~"Although this blog features the voices of women primarily, with the new year of 2013, we welcome select, occasional submissions by men that honor the feminine voice. We launch this addition with the ancient poetry of the bhakti yogini Queen Kunti as translated by my multi-talented friend Vic DiCara."~
***This is one of my very favorite chapters of the Bhagavat Purana, and it features the voice of a woman.
It happens after a terrible war, when a great family was decimated and only one child remained to them... yet while still in the womb it was attacked by a terrible weapon. Sri Krishna diffused the weapon and saved the child and the family. The matriarch of the family then gushed forth this monologue of heartfelt thanks.
The reason I love it so much is because it has everything: it is so philosophically deep, yet so personal and tangible. It is so logical, yet so very emotional. Really, it's just one of the deepest sections of one of the deepest books in the library of great Sanskrit literature.
I am trying to present the treasures of Sanskrit in a way that preserves the drama, beauty, and delightful flavor of the original, so that that modern people can easily read and relate to it. I have made a conscious effort to depart from the traditional "verse-commentary" format (distracting and cumbersome as it can be), attempting to make the translations themselves self-evident, or when necessary to intersperse short commentary into the story line itself.
As I was polishing up the translation I thought of my longtime friend and supporter, Srimati Krishna Kanta, because I thought she would love it, and might want to publish it here, on her "Women's Spiritual Poetry" blog - since it is exquisite poetry spoken by one of history's greatest spiritual women. Now I can share it with you, thanks to her. This is from the eighth chapter of my forthcoming series titled Beautiful Tales of The All Attractive. Please relax and may you deeply enjoy it!
|Art by Anastasia Kitakis Hurlin|
Kunti's Love For Krishna
Once again saved from the ultimate weapon, the very devoted mother of the Pāṇḍavas came forward to affectionately thank Krishna, who was still seated on his chariot.
I give myself to you.
The original person,
The master of all energies
and their origin,
The undelimited existence,
inside and outside of everything.
The fool's eye,
Is blind to your unlimited delimitations,
Beyond the curtains of illusion,
Just as they don’t recognize an actor in costume.
|Art by Quoc Dinh|
But the eyes of the great souls,
Can see you,
because they are moist with devotion.
So can’t a simple woman also see?
I give myself…
I give myself to Krishna,
Son of Vasudeva
Darling child of Devakī,
Cowherd Nanda’s dear boy;
The only delight of my senses.
I give myself to you
Your naval is like a lotus,
You wear a necklace of lotuses,
Your eyes are like lotuses,
Your feet are like lotuses
Kuntī then began to express her gratitude for the special care and protection Krishna always showed her and her family:
O Master of the Senses,
You freed your mother Devakī
From the long imprisonment
Of treacherous Kaṁsa.
From the attacks of man-eaters,
From the vile assembly,
From the sufferings of exile,
From the weapons of countless warriors,
And even from the ultimate weapon…
…You kept us completely safe.
Let there be such dangers forever!!!
Because each one puts us
in your hands;
And thus out of the grasp
of repeated birth and death.
Who needs status, power, learning, or beauty?!
These things only increase the human hallucination,
Blocking us from sincerely turning to you
Who are within reach of those who have nothing else.
I give myself to you,
The wealth of the wealthless
who are unimpressed by the qualities
of material things.
I submit myself unto you,
Lord of the Self-satisfied, gentle and pure.
Now Kuntī addresses the idea that Krishna’s favoritism towards her family is a flaw, which could not be present in the All-Attractive:
I know that you are the master of time itself.
You are infinite, without beginning or end.
You always act with impartiality and equality.
Friendship or enmity is something we living beings create.
Who can understand your all-attractive behavior?
People wrongly think that you are like them:
Partial, selecting objects of favor or disfavor.
But partiality exists only in the human mind!
Now she expresses that all the deeds of Krishna are mysteriously perplexing:
Isn’t it indeed very confusing
That the unborn, deedless soul of the universe
Takes birth and performs deeds
Among animals, humans, sages, and aquatics?
When you were a naughty boy,
Your mother, the cowherd woman,
reached for a rope.
Mascara ran in the tears
flowing from your frightened eyes,
You looked downward
and fear filled you up.
Isn’t this indeed very confusing;
Since even the god of fear fears you!?
Now she addresses the question of why the unborn, deedless being takes birth and performs mysterious deeds:
The unborn is born
to provide the subject for purifying poetry.
He becomes our friend
as sandalwood befriends the Malaya hills.
Someone else says:
You were born
to answer the prayers of Vasudeva and Devakī.
Indeed you protected them
by destroying those who hate the godly.
Another opinion is:
The Earth was like a boat at sea
carrying too much weight and sinking.
Brahmā prayed for your birth,
to relieve her distress.
This world is full of the distress
of ignorant desires and pursuits.
Your birth enables us to hear about,
remember, and worship you.
When a person constantly embraces you in song;
Enjoying the consequent remembrance of your deeds;
She soon sees your lotus-like feet,
And the river of her material destiny runs dry.
Finally, Kuntī makes a passionate plea for Krishna not to leave her just yet:
We are your dear friends.
We live only for you.
We hold your lotus-like feet above all else.
You are independent and self-determining, but
Can it really be true that you want to leave us today?
Will you leave us now, with all our political problems?
The same that becomes of a beautiful body,
without a soul.
Our kingdom is beautiful now,
Because the decorative marks
in your lotus-like footprints
Our towns, fields, nurseries and gardens,
Our forests, hills, rivers and lakes
nourished by your glance.
If you leave, so will the beauty of all these things!
So what is the use of these people and things without you?
Cut the ropes that so deeply bind my heart to them!
O Universal Form!
O Universal Master!
Allure my affection to you and you alone,
O Sweet Protector!
Like the flooding Ganges flowing fast and straight
to the sea.
O Śrī Krishna,
O Friend of Kṛṣṇā,
O Bull among Bulls,
O Tireless hero
who destroys the warriors
who burden the Earth.
O Pleasure of our senses,
O Protector of cows, teachers, and gods,
O Master of mystics and guide of the world,
I give myself to you, the All-Attractive!
While hearing this spontaneous poetry exalting his unlimited glories, carefree Krishna smiled a pleasant smile that was as captivating as his illusory energy.
Vic DiCara (Vraja Kishor Das) took up the practices of divine love, or bhakti-yoga, in 1990. True to his musician nature he concentrated mostly on kirtan and japa of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. For the last twenty years he has been studying the pertinent Sanskrit scriptures and guidebooks, eventually leading him to become intimate with the ancient language and the concepts it attempts to convey. He began writing by creating a short fantasy novel in fifth grade, and has been writing poems, essays, short stories, books and booklets ever since. He is an accomplished songwriter and musician, a professional astrologer, and a reluctant computer programmer. Vic is also a husband to a beautiful musician and yogini named Yunika (Shyama Sakhi Dasi), and father of four. He lives in Japan with his family where he also serves as an English teacher. You may contact him on facebook here or visit his website here.
~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~