Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Geetagovinda (3.7.11): Perhaps not exactly what you were looking for...

Opinions are sharply polarised on whether Jayadeva's Geetagovinda is an intensely erotic poem or an allegory of the human soul's yearning for God. Regular readers of this blog know that I don't make it my business to tell you what to think. Read it yourself and decide! But an atypical verse tickled me enough to translate and share it with you. Verse 11 in song 7 tells of a bewildered Krishna (मुग्धमधुसूदनः) who abandons the beautiful gopis (व्रजसुन्दरीः), and searches in vain for Radha.  Repenting and suffering, unable to find her, he chides the god of love in a piqued manner. I say atypical, because 'Krishna yearning' seems to be unheard of in popular expression. Try as I might, I couldn't find an image of Krishna yearning for Radha, so we'll have to do with the usual!!

हृदि बिसलताहारो नायं भुजङ्गमनायकः   

कुवलयदलश्रेणी कण्ठे न सा गरलद्युतिः 
मलयजरजो नेदं भस्म प्रियारहिते मयि
प्रहर न हर भ्रान्त्यानङ्ग क्रुधा किमु धावसि   

Lotus stalks garland my heart, not a necklace of snakes!
Blue lily petals circle my neck, not a streak of poison! 
Sandalwood powder, not ash, is smeared on my lovelorn body!
Love-god, don't attack me, mistaking me for Shiva!
Why do you rush at me in rage?

(trans: Barbara Stollar Millar)*

Let's see how:

हृदि - on my chest: locative sing of हृद्, heart, chest, breast, mind, soul; neuter noun

बिस+लता+हारः - garland of lotus stalks. While लता means tendril, creeper, बिसलता refers to the lotus plant, and बिस alone often refers to the stalk, or the part which is underground. Miller takes it as lotus-stalk. (Wonder what the garland looked like...Every cooked kamal-kakdi?)

न अयम् - this is not (lit. not this) masc, nom., sing of  इदम् going with हारः and नायकः 

भुजङ्गम+नायकः - necklace of snakes. भुजङ्गम is snake, masc noun; नायकः the central gem of a necklace. 

कुवलय - blue water lily; neuter noun

दल - petal, leaf, blade; neuter noun

श्रेणी - row, line; fem noun

कण्ठे - on [the] neck; locative singular of कण्ठः masc. noun

न सा - it is not; सा because both श्रेणी and द्युतिः  are feminine

गरल+द्युतिः गरल - poision, venom of snake; neuter noun
द्युतिः - flash, brilliance; often associated with lightening; fem noun

मलयज - sandalwood; neuter noun

रजः - powder, dust; masc. noun 

न इदम्  भस्म - (lit not this, nom., sing agreeing with भस्म)

प्रिया+रहिते  locative, singular bahuvrihi compound refering to Kirshna's body - 'without love' or 'deprived of love'

मयिon me; locative sing of 'asmad'

प्रहर - attack; from प्र+हृ

न हर - Not Shiva

भ्रान्त्यानङ्ग - Vocative karmadhArya compound for KAma - 'confused Ananga' 

भ्रान्त्या instrumental singular of  भ्रान्ति - confusion, error, reeling; fem noun  

अनङ्ग - A name for the Love-god, KAmadeva; vocative case

क्रुधा - instrumental singular of क्रुध्  anger; fem noun 

किमु किम् +उ why? The उ is a particle which is used in classical Sanskrit to add emphasis, or as in this case, [almost] as an expletive

धावसि  - you run 

Awaiting your responses, comments, suggestions... And hope you enjoy reading the full poem.

I would like to thank Rajeev Deshpande for helping me fix a couple of problems I had when first translating this verse.

* http://www.amazon.com/Love-Song-Dark-Lord-Gitagovinda/dp/0231110979 pg 84


Rajeev Deshpande said...


I would read it thus:

(हे) अनंग, हरभ्रान्त्या (माम्) न प्रहर ।

Also, क्रुधा is the instrumental singular of feminine nown क्रुध् .

Best regards,

Rohini Bakshi said...

Thank you! I shall make the changes. Makes so much sense now. I thought krudhA might be instrumental, but I found it listed as a noun itself. Hence the confusion. But I like what you've done with supplying maam. Makes total sense. So prahara is 'attack' then? Because I didn't find that meaning anywhere except an indication in Monier.

Rajeev Deshpande said...

Yes, prahara is attack, in the sense of a verb. See प्रहृ explained here: http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/cgi-bin/monier/serveimg.pl?file=/scans/MWScan/MWScanjpg/mw0701-prahAyya.jpg

Unknown said...

Good translation...

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