You are here
Some Unquenchable Desire: sanskrit poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari
An award-winning translator finds surprisingly modern themes in a selection of erotic and religious stanzas from one of classical India's most celebrated poets.
Although few facts are known about his life, the Indian poet Bhartrihari leaps from the page as a remarkably recognizable individual. Amidst a career as a linguist, courtier, and hermit, he used poetry to explore themes of love, desire, impermanence, despair, anger, and fear. "A thousand emotions, ideas, words, and rhythmic syllables stormed through him," writes translator Andrew Schelling in an evocative introduction. "In particular he shows himself torn between sexual desire and a hunger to be free of failed love affairs and turbulent karma."
Despite the fact that collections of Bhartrihari's poems are the most common non-religious manuscripts found in Sanskrit, Schelling's translation represents a rare opportunity for English-language readers to become acquainted with this fascinating poet. Attuned to Bhartrihari's unique poetic sensibility, Schelling has produced a compelling, personally curated set of translations. He includes a botanical index to familiarize readers with Bhartrihari's many references to Indian trees, flowers, and herbs. Replete with love, sex, disappointment, Hindu gods, and Buddhist philosophical concepts, this appealing volume brings the world of ancient India to life through the extraordinary voice of one of its beloved poets.
ANDREW SCHELLING has authored or edited over twenty books, including original and translated poetry and collections of essays. His translations of India's classical poetry appear in numerous anthologies. The Academy of American Poets honored him with the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award in 1992 for his Dropping the Bow- Poems from Ancient India. He has received two translation grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry, and his own poetry has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Dutch. Since 1990 he has taught at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School in Boulder, Colorado.