Sunday, 13 September 2015

Prabuddha XXV

O Enlightened One!
did thou abandon art
for that singular reason
of being such a poet
with as sensitive a mind?

From tradition freed
from advice and instruction too
bereft of belief in letters and words
on one’s mind converging direct
seeing one’s being in all clarity — 
thus is obtained Enlightenment.

Niranjala came as though in a dream
lay down beside him on the bed.
‘You’ve not fallen asleep yet?’
She put her arm around his neck
touched his face 

The lamp in the hall
lit for the Buddha 
still flickers.
Soft light from it ensues 
approaches them.
The soft drizzle 
that for so long had fallen
turned into a downpour then. 

The falling rain 
in crescendo and decrescendo 
to his ear was music exquisite
it was the sacred Om that he heard 

Music was a vehicle 
that transported
to the universal soul 
Is my soul 
but minute part
of that entirety?
Is there soul,
isn’t there?
When in slumber so deep
not even dream can intrude 
that ‘I’ that exists then
is it ‘soul’?

When lamp lights lamp
in the fire thus given
there is no relationship
neither is there isn’t —
is the ‘I’ upon death 

Niranjala took away her hand

And then he awoke int the world.
Then did he think:
‘This is my wife.’

You are my wife: who brings me tea in the morning
You are my wife: who with love takes care of the children
You are my wife: who is quietly alert about me always
You are my wife: from lifetime to lifetime across Samsara

For a moment I left
left home and world 
in an Abhinishkramana departure 
even as I slept with you,
did I not,
without the horse Kanthaka 
and without crossing 
the flowing river Anoma?
Leaving is not leaving home,
but distancing from life.
Will I build a house, ever?
Are you destined with the children
in rented spaces to live?

You may at times feel fear
fearful that I would leave
even from here
one day,
and that’s why you said:
‘I think of the children
all the time,
of the future 
I think,
don’t you, ever?’

‘You are correct Niranjala,
This is a departure,
an abhinikmana of the mind
in another world do I dwell
most of the day
and so wake me up
drag me back
to this world;
I will bring for the boy
a necklace 

For you too,
something, a dress, perhaps,
will I bring.

A great kindness towards her
was born then within him.
The lamp had gone out
the rain persisted.
He kissed her face
with tenderness
drew her close;
there was lust 
but also compassion
just there

When you feed the boy even as you bear the pangs of hunger
when you comfort the weeping child even as sobs shake your mind
when I see that you know my mind better than I do

noting of the human heart’s sweetness do you birth in me.

This translation of Mahagama Sekera's epic poem 'Prabuddha', is an exercise that has the permission and blessings of the immediate family of the poet.


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