Sunday, June 29, 2014

'Prestige of the Snow Mountains' by Kelsang Yonten

གཞས།། གངས་རིའི་ལ་རྒྱ།། 

Song: Prestige of the Snow Mountains

ལེན་མཁན།། སྐལ་བཟང་ཡོན་ཏན།། 

Singer: Kelsang Yönten

Kang [so] ri kar pö u tse tho na yang
Seng [so] yu rel kang ri la gya rey
Khye [so] ma shuk kang tha khyam song na
Kang [so] kar pö la gya su yi dzin

Even high upon the peaks of the white snow mountains,
The lion's turquoise mane is the prestige of the snow mountains.
If you do not remain and [instead] wander about the borders of the snowland,
Who will maintain the prestige of the white snows?

Ney [so] ü tsang chö si gye na yang
Jey [so] la ma phö mi lha kel yey
Khye [so] ma shuk phak yül jön song na
Ngey [so] lob bang dey duk su la shu

Even if the secular and spiritual affairs of Central Tibet flourish,
The venerable guru is the destined deity of the Tibetan people.
If you do not remain and [instead] depart to the noble land [of India],
To whom will we, your disciples and servants, address our joys and sorrows?

Nag [so] yu lö sil tok gye na yang
Cha [so] lo nag kyi gyen cha rey
Khye [so] ma shuk mön la phur song na
Nag [so] yu lö gyen cha su yi chey

Even if the fruits of turquoise forests abound,
The feathers of a bird are the ornaments of the forests.
If you do not remain and [instead] fly off to southern lands,
Who will be the ornament of the turquoise leafed forests?

Dey [so] tsho druk tsen chuk dzom na yang
Tak [so] sha ra lha dey nying nor yin
Khye [so] ma shuk san thar khyam song na
Nang [so] phu nü nying tam su la shey
Nang [so] phu nü nying tam su la shey

Even if the power and wealth of the six factions are complete,
The tigers and deer are the beloved jewels of the heavenly factions.
If you do not remain and [instead] wander off to the border lands,
To whom will brothers young and old impart their deepest feelings?

Note: This is one of my all-time favorites with its infectious rhythm and Kelsang Yonten's original and magnanimous vocal style. The lyrics are a bit enigmatic for me however, as there are a few parts where I cannot even imagine what it is referring to; but perhaps that is the point. There is a clear reference to H.H. the Dalai Lama in the second verse however, so at least that is clear. For the rest, I tried to translate it as literally as possible, but other than that, I cannot comment on the meaning and will only leave it to the reader's interpretation. If there are any ideas, please let us know. I also added in the syllable "so" in brackets after every first syllable for each line, because--even though it is meaningless and is not present in the Tibetan lyrics--it is clearly meant to hold the rhythm and so I thought it would be important for English readers to be aware of, especially if you feel the urge to sing along!


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