Wednesday, November 23, 2011


What Then?

Bhartrihari, Vairagya Sataka 73-74, tr. Arthur William Ryder in Original Poems together with Translations from the Sanskrit (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1939), p. 71:

What if my life is fed
    With all that seems most sweet?
What if my foeman's head
    Is ground beneath my feet?
What if my wealth makes friends
    Again and yet again?
What if my soul ascends
    Through countless lives? What then?


Old rags, or fine, white silk that flows and clings—
    Why should I care?
Poor wife, or horses, elephants, and things—
    What difference there?
Sweet rice, or wretched food when day is o'er—
    Why care again?
God's light, or groping in the dark once more—
    What then? What then?

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