Kuvempu in translation: Let's go to Brindavana

Kuvempu in translation: Let's go to Brindavana

Kuvempu is known for his mastery over a variety of genres. He wrote two long novels, an epic poem, 10 plays, and hundreds of poems. These are enjoyed and studied in schools, colleges and universities.


The world of sugama sangeeta is fond of his lyrical poems. (If gamaka is the singing of classical Kannada poetry, sugama sangeeta is the singing of contemporary Kannada poetry.)

P Kalinga Rao was among the first to compose tunes for Kuvempu's songs, and he made lovely tunes for his rousing anthems. 'Elladaru iru,' 'Erali haarali Kannadada baavuta' are among Kalinga Rao's hit tunes.

Later singer-composers such as H K Narayana, Mysore Ananthaswamy, C Aswath and Shimoga Subbanna also made tunes for Kuvempu's poems. As a result, the same Kuvempu song is sung and recorded in diverse tunes. 

'Brindavanake haalanu maaralu' was a Kuvempu song that turned out to be a hit on All India Radio. It was originally sung by B K Sumitra. A host of other artistes then sang it on radio and on stage. 

Based on raga Sindhu Bhairavi, the simple, evocative poem is a favourite to this day at bhavageete competitions and on social occasions. 

We present here a translation and a link to a rendering by Rathnamala Prakash. 


Let’s go to Brindavana

Let’s go to Brindavana 
to sell milk, come,
hurry, my friend.

Won’t you say, doe-eyed one,
who waits to buy milk 
in Brindavana?

Govinda, who minds
the cows, buys milk, 
doesn't he, my friend?

He gives no gold, 
he gives no riches, 
he gives himself, my friend.

Let’s roam the banks 
of the Yamuna,
calling out, ‘Milk anyone, milk?’

Gather your allure,
wear your silken finery, 
sport your colourful bangles.

Spread out a heart 
that loves the charmer,
deck it up, doe-eyed one.

Selling milk is just a ruse
to call out from our hearts 
to Hari, come, my friend.

Let’s offer him milk,
but give him our souls
to find freedom, gentle one.

How fortunate we are: 
we sell milk and get 
Hari in return, lotus-eyed one!

Is there ever any profit 
that beats our profit, 
doe-eyed one?

Let’s go to Brindavana 
to sell milk, 
come, hurry, my friend.


Translated by S R Ramakrishna

* Kannada original in English transliteration: http://madhurabhavageethegalu.blogspot.in/2012/11/brindaavanake-haalanu.html

* The song, in the voice of Rathnamala Prakash: https://gaana.com/song/brundaavanake

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