Good Karma Being Born a Woman

I invite you to read the following Narsinh Mehta poem.

You get it in Gujarati, romanized Gujarati,
and in English translation.
Enjoy it, peruse it, savor it.
In a later post we can talk about it.

કોણ પુણ્યે કરી નાર હું અવતરી
kon punye kari naar hu avatari
Good Karma

કોણ પુણ્યે કરી નાર હું અવતરી, શ્રી હરિ દીન થઇ માન માગે,
અમર અિવગતિ કહે, અકલ કો નવિ લહે, તે કમલાવર કંઠ લાગે. ૧
kon punye kari naar hu avatari, shri hari deen thai maan maage,
amar avigati kahe, akal ko navi lahe, te kamala var kanth laage. 1

What good karma flows from my past that I am born a woman,
and God Himself courts my favors?
Immortal, inexpressible, beyond understanding,
the Lotus Lord clings to me. 1

યજ્ઞ યાગે કરી,  યોગ ધ્યાને ધરી, બહુ તપ અાદરી દેહકષ્ટે,
તોહુ તે હરિ સ્વપને ન દેખીએ, તે હરિ િનરખીએ પ્રેમદ્ૃષ્ટે. ૨
Yagya yaage kari, yoga dhyaane dhari, bahu tapa aadari dehakashte,
tohu te hari swapane na dekhiye, te hari nirakhiye premdrishte. 2
Performing rituals, meditation, penance precisely,
Hari comes not even in a dream.
That same Hari appears most easily, when sought with devoted passion. 2

શેષ સુખાસન સેજ સદા સહી, ભવન જશું, વૈકુંઠ કાહાવે,
તે પે અિધક મંદિર માહારું,  પ્રેમે પીતાંબર પલંગ અાવે. ૩
Shesh sukhasasn sej sada sahi, bhavan jashu, vaikunth kaahaave,
te pe adhik mandir maahaaru, preme pitambar palang aave. 3

Shesh Nag’s comfortable cradle we gain in the heavenly palace, for our pain.
Greater than that is my temple; adoringly the Yellow-Garbed One comes to my bed. 3

ભગતવછલ તણુ િબરદ પોતે વહે, વેદ પુરાણ એમ સમૃત વાણી,
નારસહિયાચો સવામી ભલે મલિયો, કીધી કૃપા મને દીન જાણી. ૪
bhagatvachhal tanu birad pote vahe, ved puraan em smrut vaani,
naarsahinyaacho swami bhale maliyo, kidhi krupa mane deen jaani. 4
The vedic puranic scriptures declare, proclaim him devotee lover.
I say, Well met are You, Narsinh’s Lord, granting me grace, knowing me frail.

Narsinh Mehta (ms. 1668) Gujarati Text from Jayant Kothari ed. Narsinh Padmala 1997. roman gujarati and Translation: Meena Desai, 2009.

NOTE about romanized gujarati: Instead of diacritical marks, I am using simple rules for phonetic pronunciation. I only add a second letter “a” to indicate the longer “a” sound as in “father” when it seems necessary. Similarly, I mostly use the letter “i” for both the long and short “i” and “ee” sounds unless essential.

About meenapoetartisan

word lover, meaning maniac, bilingual with metalingual interests, sometimes potter, poet, playwright, writer, mover to music, always a pontificator.
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