Monday, March 03, 2008

Sacred Space, Sacred Time

On my walk yesterday, I caught up with a Gurukula student on the road, a young man who knows enough Sanskrit to hold a conversation. He was pushing his bicycle to the repair shop and we started talking about his dvi-cakrikA. Anyway, at some point we were talking about what the proper Sanskrit words were for "second," and "minute," and it reminded me of this verse, which is a great favorite of mine:

यदा यातो दैवान् मधुरिपुरसौ लोचनपथं
तदास्माकं चेतो मदनहतकेनाहृतम् अभूत्
पुनर्यस्मिन्नेष क्षणमपि दृशोरेति पदवीं
विधास्यामस्तस्मिन्नखिलघटिका रत्नखचिताः

The time that Krishna crossed by chance our path of sight,
that vile and miserable god of love came and stole our soul.
If ever such a moment should again come to our eyes,
its every instant we will drape with jewels and gold.(2.2.36)

I explained as best I could in Sanskrit the concept of "sacred space" and "sacred time." The gopis had discovered a moment of sacred time and they naturally wanted to worship it, to guard it sacred forever. Why? So that it could be recreated, because that is what the sacred moment is about.

Then we parted ways, and as I walked along the forest road, I pulled out my verse cards, and aho! (as Gadadhar Pran would put it!), the Bengali translation of the very same verse was the one I pulled out.

je kAle vA svapane, dekhinu vaMzIvadane
sei-kAle Aila dui vairI
Ananda Ara madana, hari nila mora mana
dekhite nä pAinu netra bhari

punaH jadi kona kSaNa, karAya kRSNa darazana
tabe se ghaTi kSaNa pala
diyA mAlya candana, nAnA ratna AbharaNa
alaGkRta korimu sakala

In that moment, perhaps it was a dream,
when I saw Krishna play his flute,
two enemies came and stole my mind.
One was joy, the other desire.
I could not watch until my eyes were full.

If there should ever come a day when fate
once more bestows on me a glance of him,
I'll worship that holy moment, second, instant,
with garlands, scents and sandalwood,
with jewels and gems and all that I possess. (2.2.37-38)

Indeed, the translation has more than the original. First, it may have been a dream. Second, there were two enemies. Third, the lament, "I could not watch until my eyes were full." And then the expansion of the moment to all its subparts.

The senses. Seeing. May we see.

1 comment:

i.Integral said...

Hi, a friend told me about your blog. He also told me, you might be able to help me out with a translation into sanskrit font (mac osx). I would strongly appreciate any help. Thank you.
my email/ post@marc-antonio.net