Friday, June 10, 2011

(Hindi Kavita) Anth Mein Tera Kaun Hoga / (with translation) In the end, who shall be your own?

अंत में तेरा कौन होगा?

न प्रीति के प्रसंग होंगे,
न कामना के स्वाद, अंग होंगे,
आराधन, अश्रु नहीं सहारे होंगे,
स्वजन नहीं किनारे होंगे,
न सुरमई सुखद छंद होगा,
न चपल मन का द्वन्द होगा,
जब वृहद् अहम् गौण होगा,
अंत में तेरा कौन होगा ?

(Recited in Annual Harvard Poetry Reading 2011)

The poem has been with me for more than a decade now, and only one question, two lines have remained unchanged "anth mein tera kaun hoga?/ kashubdh prabudh maun hoga" (In the end who shall be your own/ profound, perplexed silence... (will be your own). I read only one stanza in the India Poetry reading at Harvard and I have posted that verse here. The question itself can be only loosely translated and the poem itself is written in Hindi, as it aspires for an Indian's interpretation.

In English, most of the words are Abrahamnic in their connotation, and often when I seek a Brahminic, a Hindu interpretation, of my own works or of the poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Kabir, Tulsidas and my favorite Indian poets, English translations/connotations are inadequate. For example, 'Mana' is often translated as mind, but the word mind is so limited in its meaning. 'Mana' in an Indian sense is a powerful existence that creates and destroys the finite and the infinite, the Hindu Gods exist as Mana creates or perceives them, we act as Mana directs our actions, and Mana lives on even though bodies, cities, civilizations perish. It is the Mana where dualities duel/ debate/ argue ("dvand"). The Mana embraces the dvand, the dualities: material and spiritual, divine and human, Shakti and shiva, Purush and Prakriti, a particle and a wave, matter and mind, the finite atom and the infinite, truth and translation, inspiration and creation, love and illusion, Maya and Satya. In fact, Vivek is the ability to distinguish between the different, divergent, dueling aspects of dualities, and when I use the word in Hindi/Sanskrit, the word itself represents deeper connotations that connect to the debates ( and currents and counter-currents or to the "dvand" we humans have experienced throughout our known and unknown history. In English, Vivek is a just a name, and when words become just nouns without meaning, words loose their correspondence with resonance that is essential for realizing their true meaning, their 'artha', their 'siddhartha'.

In the end, who shall be your own?

No anecdotes of passion,
No organs or flavors of desire,
No solace from tears or prayers,
No beloved on the shores,
No musical joyous verses,
No duels of astir mind,
When the grand ego will be gone,
In the end, who shall be your own?

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