Rabindranath Tagore

(7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941 / Calcutta (Kolkata), Bengal Presidency / British India)

Brahmā, Vişņu, Śiva


I THE DARK

In a worldless timeless lightless great emptiness
Four-faced Brahma broods.

nasad asin, no sad asit tadanim;
nasid raja no vioma paro yat.
kim avarivah? kuha? kasya sarmann?
Ambhah kim asid, gahanam gabhiram?

na mytur asid, amrtam na tarhi.
na ratria ahna asit pratekh.
anid avatam svadhaya tad ekam.
tasmad dhanyan na parah kim canasa.

tama asit tamasa gudham agre;
apraketam salilam sarvam a idam.
tuchyenabhu apihitam yad asit,
tapasas tan mahinajayataikam.

Of a sudden sea of joy surges through his heart –
The ur-god opens his eyes.
Speech from four mouths
Speeds from each quarter.
Through infinite dark,
Through limitless sky,
Like a growing sea-storm,
Like hope never sated,
His Word starts to move.

Stirred by joy his breathing quickens,
His eight eyes quiver with flame.
His fire-matted hair sweeps the horizon,
Bright as a million suns.

From the towering source of the world
In a thousand streams
Cascades the primeval blazing fountain,
Fragmenting silence,
Splitting its stone heart.

kamas tad agre sam avartatadhi
manaso retah prathamam yad asit?
sato bandhum asati nir avindan
hrdi pratisya kavayo manisa

II THE MUSIC

In a universe rampant
With new life exhalant,
With new life exultant,
Vishnu spreads wide
His four-handed blessing.
He raises his conch
And all things quake
At its booming sound.
The frenzy dies down,
The furnace expires,
The planets douse
Their flames with tears,
The world’s Divine Poet
Constructs its history,
From wild cosmic song
Its epic is formed.
Stars in their orbits,
Moon sun and planets –
He binds with his mace
All things to Law,
Imposes the discipline
Of metre and rhyme.

In the Manasa depths
Vishnu watches -
Beauties arise
From the light of lotuses.
Lakshmi strews smiles -
Clouds show a rainbow,
Gardens show flowers.
The roar of Creation
Resolves into music.
Softness hides rigour,
Forms cover power.

tirascino vitato rasmir esam:
adhah svid asid, upari svid asit?
retodha asan, mahimana asan;
svadha avasat, prayatih parastat.

Age after age after age is slave to a mighty rhythm –
At last the world-frame
Tires in its body,
Sleep in its eyes
Slackens its structure,
Diffuses its energy.
From the heart of all matter
Comes the anguished cry –
‘Wake, wake, great Shiva,
Our body grows weary
Of its law-fixed path,
Give us new form.
Sing our destruction,
That we gain new life.’

III THE FIRE

The great god awakes,
His three eyes open,
He surveys all horizons.
He lifts his bow, his fell pinaka,
He pounds the world with his tread.
From first things to last it trembles and shakes
And shudders.
The bonds of nature are ripped.
The sky is rocked by the roar
Of a wave of ecstatic release.
An inferno soars –
The pyre of the universe.

Shattered sun and moon, smashed stars and planets,
Rain down from all angles,
A blackness of all particles
To be swallowed by flame,
Absorbed in an instant.
At the start of Creation
There was a dark without origin,
At the breaking of Creation
There is fire without end
In an all-pervading sky-engulfing sea of burning
Shiva shuts his three eyes.
He begins his great trance.

ko adha veda? Ka iha pravocat,
kuta ajata, kuta iyam visrstih?
arvag deva asya visajanena:
atha ko veda yata ababhuva?

iyam visrstir yata ababhuva;
yadi vasa dadhe yadi van na:
yo asyadhyaksah parame vioman
so anga veda, yadi va na veda.

Submitted: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Edited: Tuesday, December 27, 2011

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  • Ramesh Rai (2/16/2014 5:39:00 AM)

    A great spirital write. Brahma is the creator Vishnu is permeating and Shiva to destroy. in my poem the hymn of mercy i have given the definition Generator Operator and Destroyer. (Report) Reply

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