About the Books | Acknowledgements | Note on the Translation

Note on the Translation

I have attempted to keep things as simple as possible. These poems are loyal to the originals but not literal. I have tried to focus on the feeling rather than the words. In the interests of simplicity, I have dropped a lot of the old-Hindi terminology and tried to see the poems in a universal light. I left out punctuation and capitals except where necessary.

I work as a poet, not a scholar, and these poems are inspirations, not explanations. I want to draw attention, not to the poems or the poets, but to the experience they talk about.

I know these poems mainly as songs. They are the gospel and folk music of India. There are thousands of such songs floating around, in different languages, composed by different saint-poets. I find them very inspiring and they never get old. Each song is unique. Each has its own tune (raga), rhythm, mood, etc. Each is unforgettable and grows and evolves in my mind. As time passes, they are yielding newer and deeper insights and are becoming more and more intimate.

I love listening to them.


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