Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Kālidāsa’s Kumārasaṃbhava canto 5, selected verses

Fall in love with Shiva again through Parvati's penance to achieve him. If the clunky translation is so beautiful, imagine what the original Sanskrit must be like. Absolutely divine! Learn Sanskrit, and read Kālidāsa for yourself... 

8. She, of a never to  be shaken disposition, having given up her necklace, which used to rub away the sandal-paste (on her breast) by its tremulous threads, wore a bark garment, tawny like the morning sun, the close union of which with her body was prevented by her elevated breasts.

9. As her face looked pretty, by her decorated tresses, so it did by her matted hair also; a lotus does not look beautiful only by the swarms of bees, but even by its union with moss.

10. The place of her waist-band was made red by that string of muñja grass having three threads, which was fastened there for the first time on that occasion, - which (string) she wore for her penance and which (by its harsh touch) caused her hair to stand erect every moment.

11. She made her hand the friend of the rosary of akśa beads, the fingers of which were (now) pricked while plucking the tender blades of kuśa grass, (her hand) which was turned away from (i.e no longer employed in painting) her lower lip from which the red colour had disappeared; and from her (play) ball reddened by her unguent of her breast. (see 19 below)

12. She who would experience pain even by the flowers dropped down from her hair in the rollings on her costly bed, sat and lay down (on the bare earth platform), using her creeper like arm as a pillow.

13. By her, who was under a vow, two things  had been left, with the female deer,  as a deposit to be taken back, the two, viz. her sportive gesture with the slender creepers, (i.e. of her arms)  and her unsteady glances (viloladrishti).

19. She who was fatigued even by playing with the ball, entered upon the course of life of anchorites; verily her body was composed of gold lotuses, as it was delicate by nature, yet tough (full of substance).

20. In summer, she of sweet smiles and a delicate waist, sitting the midst of four blazing fires, gazed at the sun with her sight not directed to anything else, having got the better of (i.e. being accustomed to bear) the lustre that dazzles the eye.

22. Only the water that came to her without any effort on her part, and the rays of the moon, full of nectar, broke her fast, the means being not different from those by which trees.

26. Determinedly standing in the water, she passed the nights of Paua (cold season) when the (winter) winds scattered around a thick mass of snowy sleet, pitying the pair of Cakravāka birds (which stood) before her, separated and crying for each other.

27. By her face which was as fragrant as the lotus (itself) and which shone with the quivering leaf of the nether lip, she at night restored the beauty of lotuses to the waters (of the stream); the wealth of lotuses of which was destroyed by the snow.

28. The sternest severity of austerities lies in subsisting on leaves fallen from the trees of their own accord; but that also she spurned; hence was that she, kind of speech  (Priyamvadā) was named Aparā by those conversant with history (purāvida)

This translation is based on M.R. Kale:


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