‘Chitrangada’, a dance drama composed by Nobel laureate 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 5 and 6, the final parts of the drama.
Chitrangada: The Warrior Princess
[Enter Chitrangada and Madan.]
Chitrangada: I pray to thee, Anangadev, the mighty God,
take back your boon That you had bestowed on me!
Please liberate me from this vicious web of falsity…
In your feet, I offer my voluptuous beauty,
I return you the wealth I had stolen, which never became my own.
Let the crimson red of my lips dissolve in the faraway forest of the Ashoka,
Oh Anangadev, the mighty God, let this vain dream perish, once and for all.
Madan: Let it be, then, dear lady, let it be.
I pray the fog of false colors perish, giving way to untainted light.
Let the magic web of illusion give way to the bare truth.
Let love, in its pure ardor, emerge in its victorious chariot.
Let the eyes of the ardent lover behold eternal beauty,
Beyond the beauty of the skin.
Let the veil of infatuation slip from his eyes,
Let he see beauty in its true light.
When would you emerge in your truest, purest form,
Shedding all false ornaments?
Let not your ornaments be the shield,
Preventing one to see yourself
In your true glory.
Love is not love when entwined with the illusion of ‘maaya’,
In the light and the darkness of true love and the deceit of illusion,
Both will lose sight of each other.
Why would your ornaments shield you,
When the unadulterated heart
Comes forward, in its spontaneous music?
What beauty would you exhibit in your ornaments
To the beholder whose eyes are already immersed
In the greater truth of pure love?
Come closer, why this distance then, lady?
Would you still entwine your loved one with a false entanglement?
Would you steal your own carefully nurtured wealth?
Why then, would your ornaments shield you from your beloved?
[The male and female accomplices of Chitrangada come forward and greet Arjun.]
Welcome, the gallant warrior prince Arjun,
Welcome, the extraordinary man!
Your arrival is eagerly awaited,
As our dear lady lights the lamp in your honor.
Come, wear the garland of the chivalrous man
that our princess holds for you.
She will shred to pieces her vanity,
Offer herself at your feet, in absolute surrender.
Today, she will welcome you with the garland of the chivalrous man
That she holds for you.
Sakhi (Female friend of Chitrangada):
Hail thee, the gallant son of Kunti,
Our dear Sakhi Chitrangada had loved you so,
That unhesitatingly, she had filled both your hands
With all the wealth and abundance of her beauty.
The flowers of the Nandan Kanan,
The garden of youth and love she had picked
With all her devotion, only for you.
If her act of worshipping you has come to a closure today,
Then, we pray you, our prince,
Let the basket of her flower offerings remain outside the temple.
Look at your devotee with your loving eyes!
Chitrangada: I am Chitrangada, the precious daughter of the king of Manipur.
Neither a goddess, nor a woman, commonplace and mundane.
I am not the one you hail in the altar, worshiping,
Nor am I the one you keep behind you, in negligence.
Once you recognize my essence, keeping me beside you
Amid your deep hours of crisis,
Allowing me to be a true partner in your life’s journey,
A true accomplice in your missions,
Only then you will know my true self.
I, Chitrangada, the precious daughter of the king of Manipur,
Bow down before you, my valiant prince Arjun.
Arjun: Blessed is my life, my dear lady!
[They start dancing together with the Sakhis.]
Oh beautiful, your arrival has quenched the thirst of a lovelorn soul.
Welcome to the chambers of a heart, surrendering,
Charred with the anguish of ‘viraha’,
Come, be the antidote to the painful separation,
Carve the kohl of sweet, luscious love
With the paintbrush of your dreams.
Invoke the wild surge of the river Yamuna
In the blood dance of your enamored soul,
While you revel in the kiss of the gentle breeze, the dancing leaves
And the sweet buzzing of the bees in the trembling bamboo forest.
Bring the joyous, relentless dance in the body of the new leaves.
Embrace the branches of the Ashoka tree
With the sheer ecstasy and passion of your united souls.
Come, dear spring, come to the earth,
Bless it with your new music.
Bestow the earth with a new life,
With the rhapsody of new songs,
With the intoxicating aroma of the indolent breeze,
Enrich the earth’s bosom with intense consciousness.
Bring the rhythmic surge of ecstasy to which the earth sways.
Come, break open the shackles of vanity,
Bring the anguish, the music of the impassioned soul to the earth.
Come, with your trembling self, overwhelmed with the honeyed aroma
Of the flowers in the luscious orchard, swaying in the soothing, gentle breeze.
Come, the eternally eager soul, the bud keen to sprout,
Come, the forever nomad traveler to the path of beauty!
Bring the sacred night ending in the lovers’ union,
Saturated with the sweet melody of the flute.
Come with your elixir, filled to the brim.
Come, the magnificent one, seat yourself in the lap of the youthful dawn.
Come to the earth in the magical night intoxicated with the moonlight.
Come to the silent hut, at the bank of the contented river.
Come like a sudden lightning in the dance of the storm,
With the undulations of the Sindhu river.
Come, the wakeful dawn awaits you.
Spread your essence in the body of the city, the vast fields, the forests.
Come, enrich our words, our minds, our actions.
Come, with the soft tinkling music of your anklets adorning your feet,
Come with the divine harmony of your songs sung.
Come, with the fragrance of a garland of beauteous flowers
Come, dressed in your soft, tender green leaves.
Come, oh beautiful, in the mirthful pace of your youth.
Come, the gallant hero, in your zestful, invincible spirit.
Let this be the unforgettable journey of your victory.
Let this be your battle against decay and degeneration.
Spread the flavor of your youthful self in the ardent breeze,
As you let your restless mane fly.
[Arjun and Chitrangada are reunited.]
(Pictures courtesy: Pixabay)
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