Compulsion

One would cry and not restrain the tears,
But crying is of no avail,
Shedding incessant tears is of no avail,
And knocking one’s head against
boulders is of no avail.
And knowing that there is none to heed,
Why this urge to plead!
Why dash darts into the void!
Mere compulsion! Mere helplessness!
The body is consumed minute by minute,
suppressed by hunger and thirst and cold,
chained by ailments and kith and kin
depressed by constant worries and woes.
And once these worries cease to exist,
the body is tempted and lured
by numberless temptations.
The restless mind is without any peace
for something has obsessed it.
Without the encounter with the Good,
Without the realization of the Good,
The mind is searching for something lost
like a person drunk in sleep.
More affliction of desire and body!
Our ears have heard,
Our hearts have believed,
that sometime, somewhere, someone
caught a distant glimpse of Him.
We pine for Him; we long for Him,
For we think he is sulking from us
hiding under the bushes.
Indeed, love is a painful obsession!
I ask
The one who is hidden far and away,
The one who gives us a deaf ear,
Does he ever enquire how we are?
Does he ever recall where we are?
Does he ever ask himself,
‘I wonder what is the lot of those
Whom I put in the dismal dark,
Whom I let loose
Over the hills, over the streams, over the woods?’
Indeed, beauty has no compassion!
We could argue,
‘Why expect love from the loveless?
Why expect fruit from a willow?
If you do not know his whereabouts,
How can you plan his search?’
But heart will not retract the steps
For how can one chain the air!
For how can one blame the heart!
Love is not a child’s play!
It is the sound from within;
It is like the fragrance of the musk.
The musk deer hunts over hills and dales
looking for something that is within him.
The heart is like the musk deer, searching
without that which is within.
The fragrance of the dear one pulls him out
with eyes shut and hands down.
He is playing the game of hide and seek,
appearing here and appearing there.
Once the moth has seen the lamp afar,
how can it stand still?
It must chase the light with frenzy
(Even though the light is not seen).
It must tear through the seven robes of wisdom.
Beauty is not mere enchantment!
Mere compulsion! Mere helplessness!
Mere affliction of desire and body!
Indeed love is a painful obsession!
Indeed beauty has no compassion!
Love is not a child’s play!
Beauty is not mere enchantment!

[Translated from original poem Majburi]

About the author:

Zinda Koul was the first Kashmiri poet to be awarded ‘Sahitya Academy Award’ (1956) for his book ‘Sumran’. The book was published in Devanagari and was later printed in the Persia-Arabic script. Initially, he wrote in Persian, Hindi and Urdu. He started writing in Kashmir in 1942. His writing was primarily on devotion, philosophy and peace. His writing was influenced by Lal Ded and Parmanand. During his lifetime, he also translated the poems of the famous Kashmiri poet Parmanad into English.

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