Darpa Dalana: Fair and Lotus

The fourth chapter of the Darpa Dalana satirises the pride people take in their physical appearance and contains plenty of salutary lessons for today’s beauty-obsessed world. The poet intersperses the tale of this chapter with some appropriately delicate stanzas. Here is the opening verse:

पद्मोपमानां दिनसुन्दराणां कोऽयं नृणामस्थिररूपदर्पः

रूपेण कान्तिः क्षणिकैव येषां हारिद्ररागेण यथांशुकानाम्

What makes people arrogant

with beauty? It is transient.

Men are like lotuses which stay

looking good for just a day.

Beauty’s glow is for a moment,
as turmeric dye upon a garment.

And towards the end, Kemendra further elaborates this idea of human beauty being like the lotus:

प्रातर्बालतरोऽथ कुड्मलतया कान्ताकुचाभः शनै

र्हेलाहासविकाससुन्दररुचिः सम्पूर्णकोषस्ततः

पश्चान्म्लानवपुर्विलोलशिथिलः पद्मः प्रकीर्णेऽनिलै

स्तस्मिन्नेव दिने पङ्ककलिलक्लिन्नस्तटे शुष्यति ७३

A tender bud at dawn, the lotus resembles a girl’s breast,

it blossoms further as if smiling in the full bloom of youth;

then it begins to fade, trembling unsteady in the breeze,

only to lie sodden with mire, withering on the bank – all in one day.


This is the fourth post in the series on the Darpa Dalana. To learn more about the Rasāla edition, and/or to purchase a copy of the print or eBook please click here. To read the previous posts, please click here.

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