I (ನಾನು)

It seems fitting to start this blog with Bendre’s own estimation of himself as the poetic-power Ambikátanayadatta, who is the son of five mothers (ಐದು ಐದೆಯರು).

Here is perhaps the only video recording available of Bendre reading out his poetry.


I am the indivisible pollinic-glory born of the cosmic-mother’s lotus-womb;
I am the upright idol fashioned from a fistful of the earth-mother’s clay;
I am the scintillating light found within the million deepawalis of mother-Bhárati;
I am the outspreading wind that has fed on the fragrance of Kannada’s mother-lotus;
I am the animate compassion that has drunk the milk and blood of mine own mother;
It is these mothers five who make up the five vital airs of this breathing frame;
The Nárayana within the lotus-heart has himself transformed into the mortal Datta;
As Ambikátanaya he sounds forth now in Kannada as the universe’s inner voice.

(Translated by Madhav K. Ajjampur)

Poem Details: From the collection “ಗಂಗಾವತರಣ,” first published in 1951.

Author: Madhav Ajjampur

I'm Madhav, from Bangalore. I write my own poetry in English and translate Shri Bendre's poetry from Kannada into English. (You can read my translations at https://darabendreinenglish.com/). My favourite poets include Yeats, Tagore, Bendre, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, and Gerard Hopkins. If you'd like to get in touch, do write to me at mk.ajjampur@gmail.com. I'd be very happy to hear from you!

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