Love Her, Mind

by Ramprasad (Ramprasad Sen)

English version by Rachel Fell McDermott
Original Language Bengali

Love Her, Mind;
She can ferry you across
the sea of birth and death.

Taxes must be paid in this worthless marketplace,
but it's stupid to trust in wealth and family.
Have you forgotten your past?
Where were you? Where have you come to?
Where are you going?

You wear nothing
but a costume in the world.
The Enchantress makes
illusion dance, so you dance.
And you sit on Her lap
in Her prison.

Egotism, hatred, love, attachment to pleasing things --
why did you share
your kingdom with these?
Tell me that!

What you've done can't be helped;
the day is almost over.
On a jeweled island
Siva sits in Siva's house.
Contemplate Her always.
Prasad says,
Durga's ambrosial name liberates.
Repeat it without ceasing;
drench your tongue in nectar.

-- from Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, Translated by Rachel Fell McDermott

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Love Her, Mind