Lalon Shah : The moon is encircled by moons

Lalon Shah (c. 1774-1890 CE) is one of the most important of the mystic-poets of the Baul tradition. He lived in western Bangladesh, and hundreds of his songs are still treasured, but little is know about his personal life. Even the dates given seem improbably long. In the following poem, which is certainly a hymn to cosmic beauty, one possible interpretation could be that the moon – which reflects the light of the Sun – represents the illuminated mind that, having attained that realization, sees radiance everywhere.

The moon is encircled by moons.
How can I hold it
In my hands?
The unseizable moon,
Glowing in the brilliance
Of a million moons,
Rocks my head
In a lunar carnival….

Moon fruits adorn
The tree of the moon,
Luminously flashing.

I try to see
But my eyes cannot bear;
The rays of beauty
Dazzle them.

Translation Deben Bhattacharya

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