By Raden Ngabehi Ranggawarsita

In the Sinom Meter
Translation by M. M. Medeiros and Mastoni

Wahyaning arda rubeda,
The uprising of the lower soul’s stubborn caprices was an obstacle,
ki pujangga amengêti,
The poet recollected himself.
==The poet divined of himself.
p.s.: *Amengeti* which means to divine or determine through meditation. I do not believe that it is simply a matter of recollecting, i.e. remembering.
mêsu cipta mati raga,
He centered his inner faculties. He practiced severe austerities.

mudhar warananing gaib,
The screen hiding the absent world was removed
p.s.: I love the sentence. It is very poetic and captures the original text.

sasmita sakalir,
[that had been hiding] all the secret signs of
p.s.: I love this as well. This is a great section. It is both poetic and meaningful.

ruwêding sarwa pakewuh,
the obstacles to understanding due to [the mind’s] struggling.
==the obstacles to understanding the chaotic mind.
p.s.: The word “[the mind’s] struggling” sounds awkward to me. Chaotic mind is cleaner in my not–always-so-humble opinion 🙂

wiwaling kang warana,
With the removal of the screen,

dadi badaling Hyang Widdhi,
it became possible for the All-Seeing
==it became possible for God
p.s.: I understand why you chose the word All-Seeing instead of God since “seeing” (as a metaphor) was the point of removing the screen. However, it is the viewer or the poet whose vision is increasing. It is not the All-Seeing whose vision has increased. Clearly, that would be a contradiction to the very notion of being the All-Seeing. I can understand choosing All-Seeing anyway simply as a means of connecting the poet to God (a preoccupation of Sufis and would-be Sufis like me). However, I think the word God is a more accurate translation.

amêdharakên paribawaning bawana.
to open the secrets of the forces [that move] the world.
==to open the secret power of the world.

Mangkya darajating praja,
Now the glory of the land
kawuryan wus sunyaruri,
is seen to have gone to the world of spirits.
rurah pangrehing ukara,
The expression of thought in words is in ruins
karana tanpa palupi,
for lack of [good] examples.
ponang paramengkawi,
Whoever is versed in letters
kawilêting tyas malatkung,
has a heart enwrapped in grief.
kongas kasudranira,
The low regard in which he is held is obvious.
tidhêm tandhaning dumadi,
The signs of life are suppressed.
ardayengrat dening karoban rubeda.
The world’s vitality [is drowned] in floods of trouble.

Ratune ratu utama,
The king is a noble king.
patihe patih linuwih,
The prime minister is excellent.
pra nayaka tyas raharja,
The cabinet are men of good will.
panêkare bêcik-bêcik,
The officials are good.
parandene tan dadi,
Yet nothing comes of
paliyasing kalabêndu,
[attempts to] ward off the Day of Wrath.
malah sangking andadra,
Indeed there’s a worsening
rubeda kang ngrêribêdi,
of the troubles that frustrate
beda-beda ardane wong sanagara.
the varied desires of the people of the country.

Katatangi tangisira,
His tears well up.
sira sang paramengkawi,
He is a man of letters.
kawilêting tyas duhkita,
His mind is wrapped in sorrow.
katamaning reh wirangi,
He is under the sway of shame
dening upaya sandi,
brought [on him] by sly tricks,
sumaruna anarawung,
[by] the unseemly plots
pangimur manuara,
of comforters with sweet words
met pamrih melik pakolih,
with grasping desire for gain behind them.
têmah suha ing karsa tanpa wêweka.
Unless wide awake, [one could be] deflected from one’s purpose.

Dhasar karoban pawarta,
In short, [he’s] flooded with rumors,
babaratan ujar lamis,
fanned by sweet, lying words,
pinudya dadya pangarsa,
[told] he’s to be advanced.
wêkasan malah kawuri,
In fact he’s even demoted.
yen pinikir sayêkti,
If one thinks about it seriously,
pedah apa aneng ngayun,
what’s the benefit of being in the forefront?
andhêdhêr kaluputan,
[The seeds of] error are planted.
siniraman banyu lali,
They’re watered with the water of unawareness..
lamun tuwuh dadi kêkêmbanganing beka.
If they grow, they become flowers of trouble.

Ujar paniti sastra,
The words of the Panitisastra
awawarah asung peling,
teach [and] warn [that]
ing jaman kêneng musibat,
in times when the curse of God [is upon the land]
wong ambêk jatmika kontit,
the fine and gentle are failures.
mangkono yen niteni,
So it is if one observes closely.
pedah apa mituhu,
What good is it then to be true?
pawarta alawora,
Meaningless talk
mundhak angraranta ati,
hurts one still more [to hear it].
angur baya ngikêta cariteng kuna.
Maybe it’s better to write stories of old times.

Kêni kinarya darsana,
They can serve as good examples
panglimang ala lan bêcik,
for weighing the bad and good [of things].
sayêkti akeh kewala,
Actually there are very many
lalakon kang dadi tamsil,
events which are parables
masalahing ngaurip,
of life problems.
wahananira tinêmu,
Once their meaning is found
têmahan anarima,
[one] comes to accept,
mupus papasthening takdir,
to accept one’s fate,
puluh-puluh anglakoni kaelokan.
to accept the results of one’s actions. That [in itself] is

Amênangi jaman edan,
Experiencing a time of madness
ewuh aya ing pambudi,
troubles the mind.
melu edan nora tahan,
Going along with the madness is unbearable.
yen tan milu anglakoni,
If one doesn’t go along,
boya kaduman melik,
one doesn’t get a share.
kalirên wêkasanipun,
Starvation will be the result.
dilalah karsa Allah,
The hard part is that such is God’s will.
bêgja-bêgjane kang lali,
Happy though the forgetful may be,
luwih bêgja kang eling lawan waspada.
happier still are those who are aware and observant.

Samono uga babasan,
There’s a saying like this:
padu-padune kepêngin,
His refusal’s to mask his desire.
nggih mekotên Paman Dhoblang,
“That’s right, isn’t it, Old Fool?”
bener ingkang angarani,
They’re right who call [me] that,
nanging sajroning batin,
but in my inner self
sajatine nyamut-nyamut,
I am really far from having achieved enlightenment.
wis tuwa arêp apa,
What can an old person hope for?
muhung mahasaning ngasêpi,
All [I can do] is go into retreat
supayantuk parimarmaning Hyang Suksma.
in the hope of receiving God’s mercy.

Beda lamun kang wus santosa,
It’s different with those who are firm
kinarilan ing Hyang Widdhi,
in the All-Seeing’s approval.
satiba malanganeya,
No matter what troubles befall them,
tan susah ngupaya kasil,
they have no need to make efforts to achieve results.
saking mangunah prapti,
Their faith brings the results.
Pangeran paring pitulung,
The Lord bestows His help on them
mara samaning titah,
through their fellow creatures–
rupa sabarang pakolih,
any sort may serve–
parandene masih tabêri iktiyar.
as long as they seriously and carefully do what is needed.

Sakadare linakonan,
Do your best.
mung tumindak mara ati,
Just follow your own mind,
anggêr tan dadi prakara,
as long as it poses no obstacles,
karana wirayat muni,
for all fables tell
iktiyar iku yêkti,
that one’s own efforts truly
pamilihe reh rahayu,
are the choice leading to well-being,
sinambi budi daya,
[if] combined with hard work
kanthi awas lawan eling,
with sharp eyes and keen awareness
kang kaesthi antuka parmaning Suksma.
[and] the purpose of seeking God’s Mercy.

Ya Allah ya Rasulullah,
O God, O Messenger of God
kang sipat murah lan asih,
the Merciful and Beneficent,
mugi-mugi aparinga,
please give
pitulung ingkang nartani,
your help, which suffices
ing alam awal akir,
for this world and the next
dumunung in gêsang ulun,
[so I may] understand my life
mangkya sampun awrêdha,
now that I am old.
ing wêkasan kadi pundi,
How will it turn out finally?
mila mugi wontêna pitulung Tuhan.
May there be help from the Lord, then.

Sagêda sabar santosa,
May I be able to be patient and strong.
mati sajroning ngaurip,
May I die unto life while still living.
kalising reh aru-ara,
May I be free from trouble and strife.
murka angkara sumingkir,
[May] greed and anger be taken from me.
tarlen mêlêng malatsih,
[May I only be] centered in begging Mercy.
sanityaseng tyas mamasuh,
[May I always be] cleansing my mind.
badharing sapu dhêndha,
[May I] escape His punishment.
antuk mayar sawatawis,
[May it] be lightened to some degree.
borong angga suwarga mesi martaya.
[May I] surrender myself to a heaven of peace.


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