Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seek Not

A translation of a song by Tagore

When you don't seek Him, shall He emerge;

When you let go of Him, He walks up to you;
His light I thought I'd lost in day,
In the dark of night its presence I knew.

You won't see Him, you can't touch Him;
Yet, liberate your spirit towards Him and Awake!
In the patterns of the stars shall He voice Himself,
With the flower bud shall He blossom at daybreak!

When you don't seek Him, shall He emerge;

All the tears that once I had shed for Him in pain,
on white lotuses as dewdrops now they shimmer, wax and wane;

To my song, the dewdrops flash and shine,
and dance in concerted consonance,
And to my tranquil eyelashes, they,
return as tears of exuberance.

"Na Chahile Jaare Paawa Jaae"

One of Tagore's numerous profoundly abstruse compositions came to my mind a few days back, and I've been trying to understand the intended meaning in it. The song seems to imply that fervently pursuing a goal (be it God, love or anything else) often makes the goal elude us. Whereas dispassionately letting it go can unite us with the very thing that we now no longer doggedly seek. The song is wonderful and I attempted to translate it without colouring it with my interpretation, and I must flash a disclaimer that (like any other translation) I have not been able to retain all the subtle nuances of the song, especially the alliterative wordplay.

Since genders need not be explicitly stated in Bengali grammar, we do not know whether the 3rd person reference in this song is towards a man, woman, God, or a personified object. Hence 'He' is not necessarily God.


little boxes said...

khub shundor hoyeche translation ta.this is a song very close to my heart!

little boxes said...

btw bangla haater lekha ta tor?

sujaan said...

thnx :) ya hather lekha amar...

little boxes said...

Weird.i never saw your handwriting before!awesome handwriting :)

Angika said...

Although you taught me the alphabet, I am unable to read and understand the Bengali :) But I like the translation. It flows well and the idea is something I agree with totally. This title is also better. And FYI. Subtle show-off of your Bengali handwriting has not been missed by me. I'm sure sure Riya's compliment will make you gloat for months.

sujaan said...

@angika, i see my pedantic attempts of teaching you a new script have scuttled; and i absolutely do not condone your insinuation of me being a blowhard...despicable!! :P

Angika said...

I have not missed your 3-in-1 tactic either. 3 goals with 1 comment:

1. Show-off your new-found vocabulary.
2. Get people to ask you about your GRE so that you can show-off your score.
3. And most importantly, get more comments on your blog this way!

Pathetic! Yes, I know I'm helping your cause, but that's because I don't count the number of comments on our last posts everyday like you do :D

Arkarup Banerjee said...

good job!!! I realize how difficult it is to translate something which is this abstract yet so profound...

"Diboshe se dhon harayiechi ,ami peyechi andhar raate" could have been interpreted a little differently..
To me it means that the treasures of the loftiest kind which are intangible can best be realised in the loneliness of the night and not amidst the clamour of the day..

But the rest, its beautiful in its own right. :)

sujaan said...

@arka... thats how i interpreted it as well...just that i used "light" instead of treasures...coz like subtle treasures, subtle lights (e.g. stars) are totally lost in the overpowering daylight

reema said...

simply delightfull

sourik_poetsparadise said...

Hello Sujaan,

It's been quite a long time that i have agan visited your blog and found this lucid translation of one of the legendary songs written by an extraordinary person really
amazing and very interesting.
Do drop by my blog someday, my friend for i would be eagerly expecting your response out there...:) :)


a-fool-such-as-i said...


deepteshpoetry said...

Nice wordplays.Do chk d one out on my blog!Hope u hvn't forgotten me!I had 2 leave for a while due 2 academic reasons.

Megh said...

this song takes me to the ..
red earthed Shantiniketan !