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 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.

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