Beyond The Beaten Track: Offbeat Poems From Gujarat (Heritage Collection)

O My Dear, I Saw a Marvel (Veervijay)

O what marvels I saw, sakhi1,
Jain monks were bathing in lakes2
were perceiving beauty through the nose,
tasting nectar through the eyes;
sakhi, ascetics were sporting with females,
sakhi, I saw marvels!

Sakhi, a woman was rocking her man in a cradle;
another had many a husband;
sakhi, a woman was seeking eternal youth,
a prostitute was seeking enlightenment!

Sakhi, I saw the blind were seeing so much;
on chariots monks were journeying;
sakhi, a bitch was killing a lion;
an elephant in arm-deep water was drowning!

Sakhi, a thirsty man was refusing water,
and the footless on a path was walking;
sakhi, a regal litter was set on a donkey;
a woman an impotent was ravishing.

Sakhi, one male has ever been standing,
he has never sat, sit he never will,
sakhi, he stays aloft in the heavens,
an august one surrounded by simians.

Sakhi, a mouse was shaking Mount Meru3;
the sun was refusing light to the sky;
sakhi, thirty-two younger brothers had departed,
yet the grieving sister4 was still sturdy.

Sakhi, I saw a swan that was black;
a mountain I espied of rusting gold;
sakhi, Anjangiri5 had turned white,
still I did not remember the Lord.

Sakhi, Vayarswami6 is sleeping in the cradle,
a Jain maid is singing lullabies,
sakhi, disclose deep meanings when you grow up,
to Shri Shubhvir our endearments.

1 A female friend

2 Jain monks do not take bath

3 A mythological mountain made of gold

4 Reference to 32 teeth and the solitary tongue

5 Literally, the mountain of black eyeliner

6 Renowned Jain monk, also called Shri Shubhvir

સખી રે, મેં કૌતુક દીઠું (વીરવિજય )

સખી રે, મેં કૌતુક દીઠું,
સાધુ સરોવર ઝીલતા રે,
સખી, નાકે રૂપ નિહાલતા રે,
સખી, લોચનથી રસ જાણતા રે,
સખી, મુનિવર નારી સું રમે રે સખી રે.

સખી, નારી હીંચોલે કંતને રે,
સખી, કંત ઘણા એક નારીને રે,
સખી, સદા યૌવન નારી તે ચહે રે,
સખી, વેશ્યા વિલુદ્ધા કેવલી રે.

સખી, આંખ વિના દેખે ઘણું રે,
સખી, રથ બેઠા મુનિવર ચલે રે,
સખી, હાથ-જલે હાથી ડુબિયો રે,
સખી, કૂતરીએ કેસરી હણ્યો રે.

સખી, તરસ્યો પાણી નવ પીએ રે,
સખી, પગવિહૂણો મારગ ચલે રે,
સખી, નારી નપુંસક ભોગવે રે,
સખી, અંબાડી ખર ઉપર રે.

સખી, નર એક નિત્ય ઊભો રહે,
સખી, બેઠો નથી, નવિ બેસશે રે,
સખી, અધર ગગન વચે તે રહે રે,
સખી, માંકડે મહાજન ઘેરિયો રે.

સખી, ઉંદરે મેરુ હલાવિયો રે,
સખી, સૂરજ અજવાળું નવિ કરે રે,
સખી, લઘુ બાંધવ બત્રીસ ગયા રે,
સખી શોકે ઘટી નહિ બેનડી રે.

સખી, શામલો હંસ મેં દેખિયો રે,
સખી, કાટ વલ્યો કંચનગિરિ રે,
સખી, અંજનગિરિ ઊજલ થયો રે,
સખી, તોહે પ્રભુ ન સંભારિયા રે.

સખી, વયરસ્વામી પાલણે સૂતા,
સખી, શ્રાવિકા ગાવે હાલડાં રે,
સખી, થઈ મોટા અરથ તે કેજો,
સખી શ્રી શુભવીરને વાલડાં રે.

Category in Beyond The Beaten Track

Human and Divine


The poem is a supplication, in an idiom full of paradoxes, to a famous Jain mentor to resolve the paradoxes of life. These paradoxes are presented in what is called ‘avalvani’ (bizarre speech), such as a woman rocking her husband in a cradle; a prostitute seeking enlightenment; a mountain of rusting gold; and the footless walking. The poem also contains many synesthetic images, like monks perceiving beauty through the nose, and tasting nectar through the eyes. The poet must be a Zen Jain – in the Zen (dhyan?) Buddhist system, the master gives the disciple a paradox or riddle (‘kuan’) to solve, which can only be solved by abandoning reason during a ‘satori’ or an enlightenment experience. Was the poem written for Jain devotees to bring on enlightenment?

About The Author

Veervijay (‘Shubhveer’) (birth: 1773-4; death, 1852). Born as Keshav in a Brahmin family of Ahmedabad, Veervijay embraced Jainism at around 20 and became a Jain monk. He died in Ahmedabad. Veervijay composed profusely. He composed songs for the ‘raas’ (round stick dance), worship, chant, etc. His major work was ‘Sursundari-Raas’ in which he evoked patience, devotion, fortitude, and persistence through the character of Gunsundari. He also wrote poems that had historic significance because they described historical events, such as the establishment of the (still extant) Hutheesingh Jain temple in Ahmedabad.