Nov 29, 2010

When centered my play around you

আমার খেলা যখন ছিল তোমার সনে
aamaar khela jokhon chhilo tomar shone 
(Tagore's own translation)

When centered my play around you
Who knew then who you were
Fear there was none nor diffidence
Life surged forth in all restlessness

Oft at dawn you called out to me
As if like my own friend
I laughed with you in sheer delight
Racing through forests and beyond

The songs that you sang then
Who knew then their meaning
My life it was that sang along
And danced my heart always astir

At sudden end of play
What do I see today
Stunned into silence are the skies
Hushed are the sun and moon
Gazing at your feet with eyes downcast
The cosmos comes to a standstill

- 31st May 1910

Nov 26, 2010

Strength to carry your love

তোমার প্রেম যে বইতে পারি
tomar prem je boite paari

Strength to carry your love
Beyond my might it is

It is your kindness that you keep
A distance between you and me
Fences many of joy and woe
Of people, wealth and pride

Now and then from behind the veil
You give a hint of your presence
Glinting between the dark grey clouds
A slight ray of sunlight
For one whom you bless with
Power to carry your endless love
Lifted are all the veils

You leave him not a corner
You leave him not his wealth
You leave him not a remnant
As you put him on the road
No more honour or disgrace
Not even shame, coyness or fear
Alone you are for him in all
The one and only one

To be in front of you
Face to face in this way
To keep this life fulfilled
With you and only you
One blessed with such bounty
His hunger knows no end
All his greed he puts aside
To give you all the room

Nov 24, 2010

Untie your old strings one by one

একটি একটি করে তোমার পুরানো তার খোলো
ekti ekti kore tomar purano taar kholo

Untie your old strings one by one
Time to string the Sitar anew

Broken up has the day’s milieu
Assemble will all at twilight
Time it is for the one to come
Play who will the ultimate tune
Time to string the Sitar anew

Throw open your gates to dark skies
Let stream into your room
Silence from the seventh heaven
All the songs you have sung till now
Let them fade to an end

That your instrument is your own
Forsake you must that very thought
Time to string the Sitar anew

Nov 20, 2010

When immersed in sleep is the world

বিশ্ব যখন নিদ্রামগন
biswa jokhon nidramagan

When the world is immersed in sleep
The skies painted with ebony
Who strums with such vigour
The strings of my Veena*
Who abducts sleep from my eyes
I sit up from slumber
I gaze with eagerness
But I do not catch a glimpse

My whole life reverberates
I know not the boundless words
That find their way in restless tunes
I cannot fathom this deep ache
Swelling through my heart in tears
Who is it I wish to give
The garland I wear myself

- 17th April 1907

Veena*: a plucked stringed instrument 

Nov 19, 2010

This life long agony of mine

চিরজনমের বেদনা
chirojonomer bedona

This life long agony of mine
My abiding quest all life long
Let your fire ablaze
Do not shower mercy
Thinking me to be weak
All sorrow that befalls
To endure it I want
May desires burn to ash

Your absolute summons
Order me with that call
Why this delay for no reason

The chains that bind my heart
Let them break, fall away

Let your conch roar out
Let it resound now
Crushing my pride
Stealing my sleep
Awaken deep consciousness

So be it O ruthless one

এই করেছ ভালো নিঠুর 
ei korechho bhalo nithur

So be it, O ruthless one
Set ablaze in this way
My heart in searing ache

This incense if not burnt
Won't emit fragrance
This candle if not lit
Won't radiate light

When ignorant is the mind
Oblivious, unconscious
A wound is but your touch
A blessed gift in disguise

Blinded by illusions
Lost in the dark
Downcast with shame
These eyes fail to see you
With a stroke of thunder
Incinerate in fire
All that is dark and black

I succumb I surrender

মেনেছি, হার মেনেছি
menechhi haar menechhi

I succumb, I surrender
More I keep you aside
More I hurt my own self

If obscured you are
From my heart’s firmament
Endure it I cannot
This have I known
Time and again

My past it shadows me
Follows me with each step
With tunes captivating
Of flute illusory
It entreats me in vain
With it I bond no more
Yielded to you have I
All that is left in life
I have brought to your door

Nov 18, 2010

For as long as I can recall

জানি জানি কোন্‌ আদি কাল হতে
Jani jani kon adi kal hote

For as long as I can recall,
You have set me adrift in the flow of life--
Suddenly, my love, in home and on the path
And left my heart filled with joy.
Now and again
You have hidden your dear smile with clouds
And appeared once more like sunshine,
Touching my face with fortuitous rays.
So much thus has been savoured and saved by my eyes
In varied times and places
In novel radiance --
The essence of unseen splendor.
In every era, unknown to all,
My heart has filled
With ecstasy, sorrow, love and song
Touching heavenly bliss
Through a spring of emotions.

Nov 15, 2010

The Lord of this life solitaire

নিভৃত প্রাণের দেবতা
nibhrito praaner debota 

The Lord of this life solitaire
There where he stays awake all alone
Throw open the door, devotee
To catch a glimpse of him today

I wander outside all day long
Who is it that I yearn for so
The prayers of evening worship
I have not yet learned

I ignite the lamp of my life
In the lustrous flame of your being
O devotee, today in seclusion
I will decorate my flower offerings

Where the world creates a place for worship
Engrossed in mindful practice
There I shall too hold a ray of light

How you sing O virtuous one

তুমি কেমন করে গান কর যে গুণী
tumi kemon kore gaan koro hey guni 
(Tagore's own translation)

How you sing O virtuous one
All I can do is hear in awe
Melodious glow pervades the world
Melodious breeze wanders the skies

Crashing through rocks
Gushing in eager impatience
Surges a river of melody

My heart wants to sing to that tune
I fail to find it in my voice
What do I want to say
Oh why cannot I say
My heart cries out in surrender

How you enrapture and ensnare
Weaving a web of melody all around me

Nov 14, 2010

Timid is not this love of mine

আমার এ প্রেম নয় তো ভীরু
amar e prem noy to bheeru

Timid is not this love of mine
Nor does it lack in strength
Will it just in anxious worry
Shed sorrowful teardrops
In gentle sweet beauteous comfort
Why put my love to sleep
It wants to stay awake with you
Delirious with delight

Assuming form terrifying
When you erupt in deathly dance
Your violent rhythm strikes and wounds
Runs in panic, flees in shame
My bewildered doubt disbelief

May this love of mine welcome home
The one fiercely fascinating
Heavenly dream of trivial wants
Let it sink in oblivion

Nov 13, 2010

If I knew I would let you know

যদি জানতেম আমার কিসের ব্যথা
jodi jantem amar kisher byatha

If I knew I would let you know
Just what it is that hurts me so
Who is it that brings forth tears
If I only knew his name

Where in vain I reach out to
In search of whom I wander
As if sold out has my all
The price I got was trifling

Riches of my suffering
All my life I wonder where
As if it fills this whole world
I fail to fill my life with it

What they call ease and comfort
I try it time and again
Without a pause deep within
Echoes the tune “I want it not”
“I want it not”

Nov 9, 2010

That which we get unasked

না চাহিলে যারে পাওয়া যায়
na chahile jare pawa jay

That which we get unasked
That which rejected, still comes back
That wealth I lost in daylight
To find it in the darkness of night

The one beyond sight
The one beyond touch
Surrender your life to that one
And awaken!
The stars above echo that voice
It blooms in flowers of the morning

Many a tear I shed for it
On the lotus seat of learning*
They ripple and brim over the lotus petals

In many a song of mine
In each and every moment
It shines and dazzles in flashes
In kindly light of a calm smile
I see it glimmer and glow

*The Hindu Goddess of Learning Saraswati is visualized as sitting on a lotus

All that my heart wishes for

আমার পরান যাহা চায়
amaro porano jaha chaay(audio)

All that my heart wishes for
You are the one, that you are.
In this world, apart from you
I have no one, nothing have I.

If pleasure you do not find
Go in search of happiness.
I have found you within me
Nothing more I desire.

Pining for you, in your absence
My self will fade, to live in you.
Long be the day, long be the night
Long be months and years that go by.

If you love someone else
If you never return
Then whatever you covet
That may you get
May all suffering be mine

Nov 8, 2010

Suffer I can a lot more hurt

আরো আঘাত সইবে আমার
aro aghat shoibe amar (audio)

Suffer I can a lot more hurt
Play a tune more severe
On my heartstrings

The melody you awaken
Scaled it has not the highest note
Thus in merciless tremors
Manifest your self in music

May it be caressed with more than mere compassion
Amidst a play of lullabies be not futile this life

Set ablaze all fires
May the winds roar out
Stirring all of azure
Do impart completeness

When did I leave home

কবে আমি বাহির হলেম
kobe ami bahir holem

When did I leave home singing your songs?
Such a long time ago it was.
When was it I first yearned to see you, I forget,
Such a long while ago it was.
Like the mountain spring
That does not know her love,
My soul burst out in the flow of life
For as long as I can remember.
How many names have I called you by,
How many times have I painted your image,
In what joyous delight have I walked my path
Since time immemorial
Like the flower that mindlessly awaits light at night
Does my heart hope to find you
Since time immemorial.

Nov 5, 2010

On a cold dewy night

হিমের রাতে ওই গগনের দীপগুলিরে
himer rate oi gogoner deepgulire (audio)

On a cold and dewy night
Winter drew close her veil
Cloaking the lamps lit in the sky
She sent a message to each home
“Light up, o light up a row of lamps
Illumine with your own glow
Bedeck this earth with radiance”

Barren are flower gardens
Silent is the cuckoo

Kaash* wilts on riverbanks
The robin sings no more

Be gone ennui, grief dark
Light up a row of lamps
Illumine with your own glow
Proclaim the triumph of radiance

Wake up children of earth
The Gods gaze down

Light up, wake up the night
Day ends, darkness descends
Light up a row of lamps
Illumine with your own glow
Defeat dark ignorance

Kaash* : a tall species of grass that is usually seen in autumn

Nov 3, 2010

Whenever I wish to light the lamp

যতবার আলো জ্বালাতে চাই
joto bar alo jwalate chai 

Whenever I wish to light the lamp
It flickers out time and again
Your seat of honour in my life
Ever remains in deep darkness

Withered have roots of the last vine
Buds take form never to blossom
I serve you therefore, gifting my life's ache

The glory of worship
The power of piety
None have I, not a trace
This devotee of yours
Wears humble clothes of shame

None have come to this festival
The flute sings not, bedecked is not home
I have summoned you with my tears
To my temple that lies in ruins

Make me bow kneel down at your feet

আমার মাথা নত করে দাও
amar matha noto kore dao (audio)

Make me bow, kneel down at your feet
Submerge my arrogance in tears

To lavish honour on myself
All I do is insult this self
Encircling ensnaring my self
Each moment I spiral to death
Submerge my arrogance in tears

May I not promulgate myself
In work that is my very own
May fulfilled be your own desire
In this life that you have made mine

I pray to seek your utmost bliss
Bless me with your splendour supreme
Shrouding this vain ego of mine
Grace my spirit with your presence
Submerge my arrogance in tears

Nov 1, 2010

Today my heart has drifted off

আজি হৃদয় আমার যায় যে ভেসে
aji hridoy amar jay je bheshe (audio)

My heart drifts off today
In search of the one yet unseen
Oblivious of strings that fasten
It flutters, floats on with the breeze
Sailing upon the lap of clouds
To which land beyond the probable

There on solitary sea shores near the foothills
Monsoon clouds thicken
On dark Tamal* branches in the King's abode
Peacocks starts to dance
On hearing anklet bells
Beyond the distant wilderness

Tamal*: a tree associated with Lord Krishna

Come have I with great hope

বড়ো আশা করে এসেছি
boro asha kore eshechhi

Come have I with great hope
Do summon me to you
O mother please
Do not turn me away

The distressed and deprived
Have none to look after them
You will I know tend to them

Nothing more do I want
But to sit at your feet
Nothing more do I want
But to call you mother

If you shelter me not
Where will I find refuge
Roam about in tears where
Ahead I see
Deep dark illusions
And a dense dim night

(another version by Arunabha Sengupta)

Come do I with hope filled heart
Shelter me in you
Forsake not me,  o mother
Come do I with hope filled heart
Shelter me in you

No one does want the poor and needy
      I know you will – welcome them too

There is no more I desire
But abode at your feet
By just calling you mother
All my wants will I meet

Renounce if you where will I find refuge –
Where tearful will I retreat?

Hark, wherever I look –
Darkness abounds, deep is the night …