The moon has shone upon me

by Vidyapati

English version by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. and Denise Levertov
Original Language Maithili

The moon has shone upon me,
the face of my beloved.
O night of joy!

Joy permeates all things.
My life: joy,
my youth: fulfillment.

Today my house is again
home,
     today my body is
my body.
               The god
of destiny smiled on me.
No more doubt.

Let the nightingales sing, then,
let there be myriad
rising moons, let Kama's
five arrows become five thousand
and the south wind

softly, softly blow:
for now my body has meaning
in the presence of my beloved

Vidyapati says, Your luck is great;
may this return of love be blessed.

-- from In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali, Translated by Edward C. Dimock, Jr. / Translated by Denise Levertov

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/ Photo by akshay moon /


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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Last night I was reading a passage from the Bhagavad Gita:

Thinking and living deep in me,
[the wise] enlighten one another
by constantly telling of me
for their own joy and delight.


This same passage is translated differently in different English renditions, but I rather like this verson by Barbara Stoler Miller. Contemplating the eternal, living deep in the divine reality. Singing songs, recalling stories, "telling" of God, in pure delight. A wonderful reminder of how we enlighten one another...

--

So I thought I'd follow up with a poem of Krishna today. While the Bhagavad Gita is primarily in the form of a dialog between Krishna (God) and Arjuna (the warrior disciple), this poem by Vidyapati is from the perspective of Radha (the soul) after a night of passion (meditation and divine union) with Krishna (God).

The moon has shone upon me,
the face of my beloved.
O night of joy!


The beauty of God is often compared with the moon, the gentle, meditative light of enlightenment.

Joy permeates all things.
My life: joy,
my youth: fulfillment.


Joy! Why is that so many people view religion as being about rules, moral correctness, theological or ritual orthodoxy? There is a reason sacred poets like Vidyapati draw parallels between divine union and sexual union -- the sacred experience is one of delight! Joy! Bliss! A sense of self-unification, of wholeness, of utter fulfillment!

And, unexpectedly, there is an intense physicality to moments of spiritual opening. It's not just something that is ethereal or mental, that delight is profoundly physical, as well, as if every cell in your body has awakened and is ready to sing out.

So enough grim ideas of rules and belief systems. Let's talk about the joy that is ready to awaken in us instead...

Today my house is again
home,
     today my body is
my body.


Through such bliss, we discover what it truly means to be present, at home -- here.

The god
of destiny smiled on me.
No more doubt.


And all the ways we've stretched and contorted the intellect in an attempt to understand deeper reality, attempting to construct a reality based on concepts, that entire effort falls away. Endlessly accumulating and cataloging every description of honey can in no way compare to the truth tasting it for yourself. We don't eradicate doubt through careful cross-referencing of information. We open, we taste, and then we know.

Vidyapati says, Your luck is great;
may this return of love be blessed.


Notice that this union is a "return of love." It is a reciprocation. You could say that there is a magnetic law at work here. The individual soul (Radha) must first be filled with love for the divine (Krishna). When the soul's love is profound, focused, all-consuming, it becomes an invitation, a beacon. So doing, we magnetically draw to us the response: Union. Joy. That knowing taste.


Tomorrow is the full moon, a good time to recite song by which we may enlighten each other.

Have a beautiful day!



Recommended Books: Vidyapati

In Praise of Krishna: Songs from the Bengali





The moon has shone