Nov 30, 2009

Whoever spread the colors in the forest

কে রঙ লাগালে বনে বনে
ke rong lagale bone bone

Whoever spread the colors in the forest
Undulating the air in rhythm!
All gateways of earth are free
Swaying trees responding to the waves
Of an eternal craziness at play everywhere

As the impassioned music pour forth
Won't you bring your flute
Bearing the strains of farewell tears and laughter
Into the spring breeze?

Such heartbreaking melody of an evening sky
Will fill the parting night with sweetness
A sea of twilight-glow
Reveling in the deluge of music

Nov 29, 2009

Awaiting me you are

দাঁড়িয়ে আছ তুমি আমার
dnariye aachho tumi
(audio)

Awaiting me you are, on the shore of my song
My music and lyric find place at your altar
Yet you remain beyond my reach

Softly wafts the breeze, swaying me with it
Linger no more, untie your boat, and set afloat
Come into my heart, crossing over to this shore

This playing with you through song, is but from afar
Dawn to dusk, this flute plays on, revealing my ache

O when will you come yourself, and play on my flute
In silent secluded blissful darkness of night

A cascade of joy is flowing

আনন্দধারা বহিছে ভুবনে
anondo dhara bohichhey bhuboney
(audio)

A cascade of joy flows through this world and beyond
Night and day, ambrosia spills forth from heavens above

The sun and the moon drink up the sweet nectar in fistfuls
Ever luminous is their inextinguishable glow
Ever bountiful is this earth with life and light

Why are you lost in your own thoughts
Why absorbed with self-centred goals
Look around you
Open up your heart
Value little, this trifling pain of yours
Let love permeate the void in your life

Such the tasks you let me shoulder

তুমি যত ভার দিয়েছ সে ভার
tumi joto bhar diyechho shey bhar

Such the tasks you let me shoulder
Giving me the grace to bear
Chores yet that I have chosen
Have added to my burden's share

Let me off this gruesome burden
Staggering path of mighty loads
Sparing me a joyless journey,
Resting flights on endless roads

Despondence which I have summoned
Left me those with no respite
Bristling woes turned to ashes,
Fruitless pains to burning plight

Your sorrows are as monsoon showers
Enriching with the fruits of grief
Flooding me with spates of fruition
Offering bounties to relive

Everything that I have gathered
Amassed in heaps now brought to bay
Merciless in claiming balance
All demand that I repay

Let me off this gruesome burden
Staggering path of mighty loads
Sparing me a joyless journey,
Resting flights on endless roads.

Nov 26, 2009

What a legion of strangers

কত অজানারে জানাইলে তুমি
kawto awjanare janaile tumi (audio)
(audio - Suchitra)

(link to Tagore's own translation)

You have made me embrace
A legion of strangers,
Leading me on
To curious frontiers,
Gaining me shelter
At strange homes,
Bridging me with the far,
Uniting me with the unseen.

When I turn to my travels,
My comforts are tossed aside,
And I am shaky of my road

Yet, however the newness
                   Turns out to be
How can I deny
Your perennial presence
On my quaint pathway?

In life, in death,
In every recess of the cosmos
You shall be my lead
You shall illumine my path

Once I have known you,
Every other falls into place,
Every other grows akin,
Restraints unlatch,
Fear is released.

In everything I do
I desire to find you,
Chalice of all creation,
Embodiment of all essence!



(another version by Rumela Sengupta)

You made known many an unknown
A refuge You gave in many a home
You brought close, my friend, afar who was
Linking me in a fraternity with the ones who were not my own

When I leave the comfort of home
I wonder with trepidation
What may or may not be
Amidst the new, my known You are
Time and again, how I forget

In life, in death, in this whole world
Whenever wherever You take me
You, my ever familiar friend
Will acquaint me with all

Knowing You, stranger there is none
There are no bars, there is no fear
Embracing each and every one
May I sight Your awakening

Nov 23, 2009

My life meets its fruition

সার্থক জনম আমার
sharthok jawnom amar jonmechhi ei deshe

My life meets its fruition
My motherland,
In having born to your soil
Fulfilled so am I
In having loved you

What do I care
That you are not wealthy like a queen
This I only know
That my limbs are replenished
When I take shelter in your soothing shades

Where could I find
The sweet fragrance of your flowers
Such that offers exquisite bliss?
Where could I gaze at such moonlight
That would stroke my soul like a gentle smile?

From your heavens streamed down
The first rays of the sun
I witnessed in birth
The same light will put me to rest
When I depart.

You elude my sight to become endless

নয়ন ছেড়ে গেলে চলে
noyon chhere gele chole (audio: Debabrata Biswas)

You elude my sight
To become an endless presence.
You are scattered in my reality,
Like perennial seeds.
Even if I lose you,  you remain.

Nights of our togetherness
May have come to an end.
But I will keep discovering you,
As you permeate my dreams,
Timeless companion.

Your love, my elixir,
Flows like a stream with unseen depths
Flooding my tears with sweetness.

You created profuse music
For me, once, on your sonorous lute.
In my heart, they now emerge
As melodic resonance
Of a sustained symphony. 

Madhobi, the young spring flower

My heart is secured

Nov 22, 2009

Entwine me in tasks

আমায় বাঁধবে যদি কাজের ডোরে
aamaay bandhbe jodi kaajer dorey

If you will entwine me in tasks
Why do you then distract me thus

Why does the wind waft in
Bearing secret tidings
From a distant beyond
Pervading my being

The flecks of gold tinging the sky
How they dance into my bloodstream

Now and again
Who is it you send
To sing at my casement
And steal my heart away

- 7th April 1914

Not just with words, my friend

শুধু তোমার বাণী নয় গো
shudhu tomaar baani noy go bondhu
(audio)

Not just with words, my friend and beloved
At times, do bless my soul with your caress
This fatigue of way, this craving within
I know not how to satiate this thirst
Tell me O do tell me
This darkness is suffused with your being

This heart of mine wants to give, not just to receive
Trudges along burdened with all it has amassed

Reach out your hand, place them in mine
I will clasp it with all my might
Holding close your touch so precious
I will make pleasing this solitary journey of mine

Where does this road end

পথের শেষ কোথায়
pother shesh kothay

Where does this road end,
Where is the end
What is there at the end?
So much desire, such untiring quest,
Where does it melt and fade away

Waves of tears rise and ebb
Dense darkness looms ahead
Shore there is for sure, I know
Where, in which land, I do not know

Today I pause to ponder
As I run after a mirage in vain
Unquenchable is this thirst I fear
Rudderless is my boat, torn are it’s sails
Yet rows on my sorrow, to a destination unknown

Nov 18, 2009

Everything I have and reap

আমার যে সব দিতে হবে
aamaar jey shob ditey hawbey (audio)

Everything I have and reap
Lyrics, wealth that I may keep,
What I see and what I hear,
All my labor, fruits I bear,
Every service old and new,
I know will be my gifts to you.

My morn and dusk will bloom unseen
In the heart's own ardent green
With joy and ardor as they shine
Will be your presents O divine

To tune this Veena now I learn
You will teach me, in my turn
A music which befits your way
With your Veena thus in play

Your bliss that fills the cup of life
Rousing happiness and strife,
Is a tribute that you offer me
Forever yours that it should be

Everything that I receive
Auspicious in the life I live
Will offer me the glory true
As I surrender them to you.

Nov 17, 2009

As an unknown wanderer walks along the road

পথ দিয়ে কে যায় গো চলে
pawth diye ke jay go choley

As an unknown wanderer
Walks along the road
Her silent call
Urges me to tread the path
Forcing me out
Of my own retreat.
I do not know
These songs that resound in the air
But in my heart and in my pain
They reverberate and come alive.
A night of the full moon
Summons the ocean
Motions the waves
And rocks the heart.
And now that doubts are gone
Why and for whom should I wait?

 (another version by Rumela Sengupta)

Who is it that goes by the road
Calling out to me as he goes
How do I now remain indoors

What is this melody blowing in the wind
It resonates within my bosom
It plays on my deepest ache

Waves rush forth from the seas
In this night of the full moon
I feel that pull within my soul
Lost in thought I gaze on
Nothing there is to hold me back

To discover you anew

তোমায় নতুন করে পাব বলে
tomay notun kore pabo bole (audio: Bikram Singh)

I keep losing you over and gain
Only to rediscover your presence
My precious love.
You disappear often to let me seek,
To hold you again, with my gaze.

You are no stranger to me, my dear,
You are my endless Truth.
Your eclipse is but a fleeting whim
Of your passing game.

When I am bent on my quest of you,
My soul quivers with suffering
And my ocean of love is swayed adrift.

Is it because you are rooted in perennity
That in charades such as these
You allow yourself to be sensed
As nothingness...
Simply to refresh my smile of relief
With tears of longing!



Another version by Rumela Sengupta:

To discover you anew
I lose you now and again
O my love most precious

You become out of sight
To let me seek you out
O my love most precious

Screened you are not from me
Mine you have been for ages
In this play of hide-n-seek
You are lost but for a moment

When I seek you far and near
Aquiver my heart in fear
Billows my love in waves

Endless you are
In nothingness therefore
you let yourself perish
That smile of yours is lost on me
As tears well up in my eyes
With this harsh separation
O my love most precious

Go on, go on, go forward do I

চলি গো চলি গো
Choli go choli go (audio: Sasha Ghoshal)

What a way to venture on,
Beneath the gaze of starry shine
Playing the tunes of the path, 
Flaunting the smile of the trail,
Running up against the world,
Brandishing every hue we can!

The earth, an endless voyager
Loves the soul of the dreaming tramp
And so, she spurs us on our way
With a quaint, queer, compulsive song.

As we shimmer on and on,
The road unfolds, seasons launch
In grandiose glory and tenderness.
Each footfall, becomes a win
A godly dare to Death, as if,
A challenge met, at every breath.



(Another version by Rumela Sengupta)

Go on, go on, go forward do I
A beacon gleams at the horizon
I go playing the reeds of the road
Sprinkling the gaiety of wayfaring
Waving my colourful scarf on land and water alike

The wandering earth loves wanderers
And so she beckons with a sweet song

Seasons summon with great affection
Leading me to roads yet to be travelled
Every footstep defies death, in every moment

Nov 15, 2009

Games I should play, what and when

কোন খেলা যে খেলব কখন
kon khela je khelbo kokhon
(audio - Suchitra Mitra & Amjad Ali Khan)

Games I should play, what and when
I sit and think about it
Worry I would not
If only you make me
A part of your own play

A morning kissed with dew
It appears to be your leisurely play
A carnival of clouds
Entreats me to join them and glide away

On the day of reckoning
The day you are merciless in your play
Bells will toll, drumbeats will roar
An army of clouds will darken the skies
The winds will moan out a plaintive refrain

On that day at your beckoning
May worldly fetters fade away
On the tidal waves of doomsday
Unflinching may this spirit sway

Another version by Anandamayee Majumdar

I have countless games to play
I am torn by which to embrace,
Allow me to be your playmate,
And eternally solve my bafflement

The day breaks open with dewy sunshine
Like it is one of your games of recess
An army of clouds sailing in the pure blue
Beg my heart to file along

Some day, you will play with disaster
Some day, the sky will douse in dark,
Some day, clouds will cap my clarity

On that day of terror and doom,
I hope my fetters will fall apart
So I can respond, become a free bird,
So my heart can dance in the storm

Nov 14, 2009

Where in the distant yonder

দূরে কোথায় দূরে দূরে
durey kothay durey durey (audio: Kanika Bandyopadhyay)

Where in the distant yonder
Does this mind of mine wander
In tune with the flute that rings
With the wailing of the winds

The trail that
Going past many a land
Loses sense of direction
On that trail
This famished spirit of mine
Thirsts for a voyage unknown

Nov 13, 2009

The good old days of yore

পুরানো সেই দিনের কথা
purano shei diner kotha

The good old days of yore
How can we forget them
Insights shared
Secrets revealed
Forgotten can never be

Come my friend, come once more
Come into my midst
Talk we will, of things joyous and sad
And let our hearts find sweet relief

In the morn did we pluck flowers
Rock did we to our heart’s delight
The garden alive with our songs

And then separated we got
Where to, we knew not
If ever we see each other again
Come my friend, come once more
Come into my midst

Nov 11, 2009

Awake my truth

জাগো হে রুদ্র জাগো
jaago hey rudro jaago

Awake my truth!
Awake like an ever-relentless warrior
In strains of courageous striving

Weary am I
Of this dark screen that surrounds me!
Tear it apart with unwavering hands
And throw open all gates!

Eternal monk that is in you,
Will you not ask me for the alms
Of a consummate offering?
To give up my pride, possessions and wealth,
My body, soul and life
In your very service !

Morning through dusk I spend my hours

আমার বেলা যে যায় সাঁঝবেলাতে
aamaar bela je jaay (audio)

Morning through dusk
I spend my hours
tuning my instrument with yours in harmony.

My Ektara has but one string ;
It fails to bear all the tears that songs evoke
However hard I try
I keep losing to you in this game
time and again.

This one string of mine
Reverberates to the tunes of a nearby world
While the flute that you play
Resounds far, far away.
Can anyone simply
Join in the orchestra
That plays within the heart of the universe
And resonate to the very own voice
Of its soul?

Can anyone simply
Tune one's instrument with yours
In perfect harmony?

Elusive are your paradise-aspirations

নারে নারে হবে না তোর স্বর্গ-সাধন
nare nare hobe na tor shawrgo shadhon

Elusive are your paradise-aspirations
Such are enchanting ploys
Of dreary pleasures

How you contemplated fantasies
Since a long and sultry road was over,
Hoping your tears would now transpire
Into a sunshine-sky

But a restful layover
Beneath the gentle, starlit heavens
Always escapes your fate

Yet again a restless pilgrim
Will urge you onto the pathways,
Your heart will bleed
And open, like a bud
Into an endless prayer of life

Nov 10, 2009

Be a peaceful presence for me

দাঁড়াও আমার আঁখির আগে
dnarao amar ankhiro agey (audio)

Be a peaceful presence for me,
In front of me.
Let your gaze hold my heart.

In the sky that unfolds before my eyes,
In every horizon of the earth,
In this unsurpassed radiance,
Be a peaceful presence for me,
In front of me.
My heart yearns for you in every instance.

Melt this passionate Earth
That craves for you with divine desire,
Caress the lushness
She sweeps across her courtyard.

Radiate into every being,
Seep into every breath,
Exalt, embrace all creation.

Be a placid presence for me
In front of me, in the space
Where my heart glows with longing,
In the room of its waking dream
For your presence in my eyes.


(another version by Rumela Sengupta)

Do appear so my eyes can behold you
That your gaze may alight upon my heart

Amidst the azure and all of creation
In this amazing light, this ardent radiance
Do appear before me

My eye seeks with every blink
My heart yearns in each moment
To be blessed by your visage

Awaits the earth expectantly
Bless it with more beauty
Step upon the carpet of green
That she has laid out for you
Across the dust of her fields

Flooding all that there is
Brimming over this world
Pervading my whole life
Take your place, my Lord
Where my spirit, estranged from you
Stays awake in her loneliness

- 5th June 1904

There comes the storm

ওই বুঝি কালবৈশাখী
oi bujhi kalboishakhi

There comes the storm
As it envelops the evening sky!

What have you to be afraid of
And who have you to fear?
Throw open all gates
And listen
As the resonant thunder
Calls your name

So respond as readily
With your melodies and your songs

Let it shake
The delicate branches
And free the momentary twigs
Frailties shall be shattered
And what's there to stay
Surely will.

A while has passed since you called my name

তুমি ডাক দিয়েছ কোন সকালে
tumi daak diyechho

A while has passed since you called my name
But no one heard you
And now I can not withhold the unseen tears
But no one listens

I wander with a musing heart
And gaze at the faces I find
No one evokes such tears
As you do

The strains of music sharply rise
And this enclosed world
Trembles in agony, in ecstasy
Yet no one knocks at the door

The sky reverberates with the pain of the unknown
The air bears the flight
Of a nameless message
Yet here, the pathways
Do not speak of the untold secret.

The world I had seen


chokher aloy dekhechilem
audio: Debabrata Biswas

The world I had seen,
A world of images, was outside.
Now, as darkness draws a screen,
I turn to my heart for a vision.

There were times I yearned for you
When I searched high heaven
And you willfully kept me at bay
Even so, you engaged my whole heart.

But now, I find you within me,
Aglow in your own radiance.

There were times we were engrossed in play
Till all toys were pitilessly dashed
By a tempest that destroyed my world

We have had enough of playfulness.
It is time to let life in
It is time for one soul to meet another
My severed lute-strings have lost their function,
But my heart shall emulate the melody

(Another version by Rumela Sengupta:)

With the sight of my eye
I looked for you outside of me
Inside of me I'll see
When light there is no more

When you elude my embrace
My heart you permeate
Aglow in your own refulgence
Now I gaze at you

You and me, we played in my little playroom
Wrecked by storms, the doll-house is now in ruins

Let it be then, this mere play
Unleash the spirit within
The source of all life-force
Broken be my Veena
I will play on
Strumming on my heartstrings

Nov 9, 2009

Withered leaves of mine

আমার জীর্ণ পাতা যাবার বেলা
amar jeerno pata

Withered leaves of mine
Call upon the new
As they depart.

This is how spring is reborn
In my forests
And how fresh melodies
Spread wings across the sky
And how
My branches fill with young blossoms
In a panoply of colour.

My forever-new
My friend in life,
Stand before me
With your radiant face.
As you summon me to carry on,
So shall I tread my path youthfully.

The last rays of the sun slip past
And my path suddenly halts
Before an ocean's silent gaze.
Then again
Your flute resounds in the darkness
And the once empty space
Is now vibrant
With a galaxy of stars.

Why should I fear the unrevealed?

অচেনাকে ভয় কি আমার ওরে
Awchena ke bhoy ki amar ore (audio: Srikanta Acharya)

Why should I fear the unrevealed?
Life fulls with richness
By embracing strange frontiers

I have long sensed
That I will endlessly unfold secrets,
That nameless forces
Will incite me on unbeaten trails

My mother was once a stranger to me,
She held me to her heart, and I knew.

So is every love a secret,
Before it floods;
It is a faith that softens my heart

Exposed to the mysteries of this world,
My soul breaks into countless tunes.
So I exist, endlessly enamored,
Drunkenly dazed with my unknown life



(Another version by Rumela Sengupta:)

What fear have I of the unknown?
My life will attain fruition
As the unknown becomes the known

I know this knowing of mine will never end
It will pull me to paths less travelled
With an unseen unknown force

Unknown was the mother who took me in her lap
All love is but unknown and thus sways the heart

Amidst the soul of this world unknown,
Sings the heart to many a tune
Unknown in this life of mine,
I wander spellbound in a daze

Don't you find Your happiness in me

তুমি খুশি থাকো
tumi khushi thaako

Don't you find
Your happiness in me,
As I sing about in your melieu!

Your touch reverberates
The passions in my heart
To create melodies,
And rhythm flickers and dances in joy
Traversing the world in gladness.

I know that you awake
The strings of the latent Veena
And they respond to you in
Their soft nuance!

I have come to love
Your darkness and your light alike,
And have known your smile
Through my bliss forever.

(Debabrata Biswas performing the song in Calcutta Doordarshan )

Walking along my pathway


পথে চলে যেতে যেতে
pothe chole jete jete (audio: Debabrata Biswas)

Walking along my pathway
In moments of sparking revelation
I sense your hands rest on my heart.
Yet who can say how, and when!

Often sensed in the florid fragrance
Of a nameless bud,
Often, in a sheer moment of bliss
Spiraling from within,
And yet sometimes, in a snatch of song
In the wake of a traveler humming by.

There are moments
When I am taken with suffering,
When a mighty pain unleashes
And the earth trembles below my feet.
When I lose every hint of a trail,
Burn every bridge,
When I am struck by a bolt of death.
That strange, seismic moment
Brings back the sensation
Of your hands resting on my heart, again. 



(Another version by Rumela Sengupta:)

As I walk along my way
Where, in which moment
I feel your touch
Who knows

In the fragrance of an unknown flower
In a secret bliss deep within
In the song of a passing wayfarer
Where, in which moment
I feel your touch
Who knows

In a sudden blaze of sorrow
When the world quivers and quakes
When I can see the path no longer
When all attachment is torn asunder
And death strikes at my core
I feel your touch yet again
Where, in which moment
Who knows 

Many a time I eavesdrop

আমি কান পেতে রই
aami kaan petey roi (audio)

Many a time I eavesdrop at the distant gates of my own heart
Who is it, that mysterious dweller
The one whose secrets I so wish to hear
Many a time I strive to hear
The story behind the laughter and tears

There it is, the bee wanders from it’s path in quest of a hidden flower
Which bird is it that sings alone at night in a darkness sans friend
Many a time I strive to hear

Who is he to me, who knows
A bit do I glimpse of his glow
A bit more I guess and gauge
Even less do I realise

Oftentimes his missive finds expression in my speech;
His words come to me wrapped in melody of song
Many a time when I listen in quiescence

(Another version by Anandamayee Majumdar)

I hover at the gateways to my heart
Intently listening to the secrets of the soul
Who lives within,
Who plays out her joys and aches
Ever so often.

In that realm of the soul where bees flit,
Absently yearning for a covert blue lotus,
A nameless bird lilts in the lonesome dark.

How we both are linked, who can say.
Sometimes I glimpse an aura
Sometimes, it is a sheer glimmer
And the rest remains concealed.

Yet isn't there that magical instance
When she speaks her missives through mine?
I know how I keep receiving her gifts of eloquence
Wrapped in symphony, ever so often.

Nov 8, 2009

My heart has found expression

হৃদয় আমার প্রকাশ হল
hridoy amar prokash holo


My heart has found expression in the boundless skies
The wind starting to play on the flute of my grief
This wanderlust of light, know this to be my tale
Alighting upon my heart, driving me to distraction
Far and wide you roam, in many garbs, many forms
Know I not to whom did I then give my garland
Today I see within me, all my garlands adorn you
All did you snatch before letting yourself be found
In total and absolute annihilation

(video link)

Nov 1, 2009

Beyond the edge of life and death


জীবন মরণের সীমানা ছাড়ায়ে
jeebono moroner sheemana chharaye
(audio)

Beyond the edge of life and death
My friend! there you are awaiting
Radiant is your royal throne
In the barren sky of my heart
In what hope
In which intimate ecstasy
Do I gaze thither, reaching out my arms

Silent night having cleansed your feet
Has rolled out it’s dark tresses beneath

What is this song that floods the world
Bursting forth from your divine strings
The cosmos reverberates to its tune
And I lose myself in its deep pathos



( Another version by Anandamayee Majumdar: )

You surpass life and death
To meet an endless presence
My enchanting friend.

The sky in my heart
So silent and luminous
Matches a seat of your grandeur.
What is the hidden hope, the deep delight
With which I raise my hands to that sky?

My silent night splays its tresses
Lovingly at your feet.

I wonder what tune floods the earth
As it lilts from your lute?
All of earth mellows, melts with the song
I surrender to its trance, I sink into its sweetness,
Into the melancholy of music.