Well, here’s another trans-creation of an essentially untranslateable song.

After some cleanup:

Mind is steeped in the lovely, dark and deep color of Rama
Absorbed in the aura of the soul
Thought, all consciousness, is saturated by the mood of the Universe

Sight, senses, all attention is involved in his tread in creation
The brown bumble bee is lost in the avataric lotus
The wave of all existence capsizes the being in oneness


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


7 thoughts on “Rangale

  1. The literal translation would go something like:

    Mind, O, in the color of Rama is colored
    In the color of the soul is colored
    Mind in the color of the Universe is colored

    In feet are eyes tangled
    The bee in the lotus
    In the ripple of existence [is mind] colored

  2. Here’s my father’s version. He wanted to evoke the refrain of “rangale” and the alliterative repetition. He says, “Somewhat free:

    Oh the heart absorbed in hues!
    Hues of the heart-absorbing;
    In the self-absorbing absorbed,
    Absorbed the heart
    In the hues of the world.

    Eyes transfixed at the feet,
    In the lotus-heart a nectar-drunk bee,
    Absorbed in the waves,
    In the rushing of rushing life.”

  3. Simplifying:

    Mind is absorbed in the deep color of Rama
    Saturated by the aura of the soul
    Steeped in the mood of the Universe

    All attention is only on his tread in creation
    The bee is lost in the avataric lotus
    The ripple of existence gathers the being into oneness

  4. It is quite important to understand how the beetle and lotus interact to understand the powerful metaphor of the relationship between the beetle and the lotus flower used here to describe the deep spiritual relationship between man and god (or atma and ataman). The lotus flower closes its petal with sunset, reopening them at sunrise. Throughout the day the beetle is enamored by the lotus, buzzing around the flower as it sustains it with its nectar. Beetles are known to spend the night inside the lotus flower and for the night the beetle and lotus become one. The man is the atma and lotus the atman and they become one

  5. Thanks, Bhushan. Yes, that’s the metaphor. I brought in the spiritual sense by calling the lotus avataric, since Ram is one and the lotus, emerging in beauty from the mud, is symbolic of it. The correspondence of the bee with the mind is clear.

    On a non-spiritual front, the metaphor continues in a different way in literature. The bee that gets trapped in the closing lotus thinks it’s OK since it can get out in the morning when the lotus opens again. But in the night a herd of elephants tramples the lily pond and the lotus cannot open anymore …

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