About the Author of the Song Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye and its English Translation

Vaishnav Jan to Tene Kahiye is the starting line of the famous and highly inspiring devotional hymn written by 15th century Gujarati poet and Saint Narasinha Mehta. The song was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and it was his favorite hymn. Gandhiji felt that the lyrics of this devotional hymn – sung at dawn and dusk in the houses in Gujarat in his days – carried the essence of Hindu philosophy. It communicated the gist of Sanatana Dharma in a language which could be easily understood by common man.

This devotional hymn was translated into English by noted Indian author and columnist Mr. Khushwant Singh in a column written in the Hindustan Times.

Vaishnav Jan to tene kahiye
Jay peerh paraaye janneyray
Par dukkhey upkar karey,
teeyey man abhiman na anney ray

A godlike man is one,
Who feels another’s pain
Who shares another’s sorrow,
And pride does disdain.

Sakal lokma Sahuney bandhey,
Ninda Na karye kainee ray
Baach kaachh, Man nischal Raakhey,
dhan-dhan jananee tainee ray

Who regards himself as the lowliest of the low,
Speaks not a word of evil against any one
One who keeps himself steadfast in words, body and mind,
Blessed is the mother who gives birth to such a son.

Samdrishi nay trishna tyagee,
par-stree jaynay mat ray
Vivihva thaki asatya na bolay,
par-dhan nav jhaley haath ray

Who looks upon everyone as his equal and has renounced lust,
And who honors women like he honors his mother
Whose tongue knows not the taste of falsehood till his last breath,
Nor covets another’s worldly goods.

Moh maaya vyaayey nahin Jeynay,
dridth vairagya jana manma ray
Ram-nam-shoom taalee laagee,
Sakal teerth seyna tanma ray

He does not desire worldly things,
For he treads the path of renunciation
Ever on his lips is Rama’s holy name,
All places of pilgrimage are within him.

Vanloohee nay kapat rahit chhay,
Kaam, Krodh nivarya ray
Bhane Narsinhyo tainoo darshan karta
kul ekotair taarya re.

One who is not greedy and deceitful,
And has conquered lust and anger
Through such a man Saint Narsaiyon has a godly vision,
Generations to come, of such a man, will attain salvation.