Every translation is only a close approximation of the original. But in Ambika Ananth’s translation we witness an ability to play ‘the language game with skill, proficiency and care’.In the most consummated manner she can make the mindful use of the choicest words and push the readers into an earlier unknown horizon of imagination.
The treasure trove of Indian Bhakti Literature is explored for a wider audience in the book by the bi-lingual writer Ambika Ananth, who besides being a columnist and reviewer in The Hindu and Daily Deccan Herald is also a prolific translator. She translated along with Adviteeya NDixit, saint-poet Annamacharya’sSankirtanas and Life –Story Nectar Ocean of Annamacharya. She co-translated Basaveshawra Vachanas entitled,BasavannaSamagraVachanalu (Kannada to Telegu). She also translated into English 108 AnnamacharyaSankirtanas set to tune by Sangita Kalanidhi Dr NedunuriKrishnamuthy published by him as ‘Ambroisa’. She made a significant translation of the entire Kalwara Amara NareyanaKirtanas by Yogi Narayana into English earlier as The Eternal Elixir along with Vinay Varanasi. But the translation spectrum is more attractive in this new initiative found in the Sri Krishna Karnamrutham which will get a more loving audience and they will surely enjoy more the nectareous flow providing all ‘bounteous streams of beatitude and bliss’. In her preface to the book, she herself quotes the words of Emerson: “Poetry is the language of God”. This is felt in the 328 verses of Krishna Lila Suka also known as ‘Bilva Mangala’ who eulogises God in each of them as he is engaged deeply in Krishna devotion. Being a great scholar of grammar and philosophy, who wrote the criticismto PaniniAstadhyayi and to King Bhoja’sSaraswaiKanthvaranam, he also wrote many other books out of which Sri SriKrishna Karnamruthamis his most popular work. Translation of his slokas in this book is a very difficult task because of the religious, social and cultural context of the original poems. In the book Sri Krishnakarnamrutham: The Nectareous Flow of 133 pages published by Authors Press New Delhi,we get here boundless streams of beatitude and bliss and something that Emerson meant when he said, ‘ Poetry is the language of God..
Every translation is only a close approximation of the original. But in Ambika Ananth’s translation we witness an ability to play ‘the language game withskill, proficiency and care’.In the most consummated manner she can make the mindful use of the choicest words and push the readers into an earlier unknown horizon of imagination. The book that we are going to review here gives an attractive spectrum of Krishna tattvam in the dearth of English translation of our wonderful treasure trove of Bhakti literature. Here God’s language is made poetic. Lila Suka composed 328 verses in his work ‘Sri Krishnakarnamrutam’ (Nectar to the ears of Sri Krishna ) and presented them in three chapters or Cantos (Ashwasams) . Lord Krishna is shown as the adolescent and luminescent hero in Vrajabhumi, the land where he dwelled. In the preface it is mentioned that Poet Lila Suka was continually immersed in the ocean of Sri Krishna devotion, so every sloka of this divine verse sounds ambrosial to the ears of the listeners. The meaning of ‘Lila Sukaam’ is an ardent parrot. The fame of Sri Krishna is like a flower bunch . The parrot eagerly waits for the flower to turn into fruit so that it can eat it. The same way seeking liberation or Moksha, the poet who contemplated on Sri Krishna became ‘Lila Suka’. Dr Lakshmi Bandlamudi of City University New York nicelysaid, ‘Poet Suka now accorded another Suka to parrot his words in English and that parrot is Amibika Ananth.”She excelled in what may be called translation, trans-creation or retelling whatever name you give to the rendering of the slokas into English.She is successful in overcoming the limitations of the translation process. The task was difficult because here aesthetic criteria is linked to the ethical and religious issues. The translator herself told it that shefound a few words impossible to translate carrying the same beauty and lyrical quality of the original and to carry forward the cultural vocabulary. But we may safely conclude that she maintained the essence underlying each verse, with respect and decorum as needed.Dhavni and Rasa formed the ideal prescriptions for good expressive poetry and as in the lines of translation in one sloka we see the wonderful amalgamation: “May the beloved Lord, the divine lad/ with ever blooming beauty /whose eyes are filled with ever flowing mercy/whose eyes exude love and grace with ever new freshness/whose eyes shower charm and munificence/may he, that divine lad, in my heart ever reign supreme.” The whole sloka is translated as a single line poem carrying the melody of the original lines. Only a good poet translator can make these miracles happen. In not just one poem, it happens in one after another sloka till the 110th poem. The sub-title is fully justified ‘The Nectareous Flow’ and honestly speaking I did not fully understand many slokas. But the guideposts in reaching the quintessential meaning of the verses which Ambika Ananth mentioned helped her put the right words in her transcreations are really enlightening ones: Sri Krishnakarnamrutham by MallampalliSarabharya, Sri Krishna Karnamrutham by N Sivanagowda, Lilasuka’sKrsnakarnamrutam by Dr. KPA Menon and Sri Krihnakarnmrutham by Murali RavamuluRavvalu. What finally remains with us is the harmonious relationship with the original. Ambika Ananth remains faithful to the soul of the work from the beginning to the end without sacrificing even for a moment the greatness and sweetness of the original verse. She will certainly create a wider Krishna loving audience globally because of the translation into English. For Krishna love is a means of connectivity andunbridled communication. This is the sine qua non for Ambika Ananth in her English rendering. She connects and all good poetry connects.This aesthetic aspect of Ambika Ananth’s imagination made the devotional literature unique and we cannot but be grateful to her for inspiring us to explore the treasure trove of Bhakti literature for the wider audience through this book.Activities of
Sri Krishna, who appeared on Earth 5,000 years ago enchanted people for centuries. Fifty centuries ago Krishna is believed to have descended from the transcendental world to show us His eternal Spiritual activities. His acts reveal the fullest concept of God and attract us to join Him again. They are tangible subjects upon which to meditate. Shri Krishna’s life is fascinating and highly entertaining. Translation of the slokas give us an authentic picture of Krishna’s activities. A great level of concentration and expertise goes into making the translated text flow smoothly as the original text. George Steiner rightly said “Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.” Here Ambika Ananth did a wonderful job in the exploration of Bhakti literature
Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee International Visiting Professor USA& Trilingual Poet and Columnist may be reached at email@example.com. Mobile 8961688870
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