Posted by on Nov 15, 2011 in Miscellaneous Translations, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Buddhadev Bose writes here of his encounter with Deshabandhu Chitta Ranjan Das, a nationalist leader, a leader of the Indian Congress party and his family in these memorable lines:

Three women sat on a verandah facing south — in a chair or reclining on the spotlessly clean floor. They all wore white khaddar (rough and thick hand-woven cotton). Their faces, eyes, their gestures, the way they spoke appeared to me unique and wonderful. They were writing with fountain pens and so many envelopes and sheets of paper were strewn around them. I can’t recollect anything in detail about that day…what Basanti Devi (wife of C.R. Das) or her two daughters or those who were present there told me or what was my reply. But I could never forget a line which was embossed on the top of their writing pad: Ihasane shushyatu me shariram…. One of the women recited for me the whole sloka in chaste Sanskrit pronunciation, uttering the sounds and almost feeling their narrowness or breadth. They also told me that it came out of the mouth of Shakyamuni (Gautama Buddha) just before he sat under the Bodhi tree for his meditation. I have never seen these lines quoted anywhere, I never read these lines in any book. At that time I didn’t know what was its source even.


But this is one of those few pearls that came to me from the ocean of time and didn’t return — for these immortal lines will ever be one of those gems that are my greatest treasures, my most precious possessions….

Later, I could finally trace these lines after I wrote my memoir in the annotated edition of the Dhammapada by Dr. Radhakrishnan….
Ihasane shushyatu me shariram*………….Let my body wither in this seat. Let the skin, the bone and the flesh decay. So long as that rare knowledge which is to be received after the most strenuous meditation eludes me, I won’t move my body from this seat.
The boat was moving on the silver stream of the Padma. Basanti Devi stood on the deck and began to recite. Namo Namo sundari mamo janani janmabhumi.I offer my homage to my beautiful motherland….the quiet banks of the river, its cool shades…let them caress me with their healing touch. I returned home that day with many a gift but I couldn’t show them to anyone, nor could I tell anyone about my gifts.

*Translator’s Note: Gautama Buddha took the following samkalpa (vow) when he sat to attain jnana (wisdom) under a bodhi tree. His samkalpa remains even today as the best example for someone desirous of achieving moksha (salvation). A rough translation of the following lines appears above in the main text of my translation:

Ihasane shushyatu me shariram
Twagasthi Mamsani pralayancha jati
Aprapya bodhim bahukalpa durlabham
Naivasanat kayamidam chalishyati.