Reading Sri Ramacharitamanasa of Tulsidas is always a rewarding experience. Indeed the original verses are so sweet that are no less a symphony stilled into the scattered words. They are not merely poetic in the sense you enjoy the structure and meaning and say ‘wow’! The work is undoubtedly a grand epic poem but the poem that is pro-active in putting an end to your slumber, in awakening you from dreamy sleep, and in instructing you on your way up. Can we have that same magic in its translated version? Very many people affirm a big NO!
I have of course read prosaic translation in English that does not, in my humble opinion, do justice to the original. And how difficult is to translate the original in English verses? Will that make an appeal to your heart? These were some random thoughts when I received a response in the Comments section, the following from Skendha. Who is she? A young lady from New Delhi, she is a regular visitor to this blog. In her own words, somewhere else on the internet, “I’m more a mind demon, love reading, writing, eating!…Idealistic and spiritual and sensitive…” Her favourite quote is always from Swami Vivekananda.
After reading her creation, I was, to say the least, stunned. I read it out to a few others who were equally stunned and said that the translation has taken newer heights in understanding the original’s beauty. I am happy to place her ‘offering’ in my blog thus sharing the joy that I felt. (Incidentally this is the 100th Post in this blog!)
I hope it will not be an impudence but since you made that kind suggestion, I am bringing it up… I had translated the passage into verse some years ago. And I am reproducing it here, just as an offering . Please kindly accept it. With warmest regards,
Skendha, New Delhi
Epic of Ram: The Season of Rains
Translated from Goswami Tulasidasji’ SriRamCharitMaanas.Lakshman behold the peacocks ! Dancing for the darkened skies; Rejoicing as the devotee who Discovers a Vaishnava monk in sight. The rolling thunder of stormy clouds strains against the shadowy skies, And in the absence of My precious Sita, bereft of all peace am I; The lightning bolt tearing the clouds wilfully whirls across the horizon, Darting and flitting as do the sentiments of a rake, loyal to no one. The raining clouds are strung over the earth, bowed with their burden, Humble as him who, toiling for years attains to divine wisdom; How these great mountains do face the onslaught of pitiless torrents, With calm fortitude as the saints, who endure the fool’s comments. The sated streams blossoming into rivers, frolic along their shores Glorying in their noveau riches, just as the knave who must make a show. The embrace of the earth stains the fair, bright showers from heaven, Muddied, as if they were the soul of man tarnished by dark delusions. The streams rush on, and filling the lustrous lake are lost in it’s bosom, Drawn unerringly as the divine qualities are towards a holy one; The wild course of the heedless rivers ends in the placid expanse of the seas; Sojourning like the soul which, merging with Hari, attains eternal peace. Four quarters of this forest are dripping with croaks, chirps, many songs, Blissful as when the bramhacharins, chant the Vedas, to herald the dawn. The wet branches of dark brown trees which bring forth leaves of glossy green, Are beautified as the mind of a seeker which, blessed by intellect, becomes serene. Oh look Brother! how the stars are challenged by this brave battalion of fireflies! Ill-advised as the gathering of cheats who make a hollow show for all eyes. And here and there lie weary travellers, broken down and pining for rest, Ravaged as the senses of a man, in whom discrimination has made conquest. Lo! it is day as Divakar smiles, But He is hidden again and lo! it is night. As the cloud-bank, so is company, My Son, It fires or smothers our Eternal Light.