Some Unquenchable Desire
Sanskrit Poems of the Buddhist Hermit Bhartrihari
Bhartrihari, Andrew Schelling
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.” 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.