What a formidable wild spot, a desolate land
Have we chosen to live in! Pressed under hard rules we are;
We have discarded our fondness for our native land; forbidden for us
To look upon cherished faces. Is it true then
That this world is someone’s play, to whose eyes the bondage of rules
Is only an image of his fancy? True then that there is someone
Under whose direction we — blinded by illusion —
Wander in a field hemmed in by delusion on an unreal earth?
There glimmers a city of mirage, light is but the rays of darkness,
The wisdom of the wise is a dream’s orderliness.
A dense woodland is the earthly life,
Thoughts there fly about like fireflies
In the darkness. Vainly did we think then
That this utterance was the musing of hopelessness
Of one conquered in the battle of life, only a wailing of the weak.
Now I see that wailing is true; it is the ultimate vision.
Go hence, O happy dream; come thou, sorrow!
An invincible teacher art thou, own brother of wisdom,
The first-born from the womb of the great Delusion.
Come, let me embrace you. It is just meet
You play with me in this dense forest,
It is a fitting playground for the sorrow you are.
In vain the human being dances about
With the short-lived couple, pain and happiness.
Death will come and stay the dance.
Just at this hour art thou defeated in the battle of life,
O King! In your burning heart is the utterance of hopelessness.
The cry of grief is in your voice and not the Knowledge of Brahman.
Other is that acquisition beyond the reach of the weak,
A great truth attained by heroes only, hidden in the cavern.
True it is that it is a dance, the earthly life.
Whose dance is it? The Lord of the people is the master of dancing.
Embrace not sorrow but him, O King,
Carry him with you, in battle after battle, flood with frenzy
Your body and soul, the home of delight.
Victory and defeat, the battle-field aloud with wailings
Are various footsteps only of the dancer
On a varying background. The king and the kingdom
Are for the sake of the decorative beauty of the dance
Upon the arena of the stage.
With empty words you comfort me.
The heart knows its own sorrows. Narayana dances?
The demoniac nature dances in the chamber of illusion,
It is the demon-girl’s doll’s play — she builds and breaks
Always the living dolls. When she sees a broken heart,
She laughs, her curiosity satisfied. Illusion is true,
True this desolate spot, true also the defeat.
Sorrow is true. Happiness is not true upon this earth,
Nor true is the kingdom. True it is that ignorance is punished,
Love is not true in this world filled with lamentation.
Delve then into your sorrowing heart and wallow in its slime,
Probe into your suffering soul and there find the secret of sorrow.
Finally you will recognise Krishna, full of delight, full of love.
It is the play of the great Lover, this life upon earth.
The love that kisses with the lips of thunder,
The love that burns always with the agony of diseases,
The love whose guise is sorrow and hate and death,
That is of the lowest kind. Compassion is there in the human heart;
Creation is not kind, nor Nature, nor God.
Man builds an image of his own compassion, a fanciful idol
In his own heart. That shadow he worships as God. There is Brahman.
God is but a dream, another kind of dream,
A false consolation created by the imagination of the miserable.
O King, through your utterance, I am witnessing Krishna-play
And my body shivers in delight; I hear
As though Radha, the beloved, is chiding in the words of your mouth.
Never shall I see his face nor hear his name,
Nor shall I know that he exists any more.
Such utterance in the mouth of a mother is the vain fancy of an atheist,
I understand. So I say it is not a mere consolation,
O King! You will surely see my Krishna
Manifesting again in a befitting guise:
[Here one line of the Bengali manuscript is illegible.]
THE VOICE OF KRISHNA
The toy is mine. I have snatched it away and I have given it back again
Only to teach you that I am your Master.
My heart has no trust in these empty words.
Vainly human intelligence creates wordy brilliance
In order to dazzle one’s own eyes. Have done with these words.
I obey, but remember, O great King, What the Vaishnava says.
In vain is such an address.
The tiger is the king of this forest, not I.
As to a beggar, the forest deity doles out
Scanty fruit and roots — just to appease the hunger.
I roam about without my army, abandoned by relatives.
The name king sounds a taunt to my ears.
He is not a king who is abandoned by friends in danger,
One who lies tired in this desolate spot.
There are your subjects, we are there. Always everywhere
You are the king, you are my father,
In no other terms will you hear me address you.
Neither in the woods nor in the city.
(Archives, December 1980)