Dancing: Now Expanded

So if you haven’t seen this, it’s worth a watch. For some reason, it has the same effect on me as Hallmark commercials. Here is a link to a much better copy, or you can watch this bad one.

I did some poking around his website last night (it’s where the link for the “good” video is) and read his FAQ section. He’s a very witty writer–self-proclaimed computer game geek and Humanist. Someone asked him if he was religious–that’s how I found out the Humanism part.

Anyway, someone ELSE asked him what the lyrics were to the song in the video. Sometime after I’d watched it again, I began to realize that the pictures are wonderful, but the song PAIRED with the pictures is what pulls at me and brings the emotion to the top of my throat. Here is his answer regarding the lyrics.

That’s a difficult question to answer. The lyrics to “Praan” were taken from a poem by a Nobel Prize winning Indian author named Rabindranath Tagore. While the poem was written in Bengali (or Bangla), I chose it based on its English translation, which I later learned to be more of an interpretation that captures the spirit of the original without matching it word-for-word.

The English version of the poem is called “Stream of Life.” Here it is:

The same stream of life
that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world
and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life
that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life
that is rocked in the ocean-cradle
of birth and of death,
in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious
by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages
dancing in my blood this moment

To fit the song, we had to chop things up a bit; turning one verse into a repeating chorus and omitting other sections. Here are the lyrics as they ended up in the song, translated in a more direct way from the original Bengali:

I will not easily forget
The life that stirs in my soul
Hidden amidst Death
That infinite Life

I hear you in the thunder
A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise (3x)

And in that storm of happiness
As your music plays in your mind
The whole wide world
Dances to your rhythm

I hear you in the thunder
A simple tune
A tune to which I will arise (3x)

This video is one of those things that begins to take on a life of its own. I love that no matter where he is, there are people and kids and dogs and other animals–that he has to put a banner across the bottom to let you know where he is, but the life in the shots is still the same. It pulls the lines off the map and turns it into one big world instead of something that is broken into pieces. It shows that some guy doing a goofy dance will make people laugh and/or join in no matter where they are. . .well. . .maybe not in the Korean DMZ. And even if Matt doesn’t KNOW that there is a God–or doesn’t care–the lyrics of the song he chose, and the images of the world he’s showing scream that there is a Divine Creator who put that “stream of life”–that LIVING water–into this place He created for us so long ago.

I taught a student a few years back who had just come to the United States from Pakistan. Pakistan had recently opened a Consulate in Houston, and his father had been chosen as Consul. I was invited to the Pakistani Independence Celebration where I met his mother. She and I stood and talked for a bit. She had three sons; two in “university” and the one in middle school. As we spoke, I asked her what it was like to move to the United States and if she missed home. Her reply was, “We took this job and came to give our sons a better education–a better life. They are happy, so I am happy.” I very nearly cried right there in the dining room of the Consulate building. It did not matter than she was from Pakistan and I was from the southern United States, or how old our kids were, or how we were dressed, or that we would probably disagree on our political points of view. We were two mothers wanting the exact same thing for our children: education, a good life, happiness.

That’s why I love this video.

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