Thursday, July 16, 2009


Let no barrenness of heart deny
The ever-glancing Gambhíra her wish
For you are handsome on her surface. Watch
How white-as-lotuses Shaphara fish
Beguilingly there greet you, leap and fly.

Remove the deep blue robe of water where
Her bank of abdomen slopes down to view
A trail of canes like slender hands. You'll go
At last from her reluctantly, for who
Will leave a mistress with her charms laid bare?

Afterwards, when cooled the earth and wholly
Saturated with your rain, and rich
With smells to please the sniffing elephants,
Are wild figs ripening in the wind by which
To Devagiri you are carried slowly.

Arrived, you'll form a cumulous of flowers
For Skanda who is resident, the god of war.
All-powerful Shiva took him from the sun's
Fierce mouth to safeguard Indra's army. Pour
Down the Ganges in your heavenly showers.

With thunder, echoed in the mountains, make
To dance then Skanda's peacock, corner-eyed
In Shiva's crescent. Bhavání will put
A lustrous feather in her ear beside
That deep blue lotus for her dear son's sake.

Left the god who in the reeds took birth,
You're clear of Siddha pairs who fear the waters
Will harm the lutes they carry. Rantideva
Here made slaughter of Surabhi's daughters
That now the River Chambal blesses earth.

When you there drinking at the water's hem
Have stolen Krishna's colouring, you stand
To gods intently staring from that distance
As pearls there settling to a single strand
Enlarged with sapphire set as central gem.

Having crossed that river, train your powers
To lift in coquetry the tendrilled brows
Of Dasapura women making lashes
Unlock a beauty as wild bees unblouse
A darkness in the tossing jasmine flowers.

Against the land of Brahmátavarta loom,
Above the graves of Kshatriyas slain
In hundreds by Arjuna when on Kurus'
Field his sharpened arrows fell as rain,
The which you'll sprinkle on each lotus bloom.

Having drunk those waters you are kin
With Balarama, gentle one, refraining
From war with kinsmen as from wine that shone
In Revati's bright eyes. You, remaining
Black in colour, are now white within.


***Translated by C. John Holcombe***