Today's Beautiful Gem: `Vande Maataram (Mother I Bow to Thee!)',
by Bankimchandra Chatterjee, transcreation by Aurobindo Ghose. (Part II)

tumi vidyA tumi dharma
tumi hRdi tumi marma
tvaM hi prANAh: s'arIre
bAhute tumi mA s'akti hRdaye tumi mA bhakti

tomaraI pratimA gaDI mandire mandire

vande mAtaram

tvaM hi durgAdas'apraharaNadhAriNI

kamalA kamaladalavihAriNI
vANI vidyAdAyinI namAmi tvAm
namAmi kamalAM amalAM atulAM

sujalAM suphalAM mAtaram

vande mAtaram

s'yAmalAM saralAM susmitAM bhUSitAM
dharaNIM bharaNIM mAtaram

vande mAtaram
Thou art wisdom, thou art law,
Thou our heart, our soul, our breath,
Thou the love divine, the awe
In our hearts that conquers death.
Thine the strength that nerves the arm,
Thine the beauty, thine the charm.
Every image made divine
In our temples is but thine.
Mother, I bow to thee!

Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen,
With her hands that strike and her swords of sheen,
Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned,
And the Muse a hundred-toned.
Pure and perfect without peer,
Mother, lend thine ear.
Rich with thy hurrying streams,
Bright with thy orchard gleams,
Mother, I bow to thee!

Dark of hue, O candid-fair
In thy soul with jewelled hair,
And thy glorious smile divine,
Loveliest of all earthly lands,
Showering wealth from well-stored hands!
Mother, mother mine!
Mother sweet, I bow to thee
Mother great and free!

Note: This song, the first stanza of which has been given the status of our national song, occurs in the novel `Anandamath (Abbey of Bliss)'. The central theme of the novel is the sanyaasi rebellion of the 1770s. Bhavaananda, one of the ascetics, reveals to Mahendra, a new disciple the mystique of the group's mission. Bankimbabu is perhaps modern India's first novelist of repute. The English rendering by Aurobindo is a fine example of transcreation, as opposed to translation. Thanks to Dr Nandy.

Om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao.