Reading 244, from Jinabai

Cast off all shame
And sell yourself
In the market place;
Then alone you may hope
To reach the Lord.

Cymbals in hand,
A veena upon my shoulder,
I walk the streets;
Dare anyone stop me?

The pallav of my sari
Falls away ( A scandal!)
Yet will I enter
The crowded street
Without a thought

Jani says, My Lord
I’ve openly embraced whoredom

Just to worm my way

Into your much-prized, blessed mansion.

The Lord collects the dirt,
Carries it upon his head,
Dumps it in the garbage.

Won over by devotion
The Lord does lowly chores!
Jani cries:
O Vithoba,
How shall I ever pay your debt?

Jinabai

Another Life

Transl. Vilas Sarang

My notes:

I first got to know of this poem from my friend , Prof Sachin Ketkar. Prof. Ketkar is himself an established poet and dexterous theoretician.

In the ensuing discussion with another afficiando there, this is what I had to say of this poem:

Incidentally, the idea of whoring for God has a long history, both Western & Eastern. In the West Russian mendicants often called themselves whores of Christ, while now we call them Fools for Christ ( there is a book on them by this name somewhere).
In the East, the immediate example I can remember is that of Mirabai and the whole Devdasi tradition.

In short, I find the transcreated words adding the right nuances…

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