As the week’s prompts were announced by Blogchatter, I was sure of my pick: “3 romance poems that everyone must read”. But the word ‘romance’ got me thinking and I must say, I arrived at these 3 particular poems after lots of to and fro.
While romance is often associated with intimate relationships and the feelings of love and affection that arise between partners, the concept of romance can also encompass other forms of love and connection.
In a broader sense, romance can refer to the experience of being swept away by strong emotions, whether they are related to love, passion, excitement, or a sense of wonder and awe. Romance can evoke a sense of longing, enchantment, and transcendence, and it can inspire people to pursue their dreams and passions with a sense of purpose and intensity.
In fact, it is in one such moment of romantic experience & passionate involvement with life that made me intuitively start with this #28days28poems on love. Love has that ability to swell your heart with a tenderness that you can no way keep to just yourself. It expands your horizons. In fact, love comes in myriad shades. It makes you experience joy and sorrow with equal intensity. But what makes it worth it is its transient nature.
Interestingly, in one of the poems that I penned a few days back (PONDERING ON LOVE SITTING IN A DENTIST’S CHAIR), that ended with the lines,
“For love is a journey, with twists and turns And maybe one day, my heart will learn Until then, maybe the art of surrender Could take me in love’s yonder...",
I got an interesting question in the comments section asking “Is love surrender or liberation?”. Here is the answer, the kind of love that makes you evolve and transcend boundaries is both surrender and liberation. If your surrendering doesn’t liberate you, then there’s a problem either in your surrendering or the one you are surrendering to; pure love is always liberating.
Today, I wish for you to experience this transcendent nature of love through the poems written by 3 different Indian writers/poets in 3 different languages. There are a lot many poems but the choice of these poems happened organically. Writing this post started last week but things kept changing and it’s these 3 poems that ended up at last.
For starters, transcendental love is a type of love that goes beyond the boundaries of ordinary human experience and understanding. It is often described as a feeling of pure and unconditional love, free from the constraints of materialism, egoism, or self-interest. This type of love is thought to be divine, originating from a higher power or spiritual dimension, and is believed to bring individuals closer to their true nature and purpose.
In some spiritual and religious traditions, transcendental love is considered the ultimate goal of human existence, as it is thought to bring a state of peace, happiness, and fulfilment that cannot be found in any other experience.
Now that you know what transcendental love is, let us soak into some of the beautiful poems penned by Indian poets.
Mirabai’s love breaking the societal norms
First in line is this poem by Mirabai (or Meera), a 16th-century Hindu mystic poet and devotee of Lord Krishna. Mirabai holds a significant place in Bhakti period poetry as a female poet. She was deeply devoted to Lord Krishna and had a strong detachment from the material world. Despite societal norms, she would often sit in the temple and express her devotion through singing and dancing, activities that were typically prohibited for high-caste women. Meera disregarded societal boundaries and began living among holy men, despite the unfavourable conditions posed by the social and religious system of her time.
मैं तो सांवरे के रंग राची॥ साजि सिंगार बांधि पग घुंघरू, लोक लाज तजि नाची। गई कुमति लई साधु की संगति, भगत रूप भै सांची। गाय गाय हरि के गुण निसदिन, काल ब्याल सूँ बांची। उण बिन सब जग खारो लागत, और बात सब कांची। मीरा श्री गिरधरनलाल सूँ, भगति रसीली जांची॥
Here is a wonderful translation by CHLOE MARTINEZ, translated from the Braj-Bhasha above:
I’m dyed dark with him. I dressed up / put on ankle-bells / gave up on shame / danced I’ve taken on his deep hue. I took up with mystics / got called perverse / was faithful, true, in my body I’m colored with his colors. I sang night and day / described his qualities / escaped time, death, snakes His colors seep through me. The whole world would taste bitter / without him / it would all be useless I’m blue like my beloved. Mira says, O Mountain-lifter, listen / I’m drenched in your sweetness
Notes: This translation was taken from the Poetry Foundation website. Also, read the note on this poem by Chloe Martinez.
What makes this one of my favourites is her feminine expressions, her love that couldn’t be contained by any societal barriers. The very first line “I’m dyed dark with him” expresses her feeling of surrender with the following lines vividly expressing her joy, liberation and her desire to be in this very state of bliss. Isn’t it beautiful?
For an immersive experience, check this out:
Bharathiyaar’s poem on being absorbed wholly in love
How many of us would have taken the time to admire the expanse of the ever-embracing sky or just soak in the sunrise or sunset today? Isn’t it sad that in a tech-driven, hurried lifestyle, we are losing our sense of wonder and awe? Aren’t we getting more distant from nature? And is this face-paced lifestyle worth it? Maybe take time to reflect upon it and as you decide to do so, let me take you to this absolutely adorable poem by Mahakavi Bharathiyaar. C. Subramania Bharathi (popularly known as Bharathiyaar) was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot. His writings revolved around the central themes of a progressive society, caste abolition, transcendental love, mysticism, patriotism and feminism.
It’s a difficult task to choose any one poem from all the wonderful poems that he has written. Yet for the topic chosen, this particular poetry spoke to me more in the given span of time. What particularly stood out in this poem is how completely absorbed is he in love that everything that surrounds him becomes/reminds him of his beloved, Kannamma. And how involved he must have been with nature itself so as to make such vivid comparisons! What can be more romantic than this?
Here’s the poem for you:
மாலைப் பொழுதிலொரு மேடை மிசையே வானையும் கடலையும் நோக்கி யிருந்தேன்; மூலைக் கடலினையவ் வான வளையம் முத்தமிட் டேதழுவி முகிழ்த்தல் கண்டேன்; நீல நெருக்கிடையில் நெஞ்சு செலுத்தி, நேரங் கழிவ திலும் நினைப்பின்றியே சாலப் பலபலநற் பகற் கனவில் தன்னை மறந்தலயந் தன்னில் இருந்தேன். ஆங்கப் பொழுதிலென் பின்பு றத்திலே, ஆள்வந்து நின்றெனது கண்ம றைக்கவே, பாங்கினிற் கையிரண்டுந் தீண்டி யறிந்தேன், பட்டுடை வீசுகமழ் தன்னி லறிந்தேன்; ஓங்கி வருமுவகை யூற்றி லறிந்தேன்; ஒட்டு மிரண்டுளத்தின் தட்டி லறிந்தேன்; ‘வாங்கி விடடிகையை யேடி கண்ணம்மா! மாய மெவரிடத்தில்?’என்று மொழிந்தேன். சிரித்த ஒலியிலவள் கைவி லக்கியே. திருமித் தழுவி“என்ன செய்தி சொல்”என்றேன்; “நெரித்த திரைக்கடலில் என்ன கண்டிட்டாய்? நீல விசும்பினிடை என்ன கண்டிட்டாய்? திரித்த நுரையினிடை என்ன கண்டிட்டாய்? சின்னக் குமிழிகளில் என்ன கண்டிட்டாய்? பிரித்துப் பிரித்துநிதம் மேகம் அளந்தே. பெற்ற நலங்கள் என்ன?பேசுதி”என்றாள். “நெரித்த திரைக்கடலில் நின்முகங் கண்டேன்; நீல விசும்பினிடை நின்முகங் கண்டேன்; திரித்த நுரையினிடை நின்முகங் கண்டேன்; சின்னக் குமிழிகளில் நின்முகங் கண்டேன்; பிரித்துப் பிரிந்துநிதம் மேகம் அளந்தே, பெற்றதுன் முகமன்றிப் பிறிதொன் றில்லை; சிரித்த ஒலியினில்ன் கைவி லக்கியே, திருமித் தழுவியதில் நின்முகங் கண்டேன்.”
Here’s a translation that I found in one of this video’s comment sections & I found it beautiful, so sharing it here.
One evening alighted on an elevated seat (overlooking the oceans) I was watching into the expanses of the skies and the ocean, there, in the far corner, I witnessed the rainbow kiss and caress the oceans, Totally engrossed in the intensity of the surrounding blueness, I had stopped realising the passing of time, In the numerous mesmerising and entrancing dreams that followed I was in a state where I forgot my existence! At that magical moment, a person who came from behind covered my eyes, I realised in the nature of the touch of her hands, I realised her in the fragrance of her silk fabric, I realised her in the fountain of euphoria that followed, I realised her in the exhilarated heart’s beat, then, I said, “Oh Kannamma, release your hands! with whom are you playing your tricks? ” She smiled, I removed her hands from my eyes, turned back, embraced and asked her “tell me the news,” She said “What did you see in the vast oceans? In the blue skies what did you see? In the wandering spume of the oceans what did you see? In those tiny bubbles what did you see? what good did you achieve by always looking at and analysing those clouds in detail?, Tell me” I see your face in the vast oceans, In the blue skies too, I see your face, In the wandering spume of the oceans I see your face, In the tiny bubbles of water I see your face, In the process of studying the clouds in detail, all I realised was your beautiful face and nothing else, Even after you smiled and removed your hands from my eyes, I turned back and looked at your glorious face
For a more immersive experience, listen to this song in the mellifluous voice of the one & only, Bombay Jayashree :
Kanchi Paramacharya’s prayer, a poem, calls for universal love
In its purest form love is ever-giving and evolving. It always holds the promise of universal love, a sense of brethren beyond boundaries. Upholding such a deep sense of transcendental love that shatters egos and differences is this particular benediction of Jagadguru Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, renowned as the Paramacharya of Kanchi.
What makes this prayer poem is its urging voice to come together and respond from the space of love. It also lays down clear commands that can appeal to anyone across the globe. It’s simple & straightforward, commanding, urging, yet the tenderness in it remains intact. Here’s the prayer & its translation, taken from Wikipedia.
मैत्रीं भजत अखिलहृज्जेत्रीम् आत्मवदेव परानपि पश्यत । युद्धं त्यजत स्पर्धां त्यजत त्यजत परेषु अक्रममाक्रमणम् ॥ जननी पृथिवी कामदुघाऽऽस्ते जनको देवः सकलदयालुः । दाम्यत दत्त दयध्वं जनताः श्रेयो भूयात् सकलजनानाम् ॥
Cultivate friendship, which will conquer all hearts, Look upon others as thyself. Renounce war. Forswear competition. Give up aggression on others, Earth our Mother is here, ready to give us all our desires We have the Lord our Father, compassionate to all. Ye people of this world! Restraint yourself, be kind. May all people be happy and prosperous Let good happen to all, Let good happen to all, Let good happen to all.
What makes this prayer poem even more special is that it was rendered at the United Nations on Oct. 23, 1966, on the occasion of the UN day, UN-day-1966 by Bharat Ratna Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi and Dr Radha Viswanathan and received a standing ovation.
Check this soulful rendition of the song by the evergreen Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi :
Hope you enjoyed immersing in some transcendental love as much as I did while curating this post for you.
May love help you evolve & transcend beyond your boundaries 🙂
This post is a part of Blogchatter Blog Hop.