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DIWALI (anglais)

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DIWALI


For Tikka Sangram Singh Kachwala
 
Light the lamps, the tiny lamps
With their long slim dancing flames!
Let them light up the world,
Let them illuminate the passionate face of the heavens!
 
Rama, the divine ancestor
Of Tikka Sangram Singh Kachwala,
Is once more among us!
Rama has returned to Ayodhya,
Our Invincible City!
 
Come young and old, rich and poor,
Let us put on our finest clothes,
Let us dress in our new tunics
Fresh with the odour of innocence!
 
How beautiful are these rows of candles
On the rims of terracotta pots,
How the joyful light flows among us
Like a river full of stars,
Like pure water gushing
From the enchanted flesh of the earth
To become one with the light of the gods!
 
Let us decorate with rangoli our houses , richly appointed or modest,
Our courtyards full of flowers, our streets full of gaiety,
Our welcoming public squares,
Our beautiful ancient sanctuaries,
Let us prepare delicious dishes,
Let us make sweet treats!
 
Let us sing, it is the holy day of Great Diwali!
 
Let us lay out the thali,
The elegant copper trays
Finely chiselled by the hands
Of our most skilful artisans!  
Let us arrange harmoniously the roli
Made of turmeric and lime
For the tilak, the sacred sign
Destined for the foreheads of our brothers and sisters!
 
Quickly!
 
Let us not forget in our haste
The akshat: rice!
Small shining white
Grains of rice!
The quiet fruits of our hard labours!
 
Let us rejoice,
It is the holy day of Great Diwali!
 
Yes, let us put in its place, the resonant ghanti,
The sweet-sounding bell
Which alone can summon our friendly deities,
And the small exquisite kalash, the stoneware pot
Full of fresh well water.
 
Quickly!
 
Don't forget the gold and sliver coins
And the bouquets of flowers!
Let us tie a ritual kalava bracelet to our wrists,
With its fine threads of multicoloured silk.
 
Let us sing,
It is the holy day of Great Diwali!
 
With hearts leaping with joy, let us worship Lakshmi,
The blessed wife of the great Lord Vishnu,
Protector of the Earth,
Keeper of the World!
 
Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, of grace and charm,
Born of the Ocean, holding in her hands all the riches of the seas,
Lakshmi, seated in the white calyx of a swooning water lily,
Her owl, on which she rides through the heavens, not far away.
Yes, at the stroke of midnight,
She will ride around the world on her owl
To see how we adore her!
 
O Tikka Sangram Singh Kachwala, my Friend,
How I love these great melas,
These boisterous gatherings
Of the faithful all dressed in their Sunday best!
 
Yes, let us decorate our houses
with rangoli, those mystical images
from the night of time!
Are they not the eloquent witnesses
Of our pious hospitality?
 
With grains of rice,
With powders of a hundred colours
Let us draw the sacred images on the bare earth;
May they express our affection for the gods,
May they drive evil spirits from our thresholds!
 
Let us rejoice,
It is the holy day of Great Diwali!
 
Let us hang everywhere the shapely mango leaves,
Let us decorate every corner with garlands of marigolds!
Full of piety, we wove them ourselves
With our agile hands!
 
Let us tattoo our hands with the sacred signs of mehndi
For she will come , the great goddess, the wife of Vishnu:
It is the puja , the divine ceremony of Lakshmi,
Our adorable goddess, Mother of plenty
And great sister of prosperity!
 
Ganesh, Vighnahara, the god who removes obstacles,
Yes, Ganesh, our elephant-headed god
Will accompany Lakshmi at the side of
Kali and Sarasvati!
 
Black Kali, the goddess of Time
Of Death and Release,
Mother of Destruction, Mother of Creation,
Savage aspect of the Devi, the supreme goddess!
 
Sarasvati, the shakti, the wife of Brahma,
Radiant in her beauty, goddess of knowledge
Of eloquence, of wisdom and the arts,
In times past goddess of rivers!
 
Let us glorify our gods, let us cover with flower petals
The streets where their otherworldly steps will fall!
 
We have already celebrated Dhanteras
And the god Dhanvantari,
The very gentle, the very righteous physician of the gods,
Our great gods
Who, in their quest for amrita, nectar,
The elixir of eternal life,
Churned the celestial Ocean of milk,
Khir sagaar,
Aided in their supreme effort
By the sacred Mount Mandara
Which served as their churn.
 
Yes, we have celebrated,
In our songs we have called upon
The learned Lord Dhanvantari
Who emerged from the ocean
Bearing in his hands the kumbha,
The jar containing the precious elixir
Of eternal life.
 
In vain did the monstrous Danavas,
Demons hostile to the gods,
Strive to seize it.
 
In vain!
 
The Friend of men, the Protector of the world,
Vishnu, shining with goodness, was keeping watch:
Taking on the form of the lovely Mohini,
A woman of captivating beauty,
He divided them by placing
The gods on one side and the demons on  the other
And poured all the nectar for the immortal gods to drink.
Thus, full of new strength,
They could vanquish the formidable Danavas with no opposition.
 
But two cunning demons, Rahu and Ketu,
Managed to drench their lips in nectar,
Rahu and Ketu who swallowed the Sun and Moon,
who created the eclipse.
 
Four drops of the nectar of eternal life
Fell in four holy places:
Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik.
Here a Purna Kumbh Mela,
The festival of the pot of nectar, takes place
Every twelve years!
 
Yes, we have exalted Lord Dhanvantari,
He, who also gave as a gift to mankind, to us,
Divine ayurvedic medicine;
The very courteous Lord Dhanvantari
Was reincarnated in the royal family of Kashi,
Which reigns at Benares.
 
Full of happiness, we will also commemorate
The victory of Krishna,
The divine avatar of Vishnu,
Over the demon Narakasura,
Asura, son of the Earth goddess, Bhudevi
And of Vahara, the boar.
Did he not vanquish the god Indra himself,
Did he not steal the magnificent jewels
Which ornamented the delicate ears of the mother goddess Aditi,
Relative of Satyabhama, the wife of Krishna?
 
Narakasura was the demon who abducted
Sixteen thousand divine maidens
And locked them in
His dark harem.
 
O pujari, beloved priest,
Hurry, make haste
Ring your bells to summon the goddess!
 
Women, let us wash the statues
Of Lakshmi and Ganesh
With pure water!
Let us anoint them with the ointment panchamitra,
Let us place before each divinity
A diya lamp to illuminate their celestial faces!
 
Let us also bow low before Tulsi,
Basil, Vishnu's herb of a thousand properties,
Tulsi, which can tell the future
And can increase our vital forces.
 
Let us make them an offering of fresh flowers,
Of the colours red abir and vermilion sindur,
Of turmeric and sweetmeats,
Of fruit and money
Which after the festival we will give to the poor.
 
Let us sing aarti, our devotional songs!
Now is the time to eat prasad,
Our sweet cakes: gulab jamun,
Peda, jalebi, barfi.
 
Now the fifth day is come,
The day called Bhai Dooj or Bhrati Dooj.
It is the day of brothers, dedicated to sisters.
 
On that day, in the time of the Vedas,
Yama , Lord of Death,
Went to his sister's house and granted her the vardhan,
The gift of freeing from their sins
Anyone who visited that day,
Helping them to attain moksha,
Final liberation.
Yes! With hearts full of veneration,
We have invoked the great Lord of Death,
Yama, the loving brother,
He who keeps the register of souls
And calculates, applied to his task night and day,
The days we still have left to live!
 
O Diwali, festival dear to our hearts!
Diwali of our souls,
Diwali of our lives,
Diwali of celestial grace!
 
Translated from the French of Athanase Vantchev de Thracy by Norton Hodges
November 2009