Aug 01 2012

Vidyapati – The moon has shone upon me

Published by at 9:10 am under Poetry

The moon has shone upon me
by Vidyapati

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

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


/ Photo by akshay moon /

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!






Vidyapati, Vidyapati poetry, Yoga / Hindu poetry Vidyapati

India (1340? – 1430) Timeline
Yoga / Hindu : Vaishnava (Krishna/Rama)

Vidyapati was born in the village of Bisapi in Madhubani, on the eastern side of north Bihar. Courtier, scholar, and prose-writer, Vidyapati. In the well-known tradition of the influential early Indian poem called Gita Govinda by Jayadeva, Vidyapati’s love-songs re-create and reveal the world of Radha and Krishna, the major erotic figures of Indian mythology and literature. Such poems convey the devotion of Krishna’s worshippers through the metaphor of human erotic love. While Jayadeva’s poem celebrates Krishna’s love and pays comparatively little attention to Radha the woman, Vidyapati is primarily concerned with the intense passion of Radha’s love. At once sensuous and sensual, descriptive and dramatic, Vidyapati’s songs range beyond the mythological only to find their place in the heart of a human lover whose dreams and desires never die, whose sighs and cries never end.

– From Reading About the World, Volume 1, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Gallwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers, Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by Harcourt Brace Custom Books.

More poetry by Vidyapati

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Vidyapati – The moon has shone upon me”

  1. Lucienne (Alluvja)on 02 Aug 2012 at 4:27 am

    Thank you Ivan,

    I just love this poem as well as your wonderful explanation.

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Lucienne

  2. Gregory Travison 02 Aug 2012 at 9:39 am

    That was an interesting one!
    Thanks for all the love and hard work you put into this, Ivan. It is one of the highlights of my day. The moonlight of my nights.

    Gregory

  3. marrobon 02 Aug 2012 at 10:11 am

    A night in the country. I awake to find the moon
    playing through clouds, dancing around me.
    Oh my! My breath`s knocked out & I`m filled
    with that `lunatic`rapture. Oh how to find the words to express this?

    Well 1 click of the e-mail button & there they are in the morning -
    mystic clear from unknown Vidyapanti & clearer through
    Ivan`s & other readers`comments.

    Thanks, On holiday, I don`t have to work hard at all ! My luck is indeed great
    and this return of love is blessed. |

  4. surya bhushanon 03 Aug 2012 at 12:29 am

    I like this moon and this sun
    but i never like this world
    because it is deceived me ever
    but this sun and moon
    ever like to be bright and taught me
    how to even and never be hopeless
    and bright like us
    because we never to make you above
    we give you charm
    and how
    to depended
    yourself
    in this erasing world.

  5. ebrahimon 03 Aug 2012 at 7:17 am

    “whoever taste recognizes”

  6. MARIA AKRAMon 07 Aug 2012 at 1:03 am

    THANX FOR NICE POEM.I SAY SOMETHING ABOUT MOON.I ALWYS LOVE MOON AND THINK THAT IS MY LOVER .BT I OBSERVE THAT THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE MOON LIVE ALONE THERE IS ALWAY A GAP BETWEEN THE PERSON AND HIS LOVER WHO LOVES THE MOON .BCZ HE CAN,T ANALYSIS THE MOON AS HIS LOVER OR HIS LOVER AS MOON THERE REMAIN ALWAYS DISTANCE .

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