Khandana Bhava Bandhana:
Breaker of this World’s Chain
By Swami Vivekananda

This is the enthralling Aratrika hymn composed by Swami Vivekananda to Sri Ramakrishna, usually sung during the evening prayer, the “waving of lights”. Originally composed in Bengali, we present it here in Devanagari and transliteration (with Sanskritized spelling), and include two translations. The original Bengali text is at the end.

खण्डन भव बन्धन जग वन्दन वन्दि तोमाय।
निरञ्जन नर-रूप-धर निर्गुण गुणमय॥
मोचन अघदूषण जगभूषण चिद्घनकाय।
ज्ञानाञ्जन-विमल-नयन वीक्षणे मोह जाय॥
भास्वर भाव-सागर चिर-उन्मद प्रेम-पाथार।
भक्तार्जन-युगल चरण तारण-भव-पार॥
जृम्भित-युग-ईश्वर जगदीश्वर योगसहाय।
निरोधन समाहितमन निरखि तव कृपाय॥
भञ्जन-दुःखगञ्जन करुणाघन कर्म-कठोर।
प्राणार्पण जगत-तारण कृन्तन-कलिडोर॥
वञ्चन-कामकाञ्चन अतिनिन्दित-इन्द्रियराग।
त्यागीश्वर हे नरवर देहपदे अनुराग॥
निर्भय गतसंशय दृढ़निश्चय-मानसवान।
निष्कारण-भकत-शरण त्यजि जाति-कुल-मान॥
सम्पद तव श्रीपद भव-गोष्पद-वारि यथाय।
प्रेमार्पण समदरशन जगजन-दुःख जाय॥
नमो नमो प्रभु वाक्य-मनातीत मनोवचनैकाधार।
ज्योतिर ज्योति उजल-हृदिकन्दर तुमि तमो-भञ्जन हार॥
धे धे धे लङ्ग रङ्ग भङ्ग बाजे अङ्ग सङ्ग मृदङ्ग
गाहिछे छन्द भकतवृन्द आरति तोमार॥
जय जय आरति तोमार हर हर आरति तोमार
शिव शिव आरति तोमार॥
खण्डन भव बन्धन जग वन्दन वन्दि तोमाय॥
जय श्रीगुरुमहाराज्जि कि जय॥

khaṇḍana bhava bandhana jaga vandana vandi tomāy |
nirañjana nara-rūpa-dhara nirguṇa guṇamay ||
mocana aghadūṣaṇa jagabhūṣaṇa cidghanakāy |
jñānāñjana-vimala-nayana vīkṣaṇe moha jāy ||
bhāsvara bhāva-sāgara cira-unmada prema-pāthār |
bhaktārjana-yugala caraṇa tāraṇa-bhava-pār ||
jṛmbhita-yuga-īśvara jagadīśvara yogasahāy |
nirodhana samāhitamana nirakhi tava kṛpāy ||
bhañjana-duḥkhagañjana karuṇāghana karma-kaṭhor |
prāṇārpaṇa jagata-tāraṇa kṛntana-kaliḍor ||
vañcana-kāmakāñcana atinindita-indriyarāg |
tyāgīśvara he naravara dehapade anurāg ||
nirbhaya gatasaṁśaya dṛṛhaniścaya-mānasavān |
niṣkāraṇa-bhakata-śaraṇa tyaji jāti-kula-māna||
sampada tava śrīpada bhava-goṣpada-vāri yathāy |
premārpaṇa samadaraśana jagajana-duḥkha jāy ||
namo namo prabhu vākya-manātīta manovacanaikādhār |
jyotira jyoti ujala-hṛdikandara tumi tamo-bhañjana hār ||
dhe dhe dhe laṅga raṅga bhaṅga bāje aṅga saṅga mṛdaṅga
gāhiche chanda bhakatavṛnda ārati tomār ||
jaya jaya ārati tomār hara hara ārati tomār
śiva śiva ārati tomār ||
khaṇḍana bhava bandhana jaga vandana vandi tomāy |
jay śrī gurumāhārājji ki jay ||

A fairly literal translation

We adore you, O breaker of the bondage of the world, worshipped by all humankind! You are stainless, yet have taken a human form. You are beyond all attributes, yet are the embodiment of all virtues.

O purifier of all defects! O gem of the world! O embodiment of pure consciousness! Your stainless eyes, sanctified by the collyrium of knowledge, remove our ignorance at a mere glance.

You are verily a sea of light and divine moods, ever filled with the waves of inebriating love. Your holy feet, attained through devotion, are the raft that carries us across the ocean of this world.

You are the Lord of the universe, the manifest incarnation of the age and our guide along the path of yoga. We have realized this truth through your grace, you whose mind is established in samadhi.

O destroyer of the mass of suffering! O embodiment of compassion! O tremendous performer of deeds! You have sacrificed your life to redeem the world and cut the bonds of the Kali Yuga.

You have conquered lust and greed and have spurned the enticements of sense pleasure. O Lord of renouncers! O best among men! Grant us love for your blessed feet.
You are beyond fear and free from doubt. Your mind is unwavering in resolve. You have renounced all pride of birth and caste and, without any motive, are a refuge for all your devotees.

O gift of love and embodiment of same-sightedness! Their suffering vanishes who look upon your holy feet as their greatest treasure. For them, this transitory world seems like the puddle that fills the hoof-print of the cow in the clay.

Salutations to you, O Lord, salutations to you! You are beyond mind and speech, and are also the ground of mind and speech. Light of all lights, you shine forth in the cave of the heart. Destroy the darkness of ignorance there, O Lord, destroy the darkness of ignorance.

To the accompaniment of the mridanga, with its rhythmic tones, your devotees are singing this arati to you: jaya jaya, hara, hara, shiva shiva.

We adore you, O breaker of the bondage of the world, worshipped by all mankind! You are stainless, yet have taken a human form. You are beyond all attributes, yet are the embodiment of all virtues.

Victory to the great guru!

Poetic translation by Swami Prabhavananda and
Christopher Isherwood

Breaker of this world’s chain,
We adore Thee, whom all men love.
Spotless, taking man’s form, O Purifier,
Thou art above the gunas three,
Knowledge divine, not flesh;
Thou whom the cosmos wears,
A diamond at its heart.

Let us look deep in Thine eyes;
They are bright with the wisdom of God,
That can wake us from Maya’s spell.
Let us hold fast to Thy feet,
Treading the waves of the world to safety.
Oh, drunk with love, God-drunken Lover,
In Thee all paths of all yogas meet.

Lord of the worlds, Thou art ours,
Who wert born a child of our time;
Easy of access to us.
O Merciful, if we take any hold
Upon God in our prayer,
It is by Thy grace alone,
Since all Thine austerities
Were practiced for our sake.

How great was Thy sacrifice,
Freely choosing Thy birth,
In this prison, our Iron Age,
To unchain us and set us free.
Perfect, whom lust could not taint,
Nor passion nor gold draw near,
O Master of all who renounce,
Fill our hearts full of love for Thee.

Thou hast finished with fear and with doubt,
Standing firm in the vision of God;
Refuge to all who have cast
Fame, fortune, and friends away.
Without question Thou shelterest us,
And the world’s great sea in its wrath
Seems shrunk to the puddle
That fills the hoofprint in the clay.

Speech cannot hold Thee, nor mind,
Yet without Thee we think not nor speak.
Love, who art partial to none,
We are equal before Thy sight.
Taker-away of our pain,
We salute Thee, though we are blind.
Come to the heart’s black cave, and illumine,
Thou light of the light.

In the original Bengali

খণ্ডন ভব বন্ধন জগ বন্দন বন্দি তোমায়।
নিরঞ্জন নর-রূপ-ধর নির্গুণ গুণময়॥
মোচন অঘদূষণ জগভূষণ চিদ্ঘনকায়।
জ্ঞানাঞ্জন-বিমল-নয়ন বীক্ষণে মোহ জায়॥
ভাস্বর ভাব-সাগর চির-উন্মদ প্রেম-পাথার।
ভক্তার্জন-যুগল চরণ তারণ-ভব-পার॥
জৃম্ভিত-যুগ-ঈশ্বর জগদীশ্বর যোগসহায়।
নিরোধন সমাহিতমন নিরখি তব কৃপায়॥
ভঞ্জন-দুঃখগঞ্জন করুণাঘন কর্ম-কঠোর।
প্রাণার্পণ জগত-তারণ কৃন্তন-কলিডোর॥
বঞ্চন-কামকাঞ্চন অতিনিন্দিত-ইন্দ্রিয়রাগ।
ত্যাগীশ্বর হে নরবর দেহপদে অনুরাগ॥
নির্ভয় গতসংশয় দৃঢ়নিশ্চয়-মানসবান।
নিষ্কারণ-ভকত-শরণ ত্যজি জাতি-কুল-মান॥
সম্পদ তব শ্রীপদ ভব-গোষ্পদ-বারি যথায়।
প্রেমার্পণ সমদরশন জগজন-দুঃখ জায়॥
নমো নমো প্রভু বাক্য-মনাতীত মনোবচনৈকাধার।
জ্যোতির জ্যোতি উজল-হৃদিকন্দর তুমি তম-ভঞ্জন হার॥
ধে ধে ধে লঙ্গ রঙ্গ ভঙ্গ বাজে অঙ্গ সঙ্গ মৃদঙ্গ
গাহিছে ছন্দ ভকতবৃন্দ আরতি তোমার॥
জয় জয় আরতি তোমার হর হর আরতি তোমার
শিব শিব আরতি তোমার॥
খণ্ডন ভব বন্ধন জগ বন্দন বন্দি তোমায়॥
জয় শ্রীগুরুমহারাজ্জি কি জয়॥