is the emperor great,
highly glorified in the mundane region,
O Fate !
what condition
shall you destine further ?

It’s true to maintain
that on the limbs of mountain
befalls the onslaught of thunder.
But if the mountain-dweller be
therewith slain asunder,
alas ! it’s a catastrophe.

Blessed is my lord alone.
Thy mouth forms the nectar-fountain.
Further thy heart’s mountain
is the mine of nectar and snow-stone.
Even if sorrows
befall on thy heart, in truth,
nothing but nectar flows
from the very mouth.

Hearing the news of my censure,
all of a sudden, sure,
thy heart would have been brought
afflicted with heinous onslaught.

Despite this, O My Lord !
You spoke not a single word
of rebuke to me and banished,
giving the hope, honey-replenished.

The sins earned by me ere
form the sole cause of great sorrow.
Within my memory here
the very sins creep now.

Ocean of greatness my lord is.
But thinking him otherwise
I did surmise
the voice ‘O Lakshmaņa, Save me’ to be his.

In my mean mind I understood
the noble Lakshmaņa, very vile
and to find my lord in the wood
perforce sent him meanwhile.

By that sin, to enhance
my lord’s great excellence
this maid-sinner
became banished for ever.
I obtained now
the befitting reward of the reprimand
that I gave beforehand
to Lakshmaņa, the innocent fellow.

To keep him
from me, very remote,
the thunderbolt of rebuke, grim,
on his heart I smote.

With hearty devotion,
Lakshmaņa, the innocent one,
falling at my feet
left me alone
by his tone
modestly sweet.

The ten-headed demon
suddenly displayed
a severed head
before my sinful vision.

Thinking it of my lord,
impatiently I wailed thither
floating in the eyes’ water
in my life bewildered.

Though I beheld the head,
I didn’t fall spot-dead,
and there did survive.
By that sin, now I’m burnt alive.

Happiness of service at thy feet
I deemed very slight
and cherished my desire earnest,
for happiness to see the hermitage in forest.

Keeping me estranged from you,
the sin speaks
the words due :
‘O Maid-sinner !
Do now whatever
your inner desire likes.’

Your noble self never came
under the loving allurement
of Ayodhyā’s Royal Wealth-Dame,
and in my company many days spent.
For a carping plea,
Royal Wealth was searching enviously,
and for many more days thence,
she could not restrain her patience.

Citizens were the fellows
in her sorrows.
She, for my exile,
made them remember meanwhile.

In Ayodhyā reigns greater,
the power of the fellow-bride.
The reverend husband’s power
can’t quell it aside.

After achievement of success
by Queen Kaikeyī’s prowess,
in the country, absolute power
of Royal Wealth appeared there.

‘For public pleasure’s sake
need arises if,
prepared I’m to forsake
even Sītā, my life-like wife.’

Thus you had declared
before Sage Ashţāvakra, O My Lord !
You must be recalling in memory,
never slackening those words promissory.

To the words of thy father,
in disobedience you stand never.
In obeying the words of husband,
if in my heart arises no grief,
then only I’ll be worthy
of the status of your wife.
This matter certainly
my mind shall understand.

Of the public contentment,
Thyself, an avower ardent.
Further I’m thy wife
as per the laws of wedding life.
Every step of mine does lead
in thy foot-prints indeed.

Let my banishment be
citizens’ contentment a lot.
Let the vow of my lord be completely free
from even a jot of blot.”

As the virtuous Sītā wailed,
pace of wind there failed.
Encompassing water and land, Nature
stood transfixed with torture.

Waves of River Gańgā stunned.
In the grove, sweet cooing
all the birds abandoned.
Not a single leaf of tree did swing.
Limbs of the sportive creeper
paralysed, couldn’t move there.

Sitting on the boughs,
birds leaned their ears silent,
causing the stream of sorrows
lave in life every rhythmic moment.

Placing own mouth just
on the mother’s bust,
fawn remained quiet
sans sucking milk from it.

Morsels of Kuśa grass of every mouth
keeping in the very mouth,
deer and does, bending necks, bound
their mind in the wailing sound.

With fowls, all peacocks, peahens straight,
remained quiescent like portrait.
Elephants and she-elephants
with their babies became
still like the elephants
of wooden frame.
Stepping towards Gańgā, forgot they
and stopped stable on the way.

* * * * *
(Footnotes :
[1] Ayodhyā is situated towards the east from Gańgā flowing southwards near
Sage Vālmīki’s hermitage in Garhwal.
[2] Sītā was not burnt in fire-ordeal at Lańkā .
[3] The stony Ahalyā had turned into a divine lady by touch of dust of Rāma’s foot.)

(Canto - I of Tapasvinī ends)
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