Veda Kumbhar

फिरत्या चाकावरती देसी मातीला आकार
विठ्ठला, तू वेडा कुंभार

माती, पाणी, उजेड, वारा
तूच मिसळसी सर्व पसारा
आभाळच मग ये आकारा
तुझ्या घटांच्या उतरंडीला नसे अंत, ना पार

घटाघटांचे रूप आगळे
प्रत्येकाचे दैव वेगळे
तुझ्याविना ते कोणा नकळे
मुखी कुणाच्या पडते लोणी कुणा मुखी अंगार

तूच घडविसी, तूच फोडिसी
कुरवाळिसि तू, तूच ताडिसी
न कळे यातुन काय जोडिसी ?
देसी डोळे, परि निर्मिसी तयांपुढे अंधार

-o-

Literal Translation

On the turning wheel you give shape to mud
O Vitthal, you are a mad potter

Mud, water, light, air
Only you mix all the mess
The sky itself then takes shape
To the stack of your pots there is no end nor boundary

Of pot and pot the form is distinct
Of everyone the destiny is unique
Beside you that no one knows
In someone’s mouth falls butter, in someone’s mouth embers

Only you make, only you break
You caress, only you save
Cannot understand through this what you join
You give eyes but in front of them create darkness

-o-

Poetic Translation

Thrown on the turning wheel, shaped from the clay
The spread of earth and water and light and the air
The skydome itself then comes into shape
Endless and boundless your creations array
O Vitthal, O Potter, O mad Fashioner of forms

Emerging from the elements stirred by your hand
Unique each pot, variegated in shape
Unique each destiny that you alone can see
Soft cream in some, in some burning embers land
O Vitthal, O Potter, O mad Fashioner of forms

You alone the maker, the keeper, the destroyer
The planner whose plans are hidden from all
The giver of sight, creator of darkness
You are the lover, the caresser, the savior
O Vitthal, O Potter, O mad Fashioner of forms

-o-

The main difficulty in translating this devotional song is the tone of addressing the immanent deity as a mad potter: it carries both intimacy and awe.  The other difficulties are the exact shade of meaning of “pasara” which is somewhere between litter, mess, and paraphernalia, and the balance of philosophy and literalness in the metaphor of pottery for the act of creation.

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