Deha

Here’s another abhanga from Tukaram. You can hear it here:

SCAN0197

Literal Translation

Body is God’s temple
Inside, the soul is the Supreme Lord

Just as in the sugarcane, yes, sugar
So in the body, yes, the Lord

Just as in milk butter
So in the body the wheel-holder

God is in body, in body
Why do you go to the temple
Tuka tells all dull people
In body why not see God

-o-

Poetic Translation

The body is the house, the temple of God
Inside is the soul, the greatest Lord

Just as sugar is there in the cane
There lives in the body the very Divine

Just as butter is there in milk
The body’s wheel is of heavenly ilk

In body and body is seated God
The soul inside is the greatest Lord

The revelation is contained in the first seven lines of the original, and the poetic translation is of them with a repetition of the second line with a variation to round it off.

-o-

Please read the comments below for an organic discussion of this translation, or read the “finished” version of these translations here: (pdf).

6 thoughts on “Deha

  1. From a friend:

    The reader or the listner also gets the feel of tukaram conveying that the thing that is inside is not immdieately visible, but is there. Jashi usatil sakhar or dudhatil loni tasa dehatil chakrapani chatkan disat nahi ani tumhi to baher shodhata jasa dev devlat shodhta. If this can be captured by choice of words, that will be great.

    For english readers (who are Christians), will it be difficult because they do not really search god in churches as Hindus think god is in temples. Can the conversion be made to convey similar wrong concepts that people may be following and missing the atma or almighty that is within?

  2. Very insightful, my friend. (Btw, all readers, feel free to comment online. It will add to my understanding and to everyone’s enjoyment.) I am making a few changes for the “not immediately visible” nature.

    Also, “Supreme Lord” doesn’t scan so well. “Greatest Lord” scans well, but I realize it somewhat recalls the “Akbar” of azan. “Highest” will also be similar. So changing it.

    Wrt accessibility to Christians – Semitic faiths believe in the transendence of God but not immanence. Hence, whether within a Church or the body, it’s equally alien to the tenets. (Specific individuals are a different story, though).

    Wrt correcting the wrong concepts of individuals and society, I stopped there because the revelation ended and its preaching, however apt, started, and it is not of as much interest to me at least.

  3. Body is the house, the temple of God
    Inside is the soul, the supernal Lord

    Just as sugar is secret in the cane
    There lives in the body the very Divine

    Just as butter is latent in milk
    The body’s wheel is of heavenly ilk

    In body and body is seated God
    The soul inside is supernal Lord

  4. No problem with leaving out the preaching part. I think this need will arise in many poems of spiritual variety. Let us call them adaptation how allow you to choose how to represent some concepts in equivalent target culture concepts or leave them out entirely

  5. The previous comment, “The reader or listener … almighty that is within?” was also by Suhas (identified with his permission)

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