Translation by Gustav Holst (1874 - 1934)

Language: English  after the Sanskrit (संस्कृतम्) 
Then, Life was not!
Non-life was not!
No vast expanse of air,
Nor vaster realm of sky that lies beyond.
Was water there, the deep abyss of ocean?
Then, Death was not!
Non-death was not!
No change of day and night.
And, cov'ring all, the gloom was lost in gloom.
All was unseen, One universe unknown.
Then there was One! One alone!
Calm and self-existing:
Beyond and apart was naught.
Then up rose Desire,
Fierce glowing Desire.
The seed of spirit,
The germ of mind,
The source of life,
Begetting mighty forces,
All heaved in restless motion.
Who then knows,
Who can now declare
Whence cometh creation?
He the Primal One whose
Eye controlleth all things,
He alone doth know it,
Or perchance even 
He knoweth it not!


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Geoffrey Wieting

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-24
Line count: 28
Word count: 128