Kavi Samaya: All Things White

Gaṅgā, Himālaya (the snowy mountain) and Śeṣa (king of snakes) all epitomise the colour white.  Here the poet Haricandra plays with this idea and, although he doesn’t explicitly make the connection, we can imagine that the flecks of white spray he describes in the first half (of the Sanskrit; the second half in the translation) are like the small white scales that a dried out snake skin sheds.

 

पर्यन्तकान्तारसमीरविस्फुर-

त्तरङ्गविस्फारितफेनलाञ्छिता ।

प्रालेयशैलोरगराजरेचित-

प्रलम्बनिर्मोकनिभा विभाति या ॥

Gaṅgā seems to be the discarded slough

cast off by the snow-bound mountain

become the king of snakes,

foam-flecked

as the wind that races through her woods

rouses her into waves.

 

9.70 of Dharmaśarmābhyudayaḥ of Haricandra

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