Govinda

गोविंद गोविंद ।
मना लागलिया छंद ॥१॥

मग गोविंद ते काया ।
भेद नाही देवा तया ॥२॥

आनंदले मन ।
प्रेमें पाझरती लोचन ॥३॥

तुका म्हणे आळी ।
जेवी नुरे चि वेगळी ॥४॥

Literal Translation

Cowherd cowherd
To the mind [is] attached [this] rhythm/meter/habit

Then cowherd to skin
No differentiation O God to you

Mind became blissful
With love flowed eyes

Tuka says an intense longing
Of whatever not left over [is] separate

Poetic Translation

Cowherd O cowherd
The rhythm of my mind

Then from spirit to form
It’s all a single kind

My mind is filled with bliss
And love is in my eyes

Tuka says the longings
Of everything, of everything arise

This compact abhanga of Tukaram is esoteric and packs in it high philosophy as well as deep experience. Govinda, meaning cowherd, is the name of Vishnu, specifically of Krishna who tended cows. When the mind throbs with, is habituated to the divine spirit, then from that spirit to the very skin, the container of tangible form, there is no differentiation. Bliss and love permeate the being.

The last couplet has two grammatical readings: (i) Tuka’s longing for that which is everything-with-nothing-left-over is different, and (ii) The longing of everything-with-nothing-left-over [to be whole] is different. I prefer the second, more general and philosophical sense. The longing is different, hence new, hence it arises.

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