In school, I had a love- hate relationship with Hindi. I opted to pursue Malayalam than Hindi, as my second language, at college.As fate would have it, my civil service career was to be in Hindi heartland, where every nook and corner has its own dialect, its own sweetness and nuances of this intriguing language. Awadhi, Braj Bhasha, Bundelkhandi, Khariboli…et al..
Tulsidasji’s SreeRamCharit Manas, the Ramayana in Hindi, is an outstanding classic, revered as a gem of devotional literature as well as the epitome of poetic mastery. The narrative, the rhymes, the play of words, the simplicity, the wisdom are resplendent with unparalleled beauty.
And slowly, as my confidence in the language increased, I realised that this beauty was accessible to me too: a gift so precious, that it was worth travelling thousands of kilometres to the land of its birth, albeit in pursuit of a career in public service.
I have decided to translate a few shlokas from Goswami Tulsidasji’s SundarKanda, as part of my own learning, my own personal growth, my own form of worshipping this beautiful classic.
Often, when you try to translate, the understanding deepens, vocabulary in both languages increase, and one starts catching delicate nuances that usually are not apparent at the first casual reading.
Of course, fools rush in where angels fear to tread. However, I trust in the Lord’s sense of humour and indulgence with fools, and dedicate it to HIM:)
Reference: Tulsidasji SriRamCharitManas, interpreted by Shri.Hanuman Prasad Poddar
Shantam saswatamprameyamanagham nirvanasanthipradam
Brahmashambhubhaneendrasevyamanisham vedanthavedyam vibhum/
Ramakhyam jagadeeshwaram suragurum mayamanushyam Harim
Vandeham karunakaram Raghuvaram bhoopalachoodamanim//
Serene,Eternal, Ineffable,Pure, bestowing ultimate peace in the form of Moksha, served by Brahma, Shiva, Seshnag, the One which Vedanta speaks about, omnipresent, the foremost amongst the Devas, the one who assumes human form using Maya(illusion), the one who removes all sins,the treasury of compassion,the revered among Raghu clan, the jewel in the crown among all Kings- I bow before Ram, as he is called, the Lord Supreme( Jagadeeshwar- the God of the Universe)
Nanya spriha Raghupathe hridayesmadeeye
Satyam vadami cha bhavanakhilandaratma/
Bhaktim prayatscha Raghupungavam nirbharam mei
Kamadidosharahitam Kuru Manasam Cha//
Hey Raghunathji! I am speaking the truth, and You are within all souls ( Antaratma),
You know that I have no other wish in my heart
Give me complete faith in You
Make my mind free of all weaknesses like Kama( desire).
Epitome of incomparable strength, of radiant body shining like the golden mountain( Sumeru)
The fire- bodied one who destroys the forests of daityas, the first among the learned scholars
The seating place of all good qualities, the leader of vanaras
The devotee, very dear to the scion of Raghus,son of Wind God,I offer my salutations to thee.
Jamavanth ke bachan suhaye/ suni Hanumanth Hriday athi bhaye
Tab lagi mohi parideh tum bhaye/ sahi dukh khand mool bhal khaye//
Hearing Jambavan speak thus, Hanuman felt deeply touched
Hey brother, wait for me, sustain yourself till then with fruits and roots.
Jab lagi avaim sitahi dekhi/hoyi hi kaju mohi harsh biseshy/
Yeh kahi nai sabnhi kahu matha/ chalehu harshy hiyam hari Raghunatha//
( Wait for me…) Until I return after seeing Sitaji. I am sure the task will be done, for I feel happy
Saying thus, bowing to all, carrying Raghunatha in his heart, Hanuman left joyously.
Sindhu teer ek bhudhar sundar/Kautuk kudy chadehu ta upar
Bar bar Raghubeer sambhary/ tarkeyu pavantanay bal bhary//
By the side of the ocean stood a huge mountain, Hanuman leapt atop playfully( easily)
Remembering Raghubeer often, the mighty Son of the WindGod jumped with great force from his perch.
Jehim giri charan dei Hanumantha/ chalehu so ga patal turantha/
Jimi amokh Raghupathy kar bana/ehi bhanty chalehuHanumantha//
The mountain from which Hanuman took his leap, went down to the Patal due to the force,
Hanuman travelled like the purposeful arrow of Raghupathy, which never falters from its aim.
Jaladhy Raghupathy dooth bichary/ Taim Mainak hohy shramhary/
The ocean, recognising Hanuman as SreeRamji’s messenger, told Mainak mountain: ‘Hey, Mainak, help him to relieve his tiredness( Let him rest on you)’
Hanuman tehi parasa kar puni keenah pranaam/
Ram kaju keenhe binu mohi kahan bishram//?//
Hanumanji touched Mainak with his hand, and then bowing to it said thus,
Brother, without fulfilling the task of SriRamchandra, how can I rest?