An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods by Vedantadesika

By Vedantadesika

During this spouse quantity to ]i]Singing the physique of God[/i] (Oxford 2002), Steven P. Hopkins has translated into modern American English verse poems written through the South Indian Srivaisnava thinker and saint-poet Venkatesa (c. 1268-1369).

These poems, in 3 diverse languages - Sanskrit, Tamil, and Maharastri Prakrit -- composed for one specific Hindu god, Vishnu Devanayaka, the "Lord of Gods" at Tiruvahindrapuram, shape a microcosm of the saint-poet's paintings.

They surround significant subject matters of Venkatesa's devotional poetics, from the play of divine absence and presence on the planet of spiritual feelings; the "telescoping" of time earlier and destiny within the everlasting "present" of the poem; love, human vulnerability and the impassible perfected physique of god; to the devotional adventure of a "beauty that saves" and to what Hopkins phrases the paradoxical coexistence of asymmetry and intimacy of lover and liked on the center of the divine-human stumble upon.

Moreover, those poems shape not just a thematic microcosm, yet a linguistic one embracing all 3 of the poet's operating languages. just like the remembered international of Proust's Combray within the style of madeleine dipped in tea, or Blake's global in a Grain of Sand, we style and notice, during this one specific position, and during this one specific type of Vishnu, quite a few protean types and powers of the divine, and hint a veritable summa of theological, philosophical, and literary designs.

Each translated poem varieties a bankruptcy in itself, has its personal person brief Afterword, in addition to particular linguistic and thematic notes and statement. the quantity concludes, for comparative purposes, with a translation of Tirumankaiyalvar's luminous cycle of verses for Devanayaka from the Periyatirumoli.

As a lot an issue as an anthology, this publication could be of curiosity to scholars and students of South Asian reports, comparative faith, and Indian literatures.

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Extra info for An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods

Example text

O Lord true to your servants, take up in your hands, at the time of my death, when ignorance and confusion overwhelm me, Your radiant Conch and Discus! Gracefully come to me, grant to me your knowledge and your sweet mercy! the navaman ima¯ lai ˙ 41 6 You stood here O Lord who long ago became the simple cowherd boy and king, the Protector who eased Earth’s burden when you killed King Kamsa, _ dreaded by gods, and the mad elephant, the wrestlers, swift proud Sakatam _ and deceitful Putana. 9 I took refuge in you.

Your Lady Srı¯ who stands at your side, her body joined inseparably to yours: she gives mercy. Those who reach her feet touch you. 6 3 The heroine’s girlfriend speaks: Kama the God of Love will shower a rain of flower-tipped arrows from his charming sugarcane bow at that young girl who longs for the soft feet of the god of Truth: mercy and grace 7 gush from his sidelong glances. ’’ He has come to Ahı¯ndrapuram, the town of the serpent king, where those who speak speak the essence of the three Vedas.

In the acknowledgments I have already spoken of the work of A. K. 47 As any translator will admit, this is an ongoing process, and one that rather haunts the writer than consoles. 48 I read and savored the English translations of Rg Veda and the luminous poetry of the Upanisads, the Sanskrit love lyrics of _ _ Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti, and the Amarusatakam, and the Prakrit love poetry of Hala’s Sattasa¯¯ı , all of which in turn invited me deeper into the poems and languages that were their sources.

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