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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




Seated aloft the hill
how lonely you feel,
Lord Shankara,
while your hapless devotees,
victims of the word, the sword and the gun,
flee in terror
yet once again.

How dry and parched you must be
as there is none to massage thee
with sandalwood and ghee,
wash you in potfuls
of milk and rosewater
and weave petal patterns
on your body.

There is not a sound
of the chants that would resound
of your votaries going round,
and an eerie silence reigns
where hymns once regaled,
the bells chimed,
the conchs hailed.

The breeze no longer wafts the incense
nor do a hundred flames leap in cosmic dance,
O, where is the touch of faithful foreheads,
of passionate hands that caressed thee!
The air is heavy, still and sultry,
the sky a dull dreary haze,
O, where is the lingering mist
that your feet did kiss,
where the cool breeze
that fanned your brow,
where the myriad clouds
that sailed in salute
in the deep blue vault above!

The heart cries in pain
as I seek you here in vain
in this hot desert plain.
The Aravelli is a poor consolation
and remote from the Himalayas,
the thistle, thornbush, and the wild vine
a pitiful imitation
of the chinar and the pine.

Try as hard as I may
to sculpt you in stone and clay,
the lingam slips further
from my clumsy grasp
and all my muse and meditation
is of no avail
to bring you anywhere
within my mindís pale.

All that we treasure now
is a vision of the past
as the future, dim and dismal,
is getting irretrievably lost
while the present
is a plaint deep within
struggling to reach your distant ears
and a picture of pathos
which has failed to bestir you
to open your Third Eye,
a call of distress
from your deserted devotees
cast in the tempest of Time.

Delhi - 10 June 1990



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