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Harekrishna Meher 


Harekrishna Meher



Raindrops. Credit - rainimages.com




(Excerpts from Oriya Kāvya ‘Tapasvinī ’ of Poet Gańgādhara Meher.
English translation by: Dr. Harekrishna Meher.)

[Like Kālidāsa in Sanskrit and William Wordsworth in English, Gańgādhara Meher is regarded as ‘Prakriti-Kavi’, Poet of Nature, in Oriya literature. ‘Tapasvinī’, an eleven-canto Oriya epic poem, is the magnum opus and a great classic of this illustrious poet. With the prevailing sentiment of Pathos, this kāvya depicts the post-banishment episode of Sītā in the hermitage of Sage Vālmīki. In this Rāmāyaņa-based literary composition, the poetic presentation is well-embellished with originality and significant innovations.

Sītā, the daughter of Earth and the devoted wife of King Rāma, in her later life appears as a ‘Tapasvinī’, A Woman practicing penance or An Ascetic-maid, in the pen of Gańgādhara Meher. This epic poem reveals the ambition of the poet to portray the brilliant character of a devoted wife steeped in Indian culture in the domain of literature. With vivid and prominent delineation of Sītā’s life-deeds, Tapasvinī kāvya may be construed as a ‘Sītāyana’ in the field of Indian Literature.]


Auspicious Dawn

Auspiciously came 
Ushā, the blooming lotus-eyed dame,
in her heart cherishing keenly
thirst for a vision
of the virtuous Jānakī
Bearing dew-pearls as presentation
in her hands of leafage,
standing forward
in the outer courtyard
of Sītā’s cottage,
in cuckoo’s tone spake she :
“O Chaste Lady !
Deign to give your sight ;
Dawned the night.” 

*
The saffron costume
of auroral shine,
flowers’ smiling bloom
and tranquil mien
make a room
in the mind to presume :
Some goddess of Yoga reaching the place,
by sweet words giving solace
calls to render relief
from pangs of grief.
From heaven on earth as if
has descended to bestow a new life. 

*
Musical tune Zephyr sang swinging,
Black Bee played on lute charming.
By Ushā’s bidding, in dance
rapt remained Fragrance.
Kumbhātuā bird as a royal bard
began to eulogize forward.
As the panegyrist premier
Kalinga bird appeared there
and spake in voice gracefully sweet :
“Wake please,
O Queen of the empire of chaste ladies !
Dawned the night.” 

* * 

River Tamasā

With heart eagerly restless
at the end of the night,
Tamasā, the hermitage-hostess,
limpid-limbed
and sacred-streamed,
strewing on the yard flowers pleasant,
sprinkling water fragrant,
kindling auspicious Lucifer-lamp bright,
with her fish-eyes frequently gazing thus,
was awaiting Sītā’s arrival gracious. 

*
Accompanied by Anukampā that moment,
Sītā, the jewel among the chaste,
highly applauded in the world by the overflow
of endless endearment 
rendered by hermit-maidens, in haste,
from the hermitage went to the river-flow.
Her on own lap Tamasā placed,
with the wave-hands lovingly embraced. 

*
“Wandering over several woods wide,
never wavering astray
by illusion of any gorge,
surmounting many an impediment
in my life limpid,
never deeming darkness
as a distress,
never thinking light
to be a delight,
for a remote way
ahead I’ve continued to forge
with my head humbly bent.
Gratifying every bank-dweller
with offering of water,
fruitfulness of my birth 
I’m realizing worth. 

*
Stepping on my banks, My dear !
you’ll kindly meander
on pretext, presenting supernal splendour.
Earning this, the sylvan trees
will cheerfully bear
the pride of deities ;
also peace they’ll grant.
In the foliage, sure,
will remain perpetually pure
the lustres, rosy, darkish and elegant.” 

* *

Bana-Lakshmī, The Sylvan Beauty

“By Pushpaka plane when
you were returning through the sphere,
I standing here
bearing in hands a gift of flowers fine,
with gazelle’s eyes woefully gazing above
was calling you with keen love
in the voice of peahen
from a long way.
Friend dearest mine !
Did you come today
remembering this companion
after so many days gone ? 

*
In the company of the noble
remains noble feeling ever-unsplit stable,
just like blue colour in the sky.
Nigh the noble companion
never in vain goes aspiration.
Your gracious sight, that’s why
I could obtain
at the time opportune.
Verily attainable is this gain
on favourable fortune.
O My Dear Friend Intimate ! 
Your feeling made me very fortunate.” 

*
To extinguish the conflagration
of severe separation
in the forest of Sita’s heart, that moment
Sylvan Beauty, sweetly attractive,
seemed in mind’s view
like a cloud-mass appeared anew.
Said Janaki with endearment :
“O Dear Companion ! 
In your prison
myself became life-long captive.” 

* * 
(Extracted from Canto-IV of Tapasvinī kāvya)



 

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