Triveni Journal

1927 | 11,233,916 words

Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....

The Broken Lute

K. Ramakrishna Pillai

(Translated from the original in Malayalam by the author)

I

The strings of my precious lute are broken. Woe is me! I have shattered my Lord’s gift myself. I tightened the relaxed strings, but, alas, it is my ill luck, for they broke. And with them the strings of my heart are broken too.

My Lord bade me farewell when the spring-intoxicated Kokila couples were singing and fluttering in the bowers fragrant with pollen and nectar.

He kissed me farewell, kissing me on the tender petals of my red-lotus mouth. Thou that wert given me by my Lord to be my companion in solitude, to soothe the sorrow of separation by melodious converse–thou, my precious lute, hast become speechless.

Broken-stringed and mute thou liest, a picture of pity, like an unconscious maiden, hair all dishevelled and garments loose. Hot tears well up in my eyes; but how can they resuscitate you, O my friend?

Like a broken-hearted mother, frantic with grief, striving to revive her life-less child in vain, affectionately do I caress thee again and again. But no breath of melody is awakened to delight the silent air.

II

Whispering in my ears words love-laden and sweet, when my Lord parted from me, the Beauty of Spring, bedecked, with fresh buds and blossoms, was virgin-fresh and lovable like a newly-wed maiden.

And now, uncontrollably she sways and swings on the waves of her full-blown youth and bewitches the world with her irresistible charm.

Anxious does my heart grow to throb in contact with my Lord’s. My limbs drop languished, and I long to abandon myself on my Lord’s bosom, imprisoned in His fond embrace, to sob and weep like a little child.

At His feet will I place my broken lute, my head bowed with shame and my soul choking with remorse. In His life-giving hands she will wake up. His magic touch will put her into a rapturous tremor, and notes of melodious music, music soul-stirring and celestial, will fill the air.

III

Do come, My Love, my soul’s desire, for the Spring Festival is nearing its close. How can I keep quiet without playing a tune on this lute to accompany the Kokila birds?

My timing is unrhythmic, and unmusical my song. Do come and teach me to play a simple tune on this lute. Prayerful is my mind, and Thou art the musician peerless. Do come, O my Lord, for the Spring Festival is nearing its close.

IV

Bathed in the milky shower of the autumn moon, while reposing on the garden lawn, canopied overhead with silver clouds. I will sing the tune to gladden thine ears.

It will echo, in every sound of it, my self-forgotten love for thee. A halo of fragrance, born of the blossom of my love, will envelope me, and I will be lost in it.

Thou wilt caress and embrace my delicate body; unconscious, unnerved, will I fall in a blissful swoon. And in the silent spaces of that night, O my Lord, will we recline and sleep on Thy shoulder–my lute and I.

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