Elizabeth Kurian 'Mona'


From 'I' To 'I'(Main Se Main Tak - Dr. Shyam Bharadwaj) - Poem by Elizabeth Kurian 'Mona'

In the inner chambers of the house of glass
Innumerable glass pieces shimmer;
Peeping from these fragments of glass
Are images in various shades;
All reflections are familiar
In every image, 'I' and only 'I'
All these 'I' s merge to create me, awaken my being.
Only with the union of 'I' and 'I'
Has my form and character originated.
@ @
My body is a fertile land
Time, the farmer has sown seeds of life in it.
Light showered upon it and flowers bloomed
Bearing different colors and fragrance.
Every 'I' of mine became a flower, each unique
I became a garden of colorful flowers
With a distinctive appearance of my personality.,
@ @


Each of my 'I' is a king of a small kingdom,
Pre-determined owner of a certain palace.
How many kings rule over me,
Summon me into the borders of their reign.
@ @

King Vision declares:
Look at the shapes, make a bond with light;
Behold, touch the darkness, dispel the shadows;
Play wantonly with the colors and observe the world
Look at the earth, the sky and the sea.
Become eyes and learn to live.
@ @

King Hearing explains to me:
Take pleasure in musical sounds
Play with rhythm and melody of words
Listen to the vibrations of the veena, the notes of the flute,
Hear the rumbling of the clouds,
The resonance of the turbulent waves,
Beating upon the sea shore,
The chirping of the birds;
Hark to the happy laughter of the child,
Pay attention to the silence of the night,
Learn to live with the ears.

@ @
King Taste expounds some secrets:
'Flavor is the preserver of every soul
From the starting atom of life to its very end;
By consuming eatables, by sipping liquids,
Every living being fills his every element with energy;
Without this, civilization of mankind would be incomplete.
Meeting and mingling of strangers, friends and community
Is made possible with the feasts taken together.
All gods are appeased with tasty delicacies
In different parts of various countries,
In all seasons, all festivals,
Delicious dishes are offered
In various shapes, smells and flavor.
The king Taste commends to me
Flavor is a medium, but not the goal,
It is a guest, but not indispensable.
@ @


The royal command of King Touch is:
Feel the tenderness of the petals,
Experience the teardrops moist in joy,
Fill your lap with the softness of the infant,
Touch the mighty rocks doing penance in the hot sun,
Pick up the sand from the desert in your palms,
Touch the shivering snow on the chill mountain peaks;
The real truth of life is in touch
Awaken your sense of touch and live in this world.'
@ @

King Smell sent me a royal invitation:
Welcome to this beautiful city
Ever eager to meet you are jasmine, rose, lily, night queen
All will overwhelm you with their fragrance;
The nymph of perfume calls you with a loud voice
Or comes coyly with coquettish invitation of love;
Look at the temples, monasteries and gurudwaras,
They are filled with the sweet scent of flowers,
Of sandal and of camphor;
The smoky lines of the incense sticks
Rise high and touch the elevated peaks.
The state song of this city rings out:
Enter bringing fragrance,
Leave, spreading fragrance.
@ @

These five kings of the respective kingdoms
Take care of the borders of my body;
They keep contact both inside and outside,
And are merchants undertaking barter.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@


From 'I' to 'I' -Three storied mansion

In my three storied mansion
Different 'I's live on each storey.

On the ground floor, the wild 'I' lives;
He roars, threatens, attacks,
Is ridden with various types of hunger
Has to be tied in strong chains
Which he always tries to break.
I have to beware of him.

In the middle floor, my human 'I' stays
Always lost in thought,
Laughing and crying, gaining and losing,
His life revolves around his relationships
He plays his roles in installments
Is bound by responsibility
He accumulates object s, lives as a consumer;
Attracted to fame, fearful of ill repute
Plunged in the fragrance of the earth.

On the topmost floor, my divine 'I' resides,
The keeper of my faith,
The guardian of my values, a creator,
Inspiration for my resolves, for my generosity;
He explains the value of
He does the evaluation of relevance and irrelevance
He expounds matters of joy, love, sin and virtue;
He offers solutions in dilemmas,
Burns a light in darkness,
Explores the link of past, present and future.
Shuns darkness and enlightens the secrets of creativity.


These three inhabitants live together,
Sometimes in discord, sometimes in harmony,
Usually making adjustments and compromises.
Poor I live in small realities
In my small world.

I am made up of hundreds of 'I's
Limited and defined by them is my being
Let me live in my simplicity,
Do not confuse me!

The wise man explains to me:
'After you die, you will be under trial,
You will be judged on strength of witnesses and rules
The court will decree sentence based on proof;
Either a gold medal or acute torture will be your reward'.
But the foolish heart could not understand
The mystery of heaven and hell.

The intellectual says:
'Why do you fear death? (Where is this fear?)
After death you will attain rebirth again and again.
Elephant, ant, man, monkey, crow, or frog
You will earn the fruits of your past births.
Yes, if you listen to the words of masters
Do penance and devotion;
Then you will be whole, or turn into nothingness.'
But this discussion on liberation and salvation
Of rebirths, is beyond my understanding.

Do not entangle me in dreams,
I am an inhabitant of the low earth,
I am scared of these heights;
Only this much do I fathom…
If you remove zero from zero,
Only zero remains.
I can write only from 'I' to 'I'.
This is the gist of my story.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

Rather a long poem, but After reading the Hindi original, I felt I should translate it and share it non-Hindi knowing readers also.The poet passed away in 2009.


Original in Hindi: Dr. Shyam Bharadwaj

Translated by: Elizabeth Kurian 'Mona'

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 13, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, August 13, 2012


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