by Aparna Sharma ‘Sonam’
Here is a personal favorite piece of poetry, a piece of music, and a chance answer to a very pertinent question on one of those Spring days in another age.
To share it with the Hindi-challenged or bhajan-challenged audiences. Perhaps there lies some beauty for you to savour as well.
You can hear its beautiful rendition by Ashwini Bhide here :
The theme of the song is around Holi- is the Indian festival of colors. We use dry color powder (gulaal) to spray on each other, or sometimes, fill a ‘pichkaari’ with colored water and color….
And the song is about the amazing Holi that HE (Krishna) has played in the universe….
Kaisi Hori machaai Kanhai
कैसी होरी मचाई कन्हाई
(what a Holi Krishna played)
Acharaj lakhiyo na jaai
अचरज लखियो न जाई
(the wonder can’t be contained )
Ek samay Shri Krishna Prabhu ko Hori khelan mann bhaai
एक समय श्री कृष्ण प्रभु को होरी खेलन मन भाई
(At one time, Lord Sri Krishna had the desire to play holi)
Ek se Hori mache nahi kabahu
एक से होरी मचे नहीं कबहुँ
(ONE alone cannot play Holi)
Ya te kari bahutaai
या ते करी बहुताई
Yehi Prabhu ne theheraai
ये ही प्रभु ने ठहराई
(So the Lord willed many to appear from the ONE)
Paanch bhoot ki dhaatu mila kar
पांच भूत की धातु मिला कर
(combining the five elements)
Antt pichkari banaai
अंत पिचकारी बनाई
(in the end he made his pichkaari)
Choudah bhuvan rang bheetar bhar kar
चौदह भुवन रंग भीतर भर कर
(filling it with the color of the fourteen bhuvans/ worlds)
Nana roop dharaai
नाना रूप धराई
(Myriad forms, did He create …..)
(here the last note reaches a crescendo, like a celebration–saying…)
Pragat bhaye Krishan Kanhai
(AND THUS WAS KRISHNA BORN)
(I am almost transported to the midnight hour on Janmashtami— bhajan reaching the crescendo after a day of fasting and singing, the temple bells, drums, the mantras, flowers, fragrance the celebration at the moment “Pragat bhaye Krishan Kanhai)
Kaisi Hori machaai….
(What a Holi did HE play!!! )
Now slowly a mellow note follows….. mellow, humbling….
Paanch bisaya ke gulaal bana kar
(Making the gulaal/color with 5 senses/ vasanas/ vital forces)
Beech Brahmaandd udaai
(He sprayed it in the middle of the universe)
Jin jin nain gulaal padi who
(and the eyes which caught that gulaal)
Sudh budh sab bisraai
(have lost all sense)
Nahi soojhat apnaai
(and cannot make out their own identity)
This is where we are, most of us….. all these urges, desires, impulses…..– the gulaal that our eyes have caught
Perhaps, the answer lies in the last stanza
Ved antt anjan ki silakha
(The ‘kaajal’/ kohl of ‘Vedanta’)
Jin nainan me paai
(Whoever put in their eyes)
Brahmanand jiska tam naasyo
(Their tamas/illusion was destroyed by Brahma-anand/ ecstacy of Brahman)
Soojh gayi apnaayi
(and they found/realized their True Self)
Hori kachu bani na banaai
(And Krishna could no longer play Holi with them)
Kaisi hori machaai Kanhai …..
Perhaps…..there are answers,….or simply the beauty….. Perhaps!!!!