Janmakatha (=Tale of Birth)


Translation of a poem by Rabindranath Tagore (Nobel Laureate of 1913) translated by Rajat Das Gupta.

Poem: Janmakatha (=Tale of Birth) from the book “Shishu” (=Child) written in 1905 A.D.

[Translator’s note: This poem superbly highlights the unfathomable mystery of Creation which humans have never been able to perceive, not even Darwin’s theory of evolution. The central point of the poem is ‘love’ which has propelled human evolution, as opposed to the stress on mere biological phenomenon by Darwin]

The Child asks the Mother,
“Wherefrom did thee me gather?”
Clasping the child in warm embrace,
Thus she says –
In tear and smile –
“As a passion thou had been in me all the while..

Thou wert in my doll’s play, at dawn
When my oblation to Shiva was on
I had broken thee and built again
With my pleasure and pain.
With my God, thou wert on His throne,
In His worship homage to thee I’d borne;

In the soul of my mom and grannies
Thou I craved to seize
In this home of the yore, on the lap of our family deity
Who knows how long thou hid in mystery?
When in my youth my heart bloomed
One with me, at this home, invisible thou loomed;
Spreading thy fragrance
Thou went with me hence.

Thou art darling of all the gods I sight,
Thou art age old, contemporary of dawn’s light
With the sub conscience of this Universe,
Through the myriad paths diverse
Thou flown in the stream of Anandam anew to my heart
Here again to spurt.

Blink less I look at thee,
Yet, can’t fathom thy mystery
Belonging to all, how mine thou could be!
As in thy person I kiss thee
My child thou be
With thy charming smile, mine to be!

Least I lose thee,
I keep thee close to me.
Tearful I be, when thou art out of sight;
I know not how I net thee up, with my arms infirm
This treasure of the Universe to hold firm!”