Monday, June 02, 2008


From : Oriya Classics
(15th-16th Century)

Jagannatha Daasa

Achyutananda Daasa

Balarama Daasa

Jasovanta Daasa

Sisuananta Daasa

The 15th century was a very fertile period in Oriya literature. It was a period when the culture of Lord Jagannatha of Srikshetra Puri held the sway over entire Orissa. Around the culture of Jagannatha a rich literature grew up which included various influences including Buddhist (chiefly Tantra), Shaiva and Vaishnava. Two interesting concepts emerged around this period. The notion of Pinda Brahmanda (body as a microsm) and that of Sunyapurusa. Five poets were extremely influenctial in this period and called the Panchasakha (five soul-mates). Of these Jagannatha Dasa, Achyutananda Dasa and Balarama Dasa were the most popular.

Atibadi Jagannath Dasa

The Elephant Sways
(view the original poem)

The elephant sways gently - it's time to start off.
From his body flows intoxicated sweat.
He had been tied in Nilakandara.
Now, for his bath he has been set free.
In his sandalwood bed he had been sleeping.
Now as he walks he swings back and forth.
How beautifully is he - swaying in his intoxication!
Of the fourteen worlds he the creator!
Such a beautiful elephant no one has ever seen.
Jagannath Dasa says His name is Kannahi.

The poem refers to Lord Jagannatha. The metaphor of the elephant is used for a number of reasons. Both the Lord and the elephant are dark in colour. During the car festival (rathayatra), a number of priests have to drag Jagannatha down the stairs (He is so heavy he cannot be carried down) in a swinging motion, like an elephant. On the last day of the car festival, the Lord is decked up like an elephant - this is known as hatibesa (the guise of the elephant).Sandalwood bed refers to the festival of sandalwood (chandanyatra) when the Lord cools of at the centre of the Narendra pool.

(Translation by Arundhati & Priyadarshi Patnaik)

Why Look at All these Again? (view the original poem)

Why look at all these again?
The eagle of time is hovering - have you forgotten!
With your imagination cut off both the wings
The melody of veena is in the air - can't you hear it?
In the market place the five warriors call out to one another
When the day ends, does the merchant stay back for a moment?
In the golden cage the parrot, as each new day passes.
When the bird flies off, can one ever catch it?
Look between your brows, in the confluence the flag flies
Once the ultimate jewel is lost, can you ever find it?
Look within the letter Oum, see the upturned swan
Tells Jagannatha Dasa, will you do as he says?

The five warriors are the fives senses. The confluence is the point between the eyebrows on the forehead. It is believed that this is the point where the three nerves (flows or rivers), ida, pingala and susumna converge.

(Translation by Priyadarshi Patnaik)

Achyutananda Dasa

The first eight stanzas of

Sunya Purusa (view the original poem)

Sunya Purusa is tied down
Wrapped and decorated with compassion and forgiveness (1)

Eleven senses surround it,
lust, anger and greed ever its guards (2)

Twelve sentries guard the fortress.
Five are the qualities , five the chieftens (3)

At the top of the six circles fifty syllables.
Around the fortress seventy two streams. (4)

Around the fortress there are the guards.
Always surrounding the sunya purusa (5)

Their power is because of Sunya purusa
Which commands our happiness and prosperity. (6)

Sunya purusa stays apart,
In the palace of emptiness plays its games. (7)

Fifty people cannot touch it,
staying away it makes them look many (8)

Notes to be included shortly

(Translation by Priyadarshi Patnaik and Tandra Patnaik)

From Nameless Name is Born (view the original poem)

From nameless name is born
Since without letters, it is called nameless. (1)

The name is only one letter ,
This is the essence of Gita, Bhagabata. (2)

Then emerges the letter 'oo,'
Below it a curved line. (3)

'a,' 'oo,' 'ma,' the three
Along with the curved line make four. (4)

Sixty-four seeds, eight syllables
A pair of sixteen, twelve meanings. (5)

Six four-letters form the bindu, good men,
Serve your guru and learn the meaning. (6)

If you have longing since previous birth,
Only then will you find the true guru. (7)

The glory of nama, O good people, sing,
Acyhuta Dasa bows before the name. (8)

Nama: name, essence, the aum syllable. Anama: that which cannot be named, which is without name, nameless.
The third and fourth stanzas refer to the holy letter of the Hindus, aum, considered to be the root sound, the one that emerges from the naval, that contains the seed of the Brahman.
Sixty-four mantras: Tantric root chanting. Eight syllables refer to Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Here we find an assimilation of Vaisnavism and Tantra.

(Translation by Priyadarshi Patnaik and Tandra Patnaik)

Gyaanapradipa Gitaa (Second Chapter)

View the original text

Balaraama Dasa

O Companion of the Poor (view the original poem)

O companion of the poor
my sorrows do not end.
If you, Dinabandhu, abandon me
who will be my friend then?

Garland of tulsi, hair of tulsi
with tulsi upon your head,
when I look from the tulsi tree
your nilachakra becomes visible.

On top of your hair
the mantle of sebati flowers
looks terrible!
whenever you look only victory.

The one whom we calls Dinabandhu
is a mighty yogi.
The bond of the material, non-material is tight.
One hunts the puzzle of illusion & attachment.
But the man of emptiness travels in emptiness
the prison cell is empty!

To escape this vast ocean
I have built a boat of stone
If you don't hold me, I float away,
O save me Dinabandhu.

Since you are happy with the love of your devotee
They call you the one who is intoxicated by devotion.
Balaraama Das never asked for a grain of rice,
only for a little ray from your feet.

(Translation by Arundhati & Priyadarshi Patnaik)

Jasovanta Daasa

View original poems

Sisuananta Daasa

View original poems

Brihaspati Gayatri, Vishwamitra/Gaathina Rishi Rig Veda 6.62.6