On the auspicious day of the bard’s birth anniversary celebrations, my humble homage to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore and his mystical melodies.
Today, on Rabindra Jayanti, an auspicious occasion that marks the birth of the poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore, born in the illustrious Jorasanko Thakurbari, Kolkata, I offer my most humble tribute to the bard, the philosopher and sage. In this post, I present my small offering, the English translations of the lyrics of two songs of the bard, both belonging to the ‘Puja’ parjaay (section) of his treasure-trove, Geetabitan.
The urgency and desire to translate these soul-nourishing lyrics embracing love, divinity and humanity originated in me a couple of years back while working on my first book-length memoir, as I looked back, reflected on my pent up, calcified memories. The revelation that Tagore songs and their inherent spiritual fervor were very much a part of me and my memories came up quite instantly, as I had translated the lines of ‘Tobu Mone Rekho (And, still, remember me)’.
The concept of God, the Almighty, as well as Tagore’s quintessential celebration of spirituality is expressed with new, enriched dimensions, meanings and nuances in all the lyrics of his songs in the ‘Puja’ parjaay of Geetabitan. God, his eternal playmate, his beloved and friend and his dear confidante, is a mystical, inspirational entity with whom he celebrates his overflowing love, while also trudging the path of natural oneness with the divine. To internalize the lyrics of the songs is an experience that is too subtle, too profoundly personal, and to translate them has often been regarded as a challenge in terms of transcribing their original nuances and the emotions that went into composing the songs. However, I would like to add here that the inspiration behind these translations came from reading the works of numerous scholars and exponents, who have taken painstaking efforts to dissect, analyze and reanalyze Tagore’s treasure trove of songs, poems and prose and spread it to the rest of the world.
“আহা তোমার সঙ্গে প্রাণের খেলা, প্রিয় আমার, ওগো প্রিয়–
বড়ো উতলা আজ পরান আমার, খেলাতে হার মানবে কি ও॥
কেবল তুমিই কি গো এমনি ভাবে রাঙিয়ে মোরে পালিয়ে যাবে।
তুমি সাধ করে, নাথ, ধরা দিয়ে আমারও রঙ বক্ষে নিয়ো–
এই হৃৎকমলের রাঙা রেণু রাঙাবে ওই উত্তরীয়॥”
Original lyrics of the song: courtesy Geetabitan.com
Parjaay : Prem
Taal : Dadra
Raag : Pilu-Tappa
Written on : 1910 (Magh 1326)
Collection : Arupratan
With you, my soul plays in an infinite rhapsody,
o my lord, my beloved playmate.
My restless soul teases, adrift, would not surrender to you.
Would you, always, my lord, elude me, thus,
Color me, adorn my spirit, and leave me, lovelorn?
For once, do willfully embrace my color in your bosom,
May the scarlet hues of my lotus heart
Paint your drape in submission.
The soulful rendition of this intense dedication, in the mellifluous voice of Ritu Guha:
“চিরসখা, ছেড়ো না মোরে ছেড়ো না।
সংসারগহনে নির্ভয়নির্ভর, নির্জনসজনে সঙ্গে রহো ॥
অধনের হও ধন, অনাথের নাথ হও হে, অবলের বল।
জরাভারাতুরে নবীন করো ওহো সুধাসাগর ॥”
Original lyrics of the song: Geetabitan.com
Parjaay : Puja
Taal : Tritaal
Raag : Behag-Tappa
Written on : 1899
O my eternal mate, my beloved forever, do not abandon me.
In the unfathomable depths of this earthy realm,
As I remain fearless, unwavering
Who do I count upon, but you, lonely, or in company?
You, the only treasure of the penniless,
the Lord of the hapless, the strength of the powerless.
You, the ocean of the nectar of sweet love, rejuvenate
The old, the weary, woeful.
The golden voice of Kanika Bandyopadhyay (Mohor di), lending her astute charm, her flawless emotions to this timeless rendition of the bard:
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