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  • Critics Scoff
  • Translated by Andrew Schelling (bio)

ye nāma kecidiha naḥ prathayanty avajñāṃ jānanti te kimapi tānprati naiṣa yatnaḥutpalsyate tu mama ko'pi samānadharmā kālo hyayaṃ niravadhir vipulā ca lakṣmī

  • ye. (they) who

  • nāma. good name, reputation

  • kecid. some people

  • iha. here, in the world

  • naḥ. of us (my)

  • prathayanti. (they) cause to spread about

  • avajñāṃ. contempt, disrespect

  • jānanti. (they) know

  • te. they

  • kimapi. something, anything

  • tānprati. for them

  • na. not

  • eṣa. this

  • yatnaḥ. work, performance (writing)

  • utpalsyate. will be born, will arise

  • tu. but

  • mama. of me

  • ko'pi. someone

  • samāna-dharmā. (bv. cmpd., samānadharman) (m.) one with the same character or faith, same-hearted

  • kālo. time

  • hi. because

  • ayaṃ. it, this

  • niravadhiḥ. endless, limitless

  • vipulā. extensive, wide, long

  • ca. and

  • lakṣmī. fortune [End Page 80]

Critics scoffat my workand declare their contempt—no doubt they’ve gottheir own little wisdom.I write nothing for them.But because time isendless and our planetvast, I write thesepoems for a personwho will one day be bornwith my sort of heart.

“Criticism is for poets as ornithology is for the birds,” wrote John Cage. Bhavabhūti has scant doubt that future generations will honor his work. The reader who will arise, utpalsyate, is somebody of the same faith, heart, or discipline, samānadharmā. The word dharma, a complex one in India’s culture, is perhaps close to what North Americans mean by a spiritual path, a good road that one follows through life. See Dharmakīrti’s “No One Visible” for another poet’s sense of how hard the road is. In the Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa, the final word is lakṣmī (fortune), but Ingalls says to read pṛthvī (earth) “because time is endless and the earth wide.” [End Page 81]

Andrew Schelling

Andrew Schelling, born in 1953 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C., has written, edited, or translated twenty books. Early opposition to American involvement in Vietnam, plus an encounter with India’s texts, set him on a lifelong engagement with Asian literature. He studied Sanskrit at the University of California at Berkeley, and began to translate from its classical poetry tradition around 1978. His first book, Dropping the Bow: Poems of Ancient India, received the Academy of American Poets translation award in 1992, the first time the Academy had honored work done from an Asian language. Schelling’s own poetry and essays emerge from the Southern Rocky Mountain bioregion in which he lives. Recent books of poetry wrangle with the Arapaho language as a way of reading landscape and the natural cycles; they include From the Arapaho Songbook and A Possible Bag. He has edited The Oxford Anthology of Bhakti Literature and Love and the Turning Seasons: India’s Poetry of Spiritual and Erotic Longing (forthcoming from Counterpoint Press). Living on the Front Range of Colorado, he is active on land-use issues and teaches at Naropa University. He also teaches regularly at Deer Park Institute, in India’s Himalayan foothills.



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pp. 80-81
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