Translated from the Marathi by Sakshi Nadkarni
This, desirous, desirous mind
Is like a pack of cattle in a field
No matter how much you drive it away
It comes back and settles on the crop
This unfettered, unfettered mind
It digresses from its path at every point
As the wind on its path makes
Waves on still waters
This unsteady, unsteady mind
Who can hold in his hands?
It goes about frolicking
Like the indomitable wind
This venomous, venomous mind
There’s no antidote to heal it
Oh, the snake and scorpion are better
A chant at least cures their bite
This flighty, flighty mind
What do I tell of its abilities?
Just now it was on the earth
But see, it’s soared into the skies
This fickle, fickle mind
It has no patience whatsoever
It cackles as the lightning in the sky
And reaches the earth in a second
This miniscule, miniscule mind
Is smaller than a poppy seed
The enormous, enormous heart
Is larger than the skies
God, how did you make the mind so,
There’s nothing else like it in the world!
What kind of a saint-magician are you,
and how wondrous is your creation!
God, what exactly is this mind:
How was it fashioned?
Did you dream of it
While fully awake?
Bahinabai Chaudhari (1880–1951) was a Marathi language poet from Jalgaon district of Bombay State, India. Bahinabai composed her songs verbally in ovi metre in a mixture of two dialects: Khandeshi and Levaganboli. Her son Sopandev, who became a well-known poet, transcribed them. She became a noted poet posthumously.
Sakshi Nadkarni is an English graduate from St Xavier’s college in Bombay, and defines herself as a reader, primarily, a writer and translator, peripherally and a seeker, eternally. She is invested in the celebration of South Asian voices and likes to work at the intersection of ecocriticism, indigenous and postcolonial studies with a keen interest in vernacular and translated literatures, gender studies, and alternative subaltern histories. Her work has appeared on the Indigenous blog, Monograph Magazine, Contemporary Literary Review India, and Life OK magazine.