Prasanta Das Baul

Barutia, Daspolsa, Birbhum

I forbid and yet "Madan" doesn’t let go of lust (Kori Mana Kam Charena Madane)

I forbid and yet Madan doesn’t let go of lust
How will I become a rasika of love? [1]

Madan rules over this body as king
He comes to collect tax as its master
But Madan is so wicked
Onto it he shifts his own blame
And acts as the instigator in secret
How will I become a rasika of love?

Oh, what strange business of one thief catching another!
If I ask can you explain why?
Thieves steal and yet latch on when they see a saint
Only to take him somewhere, empty out everything
How will I become a rasika of love?

The fakir Lalon prays at Siraj’s feet
My husband kicked me, where do I go complain?
My husband is the ultimate lord, how will I sustain
How will I become a sati in my death [2]
How will I become a rasika of love?

করি মানা কাম ছাড়েনা মদনে, মদনে
প্রেম রশিকা হব কেমনে?
(আমি) প্রেম রশিকা হব কেমনে?

(এই দেহেতে মদন রাজা করে কাছারি
কড় আদায় করে নিয়ে যায় হুজুরে) (২)

মদন যে দুষ্টু ভারি
তারে দাও দোশল তারি
করে সে মুনশিগিরি গোপনে
প্রেম রশিকা হব কেমনে?

আরে চোর দিয়ে চোর ধরাধরি একি কারখানা
আমি টা জিঞ্জাসিলে তুমি বল না
চোরেরা চুরি করে সাধু দেখে বালাই ধরে
নিয়ে যায় শূন্য করে কোনখানে
প্রেম রশিকা হব কেমনে?

ও ফকির লালন বিনয় করে শিরাজ শাহের পায়ে
স্বামী মারিল লাথি নালিশ করি গো কোথায়
স্বামী মোর পরম পতি কি দিয়ে গো রাঁধবো রোটি
কেমন হব সতি মরণে
প্রেম রশিকা হব (আমি) কেমনে?


(আমার নাম শ্রী প্রশান্ত দাস বাউল, বরুটিয়া বীরভূম থেকে এসেছি)। 

Recorded February 2008 in Sainthia, Birbhum, WB

This is a well-known song by Lalon Fakir (c. 1774-1890), the renowned philosopher-poet of Kushtia (today in Western Bangladesh). The song plays with the trope of Madan (the lord Krishna) as the lord/husband and the poet as his seeker/bride: common tropes in the devotional poetry associated with the mystic orders of the Vaishnavas of Bengal, within the larger landscape of Bhakti in India. As such, it could be clubbed under Lalon’s ‘gourogaan’ (as Subroto Rudra terms his Vaishnava-influenced songs ). The song playfully references the lore surrounding Madan (Krishna) as a thief and a cheat – Madan being the lord of the body still instigates it to lust, coming in the way of the divine love that it is supposed to inspire. The ‘Siraj’ referenced in the last stanza is Lalon’s spiritual master or Guru, Siraj Shah.

[1] Rasika – The ‘rasika’ is someone who can partake of or appreciate the correct rasas (In Sanskrit aesthetic theory, states of mind or aesthetic flavors evoked by works of art). Here, ‘rasika’ seems to designate a state of being open to the appreciation of divine love.

[2] Sati – One of the names for the consort of Shiva, Sati in Hindu mythology connotes the quintessential devoted and good wife, who would even follow her husband to the funeral pyre in the event of his death. Here, Lalon is elaborating the trope of the Lord as husband and the seeker as wife or bride, commonly found in Vaishnava poetry.

Transcriber/Translator: Aniruddha Dutta

Director: Aditi Sircar
Camera : Shubhankar Bhar, Somak Bhattacharya

Camera Caretakers  : Sanjib Das, ShantuSound : Dhiman Karmakar
Edited by Rhonda Granger