Category Archives: Poetry

“The Cloud.”

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30 Days, day 16: Writing.

I’m skipping ahead in this project; today’s intended topic is a complex subject and a question I’m not yet prepared to answer. But the topic for Day 23 – your own composition: a piece of writing about or for this deity – made me giggle. A piece of writing for Indra? Really? As opposed to, oh, I don’t know…this entire blog?

But in all seriousness, and reverence, I do have some unposted work lingering around my computer. Here’s one poem, an untitled, unpolished verse.

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Algernon Charles Swinburne, from “Dolores.”

“When, with flame all around him aspirant,
Stood flushed, as a harp-player stands,
The implacable beautiful tyrant,
Rose-crowned, having death in his hands;
And a sound as the sound of loud water
Smote far through the flight of the fires,
And mixed with the lightning of slaughter
A thunder of lyres.”

“La Victime.”

“Veis-tu l’s écllaers, os-tu l’tounère?
Lé vent érage et la née a tché!
Les douits saont g’laïs, la gnièt est nère –
Ah, s’tu m’ôimes ouvre l’hus – ch’est mé!”

Do you see the lightning, do you hear the thunder?
The wind is raging and the snow has fallen!
The brooks are frozen, the night is dark –
Ah, if you love me open the door – it’s me!

–George Métivier

The shining rain.

Yajña. Japa. Judicial summons, even.(1) When the rain is scarce and predictions bleak, Indra is again remembered, and petitioned in many ways, to fulfill his duty and end the blight of drought.

Yet, though Indra is a god of rain, he is not only – or even primarily – the rain-god.

In Veda Indra is sung as protective strength and triumphant power; he is the flash and force of the storm, less often its bounteous result. He is part of the rains, but natural processes – which, in the Vedic view, are gross manifestations of subtle, universal phenomena – are not simple and clearly-delineated. Ṛgveda hymned no single “rain god,” but recognised and honoured the interplays by which life was nourished and maintained.

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A book commendation.

I can’t really re-commend a book that I’ve never commended in the first place, but here is some expansive, effusive commendation for my current reading, along with some long blocks of quotation that will allow you all to share in the fun.

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Because it’s Beltane.

Poem beneath the cut. Written by Anne Lynch Botta, published in 1848.
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Amazement with Aurobindo.

There are some folks whose prolific, brilliant accomplishments make me ashamed to be considered part of their species. Śrī Aurobindo is certainly one of these.

An actual post from me is forthcoming, but in the meantime, two brief quotes from this giant of Veda and verse.

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“Indra arising gazed from the heights of his mental realms and the moonbeams surprising flowed on him out of the regions immortal; their nectar slowly mixed with the scattered roses of dawn and mastered us wholly.”
–from The Descent of Ahana

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Ṛgveda III.46, Aurobindo’s translation:
“Very noble are the heroic deeds of mighty Indra, the thunderer, the bearer of the Word, warrior and powerful emperor, the ever young god resplendent, imperishable and possessor of tranquil strength.
O Great, O Puissant, thou art great; by the action of thy expansive power forcefully wrest from others the wealth we desire. Thou art one, king of all that is visible in the whole universe; inspire man in the battle; establish him in the abode of peace, worthy of conquest.
Indra manifesting himself as radiance crosses all measures of the universe surpassing even the gods in every way and infinitely he becomes inaccessible to them. This power that drives straight, by his strength in the mental world, surpasses the wide material universe and the great vital world.
Into this wide and deep, violent and powerful from his very birth, all-manifesting ocean-like Indra, the ordainer of all thoughts, enter the intoxicating universal currents of delight like fast-flowing rivers issuing from the mouth of the mental world.
O puissant Indra, for the satisfaction of thy desire, the mental world and the material universe hold this wine of felicity as a mother holds the unborn child. The priest who accomplishes the sacrifice is for thy sake only, O Bull; he drives the flow of delight so that thou mayst drink it; he refines that delight for thy sake only.”

Such a difference that an excellent English rendering, made with respect and understanding, can make! Having only read this hymn through Griffith’s translation before, I see the two versions now like night and day.

A question I have long had: I know that the respectful, correct way to cite Vedic verse is by recalling the ṛṣi, devatā, and chandas of the hymn. But from what I’ve seen so far, all of the online translations omit information on the Seer and Metre, telling only the Deva(s) praised.

Does anyone know of a website, or an available print source, that gives this information? (Edit: Please see the comments to this post, for some responses!)

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© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Presents from my presence.

Happy Holi, all!

Holi is the date that I chose/researched as “Indra Jāyantī”, and today is also my two-year “anniversary” of being Hindu. So it’s pretty much my favourite day of the year, and one of the few times you’ll find this old bat in a fairly good mood.

Hence, I have a few gifts for y’all today.

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Rabindranath Tagore, from Gitanjali.

“I thought I should ask of thee—but I dared not—the rose wreath thou hadst on thy neck. Thus I waited for the morning, when thou didst depart, to find a few fragments on the bed. And like a beggar I searched in the dawn only for a stray petal or two.
Ah me, what is it I find? What token left of thy love? It is no flower, no spices, no vase of perfumed water. It is thy mighty sword, flashing as a flame, heavy as a bolt of thunder. The young light of morning comes through the window and spread itself upon thy bed. The morning bird twitters and asks, `Woman, what hast thou got?’ No, it is no flower, nor spices, nor vase of perfumed water—it is thy dreadful sword.
I sit and muse in wonder, what gift is this of thine. I can find no place to hide it. I am ashamed to wear it, frail as I am, and it hurts me when press it to my bosom. Yet shall I bear in my heart this honour of the burden of pain, this gift of thine.
From now there shall be no fear left for me in this world, and thou shalt be victorious in all my strife. Thou hast left death for my companion and I shall crown him with my life. Thy sword is with me to cut asunder my bonds, and there shall be no fear left for me in the world.
From now I leave off all petty decorations. Lord of my heart, no more shall there be for me waiting and weeping in corners, no more coyness and sweetness of demeanour. Thou hast given me thy sword for adornment. No more doll’s decorations for me!

Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with stars and cunningly wrought in myriad-coloured jewels. But more beautiful to me thy sword with its curve of lightning like the outspread wings of the divine bird of Vishnu, perfectly poised in the angry red light of the sunset.
It quivers like the one last response of life in ecstasy of pain at the final stroke of death; it shines like the pure flame of being burning up earthly sense with one fierce flash.
Beautiful is thy wristlet, decked with starry gems; but thy sword, O lord of thunder, is wrought with uttermost beauty, terrible to behold or think of.”

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“When the heart is hard and parched up, come upon me with a shower of mercy.
When grace is lost from life, come with a burst of song.
When tumultuous work raises its din on all sides shutting me out from beyond, come to me, my lord of silence, with thy peace and rest.
When my beggarly heart sits crouched, shut up in a corner, break open the door, my king, and come with the ceremony of a king.
When desire blinds the mind with delusion and dust, O thou holy one, thou wakeful, come with thy light and thy thunder.”

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“Life of my life, I shall ever try to keep my body pure, knowing that thy living touch is upon all my limbs.
I shall ever try to keep all untruths out from my thoughts, knowing that thou art that truth which has kindled the light of reason in my mind.
I shall ever try to drive all evils away from my heart and keep my love in flower, knowing that thou hast thy seat in the inmost shrine of my heart.
And it shall be my endeavour to reveal thee in my actions, knowing it is thy power gives me strength to act.”

Rumi, excerpts.

“My sweetheart seized it from him and quaffed the wine; flames from that wine went running over his face.
He was beholding his own beauty, and saying to the evil eye, ‘Never has there been, nor shall there come in this age, another like me.'”

~~~

“When the veils are burned away, the heart will understand completely…Ancient Love will unfold ever-fresh forms in the heart of the Spirit, in the core of the heart.”

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“All your talk is worthless when compared with one whisper of the Beloved.”

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A little verse, no title.

the shaded earth sweetens.
dust drinks in your splendour.

you fall, and so conquer.
the heart sighs surrender.

the wind breathes your praises.
the rain speaks, remember.

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© Arjunī and ridiculously reverent. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Arjunī and ridiculously reverent with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Rumi, “Lightning.”

Translated by Coleman Barks.

“This is no ordinary friendship.
I attend your banquet as wine attends.

Like lightning, I am an expert at dying.
Like lightning, this beauty has no language.

It makes no difference
whether I win or lose.

You sit with us in a congregation of the dead,
where one handful of dirt says,
I was once a head of hair.

Another, I was a backbone.
You say nothing.

Love comes in, I can deliver you
from yourself in this moment.

Now lover and beloved grow quiet.
My mouth is burning with sweetness.”

Hazrat Inayat Khan, from the Gayan.

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Poems on Rakhi.

I am reminded of God in words and songs of love, for indeed who else indeed would be the end result of all of love’s longings?

Today on Rakṣa Bandhan, I think about how the ultimate thread of love and protection is the one that binds us to God. Here are some poems that brought Him to my thoughts today.

Ecstasy (Sarojini Naidu)
Cover mine eyes, O my Love!
Mine eyes that are weary of bliss
As of light that is poignant and strong
O silence my lips with a kiss,
My lips that are weary of song!

Shelter my soul, O my love!
My soul is bent low with the pain
And the burden of love, like the grace
Of a flower that is smitten with rain:
O shelter my soul from thy face!

Oh Love (Rumi)
O Love, O pure deep Love, be here, be now,
Be all – worlds dissolve into your
stainless endless radiance,
Frail living leaves burn with your brighter
than cold stares –
Make me your servant, your breath, your core.

The Poet’s Love-Song (Sarojini Naidu)
In noon-tide hours, O Love, secure and strong,
I need thee not; mad dreams are mine to bind
The world to my desire, and hold the wind
A voiceless captive to my conquering song.
I need thee not, I am content with these:
Keep silence in thy soul, beyond the seas!

But in the desolate hour of midnight, when
An ecstasy of starry silence sleeps
And my soul hungers for thy voice, O then,
Love, like the magic of wild melodies,
Let thy soul answer mine across the seas.