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Baja-Govindham

From: krish (krish_at_astro.ge.com)
Date: Tue Apr 09 1996 - 06:42:33 PDT

 BajaGovindam is rather an unusual piece of picturesque
poetry by Snankara. Most of the puritanical translations
by devoted Hindus are rather poor and the the beauty of
poems remain untouched. I was introduced to it in my school
days in my Sanskrit class. A home-less man sleeping crouched
in the city streets on a cold day, will bring the poem to 
your mind. Sankara must have well travelled in the cold
North to describe a man sleeping bundled up his knees
buckled under his chin. Or for that matter a "dirty" old
man ogling  a woman in a swim suit. Very few dare to 
translate "nari-sthana bara moha vesha-ha"!
In some ways, Sankara was not knowlegable in the ways
of Indian women. Many of them were ready to jump into
the funeral bier of their husbands, especially in those
times and many of the widows rarely remarry even now.
And who will like to be stuck with a dead corpse, once
the soul has flown away? 
Dr. Rangachar, a close friend and Sanskrit scholar, points
out that it is a male chauvinistic piece.
It is a very beautiful poem, just as William Blake's
"Tiger" and one can never forget the rhythmic compostion
or its scorn at human nature.
 A similar piece on
  the wandering human thought is also in the Rig Veda:
 " Nanaam va  wu noh dhiyo; vi vrathani jananam;
   Thakshaam rishtam rutham bhishagh:
   brahma sunvartam-ichati: indriyamdho pari-shrava"
  --
 "Shepow(?) romanvanmthow bhedow: 
  varin-mandukam ichathi;
  indriyamdho pari-shrava"

 Krishna Praba