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Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part III

March 6, 2018 | By

‘Chitrangada’, a dance drama by Rabindranath Tagore in 1892, is based on the love life of Manipur’s princess Chitrangada and Arjun, the third Pandava of the epic Mahabharata. Lopa Banerjee translates it into English. Part 3.

Chitrangada: The Warrior Princess 


CONTINUED FROM PART II – Click here to read

Scene III.

Nothing but the orphan bloom of the wild forest

[Princess Chitrangada emerges, in her new form.]

Chitrangada: Ah! Who do I see?

Who did emerge in my body

Ripping off the pages of my past?

Am I an obscure dream from a past birth,

Unknown, unidentifiable to the world around?

No more am I Chitrangada, the princess of Manipur—

I am nothing but the transient flower germinating at night,

Nothing but the orphan bloom of the wild forest,

Lasting for a single morning, just before the dust consumes it,

Nonchalant, unforgiving.

[Dancing at the bank of the lake.]

Who plays the soulful flute, awakening my whole body,

My senses, thus?

My soul is overwhelmed with the weight of this pure bliss,

With the burden of this inexplicable sadness.

My body and soul, filled to the brim

With the music of the flower, blooming,

The air around, reverberating with its intoxicating aroma.

I am filled with this sudden hope

That the sacrifice of my body, my entire being

Has been enriched with a fiery language.

Whom do I write today, with my newly transformed body?

My heart speaks the language of the caged soul,

When all I want is to be set free.



Which is this female demon whom you have tied to my old, familiar body?

This grace, this voluptuous beauty, isn’t it a mammoth curse?

This sudden flood of ravishing youth, like a tidal wave

Rushing to engulf my bloodstream, turning me insane?

[She starts dancing, filled with the excitement of her new look.]

What is this uncontrollable surge that ebbs and flows

This wild ecstasy, filled with the intoxication of a heady dream,

What is this uncontrollable surge that ebbs and flows

Giving birth to such excruciating pain

Flowing in my veins, burning my senses?

It runs all over my body, in sudden spurts of a flash of lightning.

I feel submerged, I lose myself

In the roaring winds, in the restless flood of my agitated youth.

My wordless offering of love cries out, in desolation…


I pray to you, handsome prince, forgive her

For all her beauty and charm is a deception!

Only for a momentary sweep of emotions,

She has come to lead you astray

With her sweet seduction.

She descended from the kingdom of illusions

In her hands, dangles the key to your dream world.

The key to unlock the door of your indifferent heart,

While you lose yourself to her sweet seduction.


[Arjun enters the scene.]

Arjun (mesmerized): Ah, whom did I see?

Is she the manifestation of ‘Maaya’, the illusion,

Or does she exist in the real world?

Is this the body of a woman, or her shadow

Colored with the glorious rays of bewitching beauty?

Only for a momentary sweep of emotions,
She has come to lead you astray

[Chitrangada enters again.]

Arjun: Come closer to me, I pray

Whoever you are. Tell me, I beseech you,

Tell me you are not merely a dream to fade away soon.

The magnificent beauty of your body fills me with desires galore.

Take me to the zenith of my passions, beautiful lady!


Chitrangada: You are my guest, the cherished one,

Tell me, by which name should I welcome you?


I am the third Pandava, Arjun

Arjun: I am the third Pandava, Arjun, blessed warrior princess!

Take my fame, take all my worthy deeds,

Take my masculine strength and pride,

Take everything I have, bless me with your bounty.


Chitrangada: What is this deception that I bemoan,

Would you be defeated by its falsity?

What a shame, oh, what a shame!

Ah, you valiant, warrior prince, you have won the entire world!

And now, will you be ensnared thus, by this enchantress,

Caged, in your pursuit of chasing this mirage?

What a shame, oh, what a shame!


This vain beauty that I now embrace, this transformation

Such a concocted heaven of my transitory dreams,

Such a momentary offering….

Is this worth being your gift?

What a shame, oh, what a shame!


Arjun: Ah, gorgeous woman, your exquisite beauty

Crushed, trampled over my vows of celibacy,

Tearing them to shreds.

The masculinity I wear and adore is impatient.

A woman scared of the sacredness of rituals, I am not.

I am a man, tied to the purity of the shastra, the scriptures.

Come, my dear lady, let our bold, feisty love

Lead us both to unknown, uncharted terrains.


The scanty dewdrop you have been seeing
At the edge of the kingshuk flower,
Is all but your illusion

Chitrangada: Well, then let it be so.

Let us begin the trail together. But do remember,

The scanty dewdrop you have been seeing

At the edge of the kingshuk flower,

Is all but your illusion.

I know you have been enamored by it,

But remember, it will be your beloved for only a moment.


What a beautiful farce! Which God from the heavens

Floated this boat housing such an illusory dream?

Come with me, the paramour of my dreams,

Let us immerse ourselves in this magnificent game of lies!

In the beautiful surge of music and gaiety,

The air will reverberate with the essence

Of dance and youthful mirth.

The sweet aroma of the flower orchard

Will intoxicate the indolent noon.


Bless the garland dangling in my bosom,

Heaving in excitement.

In this magical night, my dear, nurture it

With the water of love, moist with our longings.

The new sun extends his golden rays,

Obliterating all shame.


Arjun: Your overwhelming charm, dear lady

Is all but an enticing dream to me.

You are the unique one, complete in yourself.

You are the pride of the creator, the Almighty.

You are the bounty, the wealth, never to be demolished,

The end to all nothingness,

You are the answer to all that is true, in devotion, in love.


Chitrangada: I am not the one you think I am,

Alas, Partha, my hero, alas,

My appearance, mesmerizing you, is all but a deception of a God.

Go away, I pray, go away, my valiant hero.

Do not sacrifice your valor, your greatness at the altar of falsehood.

Go away, I pray.

[Arjun exits.]


In my heart, the flame flares up

Arjun: What is this thirst, this burning sensation, usurping my senses?

My thirsty, shivering being, surrounded by diabolical fire

Of desires, kills me, bit by bit. My heart, in flames,

Wishes to break free of the cage of my human boundaries.

My senses, my being, charred by the pangs of my restless heart.

A cruel arrow pierced my heart, inflicting unbearable agony.

In my heart, the flame flares up,

In my eyes, I see a mirage of unquenched desires.

Who is it that welcomed me with a garland, spelling my doom?

My familiar world, vanished behind the shadow of a vain dream.

I lose myself in the bewitching lies of the crimson spring.

My journey towards the uncertain perplexes me,

Yet, I am caught under its magic spell.

Here I go, in search of unknown horizons.

CHITRANGADA CONTINUED TO PART 4 – click here to read


Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation (Part I)

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part II

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part III

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part IV

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada: English Translation Part V & VI


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Learning and Creativity publishes articles, stories, poems, reviews, and other literary works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers, artists and photographers as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers, artists and photographers are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Learning and Creativity emagazine. Images used in the posts (not including those from Learning and Creativity's own photo archives) have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, Morguefile free photo archives and Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.

Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She is Deputy Editor of Learning & Creativity and the co-editor of 'Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas', published by Readomania in collaboration with Incredible Women of India. She has been the Creative Editor of Incredible Women of India. 'Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant's Wayward Journey', her debut memoir/autobiographical novel, recently published by Authorspress, has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC, USA. Her literary works have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in India and the US. She has been a regular contributor for Cafe Dissensus, Different Truths, Readomania.com and many other e-zines. Her fiction will also be featured in the upcoming Silhouette I & II anthology, to be published by Authorspress. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore's novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook, and the book is available in Amazon Kindle.
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Learning Quotes: "What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing." ~ Aristotle