Monday, September 22, 2014

Vamangi by Arun Kolatkar

Arun Kolatkar

last time I visited the temple
Vitthal was nowhere to be seen
only a brick
lay next to Rakhumai

that’s okay, I thought
Rakhumai’s better than nothing
should rest my head
on someone’s feet

after genuflecting
lifted my head off her feet
to cover all bases
just in case

then, while leaving
asked Rahkumai
where’s Vitthoo?
can’t see him

Rakhumai replied
what d’you mean, where’s he gone?
isn’t he here beside me
to my right?

looked again
just to make sure
and said
there’s no one there

spent a lifetime, she said
looking beyond my nose
now it’s hard to see

I have become stone
look how stiff my neck is
can’t twist myself
to my left or my right

when he comes, when he goes
where he goes, what he does
I really, really
don’t know at all

assuming always, that Vitthoo
would stay at my side
I remained complacent
silly me!

on Aashaadi-Kaartiki
so many come to visit
so how come
no one tells me anything

all at once, today
I feel accosted
by the loneliness
of twenty-eight eons…

- translated by Mustansir Dalvi
from Chirimiri, by Arun Kolatkar, Pras Prakashan, 2004

Vamangi means the 'left-sided one', and refers to Rakhumai, who is always seen on the left of Vitthal, as in the temple of Pandharpur. They are worshiped and venerated together, as in this hymn:
"Yuge atthavis vitevari ubha
Vamangi Rakhumai dise divya shobha
Pundalikanche bheti parabhamhahega
Charani vaahe Bhima uddharile jaga
Jaya jaya deva
Jaya Panduranga"

(For twenty eight eons, he stands on the brick
to his left, Rakhumai stands full of grace
To meet Pundalik is the greatest of fortunes
At the feet of this hallowed ground flows the Bhima
Jaya jaya deva
Jaya Panduranga)

Vaam-panthi, or 'Leftist', has no relation to the above. 'Left' derives from the French Revolution, when those opposed to the Monarchy seated themselves to the left of the advocates of kingship (the Right) in the council.


Greeg said...

"all at once, today
I feel accosted
by the loneliness
of twenty-eight eons…"


Vinayak Pandit said...

Great! This and Narayan Surve's poems are really masterpieces... I had a privillage to listen Surve's poems recited by himself, long back at People's Book House, Fort... It was a very small programme. In the book shop itself some room was made and if I remember correctly, we all were sitting on the floor... I can't forget that. This is where I heared, Tumhi Khushal samdi rhava...
I heared Daya Pawar reciting 'Bai mi dharan dharan bandhite...' in a private programme in one of our theater group meeting... I will request you to translate the same... thanks a lot... :)

Roopa Murthy said...

Beautiful poem and picture.

Rupa Tingre said...

Where will I find Marathi Poem Vamangi? I tried to search it online a lot but could not find it.

अनघा said...


देवळात गेलो होतो मधे
तिथे विठ्ठल काही दिसेना
रख्माय शेजारी
नुसती वीट

मी म्हणालो असू दे
रख्माय तर रख्माय
कुणाच्या तरी पायावर
डोकं ठेवायचं

पायावर ठेवलेलं
डोकं काढून घेतलं
आपल्यालाच पुढेमागे
लागेल म्हणून

आणि जाता-जाता सहज
रख्मायला म्हणालो
विठू कुठे गेला
दिसत नाही

रख्माय म्हणाली
कुठे गेला म्हणजे
उभा नाही का माझ्या
उजव्या अंगाला

मी परत पाहिलं
खात्री करून घ्यायला
आणि म्हणालो,
तिथे कुणीही नाही

म्हणते, नाकासमोर
बघण्यात जन्म गेला
बाजूचं मला जरा
कमीच दिसतं

दगडासारखी झाली
मान अगदी धरली बघ
इकडची तिकडं
जरा होत नाही

कधी येतो, कधी जातो
कुठं जातो, काय करतो
मला काही काही
माहिती नाही

खांद्याला खांदा भिडवून
नेहमी बाजूला असेल विठू
म्हणून मी पण बावळट
उभी राहिले

इतके लोक येतात नेहमी
मला कधीच कसं कुणी
सांगितलं नाही

आज एकदमच मला
भेटायला धावून आलं
अठ्ठावीस युगाचं

अरुण कोलटकर, संग्रह: चिरीमिरी

madrasi said...

thank you for the marathi poem.

रख्माय म्हणाली
कुठे गेला म्हणजे