During this significant other quantity to ]i]Singing the physique of God[/i] (Oxford 2002), Steven P. Hopkins has translated into modern American English verse poems written via 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 issues of Venkatesa's devotional poetics, from the play of divine absence and presence on the planet of non secular 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 middle of the divine-human come across.
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 flavor of madeleine dipped in tea, or Blake's global in a Grain of Sand, we style and spot, during this one specific position, and during this one specific kind of Vishnu, a number of protean kinds and powers of the divine, and hint a veritable summa of theological, philosophical, and literary designs.
Each translated poem types a bankruptcy in itself, has its personal person brief Afterword, besides particular linguistic and thematic notes and statement. the amount 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 e-book may be of curiosity to scholars and students of South Asian experiences, comparative faith, and Indian literatures.
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Extra info for An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods
Though my translations have no ﬁxed meter, they are certainly far from random or ‘‘free’’ in the loose sense of the term. I have thought long and hard on the spacing of English phrases, and it is the original that has guided me in my choices in English, even when the translation seems to differ most from the original in form. ’’ In my English this becomes a line broken into visual rhythmic fragments: they gave us the Gaxga who fell, caught by a single lock of Siva’s matted hair. . This being said, I often construct densely spaced English verse-lines to match, for instance, a tightly constructed wall of Vexkatesa’s Tamil verses in _ the rich and complex a¯ciriyappa¯ meter.
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. I became the slave of the Lord of celestials, Lord, body of Truth to his servants—10 You protected the Elephant, Discus in your hand!
_ Vexkatesa’s life spans the waning of the Co¯la dynasty and the beginnings _ of Vijayanagar, where the expansion of the Telugu warriors into the Tamil land created a new set of alliances. His rich poetic and philosophical output in Tamil, Sanskrit, Maharastrı¯ Prakrit, and maniprava¯la, as well as his conscious __ _ _ synthesis of regional and panregional idioms, accurately reﬂects the religious and ideological pluralism of the emerging Vijayanagar empire. 31 We ﬁnd in Vexkatesa’s time a cultural atmosphere analogous in its cosmopolitanism and _ interreligious and interlinguistic contacts to that of the still-mysterious Kala_ bhra interregnum—but this time under Hindu rule and a peasant-Telugu 32 warrior alliance.