Smash us not , depress us not
Shrivelled up we remain
O’ Love, what kind of ailment is this
Inflict not this torture, O’ Tyrant
English translation attempted most humbly by yours truly. Translation of full nazm will follow.
English translation attempted most humbly by yours truly. Translation of full nazm will follow.
“A beautiful, golden radiant princess, the daughter of Sun God landed on Earth. The King of the land instantly fell in love with her, and desired to marry her. However, a sorceress fell jealous of how King was enamoured by her, and turned her into ashes. From these ashes a huge tree with dark green leaves grew, which bore golden fruits taking to the radiance of the princess. As one of the fruits ripened and fell on Earth, it instantly turned back into the same Princess Surya Bai. The King recognised her, and they got married.”
This is how the legend of the origin of a mango tree, symbolizing eternal love, is mentioned in ancient Sanskrit literature.
The tree is known to date back to 4000BC in India and the fruit it bore, has been known as the ‘fruit of Gods’.
There is another legend which says that :
Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati were gifted with a golden fruit by Narada, the son of Lord Brahma and with an instruction to be eaten by only one person. So they chose to give to one of their two sons, with a condition that whoever will take 3 rounds of the universe first will be rewarded with this fruit. Ganesh being a smart child took three rounds around his parents and reached back earlier than the other brother, Karthik, saying, “My parents are my universe”.
Hence Ganesha got the fruit, owing to his unequivocal love for his parents.
Not just the fruit, the whole mango tree is revered in Hindu mythology.
Considered auspicious, its dark, big leaves are used to adorn the house in festivals like Diwali and Pongal.
In the weddings too, as a symbol of love and fertility, the leaves are held in a row by a string and hung at the door to welcome the new bride into the house.
Auspicious mango leaves adorning the door.
As an evergreen mango tree starts to blossom with buds, it heralds the onset of spring, and hence called madhu duta( the messenger of spring) that invites love.
A sanksrit couplet says:
aṅkurite pallavite korakite vikasite ca sahakāre |
aṅkuritaḥ pallavitaḥ korakito vikasitaś ca madano ‘sau ||
As the mango flowers begin to swell, to put forth sprouts, to bud and finally to blossom,
Love too swelled, sprouted, budded and blossomed.
The dark green leaves, with fragrant buds and blossoms attract the swarms of humming bees and singing cuckoo birds. The relationship of Mango tree laden with blossoms and Cuckoo bird is that of a lover and the beloved.
The secret of Cuckoo’s melodious voice is associated with the sweet fragrance of mango blossoms and honey laden mango fruits. Perhaps owing to this, mango buds were known to be eaten by singers in old days to make their voice melodious.
Kalidas in his poetry Seasons( Ritusamharam) describes the Spring (Vasanta) as:
” Intoxicated by the nectar of mango blossoms ,
The cuckoo kisses his mate happily in love,….”
“The lovely mango shoot is his choicest arrow,
the swarm of bees is his bow string,
May the world-conquering Manmatha,
Accompanied by vasanta,
Grant you more and more joy.”
Amir Khusrau relates them as:
sakal ban phool rahi sarson
ambva phootey, tesu phule,
koel boley dar dar,
gori karat shingar
The mustard blooms in every field,
Mango buds snap open, the flower blooms,
The cuckoo sings from every branch,
The damsel adorns make-up.
Apart from Gods, even the Rajas, Maharajas, Mughal Emperors and Nawabs could not contain their love for Mangoes, and it is no secret. They were known to keep mango orchards, and took pride in showing off their orchards to the royal guests and spending time with their queens in the orchards when they trees were laden with fragrant blossoms.
Sending a baskets of select mangoes to friends and kins was considered a coveted gesture. Along with the sweetness and aroma, it carried the affection from its sender.
There are folk songs, passed on from generations, relating to Cuckoo bird as the beloved of mango tree:
A Hindi song from India:
Amuva ki dali bole: “Kaali koyaliya, aajaa balmuva hamaar, aja balamuva hamaar.
~The mango branch calls out: “Oh the black cuckoo, come my beloved, come my beloved.”
Yet another one a Punjabi folk song from Pakistan:
Ambewaan de booteyan pe lag gaya bore nee, rut we milaapan waalin, chann mera door nee.
~There are blossoms on mango tree, and the season of being together is there, but my friend is away.
A dussehri mango shaped like a heart, a gift of nature, grown on the mango tree in Reena Satin`s garden.
P.S. A few more blogs to follow on mango and a some interesting recipes using mango 🙂
Kabir leaves no examples to teach and stress to human beings, in his own simple ways, the lessons of humility, tolerance and open mindedness.
In other verses, as in previous post, he gives examples from the living world, like animals, or even from trees, rivers and oceans.
In the verses mentioned below, he picks the most modest of examples, to highlight their good traits. But realisng that they too have downsides, moves on to gentler ones among them. And ultimately makes us realise, it is only ‘the ONE’ truly devoid of flaws.
In a way, there is a subtle message here, that in one’s pursuit to be better, there is always room for further betterment, and despite all our efforts in the direction, it is only the ONE who is perfect.
Rorha hoi rahu baat ka, taji paakhand abhimaan.
Aisa je jana hoi rahe, taahi mile bhagwaan.
O dear, be as humble as the pebble on the path. Giving up all snobbery and ego. Only if you are humble can you realise Him.
Rorha bhaya to kya bhaya, panthi ko dukh deh.
Harijan aisa chahiye, jyoon dharani ki kheh.
Kabir rethinks. What if you are a pebble, as it too can get unkind and hurt the feet of the fellow travellers on the path. So be like the soil on Earth, soft and gentle.
Kheh bhayi to kya bhaya, urhi-urhi laage ang.
Harijan aiasa chahiye, jyu paanee sabrang.
Again Kabir rethinks. What if you become soil? It flies with slight breeze and spoils others ( a little adversity may cause our evil nature to surface and cause harm to others). So just be like water – it is without color (without prejudice), but it can take whatever color easily ( be open minded).
Panee bhaya to kya bhaya, taataa-seeraa hoy.
Harijan aisa chahiye, Hari jaiasa hi hoy.
Once again Kabir rethinks. What if you are water? The water gets furious with heat and even becomes too cold with indifference.
So just strive to be as Tolerant, Kind and and Merciful, always as your Lord.
Khusrau was a master of Persian ( which used to be the language of the court) as well as Brij Bhasha ( the language of the common man) .
Zehaal -e Miskeen is a master piece written in both the languages in Persian (bold) and Brij Bhasha (italics). In the first verse, the first line is in Persian, the second in Brij Bhasha, the third in Persian again, and the fourth in Brij Bhasha. In the remaining verses, the first two lines are in Persian, the last two in Brij Bhasha. The poem expresses the agony of separation from the beloved, in both the languages with a superb fusion…which to my understanding signifies how different yet similiar is the expression of the agony of separation amongst the elite ( representing Persian) and the common man ( through Braj Bhasha).
Zehal-e miskin makun taghaful, duraye naina banaye batiyan
Ki taab-e hijran nadaram ay jaan, na leho kaahe lagaye chhatiyan.
Do not overlook my misery by blandishing your eyes,
and weaving tales; My patience has over-brimmed,
O sweetheart, why do you embrace me.
Shaban-e hijran daraz chun zulf wa roz-e waslat cho umr kotah;
Sakhi piya ko jo main na dekhun to kaise kaatun andheri ratiyan.
Long like curls in the night of separation,
short like life on the day of our union;
My dear, how will I pass the dark dungeon night
without your face before.
Yakayak az dil do chashm-e jadoo basad farebam baburd taskin;
Kise pari hai jo jaa sunaave piyare pi ko hamaari batiyan.
Suddenly, using a thousand tricks, the enchanting eyes robbed me
of my tranquil mind; Who would care to go
and report this matter to my beloved?
Cho sham’a sozan cho zarra hairan hamesha giryan be ishq aan meh;
Na neend naina na ang chaina na aap aaven na bhejen patiyan.
Tossed and bewildered, like a flickering candle,
I roam about in the fire of love;
Sleepless eyes, restless body,
neither comes she, nor any message.
Bahaqq-e roz-e wisal-e dilbar ki daad mara ghareeb Khusrau;
Sapet man ke waraaye raakhun jo jaaye paaon piya ke khatiyan.
In honour of the day I meet my beloved
who has lured me so long, O Khusrau;
I shall keep my heart suppressed,
if ever I get a chance to get to her trick.
Another beautiful rendition of Zehaal-e-Miskin by Warsi brothers:
Ganga-Jamni tehzeeb ( गंगा जमुनी तहज़ीब, گنگا جمنی تهزیب, Ganges-Yamuna Culture) is a euphemism for the mutually participatory co-existence of Hindu and Muslim culture of through the fusion of Hindi and Urdu. (Wikepedia) .
First example is a Bhajan sung by Farid Ayaz & group (I wonder if it’s MeeraBai’s) sung in a Qawwali form is an excellent example of that Ganga Jamni Tehzeeb.
It was the first time a Muslim Pakistani singer sang a Hindi Bhajan inside a temple in Montreal, during Kabir Festival in 2008.
Farid Ayaz and entourage never fail to amaze listeners. Farid Ayaz is a magician more than a musician and this passionate rendition is no less than a magic spell…
Not behind in this tradition of cross culture reverence, Shanker Shambhu brothers sang in praise of Allah, Prophet Muhammed and Imam Ali.
They were known to be singing with their souls pouring out in their voices and was hard to miss their reverence to the kalaam, said those who saw them sing live.
One of their master piece is the Mun Kunto Maula, sung by many others but this one has it’s own charm, and best of all, I have been listening to this since I can remember….
These are but two true examples of music beyond beliefs and borders.
Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye (Hindi)
Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye
Jay peerh paraaye janneyray
Par dukkhey upkar karey teeyey, man abhiman na anney ray
Sakal lokma Sahuney bandhey,
Ninda Na karye kainee ray
Baach kaachh, Man nischal Raakhey, dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray
Samdrishi nay trishna tyagee, par-stree jaynay mat ray
Vivihva thaki asatya na bolay, par-dhan nav jhaley haath ray
Moh maaya vyaayey nahin Jeynay, dridth vairagya jana manma ray
Ram-nam-shoom taalee laagee,
Sakal teerth seyna tanma ray
Vanloohee nay kapat rahit chhay,
Kaam, Krodh nivarya ray
Bhane Narsinhyo tainoo darshan karta kul ekotair taarya re.
Speak only as godlike of the man who feels another’s pain
Who shares another’s sorrow and pride does disdain
Who regards himself lowliest of the low
Speaks not a word of evil against anyone
Blessed is the mother who gave birth to such a son
Who looks upon everyone as his equal,
Lust he has renounced
Who honours women like he honours his mother
Whose tongue knows not the taste of falsehood
Nor covets another’s worldly goods
Who longs not for worldly wealth (or fame)
For he treads the path of renunciation
Ever on his lips is Ram’s holy name
All places of pilgrimage are within him
He has conquered greed, is free of deceit, lust and anger
Through him Narsinh has godly vision
And his generation to come will attain salvation.