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....

Vaishnava Janato

Kushwant Singh


(Narsi Bhagat)
Translation: Kushwant Singh

No sooner I hear the opening strains of Bapu Gandhi’s favourite hymn Vaishnav jan to tayanay kaheeye that I get a choking feeling in my throat and tears well up in my eyes. I was familiar only with the first few lines and did not know the name of the author. This year I decided to pay my tribute to the Mahatma by trying to translate the hymn into English. I sought the help of Sheila Dikshit. She got me the original in Gujarati and the name of the poet: it was 17th century divine Bhagat Narsinh Mehta. Although the composition is in Gujarati, it is very close to Hindi and easy to understand.


Vaishnav Jan to tayanay kaheeye
Jay peerh paraaye jaaneyray
Par dikkhey upkar karey teeyey
Man abhimaan na anney ray.
Sakal lokma Sahuney bandhey
Ninda na karey kainee ray
Baach kaach, man nischal raakhey
Dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray.
Samdrishiti nay trishna tyagee
Parstree jaynay mat ray.
Vivihya thaki aastya na bolay
Pardhan nay jhaley haath ray.
Moh maaya vyaaey nahin jeynaye
Dridh variagya jana manma ray.
Ram-nam-shoon taalee laagee
Sakal teerah seyna tanma ray.
Vanlobhee nay kapat rahit chhay
Kaam, Krodh nirvyarya ray.
Bhane Narisnhyo tainoo darshan
Karta kul ekotair taarya ray.


Speak of him as godlike the man who feels another’s pain
Who shares another’s sorrow and pride does disdain
Who regards himself lowliest of the low
Speaks not a word of evil against anyone
Blessed is the mother who gave birth to such a son.
Who honours his mother whose tongue
knows not the taste of falsehood
Nor covets another’s worldly goods
Who longs not for worldly wealth (or fame)
For he treads the path of renunciation
Ever on his lips is Rama’s holy name
All places of pilgrimage are within him
He has conquered greed, is free of deceit, lust and anger
Through him Narsinh has godly vision
And his generation to come will attain salvation.

COURTESY: “With Malice towards “One and All” by Kushwant Singh

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