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Righteous Conduct- Proper Time Management

PUZZLE

M. K. Kaw

Oh! then I was gorged

with questions,

for in the exuberance of logic

I thought of life

as a neatly laid out

jigsaw puzzle.

 

All I had to do

was figure it out,

to see with sudden shock

a life-size picture

Of God.

 

I tried the permutations,

picked a piece here, a piece there

placed, replaced, displaced them

over and over and yet over,

slowly, madly, in a frenzy,

but nothing fit,

no picture formed.

 

All that I created in my agitation

was a haze

where dim shapes were hinted:

before I could define them

the vapours shifted

into dissimilar contours.

 

That made me frantic,

perhaps there was a flaw

in my moves,

the way I lifted

The pieces...

If only I knew where to place them

the mist would clear

and I noise to nose with God.

 

Just lately have I begun to suspect

this is not it

at all.

 

Life is a squirrel

chasing another

up the trunk of a tree,

down the trunk,

across the grass,

behind the rock,

around the mound...

 

And in between the chaser stops and rises on his haunches,

looks around with his mouse-mouth,

and ruins again

for the joy of it..

 

Is there an ultimate purpose here,

a divine plan,

an earth-shaking dogma,

a war between God and Satan?

 

It looks more like a game

there all the players

are on the same side.

 

You know what I mean,

don’t you!

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Righteous Conduct- Obedience

GRANDFATHER

Jayanta Mahapatra

 

(Starving, on the point of death,

Chintamani Mahapatra embraced Christianity

During the terrible famine that struck Orissa in 1866)

 

The yellowed diary’s notes whisper in vernacular.

They sound the forgotten posture,

the cramped cry that forces me to hear that voice.

Now I stumble in your black-paged wake.

 

No uneasy stir of cloud

darkened the white skies of your day; the silence

of dust grazed in the long afternoon sun, ruling

the cracked fallow earth, ate into the laughter of your

flesh.

 

For you it was the hardest question of all.

Dead, empty trees stood by the dragging river,

past your weakened body, flailing against your sleep.

You thought of the way the jackals moved, to move.

 

Did you hear the young tamarind leaves rustle

in the cold mean nights of your belly? Did you see

your own death? Watch it tear your cries

break them into fits of hard unnatural laughter?

 

How old were you? Haunted, you turned coward and run,

the real animal in you plunging through your bone.

You left your family behind, the buried things.

the precious clod that praised the quality of a god.

 

The imperishable that swung your body.

turned it inside out? What did faith matter?

What Hindu world so ancient and true for you to hold?

Uneasily you dreamed toward the centre of your web.

 

The separate life let you survive, while perhaps

the one you left wept in the blur of your heart.

Now in a night of sleep and taunting rain

my son and I speak of that famine nameless as stone.

 

A conscience of years is between us. He is young

The whirls of glory are breaking down for him before me.

Does he think of the past as a loss we have lived, our own?

Out of silence we look back now at what we do not know.

 

There is a dawn waiting beside us, whose signs

are a hundred-odd years away from you, Grandfather.

You are an invisible piece on a board

whose move has made our children grow, to know us.

 

carrying us deep where our voices lapse into silence.

We wish we knew you more.

We wish we knew what it was to be, against dying

to know the dignity.

 

that had to be earned dangerously,

your last chance that was blindly terrifying, so unfair.

We wish we had not to wake up with our smiles

in the middle of some social order.

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Righteous Conduct- Courage

ADVENTURER

Karan Singh 

For I have gone where men have never been,

and wandered over countries far and near

and crossed great mountains with no trace of fear,

and gazed on many a strange and wondrous scene;

 

on mighty oceans have I plied my raft

where monstrous fishes close beneath me played,

and endless water heaved and lurched and swayed

as tirelessly I hurled my lethal shaft;

 

and through the great primeval forests tall

I plied the lonely furrow of my life

and slew great monsters, waged untiring strife

with creatures of the darkness, great and small;

 

and often as I strove with might and main,

and each victory won far renown,

I thought that I bad mown my troubles down

and conquered fear and death, old age and pain;

 

but ever were my hopes rudely belied,

for wander as I might throughout the world

I could not rid me of the terror curled

somewhere within my being, deep inside;

 

for over all our mortal hopes and gains

hovers the constant shadow of the grave,

of Time, that dims the glory of the brave

and lays at waste our labours and our pains;

 

and what adventure, what exploit will stay

with us beyond the folded veil of death ?

and what, when we have shed our mortal breath,

will speed us on our far, eternal way?

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Righteous Conduct-Simple living

The Boat of Life

Fakir Mohan Senapati

The boat of my life

sails along the ocean of time,

guided by the oar of karma.

My timorous nature,

like turbulent waves,

tosses my life's boat up and down.

Disease, sorrow, sin,

anger, many a tempest,

submerged rocks

of tarnished acquaintances, too:

By all these the boat of my life

seems perturbed and harried.

Sailing thus, it might get caught

In the false salvation-like ties

When the mind is possessed

by worldly desires.

The captain of sound conscience,

the only savior,

on insignificant one!

Keep the polestar in mind.

Or else, the dark, violent storm

will surely sink your troubled boat.

 

Translated from Oriya by Samanyu Satpathy

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Righteous Conduct-Respect for others

Devi

Hussain Rabi Gandhi

From Naoakhali to Nuapali

beyond the threshold

of the lakshman rekha of hunger,

it is the dense jungle of mall sahi

or sonagachhi,

where perched

on the hunting scaffold,

the trident of civilization

lurks for the kill.

 

The pirate beyond the seas

has drawn the

lakhsman

rekha of hunger.

If you cry

you are doomed,

if you laugh,

you are doomed.

 

Your womanhood

is being bargained,

your modesty

is being auctioned.

Your honor is being marked.

 

If you sell your honor,

you are the Miss World,

If not, you are primeval.

woman on house arrest.

 

His highness has

ordained that

you will be empowered;

you will be granted shakti.

 

The Dusshashan of

the twenty first century

is trying to disrobe you

in the electronic court of the Kurus.

You are already disrobed.

You are being paraded

on fashion ramp

with your shoulders

Laden with the merchandise

Of the tycoons across the seas.

His majesty has

Made repeated declarations

that the globalized

consumerist God

be worshipped,

and you be empowered.

 

Whether you are strong

or weak,

you yourself

know not.

For self-realization

you must see yourself

in the mirror

as mother, sister,

or wife.

And then,

to assume sakti,

ascend the throne.

Become Devi.

Become the mother of the universe.

 

Translated from Oriya by Sumanyu Satpathy.

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Righteous Conduct- Service to others

Let My Body Mingle

Gopabandhu Das

 

Compatriots, friends, and kinsmen!

Are you perturbed over my imprisonment?

This was not unexpected.

So why are you pained?

Timidity is the sign of the infirm.

The brave kills or is killed in action.

The brave knows no retreat

He dies not in mortal fear.

I know this to be a war of peace,

being fought, not with weapons nor canons,

nor strength nor wealth

nor chariots, horses, or elephants.

This is a psychological battle

to break the arrogance of brute strength.

Abandoning material bondage

I am armed with the shield of non-cooperation.

Only those who are strong

with the power of non-violence

can find a place in this battlefield.

Here the first reward is imprisonment:

the next, maybe, the dismemberment of the body.

I have joined the battle knowing this full well.

I am not at all bothered by thoughts of shame or infamy.

May my body merge with the soil of this land,

let my countrymen march on my back!

Let all the pitfalls on the road to swarat

be filled up by my flesh and bones.

Let my sacrifice make men advance, however little,

in the path of freedom.

All ordained by the almighty,

may my last prayer be fulfilled in this life!

 

Translated from Oriya by Sumanyu Satpathy

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Righteous Conduct-Faithfulness

The Tragic Plight

Kumaran Asan

Awake! Awake! 0, gardeners!

Make yourselves busy. The spring has dawned.

Remember, in this garden, made beautiful

By innumerable blossoms, high and low,

There is not a single flower

That does not give joy to the Great Gardener.

Every blossom deeply desires to grow slowly

And attain its perfection

According to the will of God.

Beware! Lest some cantankerous power

Should cast a stumbling block in that way

The Almighty doles out to them

With never-fading beneficence

And without discrimination

Blissful air and gracious sunshine

And sanctified rainfall everyday.

Let them all blossom and shower fragrance!

Let them all spread their dazzling radiance!

Let them all grow their soft petals

Long and broad and enjoy delight.

Thread into garlands such flowers

That will enrich themselves in mutual harmony.

It will be pleasing to God; indeed,

It is the policy of the Almighty Creator,

Protect them from destruction,

Take steps to destroy the cankers

Like envy and prejudice and hatred

That eat into the vitals of the human heart.

 

Water their beds with love every day

And give all the flowers unstinted sympathy.

Build around them a fence with the golden thread

Of customs proper to the times.

The garden that you rear up thus

Will fill with virtuous qualities

And in its dazzling brightness outshine

The heavenly grove. Almighty God

Will congratulate and bless you

 

Revered Brahmins! I dare say this

Even if you deem it improper,

Considering the country and the faith

And the people and your own sacred selves.

Times have changed and the strings

Of traditional customs are old and crumbling.

The awakened people will not be bound down

By these frail threads.

Come forward with boldness,

Replace your traditional customs and conventions

Or they will certainly displace you.

Echoing these very words all through

The tumultuous winds of change

Blow through Kerela today.

Time gives the same message from all quarters:

And the grumblings of unrest are surging

From underneath the feat.

In your sick hurry and the din

Of the eulogies of your fawning flutters,

You may not consider these exhortations.

And these words may not reach your ears.

 

If my words in this Tragic Plight

Which I utter in my emotional excitement

And my righteous indignation,

Are not soft enough, forgive me

For the purity of my purpose

I beg of you, O revered ones!

To think with a little kindness what

My lowly self has said. And I salute you

And place before you this simple song.

My humble manifesto.

 

Translated from Malayalam by P.C. Gangadhar.  

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Righteous Conduct-Equality

Onam Singers

Vyloppilli Sreedhara Menon

1.

Fondly singing Onam songs,

And along the long roads trudging,

We are poor folk, always half-starved

And wrapped in tattered rags.

What once had blazed, generations back

As Onam's golden light

Now dwells a dim and subdued gleam

In our aged heads

Gray-haired like sprinkled snow.

 

2.

In the fragrant land of Kerala

Redolent of numerous spices old,

On the Ganga's widespread plains

Where sanyasins conic in streams

Mingle and flow,

In the numerous tents that rise

On the great desert, silent, solemn, bare,

In the palm groves on the Nile's vast shores,

In the ever-enchanting isles of Greece,

In the rice-fields guarded by the poor

In China with her face all awrinkle,

In far-away eastern cities

Where moonlit mansions crowd

Like lovely lotus buds,

In Russian steppes

Where gypsies, doughty horsemen,

Crowd round camp-fires,

On the distant southern ranges,

Where the wondrous Mayan culture

Had its foundations laid,

In many lands, in many garbs,

In many a tongue, we tell

The story of the radiant Onam

That had dawned and set in days primeval.

Drum and pipe and flute and lyre

Accompany the song we sing.

Honey, and milk, and juice of grape

And the young coconut's delicious milk

Blend their sweetness in our song.

 

3.

Before the dawn of history

Before the birth-cry of religions,

A monarch reigned, a king of kings,

Whose umbrella was like the sky

Beneath which the whole world snuggled.

He was like a mountain huge,

His ministers tall like hills,

Long and white their beards flowed

Glistening in their smiles,

Smiles that were the silver spray

Of their welling wisdom deep.

Great were their people too,

Their bodies handsome, of disease free.

Nobly generous were their minds.

Human beings virtuous, perfect

On an earth that knew no gods.

The earth, for them, did spread her green

And served them to their fill

Like some noble skilful housewife

Serving distinguished guests,

Like flowers in a floral design,

Like a variety of melodious notes

In exquisite harmony blending,

When a group of musicians sings,

Men lofty of spirit lived

In mutual concord bound

In the glory of exalted thought and deed

And obeying an unwritten code.

Though unfettered

The women were pure of nature, sweetly affable;

Though of supreme valour

The men were mercy-incarnate, deeply humble.

Sharp as spear-grass sparkled their brains

Untouched by evil's devious ways.

Even in old age glowed their hearts

With the joyous relish of blossoming youth.

To their arts an intimate audience were

The mountains majestically grave,

The oceans with their rollicking waves,

And the sky to subtle feelings vibrating.

Though they adored no gods

Their entire life was an act of worship,

Their epoch an auspicious Onam

Rich with endless flowers of virtuous deeds.

 

4.

Some say

While a thousand years spring-spangled

Were winging their way forward,

Suddenly the sea surged in

Gorged on the glories of the earth

And flowed back.

Other ancients say.

Vamana the primal god descended,

Importuned the king, tricked him,

And trampled him down into darkness and ruin.

 

Nobody knows the truth, But aeons passed, and at last

When history her baby-eyes did open

There on earth's head like a grey hair

Were gods and priests and wicked lords.

On the earth where true men

Had once walked about

Now walked bent-headed dwarfs

Their thoughts too in pettiness enclosed.

For three feet of ground they beg and steal and kill,

And perish on their own.

They play with the toys of trivial pleasures,

Break them and cry themselves to a weary sleep.

Trampling down all glorious virtues,

And making ghastly the beauteous earth

They cry out to blind ascetic ways

To lead them on to paradise

But even in this growing gloom

In our heads there dimly flicker

The golden gleams of Onam days

That long long ago had blazed.

 

Science says they are but dreams,

History scorns them as mere lies

But truer far the radiant truth

Whispered by our hearts to us.

Clear to us that inner truth,

The message that comes from beauty,

The message our memories hum to us.

It keeps us, travellers on the path of art,

In a sweat restlessness every day

And what is more,

With eyes that once had kissed

A golden age in the distant past

We see once more the glimmer of Onam

Far away where the future is shaped.

We see the vision of human life

Sculpted to a glorious form.

 

And rising from the woeful chaos

Of mankind in this modern age.

 

Like birds incessantly flying

From spring-abandoned sites

To lands luxuriant of spring,

Like stars lightly linking

The twilight hours of dusk and dawn

Our thoughts and dreams refulgent

Are bounding forward in intense faith

From what is lost to what is yet to bloom

In some distant, unknown future.

Our songs are the cord

Tautly tied to the tips of time’s golden bow

Let the clang of the cord embrace the earth.

 

Look,

Along the plains on the earth’s side

Where moonlight gleams

Like the scornful smile of the gods

A radiant figure comes walking tall and straight,

On his coming the flowers wake up and laugh

The flowers are our witness.

Come, let us receive him

Let us prepare an Onam for the morrow.

 

Translated from Malyalam by B.Hridayakumari.

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Righteous Conduct- Honesty

O ocean, my soul is in agony

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar

 

Take me, take me back to my motherland

O ocean, my soul is in agony

I had always seen you

washing the feet of my motherland;

You said to me, "Come, let us go to other

countries

and see the variety in this world."

Upon that, my mother's heart pained

with the fear of agony of separation

But you gave her your word

"I know all the ways, and

shall myself carry him on my surface,

and soon shall bring him back"

Seeing your solemn resolve,

I believed in your promise

I felt I shall attain perfection, learning from

the world

"Soon shall I return". I told her and left her.

0 ocean, my soul is in agony....

A parrot should enter a cage or a deer a snare -

so is this deception!

How shall I continuously suffer hereafter

my separation from my motherland!

Everywhere about me. darkness thickens

I gathered flowers of virtues with the intention

that she should relish

their fragrance!

If my learning cannot be completely consumed

for her emancipation,

then this entire learning is a futile burden.

0 ocean, that affection of the mango tree.

those auspicious creepers weaving new blown flowers,

those blooming little rose buds....

Alas! now I am bereft of that flower-garden!

O ocean, my soul is in agony ....

Stars are in plenty in the sky --

but to me, the dearest one is India.

Palaces here are charming ---

but my mother's hut is dearest to me.

Without her I won't accept a kingdom too

Even the exile in her forest is entirely dearer to me.

Luring me is futile now, 0 ocean

0 Lord of rivers, river is

so darlingly precious to your heart,

I put you on her oath,

0 ocean, my soul is in agony....

O ruthless one, how cheekily you laugh

the sham laughter of foam.

 

Translated  from Marathi by Pradeep Gopal Deshpande.

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Righteous Conduct- Dignity of Labour

Reap the Paddy

Hiren Bhattacharja

 

Somewhere in my *Kolong and *Kapili

Paddy is swelling

Towards the places where I rest my head and my feet

In the sticky soil of love.

Reap the paddy with your lotus hand.

Let the full-blown sunlight bubble on your smooth dusky face.

Bring the paddy, thresh the paddy, let the four

directions resound with the rise and fall of your feet.

 

*Two rivers of Assam

 

Translated from Assamese by Ajit Barua.

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Righteous Conduct- Simple Living

In Memoriam

Aboni Chakravarti

 

No, not while the drill of breathing was on,

but trooped in no that he is dead

to plant cut flowers at his feet.

He was not in uniform then,

not at one with the drills,

the uniform , the routine----

Yet

We'd know a man from the uniform he wears.

 

Poetry disdains that alien garb

Yet we'd annoint the naked body of truth

and surrender to the explosions.

In that crucial act Caesar was flanked by Brutus

As Jesus by two unwary thieves

For what will never occur again

I want to spread out my arms on nails

to die this once , then again,

Translated from Assamese by the author.

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Righteous Conduct-Self Sacrifice

Self-Restraint

Tirukkural

 

Self-restraint wins us a place with the gods

passion is the road to hell.

 

Foster self-control as wealth beyond price;

there's no greater source of good.

 

The man schooled in self-restraint duly earns

the laudation of the wise.

 

Taller than a mountain is the stature

of one with stern self-control.

 

All need humility: more so the rich.

for whom it's the truer wealth.

 

Who-- tortoise-like -- controls the five senses.

will harvest for seven lives.

 

Restraint in speech is basic discipline,

failing which--mere misery!

 

A single hurtful word can damage all

the good things one may have done.

 

The fire-caused wound heals soon enough, but not

one made by a scalding tongue!

 

Virtue greets him who has mastered anger,

and is wise and self-controlled.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R.Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Self-help

Righteous Conduct-Service to others

Giving

Tirukkural

What we give the poor is gift; with others

there's the hope of recompense.

 

The poor are praised, the rich condemned; but when

the poor beg, giving is good.

 

The high-born, even when he's poor, gives still,

 

and dosen't wail "I'm destitute!"

 

Seeing the beggar's pained face, the giver

feels sad, till it smiles again.

 

Askesis is reared on hunger; greater

is the gift that ends hunger!

 

Of what use is wealth except for ending

the hunger of the hopeless?

 

Who practises sharing food with the poor

will never know hunger's pangs.

 

Don't the misers that save and lose their wealth

know the great joy of giving?

 

Alas! it's worse misery than begging

to hoard wealth and feed alone.

 

Ah, worse than death is the sad plight of one

with nothing for charity.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Loyalty to Duty

Human Perfection

Tirukkural

 

Men wedded to duty and goodness see

duty in all good actions.

 

What determines the worth of the worthy?

The light within, nothing else!

 

Perfection involves love, truth, sense of shame,

sharing, and benevolence.

 

Ahimsa is the saints mark: avoidance

of foul speech, that of good men.

 

With humility, the strong stoop to win,

the worthy disarm their foes.

 

The wise own defeat by the wise, although

inferior otherwise.

 

Human excellence lies in doing good

to one's enemies themselves.

 

Poverty shames not the man who is heir

to the wealth of character.

 

The Elect stand their ground, although all change

and the worlds crack and explode.

 

The Earth must grow weary of its burden

should the Elect themselves fail.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar

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Righteous Conduct-Respect to others

Courtesy

Tirukkural

 

Courtesy is the crown of nature

that receives all men with ease.

 

Courtesy grows out of native goodness

and excellent fostering.

 

It's inner affinity, not outer

likeness, that sustains friendship.

 

The world esteems those whose actions flow from

justice, virtue, helpfulness.

 

The courteous speak not scornfully, even

in jest, or to their foemen.

 

But for the wise men who keep it going,

the Earth would crash and perish.

 

Steel-sharp their brains, yet lacking good manners,

such men are but wooden blocks.

Discourtesy, even towards one's foes,

is an unbecoming trait.

 

He that can never smile sees only dark,

dark, even in broad daylight.

 

Wealth with the miserly is like pure milk

soured in an unclean vessel.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Self-help

I Sing in Praise of Dreams

Kulo Thungan

The dreams of a poet create an epic;

Those of the lovers shall enrich life itself;

Our dreams on earth may herald an epoch.

Dreams do ripen; praise be to the dreams.

 

In front of our eyes we see the bounds:

We close our eyelids and all limits vanish;

To all that we perceive time sets limits.

Blessed be the dreams: they transcend time.

 

A dream today shall be real tomorrow;

We shall transform our ambtions to attainments;

Mind, like the Vamana*, known no bounds:

Let our dreams grow and humanity blossom!

 

Translated from Tamil by V.C.Kulandai Swamy

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Righteous Conduct-Justice

Muthuray

Ouvvay

 

Who statedly with floral gifts attend,

Before the trunk-faced red-one's1 footstool bend,

And pious homage reverently pay,

Shall from the goddess lotus-throned 2 acqiure

wit, eloquence, and all that they desire,

And never sink in bodily decay.

 

1.If suffering worth to acts of kindness move,

Dismiss the fear your bounty may not prove

And source at last of profit and delight:

The water furnished to its early root,

In sweeter draughts from future plenteous fruit

The cocoa's crown will gratefully requite.3

 

2.The valued favours the deserving gain

Like sculpture in eternal rock remain;

Of virtue's tribute charity is sure:

But vain is kindness to the worthless shown,

Who debts and duties ever more disown;

On water written words as well endure.

 

3.When senseless grief the live-long day englooms,

In vain attractively the garden blooms;

In vain the spouseless maid her beauty wears:

So youth when needy is a tiresome stage,

And wealth but misery in helpless age,

A bitter mockery of peevish cares.

 

4.To love, though loved, the callous base ne'er

learn;

But love for love the good and wise return;

Their greatness through calamities remains;

A purer whiteness as the sea-shell shows,

When fiercely the containing furnace glows;

As seething milk its flavour still retains.

 

5.Although in foliage richly dressed they rise,

In figure faultless, and mature in size,

As trees no fruit except in season bear,

In any project sooner to succeed,

And gain the end before the time decreed,

Nor wealth avails, nor toil, nor wakeful care.

 

6.Not softly yielding as the building towers,

Not bending gently when the load overpowers,

The stony column will asunder fly:

So they who scorn their honour to survive

'Gainst overwheliming adversaries strive,

Refusing homage though they muster nigh.

 

7.The depth and surface of the pool decide

The growth and limit of the lily's pride:

So erudition is on study based;

So riches show accumulated worth

By penance purchased in a previous birth;

So character from son to sire is traced.

 

8.Happy the eyes that on the pious rest,

The ears that hear their useful words are bless'd,

And bless'd the lips that all their virtues tell;

More happy they, their character who wear,

Their friendship gain, their reputation share,

Their sacred paths frequent, and with them dwell.

 

9.The very sight of wicked men is ill,

Their graceless words the ear with evil fill,

The lips with risk their attributes portray,

And ' its the height of self-inflicted wrong

To mingle with their sin-infectious throng,

Attend their cursed step, and with them stay.

 

10.The water turn'd to where the rice-crop grows

Refreshes kindly, as it thither flows,

The common grass that in its channel lies;

In every age, the genial rains that fall

To cheer the good , are shared alike by all,

And virtue 's revenue the world supplies.

 

11.To instruments the grate their glory owe;

The lofty are supported by the low;

Without assistance rank and skill were vain:

Too oft we spurn the object we should prize;

The rice denuded unproductive dies,

The husk we scorn preserves the living grain.

 

12. In bulk the scentless taly 4 far excels;

The little magul flowers more sweetly smells :

In seeming meanness may be hidden worth:

The spacious sea, with all its vauntful roar,

E'en for ablution fits not,5 while ashore

The humble spring with nectar gushes forth.

 

13.The branching trees that in the jungle grow

No excellence like cultured palms can show;

Appearing proudly with the learned, he

Who, lacking skill to scan the proffer'd verse,

Or seize the sense of what the rest rehrearse,

Is disconcerted , stands a jungle tree.

 

1. Ganapathi 2. Lakshmi.

3. The young cocoa-nut needs copious and

frequent watering . The fluid of its fresh is a

pleasant and abundant drink.

4. A coarse wild flowor.

5. The saline deposite spoils the look of the

brown skin. English blue-jackets sometimes drive

canoes away, and make room for their own boat,

by naughtily dipping a hand in the sea, and

dashing some water on the shoulders of the

native sailors.

Translated from Tamil by Edward Jewitt Robinson.

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Righteous Conduct- Courage, Leadership and Team Spirit.

Mother, Motherland

Subhash Mukhopadhyay

 

I loved my mother, oh so dearly

But I could never spell it out

In so many words

Sometimes I saved the money

Meant for snacks

And got her oranges

Her eyes would fill with tears

As she lay in bed

But I could never tell her in words

Just how much I loved her.

 

Oh mother, my motherland,

I don't know how to

Tell you the same!

You are the land

Where I took my first steps

Holding on to you with all my might

Your feel is firmly imprinted

Within my toes and fingers,

No matter what I touch

It's you I find

Oh mother, it's you who play

The lute within my heart.

 

Mother dear, we're not afraid

Of those who have dared to plant

Their cruel talons

Upon your sacred soil

We shall grab them by the neck

And throw them out of our realm.

 

We shall face life our own way

The way we've always done

We're not afraid, just vexed because

Our yajna has been disturbed.

Mother dear, we shall hold our tongue

And let our busy hands

Spell out our love!

 

Translated from Bengali by Swapna Dutta.

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Righteous Conduct- Leadership and Courage

My Work

Subhash Mukhopadhyay

 

I want my words to stand on their feet

I want each shadow to have eyes

And provide motion to still paintings

I don't want them to call me a poet

I just yearn to be able to walk

Shoulder to shoulder with the others

Until the last day of my life

And be able to lay down my pen beside the tractor

And say, "Brother, I'm through---

Give me a whiff of fire!"

 

Translated from Bengali by by Swapna Dutta.

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Righteous Conduct- Self-Reliance

O, My Countryman!

Abul Ahad Azad

 

The fire of your honour is out.

Awake, my countryman!

 

Do not sleep like a worm

Buried deep in the mud of fear.

Come out in your hooded majesty.

Awake ,my countryman!

 

Caught in a whirlpool, you are amazed to see

Your stone become glass, your quicksilver water,

The pearls of your necklace worthless beads.

Awake, my countryman!

 

Let flames leap out of the oven of your heart!

Fall like lightning on noxious nettles,

And meadows of flowers will live wothout fear.

Awake, my countryman!

 

Translated from Kashmiri by Trilokinath Raina

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Righteous Conduct- Honesty

The Betrayal

Nirala

 

The face yellowed.

The spine curved. The hands joined.

Darkness rose in the eyes.

Centuries passed.

The great sages, saints and poets arrived.

Each laid down the law.

Some said that one is three,

Others that three is three.

Some felt the pulse, some watched the lotus.

Some revelled, some kissed the fingers.

The people said, `Blessed are we.

But the tambourine held out.

The mridanga split into the tabla.

The vina became the surbahar.

We now hear the spinet.

The day breaks.

The lips of the four cardinals redden.

Morning's polecats are night's.

The Age of Betrayal betrays us.

 

Translated from Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

 

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Righteous Conduct-Courage and Faithfulness

A Single Shooting Star

Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh

 

A single shooting star

A distant star

shoots through the blue of space

Here, someone measures its speed,

records the rise and set.

But nothingness of space,

assumed to blue, must spell

an answer inaccessible.

To stretching scope

eye muscle's strain.

 

Astronomers describe

its pace and spatial shift;

account for its time concealed

in tunnels of shade.

Yet it tracks only itself,

oblivious to sketch

and sketcher, eye and scope.

 

With equal speed

another lone star seems

to move across the space

So in moving out of shades

of evil , reining self,

riding the void,

each star

becomes the image

seeing

its own fearless offspring---

 

because of this

I shall put faith in every man,

in every man's son.

 

Translated from Hindi by James Mauch.

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Righteous Conduct- Self-sacrifice

Mother

Dr. P. Lankesh

 

My mother, black, prolific earth,

green leaf, a festival of white flowers.

With every burn, the earthier; with every pang

more fruit and petal.

Limbs that thrill to children's kicks.

Laying down the basket on her head,

she groaned, and closed eyes never again to open.

 

Raised a hundred measures of millet

to please father and win a bracelet for the arm,

swilling water for each clod of earth;

pepper, pea, millet and grain she ploughed with her

hand,

blossoming in flowers, ripening in fruit,

she watched over cereal fields,

spending all youth in a tatter of sarees.

 

She died, she did:

What's the age of a hag bent double?

How many New Year moons, how many festivals of

sweet bread

Over the live coal? How many times she wept,

this old woman, for coin, for dead calf and ruined

grain?

roamed villages, how many times,

for an ancient run away buffalo?

 

No, not Savitri, Janaki, nor Urmila;

nor a heroine out of history books, tranquil, fair,

grave

in dignity; nor like the wives of Gandhi

and Ramakrishna. Did not worship the gods,

nor listen to holy legends, nor did she wear

like a good auspicious wife

any vermilion on her brow.

 

A wild bear

bearing a litter of little ones,

she reared a husband, saved coins

in knots of cloth; like a hurt bitch,

she snarled, grumbled and fought.

 

Mean, crooked, ready to scratch

like a monkey;

the only rule:

whatever raises a family.

Would flare up and burn

only if son went wild

or husband elsewhere.

 

A wild jungle bear has no need for your Gita.

My mother lived

for stick and grain, labour and babies;

for rafter overhead, rice, bread, a blanket;

to walk upright among equals.

 

Admiration , tears of thanks:

for bearing and raising;

living in mud and soil , and

for living as she did ,as if

leaving home for the fields,

cool, in the middle of small talk.

 

Translated from Kannada by A.K.Ramanujan.

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Righteous Conduct- Simple Living

A Lesson

Dr. K. S. Nishar Ahmed

 

The poets of the Wordsworthian clan

counselled the beatnik Gregory Corso:

"Brother, open your inward eye and write,

Stop being a slave to the so-called reality

of life's misery and complexity.

 

Let a scene from nature

teach you a lesson.

Look at that tree, free from life's ugliness,

generous and harmless.

Be happy and give it your thanks."

 

Corso banged the table before him and said,

"This is the gratitude we have shown

to that noble, wonderful tree."

 

Translated from Kannada by Dr. S.K.Desai

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Righteous Conduct-Self-help

Avoidance of Envy

Tirukkural

 

Prize avoidance of envy as a part

Of exemplary conduct.

 

There’s no human excellence as worthy

As the freedom from envy.

 

Nor wealth nor virtue is his who envies

Others, not delights in them.

 

Knowing the wages of envy, the wise

Succumb not to the evil.

 

The envious need no adversary,

For envy can eat itself.

 

Viewing gifts to another with envy

Provokes penury and death.

 

Fortune spurns the envious man, who now

Comes under Misfortune’s sway.

 

The evil of envy destroys one’s wealth

And dooms the soul to hell-fire.

 

One disbelieves when the envious win

Or the great unjealous fail.

 

The green-eyed sinner is not for the heights;

The sinless can’t miss them.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R, Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Equality

Equality

Tirukkural

 

Rright behaviour towards friends, foes, strangers

is alone equality.

 

Justly won wealth endures undiminished,

and with the progeny too.

 

Give up gains, though useful, if ill acquired;

ends don’t justify the means.

 

Posthumous fame shows whether one had lived

A just life on earth or not.

 

Loss and gain are no chancy things: the wise

face them with equality.

 

He who swerves from justice and turns to wrong

sets upon his road to ruin.

 

The wise don't look down upon the good man

though he lives in poverty.

 

What marks the wise is their equality

unswerving like weighing scales.

 

Where the mind is without twist or untruth.

speech too blazons rectitude.

 

What's the mark of a good trader? He guards

another’s goods as his own.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Self-sacrifice

Forbearance

Tirukkural

 

Even as the earth suffers its diggers,

the wise bear with their critics.

 

Forbearance of a wrong is always good;

better still to forget it.

 

Poverty's worst is to turn back one's guests;

and sure strength to suffer fools.

 

For sustaining the honour of one's name

perseverance is the key.

 

The wise dismiss the vengeful as worthless;

sufferance is prized as gold.

 

Revenge means a day's joy, but forbearance

wins a good name for ever.

 

Better meet injury with sufferance,

and pity the poor sinner.

 

When the proud hurtfully assail, meet them

with patience and transform them.

 

Those that suffer hurtful speech from the proud,

know them as true ascetics.

 

Praised be abstinence from food, but glory

to those who suffer foul speech.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Service to others

Sharing

Tirukkural

 

Generosity seeks no recompense:

what do we pay to the clouds?

 

Wherefore the accumulation of wealth,

unless it leads to sharing?

 

In this world or in heaven, there's nothing

nobler than sharing one's wealth.

 

He who practises sharing truly lives:

the rest are as good as dead.

 

The wise man of benevolence is like

a tank's life-giving waters.

 

A generous man's wealth is like ripe fruit

on a tree, open to all.

 

Like a balm-giving tree is the rich man

who shares his largesse with all.

 

Even if they're poor, the wise continue

their acts of beneficence.

 

'Tis his inability to share wealth

that hurts the poor worthy man.

 

Even by selling himself, the good man

will do deeds of charity.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Dignity of Labour

Greatness

Tirukkural

 

Greatness is willed achievement: Acquiescing

in one's sloth is littleness.

 

All have a similar birth: men differ

only the way they live.

 

The base are base although raised high: the great

are great although pushed below.

 

Chastity is woman's guarded treasure:

such is man's sustained glory.

 

Even under stress, the great find the means

to attain difficult ends.

 

The petty are allergic to the great

and will learn nothing from them.

 

If wealth and fame comes to the petty ones,

their pride will exceed all bounds.

 

The great are gentle and humble, but pride

is the badge of little men.

 

Greatness can make everyone feel at home:

meanness thrives on insolence.

 

Greatness softness the defects of others:

littleness makes much of them.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srinivasa Iyengar.

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Righteous Conduct-Obedience

Sensitivity to Shame

Tirukkural

 

The recoil from shame is true modesty :

all else is maidenly blush.

 

Food, raiment, children are the marks of all;

modesty is a rare gift.

 

The body houses life, but modesty

houses human excellence.

 

Without the jewel of modesty, man's

swagger but insults the eye.

 

Some blush for others' shame as if it's theirs;

they're the home of Modesty.

 

Were it even to gain a realm, the wise

will not cross modesty's bounds.

 

The modest forego life for honour's sake,

and not honour for life's sake.

 

Virtue will flee from those that fail to feel

as the sensitive ones do.

 

Want of breeding injures one's family:

shamelessness ruins everything.

 

Lack of all modesty disgraces man

into a puppetry piece.

 

Translated from Tamil by K.R. Srivasa Iyengar

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Righteous Conduct-

Their Fatherland

Kapilar

 

The dark planet may smoulder;

Or the earth be enveloped in smoke;

Or the silver planet fly southwards;

Yet crops teem there in the fields,

And flowers blossom on the shrubs,

And herds of tender --eyed kine

With their calves tethered in the homestead

Browse at ease on Lush grass.

Wise and good men throng there even more;

The welcome rain never fail, his fields;

And green;-leaved jasmine abounds with buds

Sharp and white like kitten's teeth

In the glorious fatherland

Of these charming maidens bangled bright

Since the sceptre of their father

Is ever straight.

 

Translated from Tamil by P. N. Appuswamy

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Righteous Conduct-Justice

No Heaven to Gain: No Hell to Fear

Kulo Thungan

 

 

We know no other light but knowledge and wisdom:

The puzzles , that are beyond our grasp today,

we shall find the way to solve one day.

In search of truth we wander in all directions:

Ours an open mind, an ever expanding philosophy.

 

Never shall we accept any law of life

that fails to accept this simple rule:

"Change is but a proof that we are alive".

We seek and strive to create out of a particle of dust,

wealth enough to sustain all that lives and exist.

 

The twin missions in life we have;

We contemplate and we create,

Our aim is a world with justice for all!

Posterity is our concern and for its health,

We sweat and toil; forego food and sleep---

in so doing we find infinite joy.

This ,the only happiness ,we know; we care.

Beyond this bliss,

we have no heaven to gain and

no hell to fear.

 

Translated from Tamil by V.C.Kulandai Swamy

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Righteous Conduct-Self Sacrifice

It Does Not Matter

Kedar Nath Sigh

 

 

Every time I return and check in

my house gets a surprise and says: 'Hail'.

O Lord God!

Isn't it a miracle

that where ever I go

I come back here all the time.

On the road they do not demand

your identity card

and in the mirror you do not need a proof

and what a big facility it is

that whether we are all at home

or in a tram

all curiosities

are set at rest

with just a railway timetable.

 

The sky on every bent

folds me up a little

and then leaves me alone,

to me only;

to take another step or just sit down.

And this is the place

where once you have arrived

the shrieks of stones can already be heard.

But the truth in fact is

that it does not make a difference

here or anywhere.

 

Where you once wrote 'Love'

you now write 'Road'

but it does not make a difference.

The catch-word of my age is

it does not make a difference'.

 

It often seems

as if the faces of the friend sitting beside you

and the terminal points of the

indistinct African rivers

have become indistinguishable.

And what I want to give words to

is not on my tongue

but is sticking somewhere between my teeth.

 

I might as well start my argument

but things are passing through such a phase

that calling the table , opposite you.

'Table' is like lifting it from there

and placing it among unnamed criminals.

And this is the point which every bloody vein

Gets severed from the body

and the time

when a small nail in my shoe

starts pinching the stars.

 

Translated from Hindi by Apu Vajpeyi

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Righteous Conduct- Equality

Of Equality

Kazi Nazrul Islam

   

Of equality I sing

where all barriers and differences

between man and man have vanished,

where Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and Christians

have mingled together. Of equality I sing.

What are you a Parsi, a Jain a Jew?

 

Or a Santal, Bhil or Garo

A confusion or a follower of Charvak the

atheist?

Go on, say more.

Yet , friends, be whatever you may please,

whatever books and manuscripts you may carry

in your insides or on your backs or shoulders---

be it the Quran, the Puranas, the Vedas, Vedanta,

the Bible, Tripitaka, Zendavesta, Granthsahib--

and whatever you may read of these as you please,

yet why this vain labour,

this driving of an auger into your brain ?

Why this haggling as in a shop?---

Fresh flowers are blooming along the way !

Within you are all the books, the wisdom of all ages

and you need only to open wide your soul

to find all the scriptures there.

In you are all religions, all the prophets of ages;

your heart is the universal temple of all the gods of

men.

What makes you, man of religion,

seek God in the the dead bones of treatises ?

He smiles in the silent privacy of your immortal heart.

 

This is no lie I speak, my friends-- it is here

that all royal crowns lay themselves prostrate.

It is the heart that is the sacred seat of Jagannath,

is Banaras ,Mathura, Brindaban, Bodh Gaya,

Jerusalem, Medina and the shrine of the Kaaba.

The heart is the mosque, the temple and the church;

it is here that Jesus and Moses discovered Truth.

The heart is the battlefield.

where Krishna sang the great Gita,

It is the field where the shepherd magi made friends

with God.

This heart is the cave of meditation

where Buddha heard the call of humanity's deep

distress

and renounced his throne.

In this retreat the darling son of Araby heard the great

call;

it's here that he sang the song divine that is the Quran

I haven't heard it wrong , friend----

there's no temple or Kaaba greater that this heart of

man.

 

Of equality I sing.

There is nothing greater nor than man!

No distinction of time, place or circumstance---

indivisible is the community of man in religion,

for in all times and climes and in every home

God is everyman's kith and kin.

 

The hypocrites worship the scriptures. Listen,you

fools,

it is men that have produced scriptures

and not scriptures that have produced men!

Adam, David, Jesus, Moses, Abrahan, Muhammad,

Krishna, Buddha, Nanak, Kabir are

the priceless heritage of the world; they are

our great ancestors, and their blood

courses more or less in every vein

of these our bodies ! We are their own offspring.

and have the shape same as theirs---

and who knows but we may grow

to their stature some time or other ?

Laugh not, friend ! This self of mine

is so fathomless and infinite that I don't know

what highest of the high indwells in me.

 

Translated from Bengal by Basudha Chakrabarty

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Righteous Conduct-Proper Time Management

Song of the Road

Alok Ranjan Dasgupta

 

We shall not linger on the steps

Of the waiting room

In the dusky twilight of the setting sun

When the moon is rising

With its halo bright

We shall not linger on the steps

Of the waiting room.

 

We shall not pause in aching hope

Of a second kiss

The door of clouds is open

Where our throne is set

The throne which feels

The lash of storm

The touch of rain

We shall not pause in aching hope

Of a second kiss!

 

Translated from Bengali by Swapna Dutta

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Righteous Conduct-Team Spirit

Morning

Dia Nath Nadim

 

Alone, the morning star is truly forlorn,

Left behind by the shining caravan,

The poor so journey has lost his way

And scans the sky for his comrades.

The tulip, pitying his plight, dragged him down

Into her lap in the form of dew;

Bounteous earth blesses him with increase;

Buds on bushes blossomed in twins.

Alone in the sky, coming down he became many;

Happy comradeship cured the false pride of height.

A flower among flowers, and pearl in the breeze--

The garden taught him the great secret of life.

Erase your ego, and you move forward with the many;

In isolation a bleak death crowns a pointless life.

 

Translated from Kashmiri by the author.

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Righteous Conduct- Appreciation of other Cultures

In Bhilai

Ashok Bajpeyi

Even there, where the stretched-out

long and burning hands of iron

are chopped off by the machine,

I'll sleep soundly,

and without getting nabbed by a nightmare

wake to the wealth of sum as usual.

All your words and gestures may fade

but I'll remember you;

in an endless summer

the sense of seasons will be lost

and yet I'll recognise

those fragrant days

when your fresh youth blooms in my arms.

A deadening noise will be all around

and my heart like melted incandescent iron

will flow towards you

in numberless streams:

and quietly, you will mould it

into happiness.

then one night

your blood and your heart and

your love

will grow heavy like the steel,

from beneath the railway-trains

carrying people and coal

from behind the lampposts

keeping watch over tranquil towns;

the earth will be dumb

like a dark and heavy fear,

and the overhanging sky

be still like death.

My innumerable parts will wait

for you at the machine-gate.

 

Translated from Hindi by the author.

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Righteous Conduct-Team Spirit and Courage

Our Reply

Gaurish Kaikimi

 

Let us march step in step

And shoulder to shoulder.

Let us reshape the age we live in

And move the world to wonder.

Let's sing the song of terror and

destruction.

 

The song of victory.

 

Where is the time for courtesies now?

Come old, come young, come one and all.

Men and women----they are equal when

The nation's debt is settled.

Come, we will fight the battle.

The enemy has broken into our temple,

Red Bear in the house of God.

The Himalayas are on fire.

Come, soldiers, march forward

And cast out this menace!

 

We will break, we will burn

The dogged enemy, part and whole,

Run his camp to rack and ruin

And our trumpets blow triumphant

And tear horizons asunder.

 

We are heirs of Immortality.

Of the tribe of Indra, the mountain-breaker,

And friends of Siva, the death-vanquisher.

Our valour knows no bounds

Nor our greatness any fall.

 

Chamundi invites, the goddess of war.

We acknowledge it with blood.

Our very faces are transparent

Mirrors to the nation's soul.

All that we have held as ours

Is an offering to the Goal.

 

The crookedness of fate

Has wound its way through the Manasa lake

To Mount Kailas.

The crocodile has caught the Gajendra,

The elephant of Bharat Lakshmi.

We will bless the forehead of our tri-colour

With the blood-mark of the crocodile.

 

Translated from Kannada by V.K.Gokak.

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Righteous Conduct - Change it to Non Violence-Rejection of Untouchability

The Untouchables

K.V. Trimalesh

 

" Beware of Dogs!" Must you threaten thus,

Taking cover behind the sign-board?

We only pass by this road

We talk when silence grows unbearable

And laugh lest we should weep.

 

Must you threaten to let loose your hands on us?

You have hounds to hunt, you are the lords

Of hounds, cars and posh hotels

You are the Gods of the cabaret paradise,

On this side we exist, the untouchables.

 

Must you look on us as strangers? Do you forget

We have familiarity down the centuries.

In Babylon we drudged at your treadmill

You sold us in auction market places

We bear the hump of slavery on our backs

Our children are threatened by the same.

 

True, you came round for compromise

But try our best

You claim ignorance of our language

What can be done? You see,

You shall understand it some time

Against your wish, the understanding of which

You shall regret.

 

Must you cry out hysterical?

While you have sealed off under your monoply

Literature, culture, wealth and power

Why should you fret then?

Revolutions have come and

Revolutions have gone

Nevertheless your tribe has increased

And it is still on the flourish

Must you froth at the mouth then?

 

Is it because history never repeats,

The present never stays,

The unknown is bound to happen?

We know this

And because you fear we know,

When you confront us

Your faces look ghastly---

This is but natural.

   

Translated from Kannada by the author.

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Righteous Conduct-Team-Spirit and courage

Panchajanya

K.V.Puttappa

March forward, march forward,

Push ahead, and march forward!

Without tarrying, without sulking,

March forward, with ever bubbling joy!

 

Shed the fear, implant the faith

Inside your daring heart---a temple,

Smash the prisons, smile the foes,

Reduce them to dust---never to live ever!

 

I will fade away, you will fade away,

But over our bones shall rise,

Surely shall rise, over us

The spectacle of Navabharath---New India!

 

Ye, Soul, thou art imperishable,

And a chain of life shall flow down,

Ye, Death, thou art transient,

Let glory be to India,

Proclaiming thus, march forward!

 

March forward, march forward,

Push ahead, march forward!

Without tarrying, without sulking,

March forward, with ever bubbling joy!

 

Translated from Kannada by the author

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Righteous Conduct- Leadership

As long as the moon and the sun last

G.M.Madgulkar

 

This nation is the nation of Gods,

the nation of missionaries

May India's independence live

as long as the moon and the sun last

This is the land dedicated to duty

-- the land of Seeta and Rama-

-May many more Ramayanas full of valour take place here

May the head of the Himalayas

rise higher and higher

May India's independence live

as long as the moon and the sun last

May petty defeats not fetch despair here

This is the land where Krishna explained

the divine knowledge to Arjuna

This nation was suckled

the nectar of the essence of the Geeta

May India's independence live

as long as the moon and the sun last.

 

Translated from Marathi by Pradeep Gopal Deshpande

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Righteous Conduct- Self-help

A Letter for the Clerk Nicknamed Shelley

Mohendra Bora

 

So, the letter he expected didn't come. Not even today.

It is drizzling outside all the time pit-a-pat

This lovely moment of a Saturday afternoon.

How beautiful it would have been with a letter coming.

A blue envelope. He just opened it with a trembling hand.

The heart pounds. How much hope was there in the letter.

'Excuse my asking, if you could repay the paltry sum..’

The whole afternoon turns boring a bitter all around.

Ay, tomorrow is Sunday And the postman never comes.

 

It goes on raining .The telephone bell rings now and then

Someone throws some railway jargon: 4 down, 9 up etc. etc.

Instead, if some soft word would have come floating by

from the other end, along with fading notes of lilting laughter.

The trance gets dissolved in the ringing bells of telephone calls

and the rumbling thuds of arriving trains.

Here is a letter. A brown envelope. And a despatch report of oil.

The real letter didn't come. That was to come

from his girl-friend.

 

Even yesterday it didn't come. It came from someone else.

Jolly good fellow, forgot to place the letter in

an empty envelope

He could guess the sender from the writing of

the address outside--

The man writes in nice Tagorean hand, wreathed

words trailing on.

May be, that was a letter penned in a mood of despondence.

Instead, if the real letter itself would have come.

If the last night would have dragged on a bit longer.

Was she tired of sleeping to feel like writing a few lines.

May be, she has no time. No time to spare. Of course,

She could have pressed her lips on just a blank sheet---

His life of ration-cards and revisions of pay-scales.

His dreams get smothered, not under the wheel of locomotive,

but under the heaps of office-files.(The gold-dusts of the river

do never sparkle, only the sand-dusts glitter and glimmer).

 

 

Should he himself post a letter to his own address

Like the crazy Boleslov, of whom he read in a

Russian story?

It won't be a bad idea. His eyes began drooping

with a dream.

Dear clerk-poet, have a dream and try sleeping.

Let a century pass, the postman will deliver

a letter on your tomb. A letter is certain to come.

"Dear Shelley, does the shore of ours look so

hazy at all?"

 

Translated from Assamese by the poet.

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Righteous Conduct-Proper Time Management

To the Eternal Traveller

Hari Barkakoti

 

You have crossed many a frontier

Of both space and mind during your reckless

Travels across the world

And so journeyed for a single night

On strange beds in shacks forlorn

Only briefly, and utterly spent.

At dawn next morning, unknown and unsung

You trod again your lonesome trail

Leaving behind only your memories

In the form of dust and sweat

Of your reckless wanderings.

Travel weary now at the dead-end of your road

Only remember,

Time is running out for you, and

Home is where you go to

When you run out of homes.

 

Translated from Assamese by the author.

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Kumaran Asan

 

Righteous Conduct- Resourceful

Soldier is my name

G.M.Madgulkar

 

The refulgent history backs me forever

Heroes like Pratap and Shivaji stand as my support

Valour and faith stand behind me.

 

I am backed by Bhagat Singh and Guru Govind

Valiant warrior like Subhashchandra backs me

and roars "Jai Hind'.

 

I am the vigilant guard of this nation

Bharat is my native land, soldier is my name.

 

I am neither Marathi nor Rajasthani

My religion and my caste is Hindustani

I am extremely proud of my motherland,

and this pride comprehends observances of all religions

Soldier is my name.

 

Mother India is my genitress

Valour thrives in this very soil

Life and death do not worry me

Body is perishable, and is merely

a costume of the soul

Soldier is my name.

 

It is here that strength and restraint reached harmony

Here was born Siddhartha Gautam

This nation is a sacred pilgrimage

of Bhagwan Tathagat

May India's independence live

as long as the moon and the sun last

This is the nation of Vikramaditya

the land of peace

This is the nation where rules

an ever-living tradition of fighting for the Truth

Valiant heroes like Shivaji and Rana Pratap

have existed here.

 

May India's independence live.

as long as the moon and the sun last

In this nation traditions are honoured forever

Here, the very foundation of Peoples' Rule is Truth

May the eclat of the advertence resound here forever

May India's independence live

as long as the moon and the sun last.

 

Translated from Marathi by Pradeep Gopal Deshpande

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Righteous Conduct-Prudence

What is Sorrow

Jagannath Das

Seeing that the Universe

is steeped in Vishnu,

give up all doubts

One suffers the

consequences of one's actions,

and has to parttake of it.

At no time free,

Man roams this earth

with his endless sorrows.

Trapped in sorrow,

there is not even

a trace of happiness for him.

His feet are

tied to invisible chains

like a prisoner's in the dungeon.

Foolish or wise,

man has to live a life of misery.

He mistakes horrible suffering

to be bless, and deems

sorrow to be happiness.

In such futile vanity

he sojourns ceaselessly.

If only he could fathom

the truth of sorrow or happiness

he can win his battle against death.

Armed with intellect,

conscience and knowledge,

he can easily conquer death.

Not realizing this,

Fools mediate obstinately.

Through past meditations,

even if he is blessed with wealth,

a man's sorrows remain.

The very enjoyment of wealth

leads to his misery.

When he is tied up

and led to the scaffold

to be beheaded,

neither his offspring nor his wealth

can save him.

After due observation of the world

I consider all these to be sorrow.

Pride, jealousy, infatuation, greed,

recklessness and extravagance:

These are the causes of sorrow,

and this Uddhab, you must know.

 

Translated from Oriya by Sumanyu Satpathi.

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Righteous Conduct-Self Reliance

The Unrest of Desire.

Keki. N. Daruwalla

 

The unrest of desire is lit up with eyes.

Whatever mask you slap upon your face,

however you tear at the soft throat of life

and probe the salt-blood with your insistent tongue

the unrest of desire is revealed by eyes.

 

However you bury the shadow in the heart

under slabs of concrete and a coil of bone,

however you wall the cave-impulse at the mouth,

it will hammer at the sides and break free,

however you bury the shadow in the heart.

 

You may etch the shadow on the cavern-wall

and turn your drives into aborigine art:

bison and stag loping in charcoal lines.

You can't erase the burn. It will char your dreams

However you bury the shadow in the heart.

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Righteous Conduct- Integrity

GROWING CROSSROADS

Dr. H. K. Kaul

 

Every moment I drift from

One crossroad to another

Charting new paths

Between the moments

Of despair, dreams and action.

 

In this infinite jungle of crossroads

I cross crossroads

Over and over again

Through avenues of hope

Some lanes of despair.

 

Crossroads, some dark

No lights on the avenues

And lanes that feed them.

Crossroads, brightly lit

No hope of brightness to survive

In the avenues and the lanes.

 

Crossroads that connect to crossroads

Crossroads and crossroads alone

Crossroads that settle into lanes

And are lost in the avenues.

 

Endless web of crossroads

At all planes, connected

To thought and action

Times gone, times ahead.

 

Though webbed I am

With the partners, the partner

In time and space

I am digging through

In chosen measures

To hold on to the key

To re-orient the crossroads

Into a world of my chosen road

The ladder to infinity within and infinity without.

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Righteous Conduct- Simple Living

Aimlessly

Rajendra Shah

Aimlessly in this dustfilled attire

My ambling over the earth.

 

Fragrance of flowers at times

Hugs me close,

At times from the far beckons me

The sweet cuckoo-call.

The eyes go delirious in gazing

Myriad hues of infinite.

Ah, to wander steered by will

Steeped in Love

Aimlessly.

 

Forgoing any path

I mark track where the steps lead.

On the blissful veena of light and dark

I open a melody.

On an ocean of joy

Rolls away my raft.

I exult with all

And finally I remain extant

Aimlessly.

 

Translated from Gujarati by Dileep Jhaveri.

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Righteous Conduct- Courage and Self determination

Let the Harbour be far

Sundarji Betai

 

Allah the rescuer, Allah the saviour

To voyage is a must

Let the harbour be afar

Your rescuer your saviour

Your master is yourself

Let the harbour be afar.

 

Sharp stormy winds keep hurling

Only the cowards at heart hesitate

If you have an enduring spirit

Let it be afar.

 

Lightening is splintering the celestial boat

It is cracking at your craft too

Let the inebriated ocean be mad

Let the harbour be afar.

 

This night extinguishes lamps of the eyes

The meek breast would thump with fear

But your heart has some singular grit

Let is be afar.

 

Allah the resuer, Allah the saviour

To voyage is a must

Your rescuer your saviour

Your master is yourself

Let the harbour be afar.

 

Translated from Gujarati by Dileep Jhaveri.

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Righteous Conduct- Courage

Helmsman, Beware!

Kazi Nazrul Islam

 

Chorus:

Pilgrims, beware! You have to cross at dead at night

mountains hard to climb, dense wilderness

and boundless, difficult seas!

 

The bark rocks and dips, the ocean swells,

the boatman misses his bearings, the sails are torn.

Who now takes the helm? Who has the daring?

Come forward, vigorous youth-Destiny calls out:

high rages the storm, yet the boat must sail across.

 

Murky is the night: you sentries who have taken

the sacred vow to the Mother, look alert!

Agony pent up through ages is out on a massive

march.

Resentment foams and rises in the hearts of those

deprived-

They must be taken along and given their rights.

 

The helpless nation is about to drown, knowing not to

swim-

Captain! now is the hour of test for your vow to free

the Mother.

Who is he that asks, ”What are they, Hindu or

Muslim?”

Captain, say it’s Man who drowns- my Mother’s

Offspring!

 

Here is the mountain gorge, the pilgrims are

filled with fear as thunder rolls with awesome roar,

and those following in the rear have rising doubts,

Captain! Will you miss your bearings? Quit them in

mid-sea?

They fight among themselves, yet you must

carry them along with you, for the great burden is

yours!

Captain! Before you lie the fields of Plassey

where Clive’s sword was dyed red with Bengali blood.

In yonder Ganga, alas, India’s sun has set:

that the sun will rise again crimsoned with our blood!

 

Those who on the gallows’ floor

sang the song of triumph of life

are here unseen and stand by.

What sacrifice will you make unto them?

The test today is, whom shall you deliver-

the nation, or a community?

The boat lurches, the ocean swells-

Helmsman, beware!

 

Translated from Bengali by Basudha Chakrabarty.

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Righteous Conduct-Endurance

Poem from Gitanjali

Rabindranath Tagore

 

If thou speakest not I will fill my

heart with thy silence and endure it. I

will keep still and wait like the night.

with starry vigil and its head bent low

with patience.

The morning will surely come, the

darkness will vanish, and thy voice pour

down in golden streams breaking through

the sky.

Then thy word will take wing in

songs from every one of my birds

nests, and thy melodies will break forth

in flowers in all my forest groves.

 

Translated from Bengali by the author.

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Righteous Conduct-Self-help and Resourcefulness

Buddy, You Have Naught to Fear

Rajendra Shah

 

Buddy, you have naught to fear

And nowhere nothing formidable

Let the rhythm of your freely revelling stride swirl on.

 

If the darkness confines, so what?

Lightening will flash at a flicker of your eyes

When you feel foresaken

Raise your finger if you have an inkling of the might

An escort for the valiant? No, brother

Drink merrily to the fill from the rill along the way.

 

Aim your sight on the distant

Coming close even a straw would mask a mighty mountain

Bother not what is little or large

Unencumbered as we are

Cast aside the Death

And relay the resonance of this Existence.

Translated from Gujarati by Dileep Jhaveri.

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Righteous Conduct- Self-sacrifice 

Lamp

Banmali Biswas

 

Nothing for itself

Burning for others

it turns in to live coal,

Not even knowledge that

constantly burning here

you will lose own existence,

will lose own wealth

and will immolate total identity for ever,

And yet unmoved in solemn affirmation

even at this moment-

you are Bhisma of Mahabharata

I think-

till the total destruction of your spirit,

you will burn and burn constantly,

will enlight your self

to enlight others. 

Translated from Sanskrit by Harshdev Madhav

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Righteous Conduct-Loyalty to Duty and Dignity of Labour.

I am a Fisherman-

Dr. Radhavallabh Tripathi

 

Neither on land nor in the wide sky

I am a fisherman, my life is in the water.

Let the hurricane blow, let the wind spread wildly

Let the submarine fire burst and suffocate all

I am steady in dubble-like all events.

 

Neither in the sea nor in the lotus-garden

I am a fisherman living joyfully in the water.

 

Endless is the voyage and in front of the sky for ever-

I always find the depth of the sea which is so spread;

 

Bearing two oars and rowing a boat

I, the Fisherman go ahead.

 

Neither in the forest nor in the crowded place

My life passes in the water.

 

Life-time passes and whithers the matchless beauty;

Every form of life changes with the moving of time.

Though Crocodiles pass and whales and sharks jump all around

I neither frighten nor fly away.

 

Neither in the ever changing situations nor in hopeless conditions,

 

I am the Fisherman passing my life,

Unwavering is my life in this impatient water.

 

Translated from Sanskrit by Dr. Harshdev Madhav.

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Righteous Conduct- Self-reliance

 The Unrest of Desire

Keki N. Daruwalla

The unrest of desire is lit up with eyes.

Whatever mask you slap upon your face,

however you tear at the soft throat of life

and probe the salt-blood with your insistent tongue

the unrest of desire is revealed by eyes.

 

However you bury the shadow in the heart

under slabs of concrete and a coil of bone,

however you wall the cave-impulse at the mouth,

it will hammer at the sides and break free.

however you bury the shadow in the heart.

You may etch the shadow on the cavern-wall

and turn your drives into aborigine art:

bison and stag loping in charcoal lines.

You can’t erase the burn. It will char your dreams

however you bury the shadow in the heart.

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Righteous Conduct-Service to Others

 I  seek not Salvation

Mayadhar Mansingh

 

Not heaven, nor salvation,

life is what I seek

in this life-stream

flowing through this strange world

of sorrow and happiness.

In my afterlife.

let my tears blend with

the tears of millions of destitute,

and be sanctified.

Let my pen be blessed by singing

in songs of the scorned,

and sad annals of the dalits, and exploited.

May great fortune

it will be, if

in the next life,

this my body, gets filled

with endless compassion by

wiping the tears from the

pallid eyes of the poor millions.

 

Taking birth life after life

shedding my own blood on a cross

may I expel mankind’s sorrow?

 

Translated from Oriya by Sumanyu Satpathi.

 

Righteous Conduct- Faithfulness

 

Couplet

Baba Sheikh Farid

 

The dominance of dust is complete

And not to be doubted.

 

In life it surrounds you

Beneath your feet,

In death above your head.

 

Translated from Punjabi by Rakshat Puri.

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Righteous Conduct- Respect for others

Two Rubaayis

Sarmad

1.

You are less than a bubble on life’s ocean,

And every wave carries danger.

Take a mirror and look at yourself:

What is your existence worth?

 Righteous Conduct- Simple living

2.

They went desire-filled through life’s garden,

Gathering thorns and withered flowers.

The shape of existence is its own complete meaning.

They passed without understanding.

 

Translated from Punjabi by Rakshat Puri.

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