Post by madanmohandas on Jul 26, 2008 13:11:54 GMT -6
Ha ha. Well I finished reading Griffith's translation; excellent. The Gita Press is complete now with 110 cantos of the Uttara Kanda, some ommited on the charge of interpolation. I have been through Tulsi's work three times now and that is a bi-lingual edition with the English in rhyming couplets by Rev. Atkins. I'd like to get hold of the Adhyatma Ramayan which has been published in a bi-lingual edition translated by Tapasyananada Swami.
Post by madanmohandas on Jul 26, 2008 13:13:11 GMT -6
Here is a great episode from the end of Yuddha Kanda.
The shrill cry pierced through Ráma's ears And his sad eyes o'erflowed with tears, When lo, transported through the sky A glorious band of Gods was nigh. Ancestral shades, by men revered, In venerable state appeared. And he from whom all riches flow, And Yama Lord who reigns below: King Indra, thousand-eyed, and he Who wields the sceptre of the sea. The God who shows the blazoned bull, And Brahmá Lord most bountiful By whose command the worlds were made All these on radiant cars conveyed, Brighter than sun-beams, sought the place Where stood the prince of Raghu's race, And from their glittering seats the best Of blessed Gods the chief addressed: 'Couldst thou, the Lord of all, couldst thou, Creator of the worlds, allow Thy queen, thy spouse to brave the fire And give her body to the pyre? Dost thou not yet, supremely wise, Thy heavenly nature recognize? They ceased: and Ráma thus began: 'I deem myself a mortal man. Of old Ikshváku's line, I spring From Das'aratha Kosal's king.' He ceased: and Brahmá's self replied: 'O cast the idle thought aside. Thou art the Lord Náráyan, thou The God to whom all creatures bow. Thou art the saviour God who wore Of old the semblance of a boar; Thou he whose discus overthrows All present, past and future foes; Thou Brahmá, That whose days extend Without beginning, growth or end; The God, who, bears the bow of horn, Whom four majestic arms adorn; Thou art the God who rules the sense And sways with gentle influence; Thou all-pervading Vishnu Lord Who wears the ever-conquering sword; Thou art the Guide who leads aright, Thou Krishna of unequalled might. Thy hand, O Lord, the hills and plains, And earth with all her life sustains; Thou wilt appear in serpent form When sinks the earth in fire and storm. Queen Sítá of the lovely brows Is Lakshmí thy celestial spouse. To free the worlds from Rávan thou Wouldst take the form thou wearest now. Rejoice: the mighty task is done: Rejoice, thou great and glorious one. The tyrant, slain, thy labours end: Triumphant now to heaven ascend. High bliss awaits the devotee Who clings in loving faith to thee, Who celebrates with solemn praise The Lord of ne'er beginning days. On earth below, in heaven above Great joy shall crown his faith and love. And he who loves the tale divine Which tells each glorious deed of thine Through life's fair course shall never know The fierce assault of pain and woe.'
Post by madanmohandas on Jul 28, 2008 7:50:42 GMT -6
Just completed the Uttara Kanda of the Gita Press edition. There is some loss of continuity and more typos than you might expect, but otherwise it is very good. I have heard of an edition translated by N.Raghunathan, which is complete and nicer than the Gita Psess one. There is a web site where you can listen to it as an audio book. It has been serialized weekly and the Uttara Kanda is presently commenced. Here's a link if anyone wants to hear some. I highy recommend, if the whole thing is too much, to listen to the Kiskhinda and Sundara Kandas.
Post by madanmohandas on Jul 28, 2008 8:10:27 GMT -6
Here is a passage from Milton that Griffith cites describing the Banyan tree.
Beneath a fig-tree's mighty shade, With countless pendent shoots displayed. 'So counselled he, and both together went Into the thickest wood; there soon they chose The fig-tree: not that kind for fruit renowned, But such as at this day, to Indians known, In Malabar or Deccan spreads her arms Branching so broad and long, that in the ground The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow About the mother tree, a pillared shade High overarched, and echoing walks between.'
Post by madanmohandas on Aug 20, 2008 12:33:20 GMT -6
This is how the Book begins.
Om To sainted Nárad, prince of those Whose lore in words of wisdom flows. Whose constant care and chief delight Were Scripture and ascetic rite, The good Válmíki, first and best Of hermit saints, these words addressed: 'In all this world, I pray thee, who Is virtuous, heroic, true? Firm in his vows, of grateful mind, To every creature good and kind? Bounteous, and holy, just, and wise, Alone most fair to all men's eyes? Devoid of envy, firm, and sage, Whose tranquil soul ne'er yields to rage? Whom, when his warrior wrath is high, Do Gods embattled fear and fly? Whose noble might and gentle skill The triple world can guard from ill? Who is the best of princes, he Who loves his people's good to see? The store of bliss, the living mine Where brightest joys and virtues shine? Queen Fortune's best and dearest friend, Whose steps her choicest gifts attend? Who may with Sun and Moon compare, With Indra, Vishnu, Fire, and Air? Grant, Saint divine, the boon I ask, For thee, I ween, an easy task, To whom the power is given to know If such a man breathe here below.'
Then Nárad, clear before whose eye The present, past, and future lie, Made ready answer: 'Hermit, where Are graces found so high and rare? Yet listen, and my tongue shall tell In whom alone these virtues dwell. From old Ikshváku's line he came, Known to the world by Ráma's name: With soul subdued, a chief of might, In Scripture versed, in glory bright, His steps in virtue's paths are bent, Obedient, pure, and eloquent. In each emprise he wins success, And dying foes his power confess. Tall and broad-shouldered, strong of limb, Fortune has set her mark on him. Graced with a conch-shell's triple line, His throat displays the auspicious sign. High destiny is clear impressed On massive jaw and ample chest, His mighty shafts he truly aims, And foemen in the battle tames. Deep in the muscle, scarcely shown, Embedded lies his collar-bone. His lordly steps are firm and free, His strong arms reach below his knee; All fairest graces join to deck His head, his brow, his stately neck, And limbs in fair proportion set: The manliest form e'er fashioned yet. Graced with each high imperial mark, His skin is soft and lustrous dark. Large are his eyes that sweetly shine With majesty almost divine. His plighted word he ne'er forgets; On erring sense a watch he sets. By nature wise, his teacher's skill Has trained him to subdue his will. Good, resolute and pure, and strong, He guards mankind from scathe and wrong, And lends his aid, and ne'er in vain, The cause of justice to maintain. Well has he studied o'er and o'er The Vedas and their kindred lore. Well skilled is he the bow to draw, Well trained in arts and versed in law; High-souled and meet for happy fate, Most tender and compassionate; The noblest of all lordly givers, Whom good men follow, as the rivers Follow the King of Floods, the sea: So liberal, so just is he. The joy of Queen Kaus'alyá's heart, In every virtue he has part: Firm as Himálaya's snowy steep, Unfathomed like the mighty deep: The peer of Vishnu's power and might, And lovely as the Lord of Night; Patient as Earth, but, roused to ire, Fierce as the world-destroying fire; In bounty like the Lord of Gold, And Justice' self in human mould.
Post by madanmohandas on Aug 25, 2008 15:07:54 GMT -6
This is such a beautiful translation by Griffith, I'm going through it again with delight. I think one can learn vast amounts of poetic diction and syntax, meter and prosody in general just from this translation. Here is a great point early in the narrative describing how Risyasrng was brought to Lomapada's captol.
He ended; and the king agreed, By the priest's counsel won. And all the ministers took heed To see his bidding done. In ships with wondrous art prepared Away the lovely women fared, And soon beneath the shade they stood Of the wild, lonely, dreary wood. And there the leafy cot they found Where dwelt the devotee, And looked with eager eyes around The hermit's son to see. Still, of Vibhándak sore afraid, They hid behind the creepers' shade. But when by careful watch they knew The elder saint was far from view, With bolder steps they ventured nigh To catch the youthful hermit's eye. Then all the damsels, blithe and gay, At various games began to play. They tossed the flying ball about With dance and song and merry shout, And moved, their scented tresses bound With wreaths, in mazy motion round. Some girls as if by love possessed, Sank to the earth in feigned unrest, Up starting quickly to pursue Their intermitted game anew. It was a lovely sight to see Those fair ones, as they played, While fragrant robes were floating free, And bracelets clashing in their glee A pleasant tinkling made. The anklet's chime, the Koïl's cry With music filled the place As 'twere some city in the sky Which heavenly minstrels grace. With each voluptuous art they strove To win the tenant of the grove, And with their graceful forms inspire His modest soul with soft desire. With arch of brow, with beck and smile, With every passion-waking wile Of glance and lotus hand, With all enticements that excite The longing for unknown delight Which boys in vain withstand. Forth came the hermit's son to view The wondrous sight to him so new, And gazed in rapt surprise, For from his natal hour till then On woman or the sons of men He ne'er had cast his eyes. He saw them with their waists so slim, With fairest shape and faultless limb, In variegated robes arrayed, And sweetly singing as they played. Near and more near the hermit drew, And watched them at their game, And stronger still the impulse grew To question whence they came. They marked the young ascetic gaze With curious eye and wild amaze, And sweet the long-eyed damsels sang, And shrill their merry laughter rang, Then came they nearer to his side, And languishing with passion cried: 'Whose son, O youth, and who art thou, Come suddenly to join us now? And why dost thou all lonely dwell In the wild wood? We pray thee, tell, We wish to know thee, gentle youth; Come, tell us, if thou wilt, the truth.'
He gazed upon that sight he ne'er Had seen before, of girls so fair, And out of love a longing rose His sire and lineage to disclose: 'My father,' thus he made reply, 'Is Kas'yap's son, a saint most high, Vibhándak styled; from him I came, And Rishyasring he calls my name, Our hermit cot is near this place: Come thither, O ye fair of face; There be it mine, with honour due, Ye gentle youths, to welcome you.'
They heard his speech, and gave consent, And gladly to his cottage went. Vibhándak's son received them well Beneath the shelter of his cell With guest-gift, water for their feet, And woodland fruit and roots to eat, They smiled, and spoke sweet words like these, Delighted with his courtesies: 'We too have goodly fruit in store, Grown on the trees that shade our door; Come, if thou wilt, kind Hermit, haste The produce of our grove to taste; And let, O good Ascetic, first This holy water quench thy thirst.' They spoke, and gave him comfits sweet Prepared ripe fruits to counterfeit; And many a dainty cate beside And luscious mead their stores supplied. The seeming fruits, in taste and look, The unsuspecting hermit took, For, strange to him, their form beguiled The dweller in the lonely wild. Then round his neck fair arms were flung, And there the laughing damsels clung, And pressing nearer and more near With sweet lips whispered at his ear; While rounded limb and swelling breast The youthful hermit softly pressed. The pleasing charm of that strange bowl, The touch of a tender limb, Over his yielding spirit stole And sweetly vanquished him. But vows, they said, must now be paid; They bade the boy farewell, And, of the aged saint afraid, Prepared to leave the dell. With ready guile they told him where Their hermit dwelling lay: Then, lest the sire should find them there, Sped by wild paths away. They fled and left him there alone By longing love possessed; And with a heart no more his own He roamed about distressed.
Post by madanmohandas on Sept 12, 2008 11:15:58 GMT -6
Here is a beautiful section which certain scholars consider an interpolation, but I find it all condenced in Jayadeva's line, 'janakasutA krta bhUSaNa'.
Thus Rama showed to Janak's child The varied beauties of the wild, The hill, the brook and each fair spot, Then turned to seek their leafy cot. North of the mountain Rama found A cavern in the sloping ground, Charming to view, its floor was strown With many a mass of ore and stone, In secret shadow far retired Where gay birds sang with joy inspired, And trees their graceful branches swayed With loads of blossom downward weighed. Soon as he saw the cave which took Each living heart and chained the look, Thus Rama spoke to Sita, who Gazed wondering on the silvan view: 'Does this fair cave beneath the height, Videhan lady, charm thy sight? Then let us resting here a while The languor of the way beguile. That block of stone so smooth and square Was set for thee to rest on there, And like a thriving Kes'ar tree This flowery shrub o'ershadows thee.' Thus Rama spoke, and Janak's child, By nature ever soft and mild, In tender words which love betrayed Her answer to the hero made: 'O pride of Raghu's children, still My pleasure is to do thy will. Enough for me thy wish to know: Far hast thou wandered to and fro.'
Post by madanmohandas on Sept 12, 2008 11:17:14 GMT -6
Thus Sita spake in gentle tone, And went obedient to the stone, Of perfect face and faultless limb Prepared to rest a while with him. And Rama, as she thus replied, Turned to his spouse again and cried: 'Thou seest, love, this flowery shade For silvan creatures' pleasure made, How the gum streams from trees and plants Torn by the tusks of elephants! Through all the forest clear and high Resounds the shrill cicala's cry. Hark how the kite above us moans, And calls her young in piteous tones; So may my hapless mother be Still mourning in her home for me. There mounted on that lofty Sál The loud Bhringráj repeats his call: How sweetly now he tunes his throat Responsive to the Koïl's note. Or else the bird that now has sung May be himself the Koïl's young, Linked with such winning sweetness are The notes he pours irregular. See, round the blooming Mango clings That creeper with her tender rings, So in thy love, when none is near, Thine arms are thrown round me, my dear.' Thus in his joy he cried; and she, Sweet speaker, on her lover's knee, Of faultless limb and perfect face, Grew closer to her lord's embrace. Reclining in her husband's arms, A goddess in her wealth of charms, She filled his loving breast anew With mighty joy that thrilled him through. His finger on the rock he laid, Which veins of sanguine ore displayed, And painted o'er his darling's eyes The holy sign in mineral dyes. Bright on her brow the metal lay Like the young sun's first gleaming ray, And showed her in her beauty fair As the soft light of morning's air. Then from the Kes'ar's laden tree He picked fair blossoms in his glee, And as he decked each lovely tress, His heart o'erflowed with happiness. So resting on that rocky seat A while they spent in pastime sweet, Then onward neath the shady boughs Went Ráma with his Maithil spouse. She roaming in the forest shade Where every kind of creature strayed Observed a monkey wandering near, And clung to Ráma's arm in fear. The hero Ráma fondly laced His mighty arms around her waist, Consoled his beauty in her dread, And scared the Monkey till he fled. That holy mark of sanguine ore That gleamed on Sítá's brow before, Shone by that close embrace impressed Upon the hero's ample chest. Then Sítá, when the beast who led The monkey troop, afar had fled, Laughed loudly in light-hearted glee That mark on Ráma's chest to see.
Post by madanmohandas on Dec 31, 2008 19:30:14 GMT -6
New years greetings all. Here is just a couple of lines that are quite striking. Laksman having prepared a seat for Vaidehi on the boat, Raghava escorts her to it and as she takes her seat the poet observes,
... Resembling in her glorious mein, All-thought-surpassing Fortune's Queen. ...
Gita Press have editions of the Ramanyan and Ram charit manas in english. The Ramayan with sanskrit and english , and Ram charit manas with hindi and english. I have both , and find them to be excellent editions.
Post by madanmohandas on May 1, 2010 3:02:54 GMT -6
Yes I have also the Gita Press editions and would agree with you. But the Griffith edition I think is in a different league due to its being a metric or poetry translation and a masterpiece too, aspiring to give taste of the charm of Valmiki's great work. You may also like Rev. Atkins peotry rendition of the Rama carita Manasa. It has the original chaupais and dohas with very faithful translation. In the narrative of the churning for nectar the appearance of Laksmi is given a breif but excelent treatment. here; At length when many a year had fled, Up floated on her lotus bed A maiden fair and tender eyed, In the young flush of beauty's pride. She shone with pearl and golden sheen, And seals of glory stamped her Queen. On four round arms glowed many a gem, On her smooth brows a diadem. Rolling in waves beneath her crown The glory of her hair flowed down. Pearls on her neck of price untold, The lady shone like burnisht gold. Queen of the gods, she leapt to land, A lotus in her perfect hand, And fondly, of the lotus sprung, To lotus-bearing Vishnu clung. Her gods above and men below As beauty's Queen and Fortune know.
Salutations to the poet in thee, Manmohan. Only a bard of noblest order hath the pow'r to recognise the magnificence of these unpollutable gems. Alas, thou art one among the very few stars that orbiteth our skies. Obeisances to thee for attracting our attention..