दीपक की आत्मकथा (Autobiography of an oil lamp)

मैं धरती- पूत, अग्नि-पूत

अग्नि का ही निवास हूँ,

मुझे अम्बर से क्या?

अपने छोटे- से संसार का

उजाला बनकर संतुष्ट हूँ मैं ।

 

कुम्हार के कोमल- कठोर कर- कमलों ने

निराकार मिटटी से मुझे जन्मा,

भूरी उँगलियों ने भूरी मिटटी को तराशा ,

अंगारों ने कोमल भूमि को परखा,

और जानकी- सदृश मैं अग्नि परीक्षा से कठोर हो निकला।

 

कठोर हो निकला मैं , इतना कठोर

कि अग्नि- पुत्र से मैं अग्नि- पिता बन चला,

श्वेत मेघ मेरा सुनेहरा लहू पीकर

जल- दाता से अग्नि- दाता बन गया,

स्वर्णिम पावक से कांतिमय हो उठा।

 

मैं अपना रक्त बलिदान कर

संसार को आलोकित करता रहता हूँ ,

सैनिक की भाँती

अंधकार से लड़ता रहता हूँ ,

जलते- जलते मृत्यु को शरणागत हो जाता हूँ ।

 

किन्तु मैं कई जन्म- मृत्यु- चक्रों से गुजरता हूँ ;

झुलसा हुआ स्याह- रंगी कपास हटाकर

नई श्वेत बाटी डाल जब मुझमे स्वर्ण रक्त भरा जाता है ,

तब मुझे नवजीवन मिलता है , मैं प्रसन्न हो उठता हूँ ,

नव- अग्नि से पुनः विश्व को जगमगा देता हूँ ।

 

Rough translation for my non-Hindi-speakers:

I am the son of Earth and Fire,

Home of the fire,

What have I to do with the sky?

I am satisfied

With just being the light of my little world.

 

The potter’s soft-callused hands

Birthed me out of the shapeless soil,

Brown fingers shaped the brown earth

Hot coals tested the soft soil,

And like Seeta*, this test of fire hardened me.

 

I became tough, so tough

That I became the father of fire when I was once its son,

The white cloud, after drinking my golden blood

Became the fire-giver instead of the water-giver,

Started glowing with the golden fire.

 

I light up the world,

Sacrificing my own blood

Like a soldier,

Fighting with the dark,

Burning, giving myself up in death’s arms.

 

But I go through numerous cycles of death and rebirth

When the charred black cotton removed

And a new wick with more golden blood is filled inside me,

I get a new life, I become delighted

And with a new fire, I light up the world again.

*One of the most famous episodes of Ramayan is the Agnipariskha (Test by Fire) of Sita. As per the episode, after Ram had defeated Ravan and rescued Sita, he refused to accept her doubting her chastity. Thus, Sita jumped into fire. The Fire God then rescued her and hence she came out unburnt. All gods came from heaven to convince Ram that Sita is pure. He then agreed and accepted Sita.

Happy Diwali to all of you!

Now, it’s literally been years since I wrote a Hindi poem, so my apologies if it wasn’t up to the mark. People around me were actually asking if I was alright when I told them I was inspired to write a Hindi poem today.

Also, for my non-Indian friends, you can’t really translate poetry from one language to another, but I’ve tried my best to preserve the sentiment of the poem while switching languages. Diwali, along with Holi, is the most famous Indian festival, and different communities celebrate it for different reasons. Its most-used tag is ‘The festival of lights’, and from what I know, it’s celebrated in some other countries as well.

Happy Diwali again, people, and don’t burn crackers.

 

 

 

 

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