kṛṣṇa-bhakti-vicāre’smin kaḥ samartho’sti bhū-tale
Whether one is disreputable or virtuous, an idiot or indeed a scholar—who on earth is qualified to study devotion to Kṛṣṇa?
Can make a Heaven a Hell, a Hell a Heaven.
tṛṣito jāhnavī-tīre kūpaṃ khanati durmatiḥ
He who disregards Vāsudeva, and attends another god, is [like] a thirsty fool who digs a well on Jāhnavī’s banks.
Gustave Doré, The neophyte.
Some highlights from my 2013 reading list.
Balwant Singh and a goose (1750-60).
“In this enigmatic drawing by Nainsukh, Balwant Singh stands in a walled courtyard, shown in plan form. The Raja holds a sword, grasping his patka sash end with his other hand. He gazes pensively at a small goose, the only other figure present, and the goose looks back at him. Very little colour is used, though the Raja has pink slippers.”
vi me karṇā patayato vi cakṣur
vīdaṃ jyotir hṛdaya ahitaṃ yat
vi me manaś carati dūra ādhīḥ
kiṃ svid vakṣyāmi kim u nū maniṣye
My ears dash away, as do my eyes,
from that light harboured in my heart.
My mind moves away, its thoughts far off.
What shall I say? What shall I think?
O sun, on that morning,
did I not mutter towards your
holy, repetitive resurrection, ‘Hare,
hare Krishna,’ and then, politely,
'Thank you, life'? Not
to enter the knowledge of God
but to know that His name
had lain too familiar on my tongue,
as this one would say ‘bread’,
or ‘sun’, or ‘wine’, I staggered,
shaken at my remorse, as one
would say ‘bride’, or ‘bread’,
or ‘sun’, or ‘wine’, to believe—
and that you would rise again,
when I am not here, to catch
the air afire, that you need not
look for me, or need this prayer.
Derek Walcott (1973)