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॥