Monday, July 7, 2008

Naishadhacharita (Canto-IX): Oriya Metrical Translation: Dr. Harekrishna Meher

Naishadhacharita (Canto-IX)   
*    
Original Sanskrit Epic Poem By : Poet Sriharsha   
Oriya Metrical Translation By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher      
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Introduction : 

Naishadhacharita of Poet Sriharsha (12th Century A.D.) is one among the five great epics of Sanskrit Literature. This mahakavya contains 22 Cantos with 2827 verses. The main theme of this epic is the love-story of King Nala and Princess Damayanti. The story is based on the Nala-Damayanti-epiosode depicted in Mahabharata of Vyasadeva. The author of Naishadha Mahakavya has contextually remodelled the story with the original touch of his poetic calibre and scholarly dexterity in many scriptures.

King Nala is very popular for his auspicious glory. As the king of Nishadha land, he is known as .'Naishadha'. As the son of King Virasena, he is also known as 'Vairaseni'. Princess Damayanti is the daughter of Bhima, the King of Vidarbha country and after the name of her father she is known as 'Bhaimi'. As she hails from Vidarbha', she is popular as 'Vaidarbhi'.

Hearing the virtues and glory of Nala from several envoys and Brahmins, Damayanti becomes attracted with love towards him. Though directly not seen by her till now, Nala is worshipped as the deity of her heart. She becomes very anxious to possess him as her husband. Hearing about Damayanti's enchanting beauty, wise personality and various noble qualities, Nala also becomes similarly attracted towards her.

Once wandering in the pleasure-garden, Nala sees a marvellous golden swan near the swimming pool. Slowly and forcibly caught by him, the swan mourns and modestly prays for liberty. With a sympathetic heart, Nala quits the swan free. In heartiest gratitude, the swan promises to repay him in future for this noble deed. By the way, the swan becomes the most faithful mediator for enhancing love affairs between Nala and Damayanti. Knowing about the noble virtues of Nala from the swan, Damayanti becomes very much worried to obtain him as her life-companion. Therefore her father King Bhima, in his capital city Kundina, makes arrangements for her 'swayamvara', the function of choosing husband by the girl herself.

Intimated about of Damayanti's 'swayamvara' and encouraged by the divine sage Narada, Indra, the Lord of heaven, expresses his curiosity and gets prepared along with the three gods, namely, Agni, Varuna and Yama to attend the 'swayamvara' as a candidate for her. Indra promptly sends a lady messenger to deliver his message to the princess.

On this side, Nala proceeds to attend the 'svyamvara'. On the way, the afore-said four Protectors of Directions (Dik-Pala), Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama, express their wit observing the charm of Nala. They think, if the princess offers garland to Nala, their journey would go in vain. Hence after meeting Nala, they make him promise truly and request him to be their messenger to give love-message to the princess. Nala at first becomes embarrassed at this matter ; but as a noble king, true to his words, agrees to be the messenger of these four gods. They gladly give him the power to be invisible. How wonderful is the decree of the Creator ! King Nala, who as the keen lover of the princess, proceeds to her 'svayamvara' with a hope of being garlanded, now engaged as the messenger of gods, goes to the city to deliver their love-message to the same beloved.

Ascending in the capital city of Vidarbha, King Nala, by virtue of the power of invisibility given as a boon by the gods, reaches inside the harem of the princess. Causing surprise for the damsels of harem, he appears visible by them and gives own identity as the messenger of gods. As there is no previous direct contact, the princess cannot recognize Nala immediately. But as she is aquainted with the photo of Nala, she observes the similarity in this (pseudo-messenger) Nala and becomes enchanted with his attactive figure and comeliness.

In the same harem, Nala hears the message of Indra's lady messenger who tries to generate love of princess towards Indra with a hope to offer garland to the lord of heaven. But solely dedicated to King Nala, the princess does not accede to the proposal for Indra and confirms her garlanding for Nala.

After the exit of Indra's lady messenger, Nala , the pseudo-figured messenger of gods, delivers before the princess the love-message of the four gods and informs her about their attending the 'svayamvara'. Describing the virtues of the four gods, he further requests her to offer garland to any of them as she wishes.

After listening to the message of gods from Nala (still unknown as King Nala in her sight), the princess rejects the request for gods and expresses her dedicated love and devotion for Nala, the King of Nishadha country.
From this context, here begins Canto-IX of Naishadha Mahakavya.
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Theme of Canto-IX : 

In the beginning, princess Damayanti curiously and emphatically enquires about the identity of Nala, who is present as a messenger before her. Nala witfully avoids the matter and as a dutiful messenger repeatedly convinces her to offer garland to any of the four gods, Indra, Agni, Varuna and Yama, of her choice. So he describes the glories of every god. In the mouth of own girl-friend and herself also, the princess asks and answers to the matters questioned by Nala. Several arguments and counter-arguments appear in their conversations. Princess confirms that if she does not obtain King Nala as her husband, she would commit suicide either fixing noose for hanging, or by entering into fire, or by diving into deep waters, or by other means such as taking poison etc.

With witful arguments, the pseudo-messenger Nala confirms that even if she desires to commit suicide, she is bound to automatically accept one of the gods. If she loses own life by hanging, she would reach the state of sky and the lord of heavenly region is Indra. If she burns her body in fire, she at her own wish offers herself to god Agni. If she enters into the waters, she offers herself to the water-god Varuna. Lastly if she dies by taking poison etc. she would directly reach the domonion under the jurisdiction of Yama, the god of death. So there is no way out at the consequence.

Hearing such words and other contextual arguments of Nala, she pathetically bemoans a lot expressing her love for King Nala. Now the very Nala, overwhelmed with the love and dedication of the princess, forgets own duty of the messenger of gods, and as the sole lover of the princess, discloses his identity and passionately addresses her with loving words.

When his delusion vanishes, he sees that the princess is in previous normal condition. He becomes conscious that his secrecy is disclosed. So with repentance, he becomes perplexed about the negligence of his duty as the messenger of gods. He fears that knowing the matters, the gods might punish him.

Further as he thinks, social prestige would be hampered due to faithlessness towards the duty of gods. In this crucial situation, the golden Swan, the faithful mediator of his love, appears before him and gives consolation that he has no fault in this matter, as he has sincerely performed the duty without any deceit. The Swan requests him to accept Damayanti's love and marry her so that she would not lose her life.

After departure of the Swan, Nala internally pays homage to the gods and during conversations expresses his acceptance. Damayanti, exhilarated on this matter, solicits his presence in the 'svayamvara' function and gives farewell to her would-be-husband. Nala approaches before the gods and shamefully confesses and truly explains all about the incidents of his messengership. Thus ends the Canto-IX with 160 verses.
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Extracts of My Oriya Metrical Translation    

of Naishadhacharita Canto-IX     
are presented here from published work.
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नैषध-चरित (नवम-सर्ग) 
मूल संस्कृत महाकाव्य : महाकवि-श्रीहर्ष
ओड़िआ पद्यानुवाद : डा. हरेकृष्ण मेहेर

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[१८]
'करिब निकि गो         सार्थक तुमे
मो परिश्रम एतिकि ?
बरिब निकि गो       स्वेच्छारे केउँ
ईप्सित आशा-पतिकि ?
तुमरि बदनुँ             
 रस-पीयूष-
सिक्त पाबन उक्तिमान,
करिब निश्‍चे          बासबादि सुर-
चतुष्टयर तुष्टि दान ॥
*
[१९]
तुमरि सरस               सन्देशमय
अमिय बाक्य एपरि,
पेषिब निकि गो       देबगण पाशे
मुख माध्यमे मोहरि ?
सुर-अन्तर                 सन्तापभरा
होइछि मदन-सन्दीपने,
स्निग्ध ए बाणी           बृष्टि साजिब
घोर दाबानळ- दग्ध बने ॥
*
[२०]
तब अबहेळा          आचरण य़ोगुँ
एबे सम्मुखे तुमर,
हेउअछि य़ेते             य़ेते बिलम्ब
निमेष बेळ बि मोहर ।
कोपे देबगण-               बक्षरे तेणे
लक्ष्य भेदने निश्‍चे जाण,
हेउथिब सेते               सेते चञ्चळ
धनु आमञ्चि पञ्चबाण ॥
*
[२१]
बज्रे रचित               नुह‍इ कि सते
इन्द्र-नयन-निचय ?
चाहिँ रहिथिबे             मार्ग मोहरि
दीर्घ एतेक समय ।
गुण नाहिँ तिळे          मात्र मो ठारे
बहिबार लागि पर बारता,
धिक धिक मोते,      अचिर-कार्य़्य-
पन्थारे मोर मन्थरता ॥'
**
[२६]
" करुणा बशे बि         केउँ परकारे
सन्देश बाणी एसने,
स्फुरिला मर्त्त्य-       नारी निमित्त
देबबृन्दर बदने ?
स्वभाब-भक्ति-        बिनय-य़ुक्त
ब्यक्ति सकाशे प्रभुगणर,
हृदयुँ न बहे              सेनेह बशरे
केउँ भाषारे बा हर्ष-झर ?
*
[२७]
पुरन्दर त                    केते सुन्दरी
अमर-रमणी-शोभित,
मो य़ोगुँ ताङ्क              एड़े उपहास
केउँपरि हेब उचित ?
मराळ-माळार                रम्य आभारे
ह्रद होइथाए हृदय-लोभा,
बळाका किभळि        निज छबि बळे
बिकाशिब तहिँ दिब्य शोभा ?
*
[२८]
कह, सुरबामा-            गण सम्मुखे
किए सामान्य मानबी ?
बहिपारे सिना          देबी-हीन भूमे
से बि रमणीय सुछबि ।
बित्त-हीनर                  नारी-अङ्गरे
न थिले भूषण स्वर्ण-सार,
चित्त हरण             करि न थाए कि
पित्तळमय अळङ्कार ?"
*
[३४]
"बळिछि मो भळि      मानबी पाशरे
मानस अमर-गणर,
मो ठारे ताङ्क             हेला ए निश्‍चे
कृपा-परकाश मातर ।
हृदे ताङ्करि               मोहरि कारणे
सुकरुणा य़दि हुए उदित,
सुर-परसादे            पूरु मो मागुणि
लभिबि मो नळ अभीप्सित ॥
*
[३५]
अमर-दूत हे !           शुणिथाअ पुणि
मोहरि अटळ ए पण,
निषध-नरेश             नळ य़दि मोर
निषेधिबे पाणि-ग्रहण ।
तेबे अनळे बा             ऊर्द्ध्वे छन्दि
अबा घोर जळे झासि अचिर,
बैर आचरि               करिबि आत्म-
हत्या एइ मो सत्य गिर ॥
*
[३६]
बिहित कर्म                य़हिँ सबुमते
बिपदुँ रखि न पार‍इ,
किछि बर्जित            कार्य़्य करिबा
तहिँ अनुचित नुह‍इ ।
सान्द्र सलिळ             य़ोगुँ राजपथ
पिच्छिळ हेले उद्‍बेगरे,
ताहा तेजि केबे           केबे चळन्ति
सुधी-बर्ग बि अमार्गरे ॥"
*
[३९]
"अनुरागे सुर-            गण अछन्ति
तुमरे मानस बळाइ,
ए त कौतुक-           बिषय तुमे य़े
बसिअछ मुहँ फेराइ ।
कि स‍उभाग्ये        आपणार आगे
आसिले बिपुळ गुप्त धन,
मना करे किळि       बचन-कबाट
मञ्चे के अबा अकिञ्चन ?
*
[४१]
मर्त्त्य लोकर            मानबी न करे
स्वर्ग अमरे कामना,
तुम बदनुँ त             नूतन कथा ए
श्रबण कलि गो सुमना !
कह त दुष्ट                      ग्रहर रिष्ट
रहिछि तुमरि कि परकार ?
कल्याणागार           गुरु थाउँ थाउँ
दुनिआरे ताहा दुर्निबार ?
*
[४२]
देबता-गणर            करुणारु एका
मर्त्त्य-भुबन मानब,
लभे देबत्व,                सदा परिहरि
पर्थिब गुण सरब ।
शोधित सिद्ध               पारद-परशे
लौह पालटे स्वर्ण-सार,
गण्य कि ताहा               अन्य लौह-
बिकार दरबे पुनर्बार ?
*
[४३]
नळ ठारे तुम        कामना जागिछि
इन्द्रे बरजि बिरागे,
निजे पण्डिता       बोलाउछ आहा !
लज्जा केमिति न लागे ?
आगो करभोरु !          मोहरि मतरे
उष्ट्र ठारु बि श्रेष्ठ तुमे,
इक्षु- रसर                   उपेक्षा करि
रमिछि य़ा मन शमी-द्रुमे ॥
*
[४६]
नळ बिना तुमे          ऊर्द्ध्वे छन्दि
मरण चिन्ति निजर,
करिले उपाय              हरिनेबे नभे
इन्द्र अमर-प्रबर ।
ख- मण्डळर                ईश्वर बोलि
बिश्‍वे बिदित से महाभाग,
तुमकु निश्‍चे           बळे घेनिय़िबे,
तेज‍इ के निज न्याय़्य भाग ?
*
[४७]
नळराजा बिना         अनळरे य़दि
झास देब राज-तनया,
तेबे से अमर              प्रति गो तुमर
हेला अनन्त सुदया ।
दुर्लभ थिला                ताङ्क सुचिर-
काङ्क्षित तब तनु जगते,
आपणार अप-                घन अर्पण
करुछ ए काळे स्वेच्छामते ॥
*
[४८]
नळ बिना य़दि           नीरे परबेशि
झासिब निराशे अथये,
निश्‍चय तुमे              गमिब बारीश
बरुण देबता- निळये ।
हृदय-बाहारे             बहिबे आहुरि
से निज बक्षे तब जीबन,
उड़ाइबे जय-                ब‍इजयन्ती
दमयन्ति गो ! चिरन्तन ॥
*
[४९]
तुमे पण्डिता           खण्डि ए काळे
एतेक दूषण निजर,
य़दि आपणार             मरण चिन्ति
करिब उपाय अपर ।
राज-नन्दिनि !               य़म-मन्दिरे
प्रियातिथि साजि सुनिश्‍चित,
करिब नाहिँ कि           य़म-देबङ्कु
स्वेच्छारे आपे आप्यायित ?
*
[५०]
अबा एइ तब             निषेध-भङ्गी
दिए सम्मति सूचना,
बचने तुमरि            करे समीचीन
बक्रता लीळा रचना ।
चतुरी रमणी-            मुख बास्तबे
ध्वनिर निधान बोलि त जाणि,
झटकुछि एक         छटा रूपे य़ार
तब बदनर बक्र बाणी ॥
*
[५१]
भैमि ! तुमरि             ए सरस्वती-
रस-स्रोतर अथय,
घोर आबर्त्ते             घूरि अधीरता
भजुथिबि केते समय ?
स्पष्ट कर गो !               इष्ट निजर
क्षणे लाज तेजि अब्याजरे,
लभिबे माल्य            शुभ साफल्य
केउँ सुर-बर स्वयंबरे ?"
* *


[Extracted from My Oriya Translation of
'Naishadhacharita - Navama Sarga'
Published in 'Bartika', Literary Quarterly, Dasahara Special,
October-December 2000, Dasarathapur, Jajpur, Orissa.]
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