tiruvAcakam or Sacred Utterances
of the Tamil Poet, Saint and Sage mAnikka-vAcakar
English Translation by Rev.G.U.Pope
(part II - Hymns 11 -51)
மாணிக்க வாசகர் அருளிய திருவாசகம்
திரு. போப் அவர்களின் ஆங்கில மொழிபெயர்ப்பு
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tiruvAcagam or Sacred Utterances
of the Tamil Poet, Saint and Sage MAnikka-vACagar
tiruvAcagam or Sacred Utterances
of the Tamil Poet, Saint and Sage MAnikka-vACagar
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1900
Part 1 containing the English Translation of first 10 Hymns of tiruvAcakam
has been released earlier as Project Madurai Etext release #94.
Click here to go to Part I (opens in a separate page)
Hymn XI- tiru Tellenam
THE TAMBOUR SONG or REFUGE WITH CIVAN
Metre : Naladittaravu koccuk kalippA
Arunachalam.- The name of Rudra is scarcely ever applied to Civan in the south, yet it
would seem as if the idea of Civan had been mainly developed from the Vedic Rudra, the god of
Storms, the father of the Maruts, of whom so many stories are told which now are the accepted legends
of Civan. It may safely be said indeed that all the Vedic Rudra's acts and attributes are given in the modern
Caiva system to Civan. One of these is connected with the legend of Arunachalam, so often referred
to in Tamil Caiva poetry. According to the legend contained in the Linga Puranam, it is related that
Brahma and Vishnu disputed regarding their respective claims to superiority, and thence a terrific
fight arose. At this time to quiet their contention, Civan, or Mahadeva, appeared as luminous
lingam, a pillar of fire, 'equal to a hundred final mundane configurations, without beginning,
middle or end, incomparable, indescrible, undefinable.' Hari determined to examine the source
of this fiery appearance, and took the shape of a boar whose description is very wonderful.
Speeding downwards for a thousand years he beheld no base at all of the lingam.
Meanwhile Brahma took the form of a swan purely white and fiery eyed, with wings
on every side, rapid as thought, and went upwards to see the lingam'stop; but
both failed, and at length united in a hymn of praise to Civan as supreme; which so
pleased the god that he offered them a boon. They asked that they might both obtain
an eternal devotion for him, which was granted. 'Thenceforward the worship of the
lingamhas been inaugurated in the worlds. The pedestal is Mahadevi, and
the lingamitself is the visible Mahecvara.'
I. Civan as a Guru.
Mal's self went forth a boar; but failed His sacred Foot
To find, that we His form might know, a Sage He came,
And made me His! To Him, Who hath nor name, nor form,
A thousand sacred names SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (4)
II. I saw Him; thenceforward my soul worships Him unseen.
The Lord in Perun-turrai's ever-hallowed shrine
Who dwelt, my birth with all its germs destroyed; since when
I've none else; formless is He,- a form He wears,
The Lord of blest Arur SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (8)
To Hari and to Brahma and to other gods
Not manifested, Civan came in presence there,
Melted our hearts, received our service due; that all
The world may hear, and smile, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (12)
From sinking in the vain abyss of worthless gods,-
From birth's illusions all,- the LIGHT SUPERNAL saved
And made me His. Soon as the new, pure Light, was given
How I in Bliss was lost: SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (16)
To wildered gods, to Ayan, and to Mal unknown,
Civan assumed a form, that men on earth should joy.
That germs of birth consumed might die, with gracious glance,
How to my soul He came, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (20)
The Lord, Who shakes the serpent dancing round His waist,
With His Hill-partner, came to earth, made us His own;-
Say thus, soul-lighted, eyes like full bright lotus flowers,
Pouring forth floods of tears, and SINGING, BEAT TELLENAM! (24)
Civan unknown to Hari, Ayan, heavenly ones,
On earth drew even me; 'come, come,' said He, and made me His!
When imprint of His flow'ry Feet was on my head impressed,
How grace divine was mine, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (28)
Like rustling palm-leaves is this frame! Its births and deaths,
With dread of good and ill, He swept away, and made me His;
He gave me grace, though I, all else forget, ne'er to forget
His Foot; Whose mighty dance SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (32)
As though some stone were made sweet fruit, the Lord in grace
Gave ev'n to me His golden Foot, and made me His.
O ye with slender waist, red lips, and winsome smiles!
'Lord of the Southern-Land,' call Him; AND BEAT TELLENAM! (36)
Even in a dream His jewelled Feet 'tis hard for gods to see,-
With Her like laurel tree with jewelled arms,-entering in grace,
In waking hour He took, and made me His! With loving souls
Your art-like eyes be filled with tears, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (40)
When He, Her spouse whose eyes shine bright, mixt with my soul,
And made me His, deeds and environments died out;
Upon this earth confusion died; all other mem'ries ceas'd;
How all my 'doings' died, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (44)
Ascetic bands sore languish'd, longing for release.
Grace to the elephant he gave, made me His own;
The light suprene deep plunged me in devotion's sea!
How sweet His mercy is, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (48)
Not those on earth, nor in th' abyss, nor heavenly ones,-
To none beside, so near He drew; He made me His!
To sing His advent, or Him, th' only Great, conceive
Is hard, His glory-song SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (52)
Mal, Ayan, all the gods, and Sciences divine,
His essence cannot pierce. This Being rare drew near to me;
In love He thrilled my soul! WIth this remembrance moved,
Let your bright eyes with tears o'erflow, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (56)
The spreading sea of grace superne that melts and swells,
From which 'tis sweet to draw and drink, we gather round.
The Feet of the bright southern Lord call we to mind,
His slaves, praise we His sacred grace, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (60)
Buddhan, Purandaran, the primal Ayan, Mal, praise Him,
The One-distraught, Who dwells in Perun-turrai's shrine, -the Sire
Who made births cease,-Lord of fair Tillai's porch, His gracious Feet
How in my soul they entered, SING, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (64)
I lay bewildere'd in the barren troublous sea
Of sects and systems wide discordant all;-
My care He banished, gave in grce His jewelled Feet;
Praise we His gracious acts, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (68)
Though Ether, Wind, Water, Earth should fail,
His constant Being fails not, knows no weariness!
In Him my body, soul, and thought, and mind were merged.
How all myself was lost, SING WE, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (72)
Prime Source of heavenly ones, the Germ of those beneath,
Earth's Balm; Mal's, Ayan's Treasure, open eyed
We saw, SING YE, His gracious feet, Who dwelt with us!
Call Him 'Lord of the Southern-Land,' AND BEAT TELLENAM! (76)
Sing His race; sing the heron's wing; Her beauty sing
Who wears bright gems; sing how He poison ate; each day
In Tillai's temple court He dances, where the waters play;
His tinkling anklets' music SING, AND BEAT TELLENAM! (80)
Hymn XII- tiru Caral
I. Objections to 'ashes,' the snake, and the mystery of His teaching.
THE SACRED CARAL
THE SPORT OF CIVAN'S GRACIOUS 'ENERGY.'
Obj.What He smears is 'white ash'; what He wears is an angry snake;
What He speaks with His lips divine is the mystic word, it seems; MY DEAR!
Ans.What He smears, what He says, what He wears are the means by which He,
As my Lord, rules me; and of all that hath life the Essence is He! CARALO! (4)
These are the words used by Dakshan to his daughter Umai in the Kaci Khandam,:-
His body he smears with ashes; a serpent he wears as adornment;
Poison from the sea he eats; a skull he carries
He rides a white bull that rages with anger. Such an one,
O damsel, is he fit to come to our sacrifice?'
The ashes, the serpent, the poison, the skull, and the bull are matters of praise in all Caiva poems.
II. Objections to His mendicant gruise.
Obj.'My Father, Embiran, to all indeed is Ruler Supreme;
Yet He wears a clouted kovanam;' and why should this be so, MY DEAR?
Ans.The Vedas four, the meaning with which all lore is fraught, as the great thread
Himself alone as kovanam He spreads; behold, CARALO! (8)
An ascetic mendicant wears a very scanty cloth, suspended by a string round the waist; but why should He, who often appears in such stately majesty, wear this unseemly pretence of decent clothing! The answer is ambiguous in the original, but seems to say: 'All mysteries are containedand hiddenin Him, and the Vedic revelation is the link between Him and the souls of men.' Strange symbolism!
Kaman, the 'Bodiless."- The story of the destruction of Kaman (or the god of Love) by Civan is very curious, and should be read by the Tamil scholar in the Kamba-Ramayanam. It seems that Civan resolved to enter on a course of very strict devotion (Yogam) with the intention of increasing his powers! The lesser divinities fearing this, instigated Kaman to endeavour to distract the mind of the devotee. Accordingly the archer sallied forth with his arrows composed of the nine most fragrant flowers, and having fitted one on to the string, took aim at Civan's sacred breast. But the god suddenly opened his third eye in the centre of his brow, from which he darted a wrathful flame that instantly reduced Kaman to ashes. At the intercession of all orders of creation Kaman was restored to life, but not to a visible substantial form, and he still pervades the world riding on the chariot of
the soft south-wind, working his mischief unseen. Ancient European mythology made him blind: he is here 'bodiless.' The legend may remind us of the story of Echo. The allusions to this myth in these lyrics are endless - and wearisome.
III. The objection that Civan is a homeless ascetic.
Obj.His shrine's the burning ground; fierce tiger skin His goodly garb;
All motherless and fatherless is He; all lonely dwelleth; see, MY DEAR!
Ans.Motherless is He and fatherless; dwelleth all aone; but though'tis thus,
If He be wroth, the worlds to powder crumble all; behold, CARALO! (12)
IV. The punitive indications of Bhairavan.
Obj.Ayan, the 'Bodiless,' with Anthagan, and Canthiran,
In divers ways He wounded sore, yet slew not; see, MY DEAR!
Ans.He Whose eyes are three, the Ruler great, if He shall punish,
Is't not a triumph to the heav'nly ones, O thou with flowing locks? CARALO! (16)
V. Dakshan's sacrifice.
Obj.Of Dakshan He smote off the head, off Eccan too; the hosts of gods
That flocking came He sent to nothingness; why this, MY DEAR?
Ans.Them who thronging came to nothingness He sent; 'twas grace!
In grace to Eccan too He gave one head the more; see CARALO! (20)
Obj.Him the flow'ry god and Mal knew not; in fiery form He came
From earth that stretch'd to lower worlds; wherefore was this, MY DEAR?
Ans.From earth to realms beneath had He not reach'd, they twain
The insolence of self-esteem had not cast off; behold, CARALO! (24)
VII. Parvathi lives in His side, Ganga on His crest.
Obj.Soon as the mountain maid as part of Him He placed, another dame
In watery form upon His braided locks poured down! Why this, MY DEAR?
Ans.Upon His braided locks in watery form had she not leaped, the world
To cavernous destruction rushing ruined must have lain! CARALO! (28)
VIII. The poison.
Obj.He ate halalam from the sounding sea, that day arisen
With mighty din; what means this wondrous act, MY DEAR?
Ans.Had He not eaten on that day the posion fierce, Ayan and Mal
And all the other gods of upper heaven had died; behold, CARALO! (32)
The Hala-hala Poison, the churning of the sea, the blackness of Civan's Throat, and the epithet 'Ambrosia.'-
Among other things in these lyrics that require explanation to the English reader, the subjects referred to in the above title are of the most frequent recurrence, and are apt to weary and even disgust.
It is most necessary however to understand once for all how essential they are to the South-Indian concept of Civan, as the great and beneficient Being Who is to be approached in prayer and gratefully adored. It will hardly be possible for the reader to do anything like justice to the Poet and religious Teacher, unless he deem it worth while to make the attempt to view these things candidly and dispassionately in the light in which they are viewed by the more devout and intelligent of the Caiva community.
The legend is simply this: the lesser deities were in sore affliction and came to Civan for help. He accordingly came forth from Kailaca, and using Mount Mandara as His churning-stick, with Vasu-deva as the rope which caused it to revolve, proceeded to churn the sea of milk. The result was the appearance of the Ambrosia or food of immortal gladness. But before this a stream of fiery poison black and deadly, the Hala-halapoison, rushed forth. This the deity himself drank up, and hence his throat is for ever black, a glorious memorial of his voluntary sufferings. The cup of ambrosia He gave to the grateful gods. Another version of this story may be read in Wilson's Vishnu Puranam. It is also to be found in various form in Tamil verse, but is essentially a Sanskrit and northern myth. The question occurs, was this regarded as literal fact, or was it put forth as a parable? It may be
said that three classes of Hindus are to be met with in the South: those to whom this and similar histories are wonderful stories and nothing more. They take no more interest in them than we should in the Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
A second class believe the legends devoutly, and regard them as capable of a mystic interpretation to which however they do not attach any surpassing importance, nor are they at all agreed as to its details. The third class think that under the veil of such legends ancient sages concealed mysterious teachings which they were unwilling to expose to the vulgar gaze. And they say that they alone possess the secret of the esoteric meaning of the myths, which they themselves regard as more or less antiquated and uncouth.
Whether the Upanishads and Sanskrit literature in general lend any countenance to this last idea is exceedingly doubtful. I incline to think that these mystic interpretations are only to be found in later, and chiefly in South-Indian, authors. It is very ceratin that the Caiva Siddhantaphilosophers have made it their especial business to give to all such legends a more elevating, and at the same time distinctly Caivite, interpretation. The south of India has from the earliest time been more open than the rest of the east to western influences and teaching, and I feel convinced that this is one of the results. Whether in any way the chasm between western and eastern ideas can be bridged over by any such explanations is of course a most interesting question.
It is quite permitted us to say that, the truth supposed to be concealed (rather too carefully!) under these symbols is that, the Supreme Being has condescended to come to earth to taste the bitter cup of suffering, retaining ever the glorious signs of that agony, while to men He presents the draught of immortal blessedness. However this may be, the epithets of 'Black-throated' and 'Ambrosia' as applied to Civan need not be, must not be, simply grotesque, but associated with the pathos of sufferring and the tenderness of unselfish love.
The idea of this is expressed in the first poem of the Purra-Nannurru, which is by Perundevanar, the translator of the Bharatam:-
'He wears th'adornment of a throat with poison black; that stain
The chaunters of the mystic scrolls are wont to praise.'
Of course there are many things which are said and sung by the devout of all systems in all lands that require to be explained, and it will generally be found that a mystic meaning is at the root of the uncouth phrase. This has been more or less lost sight of: the symbol is apt to supersede the real thought.
Obj.The Lord of Tillai's court, Who in the southern land delights, and dances there,
A mighty maniac, delighted in the female form, behold, MY DEAR!
Ans.had He not delighted in the female form, all in the wide world
Would have obtained heaven's bliss and earth had failed; behold, CARALO! (36)
Obj.He is the endless One; and me, a dog, who came to Him,
He plunged in tide of rapturous bliss unending; behold, MY DEAR!
Ans.The sacred Feet that plunged me in rapture's flowing tide
are treasure rich to gods in upper heaven that dwell; behold, CARALO! (40)
Obj.Lady! what's this ascetic rite? Sinews and bone He wears,
A bony circlet on His arm He loves to bear; behold, MY DEAR!
Ans.The way of the bony circlet hear! In the end of the age
When the twohad reached their fated hour, He put it on; hehold, CARALO! (44)
Obj.His garb is the skin of the forest tiger; He eats from a skull;
The wild is His city; to Him here who will service pay? MY DEAR!
Ans.Yet, hear thou! Ayan and sacred Mal, and the King
Of them of the heavenly land, are His humble and faithful ones; CARALO! (48)
XIII. His marriage.
Obj.The mountain monarch's golden Daughter bright of brow, the Lady blest,
He wedded with the fire as all the world doth know; what's that? say, MY DEAR!
Ans.Had He not wedded Her for all the world to know, the world entire
Had in confusion lost the import true of every lore; behold, CARALO! (52)
XIV. The dance.
Obj.The Lord of Tillai's court, by cool palms girt, whence honey drips,
There entering does a mystic dance perform; what's that, MY DEAR?
Ans.Had He not enter'd there, all the wide earth had quick become
Abode of demons armed with flesh-transfixing appears; CARALO! (56)
XV. The bull.
Obj.On stately elephant, swift stead, or car it pleased Him not to ride;
A bull He pleased to mount! Explain me this that I may know, MY DEAR!
Ans.The day He burnt with fire the triple mighty walls,
Mal divine a bull became to bear Him up; behold, CARALO! (60)
XVI. Civan a guru and an avenger too.
Obj.Well to the four, the fourfold mystic scrolls' deep sense,
That day, beneath the banyan tree, and virtue He reveal'd; behold, MY DEAR!
Ans.That day, beneath the banyan tree, though virtue He revealed,
He utterly destroyed the cities three; begold, CARALO! (64)
XVII. A mendicant.
Obj.In the sacred hall He dances, and wanders abroad to beg for alms;
This homeless mendicant shall we approach as god? How so, MY DEAR?
Ans.Hear thou the nature of this sacred mendicant! Him Vedas four know not;
But they've invok'd Him Lord and Ican, praising loud; behold, CARALO! (68)
XVIII. The disc.
Obj.When He smote down Jalandharan, the monster of the sea, that disc
To Naranan, the good, in grace He gave; how's that, MY DEAR?
Ans.Since Naranan, the good, dug out an eye, and laid at Aran's foot,
As flower, to him in grace the disc He gave; behold, CARALO! (72)
Obj.His garment is the spotted hide; His food the fiery poison dark.
Is this our Peruman's great skill? Expound that I may know, MY DEAR!
Ans.Our Peruman,- whatever He wore there,- whate'er He ate,-
The greatness of His Nature none can know; behold, CARALO! (76)
X. Virtue and true philosophy must be divinely taught.
Obj.To saints of goodness rare, beneath the Al, virtue and all the Four He taught;
Explain to me the grace He showed, seated with them, MY DEAR!
Ans.Had He not taught that day in grace, the worthy saints virtue and all the Four,
To noble souls this world's nature had ne'er been known! Behold, CARALO! (80)
Hymn XIII- tiru puvalli
I. Renunciation of other help.
THE SACRED LILY-FLOWERS
TAKING THE VICTORY FROM MAYA
His sacred Feet,- the twain,-soon as upon my head He placed,
Help of encircling friends,- the whole,- I utterly renounced;
In Tillai's court begirt with guarded streams, in mystic dance
He moves. That Raftsman's glory SING, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (4)
II. Further experiences in Madyarjunam.
From father, mother, kindered, and all else that were to me
As bonds, He set me free; made me His own,- the Pandi-Lord!
In Idai-maruthu, His dwelling, rapture's honey flowed.
That sweet recess with song PRAISE WE, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (8)
III. Converting grace.
Us too, than dogs more vile, of worth and note He made to be;
With greater than a mother's tenderness, our Peruman
Cut off 'illusive birth,' made us His own; our 'deeds' so strong
Laid prostrate humbled in the dust; PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (12)
IV. The Rebel-rout.
They praised not the king of Tillai's town, 'mid well-tilled fields,
Dakshan renown'd, and Arukkan, and Eccan, Moon, and Fire!
By Vira-bhadra with his demon host that fill'd the sky,
Sing how that day they suffer'd wounds; AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (16)
V. Perun-turrai and Tillai.
Civan, the Lord, who on His 'lock' the honied cassia wears,
Took fleshy rom, sought me, and entering came; before the world
That I may dance, and utter triumph songs, in dance
He moves! For Him, King of heaven's sons, PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (20)
VI. The Triads.
THREE fires He gave in gracious pity to the gods;
THREE heads to sever fire He sent from sacred brow, in grace;
THREE forms He wears, the Only-One, Incomprehensible;
THREE rebel towns He burnt; so PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (24)
VII. His gracious work.
He made my head to bow; my mouth to laud His cinctured Foot
He taught; gave me to join th'assemblage of His glorious saints;
And with the Queen, in Tillai's court adorned, dances our Peruman.
Sing we aloud His excellence, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (28)
He taught the pathway to the golden Feet of His great saints,
Praise ye the Master's grace that made me His and gave the sign!
'Old deeds' that made us wholly bond-slaves, sorely troubled us,
Sing how He brought to naught; AND SO PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (32)
That I might praise Him many a day, and service due perform,
The Mighty-One His fragrant foot-flower on my frame impress'd;
A beauteous Light He shone, softened my heart, and made me His!
Sing how those jewell'd Feet are gold, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (36)
That this my frame, mere mass of fierce desires, might pass away,
Great Perun-turrai's Lord placed on my head His glorious Foot.
KABALI,- Who, well pleased, black poison ate from out the sea, -
Sing we, amidst His warring foes, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (40)
The BEING INFINITE, with every varied sweetness filled;
The LORD, Who took my soul in joyous pomp; His sounding Feet
All dwellers in the world shall praise! That is the way of good!
That way sing we His glory now, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (44)
Heaven's Lord, and Mal, and Ayan, and the other gods He rules
As King, with attributes and signs that none may e'er attain;
The fiery poison from the vasty sea, He made His food
Ambrosia; and thus sing we, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (48)
That day, beneath the banyan's shade, in grace the Vedas rare
He gave; the heavenly ones and mighty saints, each day, stood round,
And praised Him of the perfect Foot with cassia-flower adorn'd;
Its golden petal's dust sing we, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (52)
Fair pictured in my soul His Feet's twin flowers in grace He gave;
The Lord, Who in Ekambam dwells, made here His chosen seat;
In Tillai's sacred court, girt by wide walls, is now His home;
Sing how in mystic dance He moves, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (56)
XV. Dakshan's sacrifice.
Fire and the Sun, and Ravanan, and Andhagan, and Death,
With red-ey'd Hari, Ayan, Indra, and the Moon-god too,
And shameless Dakshan and the Eccan: these their honour lost!
Singing His swelling glory now, PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (60)
The strong bull's Rider; Champion brave of those of Civa-town;
In Madura, earth-carrier; in grace He ate the cakes;
Was smitten by the Pandiyan's staff, who claimed His service there.
Sing the song of the wound He bore, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (64)
The ancient Mal, Ayan, the heavenly ones, the Danavar,
Knew not His sacred golden Foot, but joined in praise!
Entering within my breast, He made me His! His ornament
The gleaming serpent SING WE THUS, AND PLUCK THE LILY-FLOWERS! (68)
That with desire insatiate my soul might ever joy
At sound of tinkling anklets on His glorious sacred Foot,
In dance He moves,- the Lord of Perun-turrai's car-thronged streets.
This mighty rapture chaunting loud, PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (72)
The Perun-turrai-Lord, Who wears the hide of elephant;
Who took a madman's form;- Who in this world became a child;
Source of all heavenly bliss; great Uttara-koca-mangai's Prince;
As in our minds He entering cam, PLUCK WE THE LILY-FLOWERS! (76)
Hymn XIV- tiru unthiyar
Tamil scholars give different interpretations of the word Unthiyar. It seems to mean 'the players at a game resembling battledore and shuttlecock.' The word Unthiis, I imagine, used for the shuttlecock or ball which the players cause to 'fly aloft.'
In this lyric FIVE GREAT TRIUMPHS OF CIVAN are celebrated.
I. The first of these (I-4) is the destruction of the three towns, in Tami and Sanskrit Tripura, which is curiously enough made to be the name of a giant overthrown by Civan. I give an abstract of this story from Muir:-
'There were in the sky three cities of the Asuras, one of iron, another of silver, and a third of gold, which Indra could not demolish, with all his weapons. Then all the great gods, distressed, went to Rudra as their refuge, and said to him, after they were assembled: "Rudra, there shall be victims devoted to thee in all sacrifices. Bestower of honour, destroy the Daityas with their cities, and deliver the worlds." He, being thus addressed, said, "So be it;" and making Vishnu his arrow, Agni its barb, Yama, the son of Vivasvat, its feather, all the Vedas his bow, and the excellent Savitri (the Gayatri) his bowstring, and having appointed Brahma his charioteer, he in due time pierced through these cities with a three-jointed three-barbed arrow, of the colour of the sun, and in fierceness like the fire which burns up the world. These Asuras with their cities were there burnt up by Rudra.'
II. The second of these triumphs is the destruction of Dakshan's sacrifice. The story of this is told with many variations, and is evidently, as Professor Wilson pointed out long ago, of some great struggle between the followers of Vishnu and Civan: but it is neither possible to give any full interpretation of it, nor to reconcile the discrepancies in the various accounts of it. The account given below is that of the Kaci Khandam, which every student of Tamil should read.
In the Kaci Khandam, the account of Dakshan-his sacrifice, punishment, forgiveness, and penance in Benares - occupies chapters xxxviii-xc inclusive, and fills 148 stanzas. It sums up, with some inconsistencies, the whole story as given in the Sanskrit books. Dakshan (- the Intelligent) is represented sometimes as the father, and sometimes as the son of Aditi; and at other times the two are curiously said to have been reciprocally producers and produced. He is identified with Prajapati, the Creator. This almost seems like a statement that the whole universe is developed from intelligence, and might appear like a very symbolical acting forth of Hegel's system. Dakshan had many daughters married to the great saints, and especially Kacyapa(Kaciban) is said to have been the husband of twelve of them. One of his daughters was Durga, or Uma, who was subsequently born from the mountain after her
voluntary death, and so received the name of Parvathi. So Civan, the Supreme, was a son-in-law of Dakshan, the Intelligence from which the Universe was developed. It is rather entangled.
On one occasion all the gods and saints made a visit to the silver mountain Kailaca. They were there received with great kindness, by the mighty one upon whose head is the Kondral wreath, whose throat is black with the poison he swallowed to save the world, and from the centre of whose forehead a third eye shines resplendent. But the deity did not recognize his father-in-law, nor rise to receive him. This fills Dakshan with disgust, and he proceeds to indulge in the most extravagant abuse of Civan. It will be seen that everything with which he reproaches Civan is used by Manikka-Vacagar as praise. Of course a mystical meaning is given to each circumstance! The following is a summary of his language:-
'He has no mother, no father, and no relatives!
He is a maniac who dances with demons on the burning-ground.
He has an eye in his brow from which devouring fire blazes forth.
He wears the skin of a fierce tiger, foul and fetid.
Race, family, caste, quality hath he none.
He wears as an ornament the skin of a serpent that causes deadly ill.
He has discarded the anointing of himself with flowery essences,
And besmears himself with foul ashes of corpses in the burning-ground.
His food is poison from the billowy sea;
As conveyance he has an ancient bullock;
He wears the skin of a black elephant;
His ruddy hand grasps a skull bereft of flesh.
If you say he is a Brahman, he has changed all rules of ordered life;
If you say he is a merchant full of wealth, he goes about begging;
He has no skill in any mystic lore.
Nor is he a Brahmacari, for a large-eyed damsel is part of his body;
He bears an implement of war, and so is not a worthy ascetic;
He wanders amid the hot desert sands, and so is no seemly householder;
He cut off the head of the flower god,
So knows not the laws of excellent justice;
The lady with gleaming brows is half of his frame,
So he is not male, or female, or sexless one.
In the day when he destroys all worlds,
Having worn as a garland the skull of flowery Ayan,
And whirling the three-headed gleaming lance
Everywhere he kills, Is it possible to call him a saint?'
After thus relieving his mind by abuse to punish Civan's discourtesy, he resolves to perform a mighty sacrifice (magam), and so gain additional powers. Civan must be dethroned or slain. All the gods are invited, and there is a very magnificent assembly on Dakshan's mountain. Then comes forth a sage Dadici, who protests that no sacrifice can be of efficacy to which Civan has not been invited; such a place of worship must become 'a burning-ground, where goblins, demons, and dogs prowl around.' His protest is answered by additional abuse, and so the devotees depart, leaving the gods and goddessess to joint with Dakshan in the unhallowed offering. And now the great mischief maker in all such legends, whose name was Naradar, the sweet lutist of the holy mount, hurries to Kailaca to tell the goddess Umai of her father-in law's projected offering. She longs to be present, and implores her
spouse to permit it, but he rejects her request. Somehow or other she does however go, and with every token of filial piety meets her father and mother; and after the first greeting enquires why the great god, the lord of all, is not invited:
'It seems as though you had forgotten the greatest of guests.'
To this, abuse of Civan is the only answer.
She at once dies, puts off the body which owns Dakshan as father, and is reborn as the daughter of Himavat, whence, Civan afterwards takes her as Parvathi, 'the mountain maid.'
III. The third triumph is his bestowal of the milky sea on the son of Vasishtha. For this it is sufficient to refer to the Koyil Puranam. It is a rather confused and somewhat meaningless story as it has come down to us.
IV. The fourth triumph is given at great length in the Kaci Khandam, and is connected with the god's manifestation as Vira-bhadra. For this it is only necessary to refer to chapter xc of the above work.
In regard to the Kaci Khandam, indeed, which is mainly a translation from the Sanskrit Skanda Purana, it must be noted that there is in it much didactic poetry of a more elevated character, which characterized as a collection of legends which are uterly unprofitable, and have been worked into the devotional poetry of the Caivites to its very great detriment. The legends of Dakshan's sacrifice, of the appearance and ferocity of Vira-bhadra as a kind of incarnation of Civan, and of the unseemly disputes between Vishnu and Brahma as to the pre-eminence, occupy large portions of the book and are utterly useless in these days. We may give a summary of chapter xxxi, entitled 'The Appearance of Bhairava."
Civan, the Supreme, envelopes the world in elusive mystery, so that none know him while He is all in all. Hence, even among the gods, disputes arose as to who was the greatest. 'I am the supreme Essence,' cried Vishnu. 'I am the Self-existent,' declared Brahma from his lotus-seat. The sacred Veda, the unwritten record of mysterious truth, was called upon to decide. The divine essences whose incarnation, or manifestation rather, is the fourfold Veda spoke out: The first Vedic genius declared that since Civan alone performed the three operations of creation, preservation, and destruction, he was the Supreme and unoriginated God. The second declared that since Civan had performed arduous sacrifices and penances, so as to merit praise from the whole universe, he was the supreme. The third announced the same conclusion, but based it upon the fact that Civan fills all things with light, and is
adored by all the mystic sages as the giver of wisdom. The fourth Vedic mystery declared that since Civan revealed himself in various forms exciting emotions of joy and ecstatic devotion in the hearts of his worshippers, who beheld him crowned with cassia-wreaths, he was the greatest of the gods. [It is easy to see the arguments by which the supremacy of Civan is here upheld, and there are gleams of truth which Christianity emphasises and illustrates, but the legends connected with the statements are very wonderful, and certainly obscure and confuse, rather than illustrate, the truth concerning the supreme and absolute.] Vishnu and Brahma listen only to deride. 'Civan,' they cry, 'rides on a bull; he has a matted coil of hair; he dances in the burning-ground; he smears ashes; his throat is black with the swallowed poison; he wears as a girdle a hissing snake; he is the leader of a wild
demon-host, and Umai is a part of his form. This being so, how can he be the life of the soul of all ?' [These are the arguments that were urged by Jains and Buddhists, and the wonder is that they did not everywhere and finally prevail.]
Roused by these insults, Civan suddenly appears. His aspect is described in the usual terms, and he sends forth a manifestaion or incarnation of himself, or of his destroying energy, to which the name of Vairavan (Vira-bhadra) is given. This anomalous being is of terrific appearance, and endowed with all the Destroyer's terrible energy. He is followed by a host of malignant demons. Civan calls him his son, and bids him destroy all his enemies. Vairavan accordingly seizes the fifth head of Brahma between his thumb and forefinger, twists it off and throws it on the ground, performing a terrific dance which throws the whole universe and every order of sentient existence into a paroxysm of terror. This subdues the opposing deities, and Vishnu worships at Civan's feet, praising him in the most extravagant terms. The whole ends in a wild orgy, in which Civan and Brahma join. This is so often
referred to in Caivite poetry, and seems so incapable of any edifying interpretation, that we have thought it necessary to give the authentic summary from the Kaci Khandam once for all.
V. The last is the victory over the Ceylon king, Ravana. This legend is perpetually referred to in the south, and seems to have a popularity among the poets somewhat in excess of its apparent importance.
After his victory over Kuvera, Ravana went to Saravana, the birthplace of Karthikeya. Ascending the mountain, he sees another delightful wood, where his car Pushpaka stops, and will proceed no further. He then beholds a formidable dark tawny-coloured dwarf, called Nandicvara, a follower of Mahadeva, who desires him to halt, as that deity is sporting on the mountain, and has made it inaccessible to all creatures, the gods included. Ravana angrily demands who Cankara (Mahadeva) is, and laughs contemptuously at Nandicvara, who has the face of a monkey. Nandicvara, who was another body of Civan, being incensed at this contempt of his monkey form, declares that beings, possessing the same shape as himself, and of similar energy,-monkeys,- shall be produced to destroy Ravana's race (Tasmad mad-virya-sanyuktah madrupa-sama-tejasah utpatsyanti badhartham hi kulasya tava vanarah).
Nandicvara adds that he could easily kill Ravana now, but that he has been already slain by his own deeds. Ravana threatens that as his car has been stopped, he will pluck up the mountain by the roots, asking in virtue of what power Civan continually sports on that spot, and boasting that he must now be made to know his danger. Ravana then throws his arms under the mountain, which being lifted by him, shakes, and makes the hosts of Rudra tremble, and even Parvathi herself quake, and cling to her husband (Chachala Parvathi, chapi tada clishta Mahecvaram). Civan, however, presses down the mountain with his great toe, and along wit it crushes the arms of Ravana, who utters a loud cry, which shakes all creation. Ravana's counsellors then exhort him to propitiate Mahadeva, the blue-throated lord of Uma, who, on being lauded, will become gracious. Ravana accordingly praises Mahadeva
with hymns, and weeps for a thousand years. Mahadeva is then propitiated, lets go Ravana's arms, says his name shall be Ravana from the cry (rava) he had uttered, and sends him away, with the gift of a sword bestowed on him at his request.
[Metre: kavithal isai]
I. The three cities
Bent was the bow;- upsprang the tumult;
Perished three cities! Fly aloft, Unthi!
As they burnt straightway together,- Fly, &c. (3)
Two arrows we saw not- in Egambar's hand:
One arrow; three cities! Fly aloft, Until!
And one was too many !- Fly, &c. (6)
There was shaking of framework;- and as He moved His foot,
The axle was broken- say, Fly aloft, unthi!
Perished three cities! - Fly, &c. (9)
Those who won their escape- a triad of persons-He guarded.
To Him whose arrows fail not,- Fly aloft, Unthi!
Saying, He's the Tender-One's Spouse!- Fly, &c. (12)
II. Dakshan's sacrifice.
The frustrate offering thrown to the ground-the gods-
Sing how they fled!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
To Rudra the Lord,-Fly, &c. (15)
Aha! Mal divine got a portion that day of the offering;
And He died not!- Fly aloft, Unthi!
The Four-faced's father!- Fly, &c. (18)
The fierce one- Agni-to consume it collected
His hands of flame. He cut them away! - Fly aloft, Unthi!
Spoiled was the sacrifice! - Fly, &c. (21)
Dakshan, who raised the anger of Parvathi,
He saw and spared, what good? my dear!- Fly aloft, Unthi!
To the SPouse of the Beautiful, - Fly &c. (24)
Purandharan became a tender 'kuyil,'
And flew up a tree!- Fly away, Unthi!
King of the heavenly ones!- Fly, &c. (27)
The angry sacrificer's head-
Sing how it fell! - Fly aloft, Unthi!
That birth's chain may be snapt! - Fly, &c. (30)
The head of a sheep- to Vidhi- as his-
Sing how He joined!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
While you're with laughter convulsed!- Fly, &c. (33)
Sing how Bhagan, who cam to eat, 'scaped not,
He plucked out his eye!- Fly aloft, Unthi!
That germs of our birth may die!-Fly, &c. (36)
The Lady of the tongue lost a nose; Brahma a head;-
The Moon-god's face He smashed!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
That ancient troublous deed might die!- Fly, &c. (39)
The god of the Vedas four, the Lord of the sacrifice,
Fell; sing how he sought the way they went!- Fly aloft, Unthi!
And Purandharan, too, in the offering!-Fly, &c. (42)
The teeth in the mouth of the Sun-god
How He swept them broken away!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
The sacrifice came to confusion!-Fly, &c. (45)
Dakshan that day lost his head;
Tho' Dakshan's children stood round!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
Perished the sacrifice!- Fly, &c. (48)
Who that day to the son gave the sea of milk;
To the glorious Lord of the braided lock,-Fly aloft, Unthi!
To Kumaran's father,- Fly, &c. (51)
The Four-faced's head, who sits on the beauteous flower,
Was quickly nipt off!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
By His nail was nipt off!- Fly, &c. (54)
His heads who stayed the car, and raised the hill,-
Sing how twice five of them perished!-Fly aloft, Unthi!
And twenty perished!-Fly, &c. (57)
Hymn XV- tiru tonokkam
Metre : Naladittaravu koccuk kalippA
There is an amusing illustration drawn by a native artist, of this game as played in South India. Its name literally means 'aiming at the shoulder,' for it ends up with placing the hands of each opposing pair on the shoulders of the other. In some lines this is used as a symbol of the approach of the soul to Civan's feet.
I. The cleansing from delusion.
The demon-car allures: 'a stream flowing from flowery lake,'
Men think, and rush to draw, in ignorance and folly lost!
Thou hast such fond delusions far removed, O Dancer blest
In shining Tillai's court! As we Thy roseate Foot would reach,
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (4)
The Lord of Tillai's court, whose glory never wanes;
Whom 'he who hurled the calf at fruit,' and Brahma could not see;
Lest I in endless births and deaths should sink, made me His own;
Praising His excellence, ye maids with thickly clusterig locks,
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (8)
As in the worship paid true ministrations HE discerned:-
The glorious slippered-foot, the chalice-mouth, the flesh for food;-
Such gifts acceptance gained! He knew the woodman's pure desire;
And as the saint stood there, with joyous mind, fulfilled of grace,
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (12)
So that my stony heart was melted, He all tenderly
Compassionate stood by, and came within my soul in grace,
Led me in way of good; and then, as all the country knows,
He here drew nigh, spake with me face to face; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (16)
V. God manifold, yet One.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether vast, the wandering moon, the sun,
And man, - to sense revealed: EIGHT WAYS He joined Himself to me;
Throughout seven worlds, in regions ten, He moves: yet One alone
Is He! As manifold He comes and 'bides with us; and so
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (20)
VI. Various sectaries.
Buddhists, and others,- in their wisdom fools,- the men of many sects,
All with their systems worthless and outworn, bewildered stand;-
My every power He fills with bliss superne, makes all life's works
Devotion true,-through His compassion, FATHER seen! And thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (24)
VII. Candecuvara Nayanar.
The Neophyte from evil free, cut off the feet of him
Who rashly overturned the work in Civan's honour done:
A Brahman he in caste, His father too! Through Ican's grace,
While gods adored, his crime was utterly consumed; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (28)
The Legend of Candecuvara Nayanar: The Young Brahman Cowherd.-
In a town in the Cora country, called Ceynalur, a Brahman boy was born, whose name was Vicara-carumar, who from his earliest days instinctively understood the whole Caiva creed; so that when the sages came to instruct him he met them with the recitation of the essential doctrines of the system, which he had grasped by a divine intuition. It may be permitted to repeat the articles of his creed, as these are summed up in the legend: 'All souls are from everlasting fast bound in the chains of impurity. To destroy that impurity, and to give to these souls infinite felicity and eternal release, He who is eternal is revealed. He performs the five Acts of creation, preservation, destruction, "envelopment," and gracious deliverance. He is the one Lord (Pathi), Who possesses the eight attributes of absolute independence, purity of form, spontaneous understanding, absolute knowledge, natural
freedom from all bonds, infinite grace, endless might, and boundless blessedness. His name is Civan, the Great Lord. He performs his gracious acts by putting forth the energy (Catti), Who, as a person, is one with Him, and is therefore the divine Mother of all, as He is the divine Father, and must with Him be loved and worshipped. Nor can we say "we will do this in some future birth," for we are born here as human beings for this and no other purpose; and the human form in the infinite series of transmigration is hard to attain unto. Nor should we defer till to-morrow our dedication of ourselves, since we know not the day of our death. Therefore must we avail ourselves of Civan's gift of grace, studying the sacred Agamas and other works, without doubting, or commingling of perverse interpretation. This is the WAY of life!
One day, together with his school companions, he went down to the bank of the river where the village cows were grazing in charge of a man of the herdsman caste. This rustic, having no sense of right and wrong, beat one of the cows with a stick; but Vicara-carumar was vehemently stirred by this outrage, and rushing up to him in great wrath, restrained him from striking the sacred animal: 'Know you not,' said he, 'that cows have come down from the world of Civan to this earth? In their members the gods, the sages, and the sacred purifying stream dwell. The five products of these sacred creatures are the sacred unguents of Civan. And the ashes which are the adornment of the God and his devotees are made from their refuse!' Dwelling upon this idea he conceived a desire to devote himself entirely to the task of herding and caring for the troop of sacred cows; and accordingly sent away the
rustic, who reverentially departed. And thus our hero became a self-dedicated Brahman. As such he easily obtains permission of all the Brahmans of the town to take charge of their cows, and daily along the bank of the beautiful river Manni, he leads forth his troop in the green pastures, allowing them peacefully to graze their fill, and supplying them with drinking water. When the fierce heat of the sun oppresses, he leads them into the shady groves, and guards them well, meanwhile gathering the firewood necessary for his household worship; and then at evening, leaving each cow at its owner's door, he goes to his home.
While things went on in this manner, the cows increased daily in beauty, waxed fat, were joyous, and by day and night poured forth abundant streams of milk for their owners. The Brahmans found that they had more milk than formerly for their offerings and were glad. The cows, tended with such solicitude, were brisk and cheerful, and though separated for awhile from their calves that remained tied up in the houses, grieved not a whit, but with joy awaited the coming of their young herdsman, following him gladly, crowding around him like tender mothers, and lowing joyfully at the sound of his voice. The youthful Brahman, seeing the exuberance of their milk, reflected that this was a fitting unction for the head of the God; and conceiving a great desire so to employ it, constructed a lingamof earth on a little mound beneath the sacred Atti tree on the bank of the river, and built
around it a miniature temple with tower and walls. He then plucked suitable flowers, and with them adorning the image, procured some new vessels of clay, and took from each of the cows a little milk, with which he performed the unction prescribed for the divine emblem (the Lingam); and Civan, the Supreme, looked down and received with pleasure the boy-shepherd's guideless worship. All essentials of the sacred service he supplied by the force of his imagination. Though this was done daily, the supply of milk in the Brahman's dairy was no whit diminished.
For a long time this continued, until some malicious person saw what was going on, and told it to the Brahmans in the village, who convened an assembly before which they summoned the boy's father, and told him that his son Vicara-caramar was wasting the milk of the Brahmans' sacred cows by pouring it idly on the earth in sport. The father feared greatly when he heard the accusation, but protested his entire ignorance of the waste and democration, and asking pardon, engaged to put a stop to his son's eccentric practices. Accordingly the next day he went forth to watch the boy's proceedings, and hid himself in a thicket on the bank of the river. He soon saw his little son ceremonionaly bathe in the river, and then proceed to his minutine of Civa-worship, and then pouring a stream of anointing milk over the earthern lingam. Thus convinced of the truth of the accusation, he was
greatly incensed, and rushing forth from his concealment inflicted severe blows upon the boy, and used many reproachful words. But the young devotee's mind was so absorbed in the worship,- so full of the rupture of mystic devotion,- that he neither perceived his father's presence, nor heard his words, nor felt his blows. Still more incensed by the boy's insensibility, the infatuated father raised his foot, broke the vessels of consecrated milk, and destroyed the whole apparatus of worship! This was too much for the young enthusuast to bear; the god of his adoration was insulted, and the sacred worship defiled. He regarded not the fact that it was his father, a Brahman and a guru, who was the offender; but only saw the heinous sin and insult to Civan. So with the staff in his hands he aimed a blow at the offender's feet, as if to cut them off; and, behold, the shepherd's staff became in
his hands the Sacred Axe of Civan, and the father fell maimed and dying to the ground. The enthusiastic boy then went on with his worship as if nothing had occured, but the Lord Civan, with Umai, the goddess, riding on the sacred White Bull, immediately appeared hovering in the air. The young devotee prostrated himself before the holy vision in an ecstasy of joy; when the Supreme One took him up in his divine arms, saying, 'For my sake thou hast smiten down the father that begat thee. Henceforth I alone am thy father,' and embracing him stroked his body with His sacred hand, and kissed him on the brow. The form of the child thus touched by the divine hand shone forth with ineffable lustre, and the God further addressed him thus: "Thou shalt become the chief among my servants, and to thee shall be given all the offerings of food and flowers that my worshippers on
Kailaca's mountain present.' His name there upon became Candecuvarar ('the impetuous Lord'). The manifested God finally took the mystic cassia-wreath from His Own head, and with it crowned the youthful saint. And so he ascended to heaven with Civan, and was exalted to that divine rank. The father too, who had been guilty in his ignorance of such impiety to the God, and had been punished by the hand of his own son, was forgiven, restored, and with the whole family passed into Civan's abode of bliss.
Our pride is gone, forgotten reason's laws; ye maidens fair!
We think but of the cinctured foot of Him, Lord of the south,
Whom heaven adores! The rapturous Dancer's grace if we obtain,
His slaves,- even so in rapture lost, we then shall dance; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (32)
The Three in story famed, of giant race, escaped the fire,
And guardians stand before my 'Brow-eyed' Father's door; since when,
Indras beyond compute, and Brahmas (who can count the sum?)
Behold! And many Mals, too, on this earth have died; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (36)
X. Vishnu's devotion and reward
From out a thousand lotus flowers one flower was wanting still;-
His eye Mal straight dug out, and placed on Aran's foot, our Lord!
To Him then Cankaran forthwith the mighty discus gave,-
A gracious recompense. Thus everywhere extolling Him,
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (40)
XI. The Bhairava.
Kaman his body lost, Kalan his life, the fiery Sun his teeth,
The Goddess of the tongue her nose, Brahma a head, Agni his hand,
The Moon his crescent, Dakshan, Eccan too, a head they lost.
These holy deeds in righteous wrath He wrought; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (44)
Brahma and Hari through their foolishness said each:
'The Deity! the Deity supreme am I;'
To quell their swelling pride, Aran in form of lustrous fire,
In grandeur measureless stood forth, the Infinite; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (48)
XIII. A wasted life.
Poor servile worshipper,- how many, many a time
I've watered barren soil,- not worshipping the Lord Supreme!
The Eternal-First, th' imperishable flawless Gem, to me
Came down; and bar of my 'embodiment' destroyed; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (52)
The inner Light, past speech, the Worthiest entered within
My soul, and brought me through lust's mighty sea that knows no shore,
And then the craving senses' sateless vultures routed fled!
Sing how a royal path in glory was made plain; and thus
PLAY WE TONOKKAM! (56)
Hymn XVI- tirup ponnusal
THE SACRED GOLDEN SWING or
PURIFICATION BY GRACE
Let precious coral be the posts, strung pearls the ropes,
Pure gold the beauteous seats,- Mount we, and sweetly sing
The flow'ry Foot Narayanan knew not, to me
His currish slave in Uttara-koca-mangai given
As home, Ambrosial grace, that never palls, His feet impart.
Ye guileless, bright-eyed ones, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (6)
Three gleaming eyes His face displays; His flow'ry feet
The gods that dwell in heaven and grow not old, see not;
In Uttara-koca-mangai seen, in flesh abides
The King, while honied sweetness of ambrosia flows.
Sing Idai-maruthu, His home! O ye like peafowl rare,
Whose walk hath swanlike grace, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (12)
He Who no end and no beginning knows,- while saints
A multitude, and countless heavenly ones, stood round,-
His sacred ashes gave in grace; and mercy's tide
Flow'd there: sing Uttara-koca-mangai's gemlike home
Of palaces, with terrace high, where lightnings play!
Maids, bright with gems and gold, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (18)
His throat the poison holds; Lord of the heavenly ones;
To Uttara-koca-mangai's gemlike cloud-capped heights
He came, with Her whose words are music; fill'd the mind
Of us His slaves, ambrosial sweetness gave and grace
That cuts off 'death and birth'! His holy praises sing!
Ye who wear store of bracelets bright, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (24)
The god, Whose form the Two might not discriminate;
In tender mercy, that the god's assembled band
Might not know shame, but 'scape, made them His own, and poison ate
As food: He, Uttara-koca-mangai's Dancer, crowned
With crescent of the moon. Praise we His worth! O ye
With jewell'd bosoms fair, AND MOVE THE GOLDEN SWING! (30)
The Lady's Half is He; His braided lock with flow'ry cassia dight
In Utt'ra-koca-mangai 'midst his saints He dwells.
He freed my soul from sin; made me, a cur, His own;
From 'birth's old ill' His glorious coming saves.
His pendant ear-rings' swing sing we with melting love, O ye
With flower-crown'd bosoms fair, AND MOVE THE GOLDEN SWING! (36)
He dwells in beauty, Lord of the great mystic word,
Of Utt'ra-koca-mangai shrine, past thought; His praise
Who sing, and worship, and bow down, He frees from bonds of sin.
As gem-bright peafowl moving beauteous, on a swan,
My Father came, and made me His! His beauty sing,
Ye with gold adorned, AND MOVE THE GOLDEN SWING! (42)
From glorious mountain height to earth He came,
Ate plenteous food, arose upon the lower seas,
In magic form upon a charger rode, and made us His;
In sacred Uttara-koca-mangai where His virtue shines,
With loud acclaim Him whom Mal could not reach we praise,
And while our full hearts melt, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (48)
In sacred Uttara-koca-mangai's groves of cocoa-palm
He came, in form unique a gracious light shone forth;
Our 'birth' He caused to cease, made such as us His own;
The Queen His Partner, and Himself, received our homage due;
We sing His worth Whose crest breathes cassia's sweet perfume;
Ye maids, whose jewell'd bosoms heave, MOVE WE THE GOLDEN SWING! (54)
Hymn XVII- Annai pathu
Metre: kavi viruttam
'His word is the Vedam; ashes white He wears;
Rose-red is His form; His drum is the Natham;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'His drum is the Natham; to the Four-faced,
And to Mal too, this Lord is the Lord;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (4)
'His eye gleams black; He is compassion's sea;
Within He dwells, He melts the soul,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'Within He dwells, and to the melting soul
Tears of undying bliss gives He,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (8)
'Th' eternal Bridegroom, He in minds devout
Abides with perfect beauty crown'd;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'In minds devout abides, the southern Lord,
Perun-turrai's Sire; the Blissful;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (12)
'A dancing snake His jewel, tiger-skin His robe.
A form with ashes smeared He wears;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'The form He wears whence'er I see and gaze,
My soul within me faints, why this?
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (16)
'Long are His outstretch'd arms; loose flow His locks;
Lord of the goodly Pandiyan land;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'Lord of the goodly Pandi land, He rules
My wandering thoughts, and shows His love;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (20)
'Whose glory none may know in Uttara-mangai 'bides;
He in my heart and soul abides;
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'He in my heart abides, Whom Mal and Ayan
Could not see! How wondorous strange!
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (24)
'White is His steed, and white His shaven head;
He wears the sleeper's mystic dress.
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'Wearing the sleeper's dress, a prancing steed
He rides, and steals away my soul,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (28)
'He wears the twining-wreath; the sandal paste
He smears; He rules and makes us His,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'He makes us His; in lowly servants' hands,
Hark, how the lordly servants' hands,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (32)
'The fair One's Half, ascetic's garb He wears,
Enters our homes an alms to ask,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'He ent'ring alms to ask, my inmost soul
In sorrow sinks; wherefore is this?
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (36)
'Cassia, the moon, the vilvaflower, and wild
Phrenzies crowd thick His head,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE.
'The vilvaflower that crowns His sacred brow
Wild phrenzy bringeth me to-day,
MOTHER!' SAITH SHE. (40)
Hymn XVIII- Kuyil pathu
The Kuyilis often referred to in these poems. Our Sage, like St. Francis of Assisi, was exceedingly fond of birds, and indeed was filled with love for the whole creation. In this poem he calls upon the Kuyil to join him in the praises of his Master, recounting the chief themes on which he was wont to dilate. The epithets applied to the Kuyil are skilfully varied; it is pictured to us as a diminutive bird haunting the leafy groves; of a dark azure hue with a golden tint; as uttering a sweet call of a peculiarly tender kind; as possessed of a beauty gladdening the eye; and as imparting pleasure to all that hear its inviting notes. Mystically the Kuyil is the human soul.
The Kuyil (or Kokila: Eudynamys indicus) is found in all parts of the peninsula of India, and is a great favourite with the people. Its somewhat monotonous cry is more appreciated by the natives of the East than by those of the West, yet it is not unpleasing, - in moderation. Its note is sweet and plaintive. It must not be confounded with the English cuckoo, though it is of the same species, and not unlike it in some particulars.
I. Civan's infinity.
O KUYIL, sweet of song, if thou dost seek our Peruman to know;
If thou would'st ask of His twain feet; they're planted'neath the sevenfold gulf.
Would'st hear of His bright jewell'd crown? 'Tis glory old that passes speech.
Nor origin, nor qualities hath He, nor end; CALL HIM TO COME! (4)
II. His grace to Mandodari.
Him the fair sevenfold world extols,- since every being's form is His;-
In southern sea-girt Lanka He, the Lord Who Perun-turrai owns,
Vandothari the beautiful, made glad with His abounding grace!
KUYIL, the southern Pandi Chief, CALL HITHER with thy voice divine! (8)
III. In His capital.
KUYIL with form of azure hue! In Uttara-koca-mangai's shrine,
Where bright the sacred temple stands, whose storied tenements rise decked with gems,
One with the graceful Lady's flower-like form in virtue sweetly rich He dwells,-
The loving Lord by whom the world grows bright,- go thou, and HITHER CALL! (12)
IV. His voluntary humiliation.
Thou KUYIL small, that dost frequent the grove with sweet fruit rich, hear this!
The Gracious-One Who left the heavens, enter'd this earth, made men His own;
The Only-One, despised the flesh, entered my soul, and fills my thought;-
The Bridegroom of the Fawn-eyed-one that gently rules,- GO HITHER CALL! (16)
V. His gracious appearing.
KUYIL, whose beauty is delight! Like sun with circling radiant beams,
Through upper heaven come down, He frees His saints from thrall of low desire;
The First, the Midst, the End is He;- the Three knew not His sacred form;-
His feet are bright with crimson glow;-the mighty Warrior CALL TO COME! (20)
VI. The manifestation in Madura.
KUYIL, glad pleasure give I Thee! the sevenfold worlds He rules;-
The Loving-One ambrosia gives;- the Blissful-God came down from heaven,
And on the goodly charger rode like jewel set in ruddy gold.
KUYIL, 'mid branches twittering, Gokari's Lord GO, CALL TO COME! (24)
VII. The monarch of the Tamil lands.
KUYIL, I'll joy in thee, and be thy comrade, ever by the side;-
Him of the beauteous form Who shines, more choice than gold, in glory bright;
The King, Who on the horse in splendour rode, in Perun-turrai dwells!-
The Southern-One, the Ceran, Coran, great Buyangan, CALL TO COME! (28)
O tender KUYIL, come thou here! Mal sought Him, and the 'Four-faced'-one,
Nor found, then ceased, and pondering stood. Cleaving the heaven, in shining fire,
Beyond all worlds He rose that day, His body like the light rayed out.
On prancing steed a groom He rode; CALL Him with streaming lock TO COME! (32)
IX. The gracious initiation.
KUYIL, thy dark form gleams with gold; thou in the fragrant grove dost joy!
The Blest, Whose glorious form is bright as splendour of the lotus red,
On earth, showed us His feet; set free from every bond, and made me His.
The beauteous cinctured golden Form,th' Ambrosial-One, GO CALL TO COME! (36)
X. His manifestation as a guru.
Hear this, thou KUYIL, calling 'midst the grove whose shady boughs enlace!
A Brahman here He came, revealed His beauteous rosy feet to me.
'This man is one of us,' He said, and here in grace made me His own!
The LORD OF GODS, Whose sacred form is as red fire, GO BID TO COME!
Hymn XIX- tiruththa saangam
I. The Name of the King.
THE SACRED TEN SIGNS: THE ROYAL INSIGNIA
'Parrot fair and tender! soothly tell the glorious Name
Of Perun-turrai's King!'- 'Lord of Arur,- the ruddy Prince,-
The White-flower-god,-and he of the milky sea praised Him thus:
Name we our Peruman, the PRINCE OF GODS!' (4)
II. King Civan's Land.
'O Emerald, whose blameless speech is sweet! The LAND declare
Owned by the Lord of all the sevenfold world, Whose own we are.'
'He rules His loving ones in love, and gives unfailing grace,
His LAND is aye the southern PANDI realm! (8)
III. The city of the King.
'O babbling bird, dweller in flowery grove with fragrance filled!
What is the TOWN where dwells our Lord, the partner of the Queen?'
'The CITY Uttara-koca-mangai named by men devout
And true, as Civa-town on earth is prais'd! (12)
IV. The King's River
'Red-mouth'd, green-wing'd bright bird! Tell us the RIVER of the Sire
Who makes His home within our heart, great Perun-turrai's King!'
'O maid, the Master's RIVER is the rapture sent from heaven,
Come down, the foulness of our mind to cleanse.' (16)
V. The Mountain of the King.
'O parrot purple-mouth'd! Tell me the ever-during MOUNT'
Of Perun-turrai's King, that hides its head in clouds.' -'O maid,
Behold and study well,-His MOUNT is bliss of sweet "RELEASE";
Where the soul's darkness flees, and light shines forth.' (20)
VI. The King's Courser.
'Come hither, parrot mine! and tell, before thou sek'st thy cage,
The Lord of matchless glory, what rides He?'-'He joyous rides
Upon the COURSES of the sky;- with honied thought the maids
Divine attending chaunt melodious praise!' (24)
VII. The King's Weapon.
'Parrot whose words are honey from the bough! What WEAPON pray
O'ercomes the foes of Perun-turrai's blameless King?'
'The triple WEAPON that He wields, transfixes threefold sin,
Causing the souls from malice free to melt.' (28)
VIII. The King's Drum.
'Parrot, whose words as milk are sweet, tell me the martial DRUM
That awful sounds before our Perun-turrai's King!'-' In love
It bids the foe of "birth" confounded flee,- and makes arise
All bliss of heaven: the joyous NATHA-DRUM.' (32)
IX.The King's Garland.
'Parrot, whose word is music, say what is the GARLAND worn
By Perun-turrai's LORD, Who dwells in hearts where love wells up?'-
'Who owns me, worthless cur, and daily wards off "evil deeds,"-
He wears as WREATH the Tali-arrugu.' (36)
X. The King's Banner.
'Green parrot of the grove declare, what BANNER glorious waves
Above the King of Perun-turrai's waters pure?'- 'Aloft
The stainless BANNER of the bull resplendent gleams
In beauty manifest, while foes flee far.' (40)
Hymn XX- tirupalli yezuchi
'THE FREEDOM OF THE UPLIFTED SOUL.'
MORNING HYMN IN THE TEMPLE
THE ROUSING FROM THE SACRED COUCH
Hail! Being, Source to me of all life's joys! 'Tis dawn;
upon Thy flower-like feet twin wreaths of blooms we lay,
And worship, 'neath the beauteous smile of grace benign
that from Thy sacred face beams on us. Civa-Lord,
Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai girt with cool rice-fields,
where 'mid the fertile soil th' expanding lotus blooms!
Thou on Whose lifted banner is the Bull! Master!
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (4)
The image of the god is laid upon a couch each evening, and taken up in the morning. This reveilleis the first business of the day. This was composed in Perun-turrai, 'the great harbour,' where the poet went to buy horses for his King, and was made a disciple. The bull is Civan's emblem. He rides on a white bull. It is also on his banner. The bull-headed Nandi, whose image is everywhere in South India, is his Lord High Chamberlain.
The sun has neared the eastern bound; darkness departs;
dawn broadens out; and, like that sun, the tenderness
Of Thy blest face's flower uprising shines; and so,
while bourgeons forth the fragrant flower of Thine eyes' beam,
Round the King's dwelling fair hum myriad swarms of bees.
See, Civa-Lord, in Perun-turrai's hallowed shrine Who dwell'st!
Mountain of bliss, treasures of grace Who com'st to yield!
O surging Sea! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (8)
The tender Kuyil's note is heard; the cocks have crowed;
the little birds sing out; sound loud the tuneful shells;
Starlights have paled; day's lights upon the eastern hill
are mustering. In favouring love O show to us
Thy twin feet, anklet-decked, divinely bright;-
Civa-Lord, in Perun-turrai's hallowed shrine Who dwell'st!
Thee all find hard to know; easy to us Thine own!
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (12)
There stand the players on the sweet-voiced lute and lyre;
there those that utter praises with the Vedic chaunt;
There those whose hands bear wreaths of flowers entwined;
there those that bend, that weep, in ecstasy that faint;
There those that clasp above their heads adoring hands;-
Civa-Lord, in Perun-turrai's hallowed shrine Who dwell'st!
Me too make Thou Thine own, on me sweet grace bestow!
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (16)
'Thou dwell'st in all the elements,' 'tis said; and yet
'Thou goest not, nor com'st;' the sages thus have sung
Their rhythmic songs. Though neither have we heard nor learnt
of those that Thee by seeing of the eye have known.
Thou King of Perun-turrai, girt with cool rice-fields,
to ponder Thee is hard to human thought. To us
In presence come! Cut off our ills! In mercy make us Thine!
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (20)
Thy saints, who sinless in Thy home abide and know,
have come, their bonds cast off; and now, a mighty host,
With beauteous garlands decked, and clothed in human shape,
they all adore Thee, Bridegroom of the Goddess dread!
Civa-Lord, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's hallow'd shrine,
girt with cool rice-fields, where th' empurpled lotus blooms!
Cut off this 'birth', make us Thine own, bestow Thy grace!
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (24)
'The flavour of the fruit is that;' 'ambrosia that;'
'that's hard;' 'this easy:' thus Immortals too know not!
'This is His sacred form; this is Himself:' that we
may say and know, make us Thine own; in grace arise!
In Uttara-koca-mangai's' sweet perfumed groves
Thou dwell'st! O King of Perun-turrai's hallowed shrine!
What service Thou demandest, Lo! we willing pay.
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (28)
Before all being First, the Midst, the Last art Thou.
The Three know not Thy nature: how should others know?
Thou, with Thy tender Spouse, Thy servants' lowly huts
in grace didst visit, entering each, Supernal One!
Like ruddy fire Thou once didst show Thy sacred form;
didst show me Perun-turrai's temple, where Thou dwell'st;
As Anthanan didst Thyself, and make me Thine.
Ambrosia rare! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (32)
The gods in heaven who dwell may not approach Thy seatt!
O Being worthiest! Yet us who at Thy foot.
Pay homage, Thou to earth descending, madest blest.
Dweller in fertile Perun-turrai's shrine! our eyes
Beheld Thee; honied sweetness made our being glad.
Ambrosia of the sea! Sweetest of sweets! Thou art
Within Thy longing servants' thought! -Soul of this world!-
Our mighty Lord! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (36)
Said sacred Mal and flower-born Ayan as they gazed
on Civan's form, 'This day in vain we spend and cry.
'Tis time we went to earth and there were born. 'Tis earth,
'tis earth alone where Civan's grace is wont to save.'
Thou King, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's hallow'd shrine,
mighty Thou wert to enter earth, and make us Thine!
Thou and the Grace, that flower-like blooms from forth Thy form,
Ambrosia rare! FROM OFF THY COUCH IN GRACE ARISE! (40)
Hymn XXI- koyin muutha tirupathikam
THE ANCIENT SACRED TEMPLE-SONG
The Mistress dwells in midmost of Thyself;
within the Mistress centred dwellest Thou;
Midst of Thy servant if Ye Both do dwell,
to me Thy servant ever give the grace
Amidst Thy lowliest servants to abide;
our Primal Lord, Whose Being knows no end,
Who dwellest in the sacred golden porch,
still present to fulfil my heart's intent!
II. I have not swerved
E'erwhile in presence here Thou mad'st me Thine;
and I even so to be with effort strain:
I follow Thee, and Thy behests fulfil;
but still I here behind am left, great Lord!
If Thou appear not now in grace, and bid
me come, will not Thy servants doubting say,
'And who was he that stood erewhile with Thee,'
Who joyest in the golden hall to dance? (8)
'He joy'd erewhile in loving service done,'-
if I, with heart of feeling reft made hard
By grief, complain, for all the world to know,-
will they not say, 'This is no fitting thing?'
Thy faithful ones, the sacrifice performed,
now dwell in bliss with Thee, and Thou with them.
If Thou Thy face to me turn not, I die,-
life's SOurce, Who dwellest in the golden court! (12)
Thou Source of All! Guide to the senses five;
and to the Three; to me, too, in life's way!
Thine ancient servants' thronging multitude
is gathered now within the heavenly courts.
Fount of all brightness! Thou hast given them grace;
shall I not cry, 'To me show pity too?'
And so I weep,- what other can I do?-
Thou King of Tillai's sacred court of gold! (16)
'King, Dancer in the golden court,
Ambrosia,' - looking for Thy grace,- I cry.
Like patient heron watching for its prey,
by night and day, I drooping 'bide and mourn
Thy saints have reached the shore,- in joy they shine;
to me if Thou deny that vision bright,-
Like butter hidden in the curdled milk,;(br>
still silent, will not they reproach? (20)
Even they will heap reproach upon my name,
revile, and scoffing point me out as Thine;
While others all will utter various speech;
but I will cherish yearnings for Thy grace.
Teacher!- that I amid Thy loving ones
may render service in the sacred hall,-
Faher!- Who dances in the golden court,-
henceforth, O ruler, pity show to me! (24)
'Show pity, Dancer in the golden court,'
with ever-yearning soul I pray. Of old,
Rare teaching didst Thou give, and mad'st me Thine!
Shall I become mere beast, with none to own?
Thy saints around Thee throng, where Thou and they,
in happy sport commingled, ever dwell.
That I may thither rise to join the band,
our only Bliss, in grace O bid me come! (28)
VIII. Whom have I save Thee?
Grace if Thou show not to Thy servant, who
is here to bid me cast away my fears?
All gold, Thou entering here, mad'st me Thine own,
as thing of worth; Dancer in court of gold!
Me, from Thee severed, with bewildered mind,
and troubled sore, ah! bid to come to Thee.
If Thou show not Thy glorious fellowhip,
I die; and then will not men scoff? (32)
IX. The joys of Civan's paradise.
They smile, they joy, honied delights they quaff,
in thronging crowds Thy words expound and hear,
And loud extol. Then each apart repeats
the saving mystery of Thy sacred Name.
'Our Head, Who dancest in the golden court,'
they cry. before these blessed ones, shall I
Like dog, that jackals chase and scare, remain?
My Teacher, even now bestow Thy grace!
X. Let not my trust be vain!
'He will not cease to pour on us His gifts,'-
thus have I raving named Thy Name,
My eyes with tears were fill'd,- my praising mouth
falter'd,- I bow'd, - in thought with melting soul
Many a time Thine image I recalled,-
and uttering praises named the golden court.
My Master, grant Thy grace to me, and oh!
have pity on the soul that pines for Thee! (36)
Hymn XXII- koyitr trirupathikam
[AN ANAPHORETIC DECAD.]
THE SACRED TEMPLE-LYRIC.
'THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SACRED ENJOYMENT.'
I. Show me Thy Face.
With changing wiles the senses five bewilder me:
their course Thou dost close up, Ambrosial Fount!
Come, Light Suprene, that ever springing fill'st my soul!
and give me grace to see Thee as Thou art.
Essential Sweetness pure! O mighty Civa-Peruman,
Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's sacred shrine!
O Thou, the bliss all endless happy stations yield,
transcending far, my Pleasure and my LOVE! (4)
II. Praise for grace imparted
In LOVE, Thy servant's soul and body thrilling through,
and melting all my heart with rapturous bliss,
Thou hast bestowed sweet grace beyond my being's powers;-
and I for this have no return to give!
Thou art before! Thou art behind! Thou art the Free,
through all diffus'd! Thou First, without and end!
South--Perun-turrai's Lord! O CIva-Peruman!
Civa-Puram's ever-glorious KING! (8)
III.Inspire me to feel and utter the very truth regarding Thee.
O KING, the slave of Thine own loving ones am I.
Father! not soul alone but body too,
Thou enterest melting, and with sweetness fill'st each pore.
Thou dost disperse false darkness, O true Light!
Ambrosial Sea, whose clearness knows no ruffling wave!
Civan, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine!
Thou Thought unique, thinking what passes word and thought!
teach me to KNOW the way to speak of Thee! (12)
Sages that KNOW all else; the heav'nly ones and all
the others, scarce can KNOW Thee, Being rare!
Life of all lives, with none confused! My healing Balm,
that from 'Embodiments' my spirit frees!
Pure Light, clear shining 'mid the darkness dense!
Civan, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine!
O Bliss, of qualities devoid! Henceforth to me,
who have to Thee drawn nigh, what can there LACK? (16)
Fulness, that knows no LACK; ambrosial Essence pure!
O unscaled mount of ever-blazing light!
Thou art the Veda,- Thou the mystic Veda's sense.
Within my mind Thou coming, 'bid'st its Lord!
As torrents burst their bounds, Thou rushest through my soul!
Civan, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine!
O King, my body hast Thou made Thine home; henceforth
what blessings shall Thy suppliant ASK of Thee? (20)
That I may ever ASK and melt, within my mind,
O Light, Thou dost arise! In beauty shines
On heavenly heads the lotus of Thy roseate feet!
Civan, who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine!
The boundless ether, water, earth, fire, air;- all these
Thou art; and none of these Thou art; but dwell'st
In these conceal'd, O formless One! My heart is glad
that with these eves THIS DAY I've seen Thee clear! (24)
THIS DAY on me in grace Thou risest bright, a Sun,
bidding from out my mind the darkness flee!
That thought may cease upon Thy nature manifest,
I think. Beside Thee all that is is nought,-
Moving ever,- as atoms ever wasting,- Thou art One!
Civan, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrrai's shrine!
Thou art not anything; without Thee nothing is;
who are they that can know Thee as Thou art? (28)
Expanse of light, that everywhere through every world,
o'er earth and heaven springs forth and spread alone !
Thou Fire in water hid! O Pure One, if of Thee
we think, Thou'rt hard to reach. Fountain of grace,
Upsprining in the thought devout, as honey sweet!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's sacred shrine
Who dwell'st,- who are my kindered here, and strangers who?
my LIGHT. Thou changest all to rapturous joy! (32)
O Form, beheld in radiant LIGHT made manifest;
Thou only Mystic Ones Who wear'st no form;
Thou First! Thou Midst! Thou Last! Great Sea of rapturous joy!
Thou that dost loose our being's bonds!
Thou sacred Hill of grace and good, from evil free!
Civan in sacred Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st! There is no way for Thee to part from me!
Come, GIVE to me worship at Thy feet! (36)
What Thou hast GIVEN is THEE; and what hast gained is ME:
O Cankara, who is the knowing one?
I have obtained the rapturous bliss that knows no end;
yet now, what one thing hast Thou gained from me?
Our Peruman, Who for Thy shrine hast ta'en my thought!
Civan, Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's courts!
My Father, and my Master! Thou hast made this frame
Thine home; for this I know no meet return! (40)
Hymn XXIII- sethila pathu
I. Sever'd from Thee I cannot live.
WEARINESS OF LIFE
(THE INFINITY OF BLISS IN CIVAN.)
I, false, am sever'd from the flowr'y feet that, entering here,
made my soul melt, distilling nectar sweet.
Yet I, poor wretch, die not as yet; but, in a waking dream,
the inner purpose of my soul I've lost.
O Teacher,- King, - Great Sea of grace, - Father,- Whose roseate form
Ayan and Mal could never come to know,-
I know not what to do, O CIVAN, Thou Who didst draw near
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL! (4)
II. Still I wander here.
Ant-hills were they, and trees were they; water and air
their food; thus heavenly ones, and others too,
Were sore distress, but none Thy flow'ry feet beheld,
O King! Me, mastered with a single word,
Thou held'st erewhile. I pant not now, nor melt in mind subdued;
I feel no love devout; this loveless frame
I've not subdued; I wander yet, CIVAN, Who didst draw near
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL! (8)
III. Where are my old joys?
Ev'n me, the meanest one, Thou didst as thing of worth regard,
and gav'st Thy grace; and giving mad'st me glad.
I trod on air, O Rider of the Steed! _Author of good!
To all heaven's countless hosts the Dwelling-place!
Eternal One! Who atest poison from the billowy sea!
The cities of Thy foes Thou didst consume!
Bowman! -Command that I should die,- CIVAN, Who didst draw near
AND DWELL'ST IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE! (12)
IV. Why didst Thou make me Thine?
Thy loving ones, and those who wrought hard deeds of penitence,
Ayan and Mal too, joyous, melted then
Like wax before the fire, thinking on me; while many a one
here stood around! Why didst Thou make me Thine?
My mind was like the gnarl'd and knotted tree; like senseless wood
my eye; harder than iron my dull ear.
Thou rul'st the south-shore! Lord of Civa-world, Who didst draw near
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL! (16)
V. I know no other gods but Thee.
I've left the law of 'sportive gods.' In love I neared Thee, named
Thee 'Teacher';- in Thy gracious way I'll 'bide.
O Being rare,- Whom ev'n the 'earth-born gods' find out,- that Thee
I may not quit, O Ruler, show me grace!
Show me Thy jewell'd feet, O God; body's illusions all
be by Thy grace for ever swept away.
Lord of the gods that rule the 'evolving gods'! CIVAN, our God
WHO DWELL'ST IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE! (20)
VI. I cannot endure this severance
I loose not body's bonds, nor enter fire to end the strife;
nor know the method of Thy sacred grace.
I cannot bear this 'frame'; yet way to 'scape I none discern.
Praise, praise, Thou Rider on the warlike bull!
I die not yet! sever'd from Thee what pleasure can I take?
In grace vouchsafe to bid me, 'This do thou!'
CIVAN, Who didst draw near where waters flood the fertile fields,
AND DWELL'ST IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE! (24)
VII. I am not worthy, yet hear my voice!
Illusionst; Who at'st the poison from the refluent sea;-
heaven's Lord; our azure-throated Balm of life!
A cur, I cannot ponder Thee, nor bow me at Thy foot,
'Nama-Civaya' humbly breathing out!
Vile as a demon I, - show me Thy mighty way, Thou o'er
Whose braided lock wanders the crescent moon,-
Beseems it far from Thee I roaming weep? CIVAN, Who cam'st
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL! (28)
VIII. Can my sufferings be pleasing to Thee?
Ayan who in the lotus dwells, the Sleeper on the warring sea,
Purandaran, and all the rest, stood round.
From dregs of ill Thou mad'st me clean, showing Thy jewell'd feet;
didst give the sign, and with Thy servants join!
Then sore amazed I knew not what to do. Balm of my soul,
and is it sweet Thy servant suffer pain?
CIVAN, Who didst draw nigh where cooling waers flow around the fields,
AND DWELL'ST IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE! (32)
IX. Is there no place for me among Thy saints?
Indra, the Four-faced, and the heavenly Ones stood round,- on earth
with tender sweetness then Thou mad'st me Thine,-
Thou of the flow'ry Foot, that took the life from Death;
Ganga is Thine; the fire burns in Thy hand;
And Mal, in triumph-songs, to that same flower-foot sings;
command me too, whose eye sees not, to come!
Bright flow the flow'ry streams around the fields where CIVAN came.
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL! (36)
X. I languish thinking on heavenly joys
In tender grace Thou cam'st and bad'st me come, didst banish fear;
then in Thy grace's mighty sea I plunged.
I drank, was sated; now I melt no more, - CIVAN, Who cam'st
IN SACRED PERUN-TURRAI'S SHRINE TO DWELL!
He who the armlet wears, and flowery Ayan know Thee not,
heaven's Lord, sole Partner of the Mountain-Maid!
I wilder'd stand, while rising swells the mighty joy, - O SEA
WHOSE WATERS REST ON KAILAI'S LOFTY HILL! (40)
Hymn XXIV- adaikalap pathu
THE REFUGE - DECAD
'THE ASSURANCE OF MATURITY.'
It seems probable that this song was founded upon the Buddhist formula which required the devotee to utter nine times the word saranam, three times to Buddha, three times to the law or doctrine, and three times to the congregation (=church, or order). This entire abandonment of self on the part of the disciple was his initation into the Buddhist system. Here our author takes 'refuge' at the foot of the loving Master Who has called him, and will at last receive him to Himself. This element of personal devotion to One Whom he believes to have been the Supreme manifested in the flesh is very striking, and gives a power that was wanting in the Buddhist system. We must remember that all his life our sage was brought into hostile contact with the Buddhists, and that he fashions his poems so as to afford the strongest possible contrast to that which he hated.
Thy saints like clustering lotus-flowers have joined Thy roseate foot;
Mature of mind, with Thee they're gone; while I, a sinful man,
In body foul and vile remain, devoid of wisdom's lore,
Of mind impure. MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (4)
My meanness only hateful things can do; Thy greatness still
Forgives!- The serpent-gem Thou wear'st; swells Ganga's stream Thy crest;
Thou, by Thy sacred grace, the root of these my 'births'
Dost cut away, MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (8)
Great Peruman, Thou who dost free from 'birth'! Thou frenzy giv'st
O Peruman! - Within my mind, O Peruman the wise,
Thou com'st. The flow'ry One, and giant Mal too, knew Thee not;
Rare Peruman! MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (12)
In floods from sorrow's pouring clouds that rise, Thy loving ones
Sinking have seized the raft of Thy blest foot, and risen to heaven.
Whirl'd amid trouble's sea, where women-billows' dash, and lusts's
Sea-monster wounds, I sink. MASTER! I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (16)
Fall'n 'mid the circling troops of them of curling locks; Thy power
Forgetting; in this body dark I wearied lay. Thou Half
Of Her with wide balck eyes and glance like startled fawn! Heaven's Lord!
Give me Thy grace! MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (20)
Broken by mighty churning-staff of those of jet black eyes,
Like cream in churn I bounded, suffered pain. O flow'r-foot, Hail!
When com'st Thou? When shall I whose deeds are 'mighty' worship Thee?
Lord of the Earth! MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (24)
Caught in the net of hot desire for those of glancing eyes
And slender form, I writh'd and roll'd in sorrow sore; that I
Wallow no more, pit my fault, appear, pour sweetest balm!
Lord of the temple-court! MASTER! I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (28)
Thou Half of Her with beauteous eyes! unto Thy flowr'y feet
Thou call'st me,- then dismisses me to deepest depths; Thy thought
I know not. Like pipe's changing tones now sinks, now swells my soul.
Alas! I perish quite! MASTER! I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (32)
Thy loving ones beneath Thy jewell'd feet that grace confer
Abiding, gain the bliss that knows no refluent tide. No way
To worship Thee I find; in sooth I know not Thee, noe lore
That tells of Thee! MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (36)
Eager I took ambrosia of Thy grace so freely pour'd;
I strove to drink; my sinful soul by evil fate was bound!
Give me to taste the rare stream gushing honey-sweet, and save!
I sink in woe! MASTER! THY SLAVE, I THEE MY REFUGE MAKE! (40)
Hymn XXV- aasai pathu
I. I long for Thy summons,
THE DECAD OF DESIRE
KNOWLEDGE OF 'SELF'
O flawless Gem, who gav'st the wealth of Thine own roseate feet,-
By the kite-banner'd King unseen,- and here mad'st me Thine own!
My darkness drive far off; say 'hither come'! The grace to gain
That calls me there to dwell, BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (4)
II. Weary of the flesh
I not endure to wear this garment of the flesh,- of joints
And bones compact,- with fatness filled,-covered with skin! O King,
Call me! To men of every sort, as fits their case Thou com'st
Ambrosia rare, ah, Thee to see, BEHOLD, O SIRE, I YEARN! (8)
III. Let me hear Thy call.
Call me, my King, that this poor frame, with vileness fill'd, may die!
Thou 'Dancer,' Guru-gem, Who guarding makest me Thine;
O God by gods unreach'd! Civan! Look on my face awhile.
For Thee, to hear Thee call, BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (12)
IV. I wait in humble hope.
This walking cell, with loathy filth filled full, contemptible,
Clings to me, and afflicts my soul! Hail to Thee, mighty Lord!
Broken, subdued, and melted, looking ever for Thy light,
Thy blest feet's flower to gain, BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (16)
V. Where are the old joys?
Within this frame is loathsome; and without skin-covered sores,
Sore grief! Thou Rider on the Bull! Bedeckt with ashes white,
Stooping to me, Thou cam'st, and mad'st me Thine; Ambrosia rare!
For word of tenderness, BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (20)
VI. I long for the life of heaven,
Weary, mere dog, I cannot here abide. Take back earth's joys
Thou gav'st, O Thou whose roseate teet-flowers heaven's sons know not!
Thou know'st no bond! Thy face's light, the gleaming of Thy smile,-
To see, BEHOLD, O SIRE, HOW EAGERLY MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (24)
VII. I long to praise Thee there
Thou Infinite, Whom earth and heaven extol, Thou Light superne,-
Thou cam'st to make me Thine! Give me the world of final bliss;
Thy thousand names I'd circling sing. Thee mighty Lord to praise,
Th' Ambrosia ever new, BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (28)
VIII. My whole being worships Thee.
With hands Thee worshipping, embracing close Thy jewell'd feet,
And placing still unwearied on my head, 'Our Lord, our Lord,' I cry;-
'My Teacher,' with my mouth I cry. Like wax before the fire,
King of Aiyarr'! BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY MELTING SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (32)
IX. When shall I join Thy saints?
To cast quite off this sinful frame; to enter Civan's home;
To see the Wondrous Light, that so these eyes may gladness gain;
O Infinite, without compare! Th' assembly of Thy saints
Of old, to see, BEHOLD, O SIRE, THY SERVANT'S SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (36)
X. Thy voice stills passion
Caught in the net of passion fierce by those whose eyes shine bright,
I languish'd,- I a cur,- O light of truth! and saw no help.
Thou Half of Her with gentle foot!- Thou only One! To hear
Thee say with coral lips, 'Fear not, 'BEHOLD, O SIRE, MY SOUL HATH YEARN'D! (40)
Hymn XXVI- athisiya pathu
THE DECAD OF WONDER
With melting mind I said not, 'He is gold,' 'His is a ruby's light;'
I languish'd pondering charms of damsels young. Boon indescribable,
Mercies beyond compare, to me were given; He of the flowery foot,
THE FATHER, MADE ME HIS, AND JOINED ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (4)
Of righteous deeds I had no thought, nor joined those who think on these;
To sorrows born and deaths, I wandered here. He said, 'This is my slave.'
He, the Supernal, stood in nearness manifest,- His half, the Queen.
THE FIRST ONE MADE ME HIS, AND JOINED ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (8)
Aforetime, that my 'mighty deeds' might pass, the Father tiple-eyed,-
Whom all find hard to know, to servant-bands abundantly revealed,-
Who plac'd the crescent moon on 'braided lock' of more than golden sheen,
THE SIRE,- HE MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (12)
Perpend the one sole cause for which the world a madman nameth me:
I liv'd as others, knew no way to join me to His grce divine;
To deaths, to fallings into direful hells. I gave myself a prey.
THE FATHER, MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (16)
I hasted not to join the choirs; I pluck'd no flowers nor worshipped;
A slave to charms of those of perfum'd locks I squander'd gifts of life.
By night our King dances midmost the fires,- the snake amidst His braided hair!
HE MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (20)
Through my mere folly I the Letters Five forgot, that speak His sacred Name;
I drew not near those wise in lore divine, longing to share their virtuous deeds.
Born on the earth and dying there mere thing of earth, to earth I gave myself!
THE MIGHTY MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (24)
This but untrue, whose walls are flesh, worm-stuffed, decay'd, dripping with all that's foul,-
This did I take for true, whirled round in sorrow's sea. He Who of rarest gem,
Of pearl, of ruby, adamant, and coral red,- the gleaming splendour wears,-
MY FATHER, MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (28)
Erewhile, that I no more might'bide with Him, He sent, and plac'd me in this cell.
He look'd on me, spake gentlest words of mystery; brake off the yoke; His hand
Upraised, made former falesness cease, removed all fault, filled me with gleaming light:
'TWAS THUS HE MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (32)
Like fragrance hid within the blooming flower, the meaning of this frame
No mortal mind can reach: the Being infinite. That Being I knew not.
I trusted words of fools that pluck the fruit of deeds. From sensual snare to save
THE FATHER, MADE ME HIS, AND JOIN'D ME TO HIS SAINTS:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (36)
This hut, with darkness dense, the fruit of 'mighty deeds,' I took for wonderful,
Rejoiced, and so was falling into deepest hell. He gave my soul true light!
He that with angry foot and ruddy fire forthwith the triple walls threw down
The true way showed to me in grace, the false destroyed:
SUCH WONDER HAVE WE SEEN! (40)
Hymn XXVII- punarchi pathu
I. When shall I reach the Inaccessible?
THE DECAD OF MYSTIC UNION
THE NATURE OF RELEASE
The gleaming golden Hill, the flawless Pearl, the Shrine of tender love
Who made me, last of man, His own, in speechless service glad! He Whom
Dark Mal and Brahma baffled yet approach not,- gave Himself, rare Balm!
When shall I dwell in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (4)
II. My soul cries out for Thy rest.
Thy servant I endure not, O my king, upon this earth in mire
Of fivefold sense! In thought adoring Civan as my Lord,
With mind that melts, like sands where waters spring, with cries of jubilee,
When shall I praise, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (8)
III. When shall I join the happy saints?
While lofty Mal and Ayan fear'd, a hill of fire Who rose, He loveless me
Made His! Ambrosia rare! Amid His saints, whose souls gush out with love,
To hearts' content, my praise outpouring, wreath'd with fragrant flowers,
When shall I lie, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (12)
IV. His blissful presence.
With Ayan of the Lotus, Mal, and all the rest,- with the Immortals's King,
Speak praises to Him name! The Light surpassing speech and words' intent!
The Nelli'sFruit; Milk, Honey, Balm with sweetness fill'd;- Ambrosia pure.
When shall I clasp, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (16)
V. Hidden from gods, to me revealed.
To see the foot and crown, that gleam with light, Ayan and Mal, down deep,
Up high, they dug, they flew; but could not see His form! While all this earth
Stood round, my service claimed, made me His own, and bade me come! His love
When shall I praise, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (20)
VI. When shall I recover the old rapture?
In love He came, and rapture gave in olden days, to me His slave!
And then He left me on this wide vast earth to wander 'wildered!
With floods of gushing tears, and frame with transport thrilled, in joy and love,
When shall I stand, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (24)
VII. When shall I know Him?
Hard to others' thought, thou'rt fire, water, wind, earth, ether; Him,
Sole One to whom none can compare; in joy beholding, praising loud,
While tears in torrents flow, adoring hand out-stretched, fragrant flower-wreaths
When shall I bring, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (28)
VIII. The heavenly re-union.
In bliss dissol'd, soul melted utterly, with every gesture meet:
Laughter and tears, homage of hand and lip,- with every mystic dance,-
To see with joyous thrill, that Sacred Form, like ruddy evening sky,
When shall I pass, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (32)
IX. Parvathi praised as one with Civan.
Sire and Mother of the seven worlds old; Who me, a dog, mad'st Thine;
Thee only Balm for woes of life; Thee wisdom's honey-dripping Gem,
For ever praising,- night and day. Thy beauteous foot with flow'ry wreaths
When shall I deck, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (36)
X. His eternity.
Thou guard'st, creat'st, destroy'st; 'midst all that fill the spacious heaven
The ELDER Thou, and First, Who knows no eld; Brahman, Who mad'st me Thine;
Thou Infinite! For ever singing, bowing low, Thy foot's fair flower
When shall I clasp, in MYSTIC UNION JOINED WITH HIM, MY FLAWLESS GEM? (40)
Hymn XXVIII- vaazhap pathu
I. Longing for release.
NO JOY IN LIFE
Transcendent One, extending through both earth and heaven,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
O Civa-puram's King! In glorious beauty bright,
Civan, in holy Perun-turrai's shrine,
Who dwell'st! To whom make I my plaint, whom blame, if Thou
Who mad'st me Thine deny Thy grace?
THOU SEE'ST NO JOY have I upon this sea-girt earth;
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (4)
Me, worthless one, Thou mad'st in grace Thine own, great Gem,-
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Whose form unique even those in yonder world know not,
past thought of both,- all piercing power
Thou art, the glorious Lord! O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st our mighty Lord, Thou Ruler of my soul,
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (8)
That foot alone I seek that Mal in songs extolled;
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Thou sought'st me, mad'st me Thine, O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st. Though I complain, in Thee my soul delights;
to gain anew Thy love my thought;
Thou see'st my heart is faint, I have no joy in life;
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (12)
Thou Who the gleaming rebel-town didst swift consume,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Dancer, Who bid'st in Tillai, Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st, the three worlds' bounds that day the twain pass'd through,
and saw nor first nor last of Thee,
In might so didst Thou rise! Thou see'st I joy not here;-
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (16)
V. Absolute self-surrender.
Partner of Her whose words are sweetest melody!
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Surely Thou mad'st me Thine, O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in holy Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st,- the whole: my body, mouth, nose, ears, and eyes:-
all these in Thy control I place.
THOU SEE'ST THY SERVANT HATH NO JOYS UPON THIS EARTH;-
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (20)
VI. The sense's power.
Partner of Her with footfall downy soft,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Thou mad'st me wholly Thine, O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st,- me trembling cur, Thou mad'st Thine own; that grace
through senses' perturbation I forgot;
THOU SEE'ST THAT IN DECEPTION LOST, I JOY NOT HERE;-
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (24)
Thou Light, that shin'st a Sun through all the spheres,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Sacred, supremely glorious Civa-Puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st, Thee I see; - my melting soul dissolves,
'wilder'd I know not any way in life to joy.
THOU SEE'ST I, FOLLY'S CHILD, CAN IN THIS LIFE PARTAKE NO JOY,
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (28)
Partner of Her whose fingers jewels rare adorn,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Thou art like ruddy flame, O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st,- endless Ambrosia,- Essence rare and great,-
Ambrosia rare,- Thy servant Thou didst save,
And mad'st me Thine, IN LIFE I CANNOT JOY THOU SEE'ST;
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (32)
Thou'rt sin's Destroyer, save Thy healing foot alone,
THOU SEE'ST TO NOUGHT BESIDE I CLING!-
God of all gods, O Civa-puram's King! Civan,
in sacred Perun-turrai's shrine Who dwell'st
Through the three worlds passing, above below the twain,
as roaring flame Thou didst uplift Thy form.
Lord of the bull! THOU SEE'ST IN LIFE I CANNOT JOY;
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (36)
Partner of Her, Thy bride, of faultless old renown,
THOU SEE'ST TO NONE BUT THEE I CLING!-
Thou wear'st the crescent moon, O Civa-puram's King!
Civan, in sacred Perun-turrai's shrine
Who dwell'st,- shall I bow down to others? shall I praise?
or may think them aids for me? speak Thou!
Lord of the youthful bull! THOU SEE'ST I KNOW NO JOY;
BE GRACIOUS, BID ME COME TO THEE! (40)
Hymn XXIX- arut pathu
THE DECAD OF GRACE
'CLEANSING FROM DELUSION.'
The T.V.U.P states that this was one of the earliest of the Sage's poems, and that it was sung at Tiru-perun-turrai. It certainly bears the impress of youth, and in many respects is inferior to some of his later poems. It is said to have for its subject the purification of the soul from the great delusion (Maha-maya). What this is can only be known by a careful study of the Caiva Siddhanta philosophy.
The metre is the same as in XXII, and is very sweet. In each stanza, the two latter lines nearly correspond throughout the whole poem, an epithet or two being changed. Civan is addressed as the god who appeared in the Triclinia (Kuruntham) grove near Tiru-perun-turrai, and about thirty different epithets are applied to him, some of which are mere repetitions. The epithets applied to Tiru-perun-turrai are also varied. The last line in each stanza contains a Telugu phrase equivalent to 'and what is that'? so that the line literally reads: 'Save Thou in grace, saying "what is that"? or in other words, 'What is there to fear? fear not.' The poet is complaining of the power of earthborn delusions, and prays the god to take away his anxious fears. I cannot trace any sequence in the thought from stanza to stanza.
In the Siddhanta, very great stress is laid upon the idea that all embodiment, while it is painful and to be got rid of as soon as possible, is yet a gracious appointment of Civan, wrought out through Cakti, for the salvation of the human soul through the destruction of deeds, which are the root of all evil to mankind. Now the Buddhist formula represents suffering as being the whole account of the matter: 'Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering. The origin of suffering is the thirst for pleasure, being, and power. The extinction of this thirst brings about the extinction of suffering.' The Caiva Siddhanta doctrine, on the contrary, gives to life and sufering a real significance. The present life is a probation,- a purgatory,- a preparation for endless fellowship and communion with the Supreme. Thus Grace is recognised where the Buddhist sees
only suffering; and the instrument of man's release is that wisdom which understands the divine purpose, and adapts itself to that purpose. Our Sage dwells much upon the value of prayer, and of humble worship paid to the divine guru, while in Buddhism all is to be done by unaided human effort. At every point the two systems are in directest opposition!
O Light! O Lamp girt with effulgent beams!-
the dame with curling locks and beauteous form
Is Thine, Supreme, Who wear'st the milk-white ash!
The Just, Whom Ayan of the flower knew not,
Nor Mal! In happy Perun-turrai Thou
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
Great First of Beings! when I craving call,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (4)
O Dancer! Spotless One! O ash-besmear'd!
Thy brow hath central eye! Lord of heaven's host!
Sole Deity! through all the world Thyself
I sought lamenting loud, but found Thee not.
Thou, Who by Perun-turrai's pleasant lake
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
Great Source of Being! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (8)
Our Leader! Ruler of my life and soul!
Whom ladies twain, with perfum'd flowing locks,
Claim as their Spouse! Lord of the firy eye!
Whose glance caus'd sudden fire from Dakshan's frame to spring,
And goodly Kaman's too! In sacred Perun-turrai Thou
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
Great Anganan! when I Thy servant craving call,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (12)
The Lotus-god, the four-fac'd, Kannan too,
dark as the azure sky, could not approach
Thee, Pure One! when They pray'd Thee to shine forth,
Father! thou wert as mighty flame display'd.
In Veda-echoing Perun-turrai Thou
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
Great Being spotless! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (16)
[These two lines are not translateable!]
Thou, Who in Perun-turrai's sylvan groves
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
O Teacher glorious! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (20)
O Happy One and Pure! Thou like to gem
whose radiant beams 'mid pure white ashes shine!
In mind of those who think of Thee Thou giv'st
sweetness intense. Thou rare Ambrosia, Who
In sacred Perun-turrai's home of Vedic lore
'neath the Kurunthanm's flow'ry shade didst rest.
O Father glorious! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (24)
Thou True One changing oft Thy form; Meru Thy bow,
Thy foemen's cities three Thy HAND consumed!
Thy FOOT burnt up death's king! O ruddy One,
Whose FORM was as a fiery column seen!
Thou, Who in Perun-turrai's happy home
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
O glorious Teacher! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (28)
The Free, the First, the Triple-eyed, the Sage,-
Thou giv'st the heavenly goal to those,
Who off'ring flowers with clustering buds adore,
devoutly pondering praise; consummate One,
Thou, Who in Perun-turrai's happy home
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
O Sire, all glorious! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (32)
Regarding me distraught, Thou bad'st confusion cease,
destroying thought of this world and the next,
Thou very God, Thou Holy One, upon Thy crest
the swelling lustrous snake and Ganga bide.
Thou, Who in Perun-turrai's home of lucid Vedic lore
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade didst rest.
Glorious in mercy! when Thy servant craving calls,
BID THOU IN GRACE THY SERVANT'S FEARS BEGONE! (36)
In Perun-turrai girt with ordered stately groves,
'neath the Kuruntham's flow'ry shade,
I call to mind Thy glories all, and pondering yearn,
and as my mighty Lord Thee oft invoke
Ascetic rare! when I, Thy servant, craving call,
struggling amid the billowy sea,
In grace declare the fitting path to reach
the silver hill, and BID ME COME! (40)
Hymn XXX- tiru kazhukundra pathicam
THE LYRIC OF THE 'EAGLE-MOUNT.'
THE SIGHT OF THE 'GURU.'
This is one of the places which the Sage is said to have visited before seeing Cithambaram. It would appear that here he had some peculiar manifestation of the god, who had revealed himself to him in Perun-turrai. It is open to conjecture that the Guru, whom he regarded as Civan manifested in the flesh, resided there, or at least was a constant visitant. The place itself is a renowned Caiva shrine, and has its own legend, a considerable poem of 832 quatrains. This is of recent origin, and, I should suppose, of small authority. It states that the original name of the hill was Veda-giri, or the hill of the Veda. It is said to have four hills clustered together, each being one of the four Vedas, while the central peak, which is of basaltic formation, is Civan Himself in the form of the Lingam. It is curiously stated that 'in Arur the god dwells for the first watch of the night, and in
Cithambaram for the midnight watch; but in Veda-giri he is always to be formed.' The name of the hill of the Veda was changed to that of the hill of the Eagle, because two eminent persons, having disputed an order of Civan, were sentenced to perform penance there.
O peaceful Perun-turrai's mighty Lord!
to those whose talk is of Thy thousand names
One even stream of matchless pleasure flows.
My Lord, Who once didst wipe away sore griefs,
When good and evil deeds were balanced,-
(for aftermath of ill no living seed),-
In sacred glories countless didst Thou come,
AND SHOW THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (4)
Thou Who for hire of cakes didst carry earth!
Thou madman great, of the great haven'sshrine!
While I, who knew no law of right, to Thee,
through ignorant delusion drew not near,
O Best of Beings, Lord of Civa-world,
me, lower than the meanest cur, a man
Of evils sore, Thou cam'st to make Thine own,
AND SHOW'DST THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (8)
In wilderment I strayed from Perun-turrai far,
where tears were changed to joy, and foulness purged;
By sinful deeds to ruin brought, henceforth
I sinner knew not what should after grow.
Reft of the home where Thy bright feet once stood,
a prey to dire perplexity, I dwelt.
To save me from confusion sore Thou cam'st
AND SHOW'DST THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (12)
That I the matchless ornament might wear
of love unique,- draw nigh, and daily praise,-
Abashed with awe of reverence,- the shame
that knows no shame,- sinking amid the sea;
Of Perun-turrai, dear beyond compare,
the glorious ship I seized and climbed theren;
Straightway, in splendour no eye sees, Thou cam'st
AND SHOW'DST THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (16)
In glorious form displayed, Thou teeming cloud
of perfect good, in Perun-turrai seen!
O matchless Gem, Who putt'st Thyself within
the thought of me, who naught of virtue knew!
The world itself shall witness bear that I
desired Thee eagerly, and then Thou cam'st,-
That when I called Thee, then Thou cam'st,-
AND SHOW'DST THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (20)
Great flood of Perun-turrai's shrine, Thou didst
the love that knows no change bestow;
When foes with many an impious speech stood round,
what didst Thou unto me before them all?
Thy Foot shall be my only refuge still,
from every death, and every various ill,-
And, therefore, when in love I called, Thou cam'st,
AND SHOW'DST THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (24)
O Ican, Who the four and sixty demons mad'st
to share the eightfold qualities divine,-
When I had sunk in evil deeds,- the fruit
of triple foulness that confusion brings,-
Thou didst the bands of clinging sorrow loose;
mad'st me Thine own; gav'st me Thy feet's pure flower;
In presence of Thy servant-band didst come
AND SHOW THYSELF UPON THE EAGLE'S HILL (28)
Hymn XXXI- ganda pathu
'MINE EYES HAVE SEEN.'
THE SIGHT OF THE MYSTIC DANCE
THE UNSPEAKABLE VISION.
Tillai.- In the legends of the Sage it appears that he did not visit Tillai till he had seen the other shrines of Caiva worship, and had become renowned both as a devotee and as a poet. It almost appears as if there existed some rivalry between the great temple of the Pandiyan land in Madura, and the famous shrine of he Cora land in Cithambaram. It is quite certain that this latter in great measure superseded the former. It does not appear, indeed, that Manikka-Vacagar ever revisited Madura after his formal renunciation of his position there. It may almost be inferred that he was never heartily forgiven by the king for the misappropriation of the cost of the horses. Of the fifty-one poems about a half were composed in Tillai, and these may be divided into two classes: the lyrics that express his own feelings and illustrate his life; and those which were composed (as is believed) for the use of others. I wish that it had been possible to re-arrange the poems.
Among the Tillai lyrics are to be found his most impassioned utterances. With this poem (XXXI) must be compared (XL), both of them expressing his enthusiastic joy at being permitted at length to behold the greatest shrine of his Master.
Tillai in the time of the Sage was to the devotees of Civan what Jerusalem was to the Jews of old; and many of the expressions in these two lyrics will remind the reader of Psalm cxxii; and not a few of the expressions are identical with those in the rhyme often attributed to Bernard of Morlaix. One is frequently reminded of 'Jerusalem the Golden, with milk and honey blest.'
In senses' power, sure cause of death, I erewhile 'wildered lay,-
Oft wrapt through realms of boundless space, then plunged in dismal hells!
He gave perception clear, made me all bliss,- made me His own!
I'VE TILLAI SEEN that holds the Gem, which endless rapture yields! (4)
Enmeshed in grievous memories of deeds and fated births
Outworn I lay; nor knew my soul one faintest thought of Him,
The Matchless One, Who cuts off 'birth'; Who made me His with power!
HIM HAVE I SEEN IN TILLAI'S COURT, where worships all the world! (8)
His form I knew not,- even then He fixed His love on me,
Planted Himself within my thought and flesh,- so made me His!
The Lord of sacred Turutti, I, currish slave, with joy
HAVE SEEN IN TILLAI'S FANE ADORNED, the sweet and blissful seat! (12)
To me, untaught, most ignorant, the very lowest cur,
In mighty grace He came, with heavenly beauty me to clothe,
And loosed my 'servile bonds of sense' in sight of many men;
His form I'VE SEEN IN TILLAI'S TEMPLE COURT, where all bow down! (16)
Me whirled about 'mid 'caste' and 'clan' and 'birth', and sore perplexed,-
Vile helpless dog,- He made His own, all sorrow rooting out;
Destroyed all folly,- alien forms,- all thought of 'I' and 'mine';
Ambrosia pure, HIM HAVE I SEEN IN TILLAI, where the saints consort! (20)
From birth itself, from sickness, age to 'scape; earth's ties to loose;
I went,- I SAW the 'Only-First-One,' Owner of the world,
Who dwells, while Vedic sages, hosts of heavenly ones adore,
IN TILLAI-CITY'S SACRED COURT, girt round with leafy groves. (24)
My servile bonds of sense in grace He loosed,- me loveless mean,-
Fast tied He to His sacred Feet by willing mind's stout bonds,
That never part; made me a fool in sight of men; and now
I'VE TILLAI SEEN, where sportings of the wondrous Mage are known. (28)
Sunk here midst infinite conceits, all ignorance was I;
I lay, poor empty soul, unwetting aught that might spring forth;
Now Him who made me His, bestowing raptures infinite,
I'VE SEEN IN TILLAI, where the guileless heavenly ones bow down! (32)
To me, a dog, who knew not anything of seemly right,
He gave His heavenly grace, took me and cut off actions' guilt;
He gave unfailing love: light high and higher shone; Him I
IN TILLAI'S COURT HAVE SEEN, where the four mystic scrolls are conned! (36)
The elements, the senses five, He is; and substance too.
All diverse forms He, mighty, wears: knows no diversity.
The gleaming Light that rules, and ill destroys; the Emerald;
HIM HAVE I SEEN IN TILLAI BRIGHT, where Vedas worship and extol! (40)
Hymn XXXII- praththanai pathu
I. Alternations of feeling.
Mingling with Thy true saints, that day in speechless joy I stood;
Next day, with dawning daylight trouble came, and there abode.
My soul grows old. Master! to seek the gleam of fadeless bliss
Wand'ring I went. In grace to me, Thy slave, let loye abound! (4)
Some of Thy saints have gained through plenteous love Thy grace. Grown lod,
All vain my griefs, - of this vile corpse I see no end.
Remove from sinful me my deeds of sin; let mercy's sea o'erflow!
O Master, to Thy slave give ceaseless soul-subduing grace! (8)
III. Fortitude-strong in love-needed.
Deep in the vast Ambrosial sea of grace Thy perfect saints
Have sunk. Lo, Lord, I wearied bear this frame with darkness filled!
Men see, and cry, 'A madman, one of 'wildered mind is here.'
Master, that I may fearless live, true live I NEEDS must gain! (12)
IV. Craving for consummate bliss
I NEED!; I NEED! Midst Thy true faithful ones, in grace desiring me,
Thou mad'st me Thine, my grief's expell'd, - Ambrosia! precious peerless Gem,
Like gleam of quenchless lamp! And I, Thy servant too, shall I
Reach Thee, and ne'er again know NEED? Thou all-abounding Love! (16)
V. Shall I get free from Self?
Thou Partner of the bright-eyed maid! To dwell among Thy saints,
Desiring Thee in truth, shall it be giv'n to sinful me
By Thine own grace, gaining the ancient sea of bliss superne,
To rest, in soul and body freed from thought of 'I' and 'mine'? (20)
VI. Longing desire of the Infinite Bliss
Thy loving ones have gained 'cessation' absolute; but here
My spirit ever melts, outside I lie,- base dog, and mourn!
O Master mine, I would attain true love's vast sea of bliss,
That cahnge, surcease, oblivion, sev'rance, thought, bound, death knows not! (24)
VII. Cut short Thy work!
They've seen the sea-like bliss, have seized it, and enjoy! Is't meet,
That I, low dog, with added pains and pining sore should bide?
Master, do Thou Thyself give grace, I pray! I faint! I fail!
Cut short Thy work! O light! let darkness flee before Thy mercy's beam! (28)
VIII. Come quickly
Enter'd amongst Thine own, to whom true melting grace abounds,
I stand with soul like tough bambasastem, and wear away.
O Civan, grant the love Thy crowned servants bear to Thee!
O swiftly come, and give to me Thy tender beauteous Foot! (32)
IX. Was I not made Thine own?
Thine own stood round, and all declar'd: 'No grace withheld, all grace
Is given,' - and I, Thy servant, shall I mourn as aliens wont?
Thou King of Civa-world, by glorious grace didst change my thought,
An make me Thine,- I pray Thee, Lord, place me in changeless bliss! (36)
X. Is aught gained by delay?
Thou Partner sole of the Gazelle! Sweet fruit to them that worship Thee!
Teacher! If I am like an unbor'd gourd, doth thus Thy glory live?
O King, when comes the time that Thou wilt grant in grace to me
A soul that melts and swells in knowing Thee, Who cam'st in flesh? (40)
XI. Must I langusih here?
In concert joining shall Thy saints, there bending smile and joy?
O Master, drooping, all forlorn, like withered tree, must I
Stand sullen while they mingle, melt, souls swelling, lost in bliss
In rhythmic dance? Grant bliss of sweet communion with Thy grace! (44)
Hymn XXXIII- kulaitha pathu
THE DECAD OF THE BRUISED HEART
It would be hard to find a more touching expression of absolute mystic self-renunciation than these verses contain.
I. Useless suffering
If cruel pain oppress from 'deeds of old,' guard Thou
Who ownest me! If I, a man of 'cruel deeds'
Suffer, from this my woe doth any gain accrue?
O light of Umai's eyes, take Thou me for Thine own!
And though I err, ah! should'st not Thou forgive,-
Thou on whose crest the crescent rests? If I appeal,
Wilt Thou withhold Thy grace, Father, from me Thy slave? (4)
II. Why is the affliction of embodied existence prolonged?
Thy slave's afflictions all to drive far off I deem'd
Thou mad'st me Thine, erewhile; Thou Partner of the Queen,
Whose form is like the slender creeping plant! Our King;
bidding me come, why didst Thou not in grace destroy
This body vile? Our Lord, Who dwell'st in you yon blest world!
Thou called'st,- if my service not accepting now
Thou dost afflict, Master, will any gain accrue? (8)
III. Pardon my offences.
Thy mercy given to save one void of worth,
a dog like me, hath it this day pass'd all away?
Thou Partner of the Tender One, our Mighty King,
ev'n faults that like a mountain rise, to virtues turn,
If Thou but say the word! If Thou didst take me once
for Thine, why dost Thou not- though ruined- pity take
On me? our Lord,- Thou of eight arms and triple eye! (12)
IV. When wilt Thou call me back to Thee?
Bridegroom of Her with fawnlike eyes! Our King! If Thou
hast caused me Thine abiding glory to forget;
If Thou hast thrust me out in fleshly form to dwell;
if Thou hast caused Thy slave to wander here forlorn;
Knowing Thy servant's ignorance, O gracious King,
when comes the day that Thou Thyself wilt show Thy grace?
Ah! When, I cry, when wilt Thou call me back to Thee? (16)
V. All is Thyself!
The tongue itself that cries to Thee,- all other powers
of my whole being that cry out,- all are THYSELF!
Thou art my way of strength! The trembling thrill that runs
through me is Thee! THYSELF the whole of ill and weal!
None other here! Would one unfold and truly utter Thee,
what way to apprehend? Thou Lord of Civa-world!
And if trembling fear, should'st Thou not comfort me? (20)
Thou know'st what to DESIRE is meet,- when we DESIRE
Thou'rt He that wholly grants! To Ayan and to Mal
DESIRING Thee, how hard to reach! Yet me Thou didst
DESIRE, my service claim! DESIRING what didst Thou
Bestow Thy grace? That and naught else do I DESIRE!
And if aught else there be that stirs in me DESIRE!
That too, in sooth, is Thy DESIRE,- is it not so? (24)
VII. I am wholly Thine
That very day my soul, my body, all to me
pertaining, didst Thou not take as Thine own,
Thou like a mountain strong! when me Thou mad'st Thy slave?
And this day is there any hindrance found in me?
Our mighty One! Eight-arm'd and Triple-eyed!
Do Thou to me what's good alone, or do Thou ill,
To all resigned, I'm Thine and wholly Thine! (28)
VIII. My destinies are in Thy hand.
Me dog, and lower than a dog, all lovingly
Thyself didst take for Thine. This birth-illusion's thrall
Is plac'd within Thy charge alone. And I in sooth,
is there aught I need beyond that, with care search out?
Herein is there authority at all with me?
Thou may'st again consign me to some mortal frame;
Or'neath Thy jewelled foot may'st place me, Brow-eyed One! (32)
IX. My soul is fixed on Thee.
Thou in Whose brow a central eye doth gleam! Thy feet-
the twain- I saw; mine eyes rejoic'd; now, night and day,
Without a thought, on them alone I ponder still!
How I may quit this earthly frame, how I may come
To enter 'neath Thy feet in bliss, I ponder not!
Save Thee, O King, should I Thy servant ponder aught?
Thy service here hath fulness of delight for me! (36)
X. The hope deferred.
Thy beauty only I, a slavish dog, desire,
and cry aloud. O Master! Thou didst show to me
Thy sacred Form in lustre shrin'd, and didst accept
my service. Thou my Glory!- Mine august abode,
In ancient days assur'd, Thou now withhold'st;- and so,
O beauteous Lord!- Thou of the glorious mystic Word!
My King,- sorely indeed hast Thou bruis'd my poor heart! (40)
Hymn XXXIV- uyir unnip pathu
I. His praises.
'MY SOUL IS CONSUMED.'
RAPTURE OF LIFE IN CIVAN
Partner of Umai's loveliness! Destroyer of the 'deeds'
That to this frame cling fast! Thou Guardian of the Bull! Who dwell'st
In Perun-turrai's sacred shrine by well-skilled bards extolled!
When shall I joy, O when exulting sing, henceforth, I too? (4)
II. His condescending love.
And who am I would reach His foot? To me, mere cur, a throne
He gave; enter'd my flesh; mixed with my life; leaves not my soul.
With crown of honey-dripping-locks, blest Perun-turrai's Lord
On me a gracious boon bestow'd, that heavenly ones know not! (8)
III. Sacred enthusiasm.
I know myself no more; nor day's nor night's recurrence; He
Who mind and speech transcends with mystic madness madden'd me;
He owns the angry mighty Bull;- blest Perun-turrai's Lord;
The Brahman used to me wiles I know not,- O Beam divine! (12)
IV. None like to Him.
And are there other sin-destroyers, say! in this wide world?
Ent'ring me too, He made me His, melting my very bones!
He bound me fast, O joy! Lord, Who in Perun-turrai dwells,
He fills my mind, in eye enshrin'd, midmost in every word! (16)
V. Cling to Him with reverent love.
Ye who are freed from clinging ties, cling ye where man should cling!
If ye desire the blissful goal to reach, swift hasten on!
Learn ye the glory of the King, Who crowned with braided lock
In Perun-turrai dwells; join ye with those who cherish there His foot! (20)
VI. I am His, body and soul.
Foulness that heaves like billows of the sea He all destroy'd;
My soul and body ener'd,- tills, and quits no more. He Who
In Perun-turrai dwells, with crown of spreading braided locks,
Wreath'd with the moon's bright beams, our Lord Supreme. This is His wile! (24)
VII. The goal reached.
Glory I ask not; nor desire I wealth; not earth or heaven I crave;
I seek no birth or death; those that desire not Civan nevermore
I touch. I've reach'd the foot of sacred Perun-turrai's King,
And crown'd myself! I go not forth! I know no going hence again! (28)
VIII. Honey or nectar?
Shall I name Thee 'honey from the branch'? 'nectar from the sounding sea'?
Our Aran! precious Balm! my King! No powers have I to sing Thy praise,
Who dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine, by loamy rice-fields girt,
Thou Spotless One, Whose sacred Form the holy ash adorns! (32)
IX. Withdrawal of comfort.
Thee I know I need: and all I need I yet know not;
Ah me! our Aran, precious Balm, Ambrosia, Thou Whose FOrm is like
The crimson flower, Who dwell'st in sacred Perun-turrai's shrine,
And still remain'st, the very self within my soul! (36)
X. Prayer permitted still.
While dwellers in the heavenly world do holy deeds, in vain
Bearing a frame of flesh compact, I stand like forest tree:
Thou dwell'st in Perun-turrai's shrine, where honey-dripping cassiablooms;
Though I'm a sinner, yet I may implore, 'give grace to me!' (40)
Hymn XXXV- achchap pathu
THE DECAD OF DREAD
'ABSORPTION IN DIVINE KNOWLEDGE.'
Not the sleek snake in anthill coil'd I dread;
nor feigned truth of men of lies,-
As I, in sooth, feel fear at night of those
who have not learnt the Lofty-One
To know; who near the Foot of the Brow-Ey'd,-
our Lord, crown'd with the braided-lock,-
Yet think there's other God. When these unlearn'd we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (4)
II. False teachers.
I shudder not, though evil yearnings rise;
nor fear, though sea of deedso'erwhelm!
Beside His sacred Form, our Lord of lords,-
in which the Twono change discerned,
When name of other gods,- what'er they be,-
by lips profane is but pronounc'd:
If I see those, who loathe not such discourse,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (8)
III. The unloving.
I dread not mighty jav'lin, dripping gore;
nor glance of maids with jewell'd arms!
But those that will not sweetly taste His grace,-
Whose glance can melt the inmost soul,-
Who dances in the hallow'd court,- my Gem
unstain'd and pure,- nor praise His Name:-
Such men of loveless hearts when we behold,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (12)
IV. The unfeeling.
I dread not chatter vain of parrot-tongues;
nor fear their guileful wanton smile!
If, drawing nigh the Vethian's feet, Whose Form
the sacred ashes white displays,
Men's souls nor melt, nor weep they worshipping,
their eyes with gushing teardrops fill'd:
If these, of tender feeling void, we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (16)
V. The undevout.
I fear not, though diseases all should come;
nor dread I birth with death conjoin'd!
The crescent moon as ornament He wears,
yet men praise not His roseate Feet,
(Which Mal, though the firm ground He clave, saw not,)
nor join His worshippers devout!
If those that wear not ashes white we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (20)
VI. Not real worshippers.
I dread not angry flash of gleaming fires;
nor fear, though mountains on me roll !
His shoulders ashes wear, Lord of the Bull,
Sire, passing utterance of speech,-
Yet men praise not His lotus Feet, nor bow,
nor crown them with the full-blown flower!
If those hard hearts, that yield not to His power we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (24)
VII. Devoid of enthusiasm.
Not guilt unseemly that swift vengeance brings;
nor stroke of instant death I dread!
He dances in the beauteous court, and waves
'mid smoking clouds His fiery axe;
The cassia-wreath, all bright with jewell'd buds,
He wears, of beings First! Yet men
Praise not His Foot! If these, unmov'd by grace we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (28)
VIII. No high aspirations.
I fear not elephant to pillar chain'd;
nor tiger fiery-eyed I dread!
The Sire, whose crest sweet fragrance sheds,- His Feet
that heav'nly ones may not approach,-
Men praise not, nor with triumph haste
within His shrine to sweetly live !
If we behold these men of wisdom reft,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (32)
IX. False shame.
I fear not thunderbolt from out the cloud;
nor changing confidence of kings!
Our Lord of lords the very poison made
Ambrosia, by His gracious act;
He makes us His in way of righteousness;
yet men smear not the sacred ash!
If those who from His side shrink thus we see,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (36)
X. Men that worship not.
I dread not arrow that unswerving flies;
nor wrath of death's dread King, I fear !
Him Whose adornment is the mighty moon
men praise not, nor with hymns adore;
They ponder not eith souls subdued, while tears
from brighty beaming eyes pour forth.
These thankless men,- not men !- if we behold,-
AH ME! WE FEEL NO DREAD LIKE THIS! (40)
Hymn XXXVI- tiru pandi pathikam
THE SACRED PANDI
[THE GROWTH OF RAPTURE]
The Lyric of the Sacred Pandi.- Note IV should be studied as introductory to this very dramatic poem, which is in every way a remarkable composition; yet I should hardly venture to affirm that Manikka-Vacagar was its author. In order to understand it, it is necessary to call to mind the strange legend of Civan's appearance at Madura as a horseman, or as He is here called a warrior. The first stanza is supposed to be uttered by the poet as he contemplates the God entering Madura on that occasion, surrounded by the other gods, all on splendid chargers. Civan Himself is mounted upon leader of a band of foreign merchants, the graces of the accomplished knight, and the majesty of a king. He has come, according to His promise, to save His servant from suffering, and to vindicate His fidelity. The poet in his soul adores his Deliverer and his God.
In the remaining stanzas he addresses the assembled multitude, and expounds the mystery. 'Fear not as though it were the Avatar of some ruthless conqueror! This horseman is Civan,'- the founder, according to legend, of the dynasty of Pandiyan kings. 'He is the abiding King of Madura, and now He comes in grace to the mortal king of Madura, Arimarttanan.' The whole typifies the sacred war that He wages as the Pathi against the enemies and tormentors of His people's souls. The third stanza skilfully, though by an anachronism, allegorizes the flood that Civan brought upon the city, when at His command the Vaigai overflowed its banks. In the fifth stanza he spiritualizes the idea that Civan appears here as a merchant, a seller of horses. The sixth, referring to His previous appearance at Perun-turrai, hints at His character as a Guru, a giver of spiritual light; and the whole ends with an
urgent call to the people to throw aside all foolish delusions, and to march boldly forward under His banner, and accept Him as their King. The way in which the whole legend is allegorized points, it may be thought, to a later period, when the Caiva Siddhanta system had been more developed; and when, under the influence of the Santana Teachers, the whole system was being harmonized. There is here a disposition to make little of the myth, and to bring into prominence its spiritual teaching. This was the second stage of the Caiva development. This however is mere conjecture, and there seems to be scarcely any means for its absloute verification.
The metre is to my ear the most rhythmical of all the species of Tamil poetry. The student should learn to recite and enjoy the verses, if he would fully understand them!
I. The God appears, and is recognised by the Sage.
The Bridegroom of the mountain Maid,- the Pandiyan's Ambrosia rare,-
The One,- Who is from all diverse,- I worship at His flow'ry Feet!
Made manifest in grace, He on a charger rides, and thrills my soul
In Warrior-guise ! no other form beside my inmost soul doth know ! (4)
II. 'Behold His condescension.'
They gather'd round, bewilder'd all, as in a waking dream;- I spoke:
'Like sun that veils its beams He comes, His hand divine holds warrior's spear.
He on a charger rides ! Ye see our race with ruin threatened sore !
'Tis thus for Madura's king he stays the flowing tide of future birth !' (8)
III. The Flood in Madura.
'Ye who a soul possess that swims and bathes in rapture's rushing tide !
A Pandi-king, He mounts His steed, to make all earth the gladness share.
He takes the form of flood of joy unique, and holds His servants' hearts.
Plunging in flood of heavenly bliss, O cherish ye His sacred Foot!' (12)
IV. The Holy War.
'Good friends, persist not in this round of BIRTH ! This is the time ! The King
Of the good southern land shines forth, and ever draws from out its sheath
His gleaming sword of wisdom pure, His steed of rapture urges on,
Makes war with warring BIRTH through the wide world, and foes confounded flee !' (16)
V. 'How are His good gifts to be gained:' a merchant.
'While there is time, give Him your love, and save yourselves ! Hate ye to Him
Who ate the poison, Whom 'tis hard for him who ate the earth,
And him of faces four, and all the heavenly ones, to draw anigh;
Who to His servants stores of grace dispenses, our good Pandi-lord !' (20)
VI. 'This is His day of grace:' a teacher.
'That gathering darkness may disperse, illusions cease, and all be clear,
The Splendour urges on His steed. The Minavan himself knows not
To utter all His praise. Would ye all joy obtain, seek His blest Foot !
This is the gift in rarest grace the Pandiyan gives, - RELEASE for aye ! (24)
VII. "He gives audience:' a conquering king.
'When on illusion's charger He in beauty rides, and gathers round
His waiting hosts; the enmities whose name is "earthly birth" shall cease
To those who refuge find He gives grace, glorious, vast, inscrutable.
Draw near the South-king's mighty Foot, Whose conquering banner proudly waves!' (28)
VIII. 'Receive His gracious gift.'
'In deathless rapture's flood our souls He plunges, shows His changeless grace;
Drives far away our DEEDS, dissolves the bonds of old impurity;
And makes us His! Come draw ye near the Pandi-ruler's mighty Foot.
Press forward, take the gracious boon of Him Who made the circling world !' (32)
IX. The magic power of His appearing.
'That men may cross the mingling sea of evil DEEDS and future BIRTH,
The Pandi-king supreme, Who melts the soul of those that love and praise,
Upon His charger came. When this the slender flower-like maidens knew,
Like trees they stood,- their senses rapt, themselves forgot, and all beside !' (36)
X. 'In faith and love cling to Him.'
'As once He conquered death, so now the five sense-kings He conquered too;
And then, in beauteous state, Himself,- and the great Goddess with Him,- sat !
Strong Warrior, on the Bull he came to Minavan, and slew his foes !
O ye of weak and wavering faith ! Draw near, hold fast His roseate Feet !' (40)
Hymn XXXVII- piditha pathu
THE DECAD OF THE 'TENACIOUS GRASP.'
This is one of the most characteristic of the Sage's lyrics, and would seem to belong to a later period than that when the 'cry of the forsaken' (VI) was composed. It is in singular contrast to that lyric. He had meanwhile visited many shrines, and had passed through much struggle; but when he reached what is here called Tiru-toni-puram(the sacred Boat-town), of which the modern name is Shialli, he found a magnificient temple there,that seemed to him like a reproduction on earth of the silver mountain Kailasam, on which the God dwells in splendour with Parvathi. This shrine has always been remarkable, but is especially honoured now as the reputed birthplace of Tiru-nana-sambandhar; who, in popular estimation, is perhaps the greatest of the Caiva saints. In his legend we have elsewhere given some notices of this his home. It has twelve names connected with wild legends; but
is called here 'the sacred Boat-town,' because when at the end of each aeon the deluge of universal destruction overwhelms the universe, this shrine floats securely on the waters,- the everlasting ark ! Here it seems that the Sage renewed his vows to his guru, from whom he had somewhat departed in thought and practice. He seems to regard himself now as a sivanmuthan and declares that he will henceforth hold fast his allegiance under all circumstances, in life and through death.
I. Thou art our own !
O King of those above ! - O ceaseless Plenitude
of mystic bliss ! - To me defiled Thou cam'st
Fruit newly ripe, and mad'st me Thine own dwelling-place.
Balm, yielding bliss all earthly bliss beyond !
True meaning's Certitude ! The Foot in glory bright !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
OUR VERY OWN - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (4)
II. My only Help in this life.
Ever the bull Thou holdest,- King of heaven's glad host !
To me a man of sin Possession true !
Thy slave is foul decay that quits not, merest earth;
within a very nest of worms I lie !
Thou mad'st me Thine, and safe hast kept, lest I should fail
at last; O God, O mighty Sea of grace!
FOR EVERMORE - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (8)
III. Reality amidst illusions.
O Mother! O my Sire ! My Gem beyond compare !
Ambrosia, ever-precious yield of love !
I, vile one, dwell in short-lived house of worms,
where false illusions ever growing press.
On me Thou hast bestow'd the true and perfect rest;
my Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
UPON THIS EARTH- I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (12)
IV. Light in the darkness.
Splendour of grace ! Well ripen'd luscious Fruit unique !
King of ascetics stern of all prevailing power !
Science of meanings deep ! Delight transcending praise !
Of mystic sacred musings' Fulness blest !
Thou enterest Thy servant's thought, and all is clear !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
IN EACH DARK HOUR- I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (16)
V. The One Helper in life's struggles.
Thou only One, to Whom can none compare ! Thou Light
shining within the very soul of me, Thy slave !
On me who knew not the true goal,- of merit void,
O Love unique,- Thou hast choice grace bestowed !
O radiant Form Whose splendour bright no tongue can tell !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
IN WEARINESS - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (20)
VI. In death, as in life.
O Pinnagan, our great Possession, Thou hast held
as sacred shrine my empty worthless mind;
Hast given me rapturous joy that knows no bound; hast cut
the root of 'birth,' and made me all Thine own !
O mystic Form, by me in open vision seen !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
IN HOUR OF DEATH - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (24)
VII. The revelation of the way to worship.
Thou Who didst teach the way to grasp that Ancient One,
Who cuts the root of every servile 'bond' !
O Being,- Who didst show to me Thy flowery feet;
my worship didst accept; ent'ring my soul;-
Resplendent Lamp ! Thou mystic Form of splendour bright !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
RULER SUPREME - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (28)
VIII. The Deity everywhere present .
O Father ! worlds on worlds Thy presence fills !
Thou Primal Deity ! O wondrous One
Who knows no end ! Thy saints devoutly cling to Thee !
My Wealth of bliss ! O Civa-Peruman !
Wild Vagrant, living Germ in being's every form,-
diverse Thyself from every living thing !
ILLUSIONIST - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (32)
IX. The rapture of devotion.
The mother's thoughtful care her infant feeds: Thou deign'st
with greater love to visit sinful me, -
Melting my flesh, flooding my soul with inward light,
unfailing rapture's honied sweetness Thou
Bestowest,- through my every part infusing joy !
My Wealth of bliss ! - O Civa-Peruman !
CLOSE FOLLOWING THEE - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (36)
X. The delight of His indwelling.
O Ruler, spotless Gem, Who mad'st me Thine, thrilling
my frame through every pore; in friendly shape
Didst enter it,- as 'twere a vast and golden shrine,-
making this body vile of sweetness full !
Affliction, birth and death, bewilderment,- all links
of life,- Thou hast cut off, O beauteous Gleam !
MY SOUL'S DELIGHT - I'VE SEIZED THEE,- HOLD THEE FAST ! HENCEFORTH,
AH, WHITHER GRACE IMPARTING WOULD'ST THOU RISE? (40)
Hymn XXXVIII- tiruvesaravu
['ABSTRACTION FROM OBJECTIVE THOUGHT.']
My iron mind full oftern didst Thou draw, and melt my frame;
Thy feet to me didst show, as though the sweet cane's pleasantness;
Thou of the braided lock, where waters wander wave on wave!
The jackals all Thou mad'st great horses; thus didst show Thy grace. (4)
Thou Partner of the maid whose words are music! To thine own
Ambrosia precious, sating every soul ! Master, Thy slave
Rule Thou ! Cut off these earthly 'births.' When Thou didst pity me
I saw Thy foot in vision clear, and, ah, my soul was freed ! (8)
No hiding place had I; in hell of births and deaths I sank;
No loving hand was stretched to aid; Master, Thou bad'st me come,
Who didst the poison eat from out the swelling sea ! To me,
How Thou didst show Thy flowery foot, our Deity supreme ! (12)
Dancer with serpent-girded foot ! Thou of the braided lock !
Lord of the saints crowned with Thy flowery foot ! me dost Thou save,
From praising meaner gods that others praise. O wondorous grace !
I ponder how Thou to my soul didst show Thy saving power. (16)
No lore of wisdom had I, melted not in rapturous tears;-
Yet other gods knew not ! ANd by Thy word, our mighty Lord !
My soul exulted when I gained Thy foot. To me, Thy slave,
As though one gave to cur a golden seat, Thy grace was shown. (20)
Sore troubled by the glancing eyes of damsels, soft of foot,
A poisonous anguish pierc'd my trembling frame; yet by
Thy grace I 'scaped, my Lord, my Owner ! Me Thou bad'st Fear not,'
And mad'st Thine own,- Ambrosia of the sacred temple court ! (24)
For me Thou caused'st 'birth' to cease, great Lord of bliss, Who dwell'st unknown
By even the heavenly ones in Perun-turrai's southern shrine !
Entering in love, melting my heart within, Thou madest me Thine !
Great Lord, such was the way that Thou didst look on me ! (28)
O Ancient One ! First One, that grows not old ! The Endless
Chaunted word ! True Essence ! Burgeoned forth as that WHICH IS,
AND IS NOT. Entering here, me who in error rolled, Thy grace
Restored, and made Thine own. Such was Thy way, O mighty One ! (32)
IX. Special manifestation in Idai-maruthur.
Sprang up Thy foot, as sweetly fragrant flower within my mind, melting my soul !
In every street I wept, and praised Thee, mighty Lord of bliss !
Mercy supreme that as wide ocean rolls, I tasted, plunged therein !
Father, in Idai-maruthur Thou show'dst Thy grace to me ! (36)
X. No desert in me; all in His grace !
Have I indeed performed ascetic deeds, Ci-va-ya-na-ma gained to chaunt !
Civan, the mighty Lord, as honey and as rare ambrosia sweet,
Himself He came, entered my soul,- to me His slave gave grace;
So that I hated, loathed this life of soul in flesh enmeshed, that day. (40)
Hymn XXXIX- tirup pulambal
I. I praise none but Thee.
THE SACRED LAMENT.
['THE MATURIY OF RAPTURE.']
O Thou Whose way Ayan, from flow'ry lotus sprung, knows not, nor Mal !
Partner of her whose swelling bosom wears the Gongu flower ! Whose form
White ash displays ! Owner of blest Arur, begrit with lofty wall !
Saving Thy flower-like feet, nought else will I Thy servant ever praise ! (4)
II. To Thee alone I look for help.
Thou of the braided tuft ! Fire-wielder ! Thou Whose weapon is the dart
Three-leav'd and gleaming ! Light superne ! Lord of the flock ! The soft, white bull
Is thine ! O Lord of Perun-turrai girt by spreading groves ! Thy slave
Am I. Owner, I know in truth no other present help than Thee. (8)
Nor friends, nor kin I seek; no city I desire; no name I crave;
No learned ones I seek; and henceforth lessons to be conned suffice.
Thou dancer, in Kuttalam dwelling blissful, Thy resounding feet
I'll sek, that as the cow yearns for its calf, my longing soul may melt. (12)
Hymn XL.- kulaap pathu
I. He enters on a life of absolute renunciation.
THE DECAD OF 'GLORIOUS TILLAI.'
The potsherd and the skull I deemed my kin; my soul dissolved;
Wealth to be sought was Civan's foot alone, I clearly saw;
With soul and body to the earth in worship bent, a slave,
I'VE REACH'D HIM WHERE HE DANCES, LORD OF TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY! (4)
II. Here shall I be set free.
Through fond desire of those of slender form and gentle words,
How many deeds soever guilt increasing, I have done,
Nor 'death' nor 'birth' I dread ! He caus'd me to embrace His feet;
A slave, I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (8)
III. He brought back my wandering mind.
Melting my inmost frame, He killed the germ of twofold deeds;-
Pluckt out my rooted griefs;- made purely one the manifold;-
So that all former things might perish quite, He entered in !
I'VE REACHED HIM WHO IN LOVE BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (12)
IV. Civan made known only to disciplined minds.
Who severs not Himself from those whose minds are severed still
From vain assembles void of sign,and way, and tempermeet,-
The 'goal of bliss,'- Ambrosia's mighty flow,- to chastened thought
Revealed,- I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (16)
V. The consummation gained in Tillai
This same embodiment bound up with name and quality
To consummate, He cuts off sin that clings ! His servants all
As they draw near, the honey taste of Civan's mercy, and
Are filled, where I've REACHED HIM WHO RULES IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (20)
VI. My being in His hand.
Bud on the bough, then rounded flower, next fruit unripe, then fruit
Matured,- my frame thus formed He made His own, nor hence departs;-
That trusting thought may ever cling to Him, as it clings now,
I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S GOLDEN HOME OF JOY ! (24)
VII. The mighty foot.
The demon's arm for strength renowned, by the same sacred foot
That pressed upon my head, was crushed, and glorious rested there;
Thus by His grace I'm freed galling bonds of life, and here
I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF THRILLING JOY ! (28)
The sacred foot that walked within the wilds after the wild
Black boar that digs deep down, He planted on my head;
And so surpassing power of the five fierce ones' mighty play
Doth cease, when I'VE REACHED HIM WHO RULES IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (32)
I lay as one who tills a barren field and reaps no crop;-
'Twas then the gain of penance done of old accrued; and thus
Before the Caivan's roseate lotus foot I bent my worthless head
His own,- I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF JOY ! (36)
Her form He shares who by His side grows as a tender bough;-
To Him I with right mind my sacred ministries perform;-
This here, abolishes whate'er results this state can yield;
I'VE REACHED HIM WHO BEARS RULE IN TILLAI'S HOME OF HEAVENLY JOY ! (40)
Hymn XLI.- arputha pathu
[THE UNUTTERABLE EXPERIENCE]
The following decad was composed at Tiru-perun-turrai, and is probably one of the first sung by our bard. It is in some respects quite unique among his compositions, and certainly has not the flowing case and rapture of some of his subsequent verses; but perhaps it reveals more of himself than any other. It was put forth, as would seem, immediately after his conversion; and is a thankful acknowledgment of the grace that has delivered him (as he now thinks) completely, and for ever, from the bonds of sensual passion.
The three things which a Caiva saint has to get free from are sensual passion, wrath, and the infatuation that regards the phenomenal as the real. Our Sage seems never to have been troubled with wrathful tendencies; and, in fact, must have been a very gentle and sweet-tempered man; but it must be remembered that at the time of his conversion he was yet in his early youth, the Prime Minister and favourite of the great Pandiyan king, the virtual ruler of that ancient realm, boasting a pure and lofty lineage, of prepossessing appearance and manner, instinct with the glow of a poet's enthusiasm; and, in fact, possessing all that the phenomenal world has to give. Remembering, too, the tone and manners of his time and people, it is not to be wondered at that this poem makes acknowledgement of a previous utter absorption in worldly enjoyments, and a habit of mental infatuation,- apparently
absolute. From the first and third of the trio of evils, he had very little chance, humanly speaking, of ever becoming free. Yet the history tells us that he had previously sought for light, had consulted teachers of many systems, and had waited in darkness and in bonds for the coming of the Master Whose service should be 'perfect freedom' from sensual thraldom. This poem is his thanks giving for (what he believes to be) his final deliverance. It will be noted that he dwells with persistent monotony on one theme: he is 'free'; the time has not yet come for the analysis of his fellings; or for considering his future career. There is here an almost entire absence of mythology,- the one idea of God that he has before him is the loving Guru Whose feet have crowned the suppliant's head; even Uma, the mother, is not mentioned or alluded to; he utters no invitation to others to join him in praise; his is a gladness with which no stranger can intermediate.
The other poems, sung in the same place soon after, show him recovering from the overwhelming effect of his first glad surprise, and in them he finds it possible to dwell upon other topics.
The Tiruvacagamis a veritable Pilgrim's Progress, and surely reveals the experience of a devout and godly soul. It is possible that in this and in other of the poems, lines may have been altered and even verses added; for there is a noticeable discrepancy here and there; but internal evidence justifies us in concluding that mainly we have here the unrestrained utterances of a Caiva mystic of the eighth century.
I. The Truth.
By lust bewilder'd;- in this earthly sphere
caught in the circling sea of joyous life;-
By whirling tide of woman's charms engulf'd;-
lest I should sink with mind perturb'd,
He gave His sacred grace, that falseness all
my soul might flee, and showed His golden feet !
The TRUTH Himself,- He stood in presence there:
THIS MATCHLESS MIRACLE I TELL NOT, I ! (4)
II. The King.
I gave no fitting gift with lavish hand
of full-blown flowers; nor bowed with rev'rence meet.
He grace conferr'd, lest I should tread the paths
of grief, with mind bewildered by soft dames
With fragrant bosoms fair. He came to save,
and showed to me His golden jewell'd feet;
As KING in presence manifest He stood:
THIS MATCHLESS MIRACLE I TELL NOT, I ! (8)
III. The Ineffable Essence.
Busied in earth I acted many a lie;
I spake of 'I' and 'mine,'- illusions old;
Nor shunned what caused me pain; while sins increased
I wandered raving. Me, that BEING RARE,-
By the great mystic Vedas sought in vain,-
held fast in presence there; to lowly me
Essential sweetness was the food He gave:
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (12)
IV. The Helper.
To 'birth' and 'death' that cling to man, I gave no thought;
and uttering merest lies went on my way.
By eyes of maids with flowing jet-black locks
disturbed, with passion filled, I helpless lay.
He came ! the anklets on His roseate feet,-
I heard their tinkling sound; nor parts the bliss!
In grace my precious HELPER made me His:
THIS MIRACLE OF LOVE I KNOW NOT, I ! (16)
I wealth and kindered and all other bliss
enjoy'd; by tender maidens' charms was stirr'd;
I wandered free in joyous intercourse;
such goodly qualities it seemed were there.
He set me free; to stay the coure of 'deeds'
my foes, He showed His foot-flowers' tender grace,
My spirit stirred, entered within, and made me His:
THIS MATCHLESS MIRACLE I KNOW NOT, I ! (20)
VI. The 'Sea of excellence.'
I gave no thought to 'birth' and 'death,' that yield
their place successive; but with maidens joined
I sank engulfed as by a mighty flood:
their rosy lips my death ! I madly roamed.
The SEA OF EXCELLENCE, Whom neither quality
nor name of excellence defines,-
He came, and tenderly embracing made me His:
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (24)
VII. The Father.
Though born a man, unfailing gifts
I laid not at the golden feet; nor did I cull
The cluster'd flowers, by rule and wont prescrib'd;
nor chaunted the 'Five Letters' due. O'ercome
By the full-bosom'd damsels' jet-black eyes
I prostrate lay. SHowing His flow'ry feet,
To me the FATHER came, and made me His :
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (28)
VIII. He Whom words express not.
He caused the 'twofold deeds' to cease, that cause
this swing of soul with body joined. He, Whom
'Tis hard to learn by uttered sound to know,
gave me to know Himself: thus made me light !
He cut asunder bonds that clung; fulfilled
with His own mercy's gift sublime my soul's
Desire; and joined me to His servants' feet:
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (32)
IX. The Imperishable.
In tangled wilderness of 'birth' supine
I lay ; like wretched cur diseased I roamed;
Did as I lusted; dwelt with creatures vile,
with them complying, satisfied in soul !
He showed me there His flowery fragrant feet,
by Hari and by Ayan unattained;
Th' IMPERISHABLE made ev'n me His own:
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (36)
X. The Lord Supreme.
I gave no thought to thronging 'births' and 'deaths,'
but dwelt on tricks, and wiles, and glancing eyes
Of maids with wealth of braided tresses fair;
and thus I lay. The King, our LORD SUPREME,
His jewell'd feet, that traverse all the worlds,
to me made manifest like clustering blooms;
He wisdom gave, and made me all His own:
THIS MIRACLE OF GRACE I KNOW NOT, I ! (40)
Hymn XLII.- chennip pathu
I. Civan a light.
[THE CERTAINTY OF BLISS]
The God of gods; the Warrior true; south Perun-turrai's Chieftain dear;
The First; the Blissful One, Whose forn the Three could not attain to know;
The Flower full-blown of LIGHT is He, to all save to His loving ones, unknown !
UPON HIS MIGHTY ROSEATE FOOT'S PURE FLOWER OUR HEADS SHALL GLEAMING REST ! (4)
II. Civan the beautiful Sundaran
The eightfold FORM, the Beautiful, the sweet ambrosial Tide of bliss;
Most Worthy, Prince, of Civa-world; south Perun-turrai's Warrior-king;
The Beautiful, Who made the Queen with flowing locks part of Himself;
UPON HI ROSEATE FOOT'S FULL-ORBED FLOWER OUR HEADS SHALL BLOOMING REST ! (8)
III. Loving and gracious.
Ye maids, the Lord whose eye looked on me sweetly, claiming service due;
The Warrior-lord, in Perun-turrai girt with cocoa-groves Who dwells;
Who takes the maidens' armlets bright, and claims our soul and service true.
UPON HIS ROSEATE FOT'S EXPANDING FLOWER OUR HEADS SHALL GLEAMING REST ! (12)
IV. Gracious manifestations.
With pious men around, Parabaran' on earth appeared, a Seer.
Mid saints made perfect, Civa-Lord dances in Tillai's city old.
Mystic ! He comes, enters our homes, makes us His own, our service claims.
UPON THE MIGHTY ROSEATE FOOT'S FLOWER GIVEN OUR HEADS SHALL BLOOMING REST ! (16)
V. His disciple.
He gave the boon that I should not vain joys of life as true regard.
Partner of Umai's grace, He came to sacred Perun-turrai's shrine.
And, while ambrosia flowing filled our frames, showed us His foot, and said 'Behold' !
UPON THAT MIGHTY ROSEATE FOOT'S AUSPICIOUS FLOWER OUR HEADS SHALL REST ! (20)
VI. He gives an assured hope.
Our mind He entered, made us His, destroyed 'ill deeds,' and piety
That saves bestowed, Unto His jewelled foot when wreath of flowers we bring,
He'll give our souls release; grant to dwell safe beyond this threefold world.
UPON THAT FATHER'S ROSEATE FEET, THOSE FULL-BLOWN FLOWERS, OUR HEADS SHALL REST ! (24)
VII. Fellowship with His saints.
That I might swim this sea called 'birth,' great grace in love He gave;
Caused me released to join the gracious band of saints, and made me of their goodly kin.
To save me thus the Lord His truth displayed, in greatness of His grace !
UPON HIS ROSEATE FEET, WHO SHOWED SUCH MIGHT, OUR HEADS SHALL BEAMING REST ! (28)
VIII. Unfailing Refuge.
The falsehood of these bodies vile, worm-filled, Thou dost abolish quite,
'Bright Splendour, Ruler, Lord, our Father,' evermore they cry, and lift
Adoring hands; their eyes' pure flower with tears o'erflows; to these Thy saints
THY ROSEATE FEET FAIL NOT; UPON THOSE FLOWERS OUR HEADS SHALL FLOWER CROWN'D REST ! (32)
IX. Lord of Earth and Heaven.
Me vainly wandering here Thou bad'st to come, didst slay the 'hate of deeds,'
Celestial Lord ! This world Thou dost transcend, Lord of the realms beyond,
Pleasures of grace shall spring perennial to Thy loving servants true.
UPON THY ROSEATE FEET'S PURE GOLDEN FLOWER OUR HEADS SHALL BEAMING REST ! (36)
X. All join in His praise.
The Free,- the Primal Splendour,- Father Triple-eyed-all being's Germ !
The Perfect,- Lord of Civa-world,- sing, chaunt His name, O men devout !
Hither draw nigh your bonds to loose ! O bow ye down and worship here !
UPON THE ROSEATE FOOT, THAT FILLS THE SOUL, OUR HEADS SHALL GLEAMING REST ! (40)
Hymn XLIII.- tiru varthai
I. The gracious incarnation.
THE SACRED WORD
The Lady's Spouse; of mystic word Proclaimer skill'd;
Light seen mid blooming flowers; the faultless Grace supreme;
Who to His servants grants the boon of justic bright;
the King of virtuous excellence Who reigns benign,
In Perun-turrai girt with fragrant flowery groves;-
Himself hath come, and on this earth, a gracious Form,
Descending hath revealed the Primal Deity.
THAT GRACE WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (4)
II. His condescension.
Mal, Ayan, and the King of heavenly hosts approached
and lowly bowed before Him,- Ican gave them grace !-
Descending to this world, He showed the perfect way
unto the simple dame that dwelt in Idavai,-
Where mansions fair arise with goodly splendour bright,
of sparkling gems, and saints hold converse sweet,-
Grace of abounding excellence He gave.
HIS POWER WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (8)
The crown'd Eternal-One,- King of th' immortal host,-
the rapturous Dancer, as the six sects homage pay,
Ascends the boat, accepts and crowns their service due;
while heaven and earth adore and praise their King.
He grants infirmity should die !- In Perun-turrai's shrine
He dwells in mighty grace ! - In love to her, His bride,
He brought a jewelled net, to catch the mystic fish !
HIS WAYS WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (12)
A woodman's form He bore, on mount Mahendiram
when sore distressed the suppliants came
And sought Him, Civan, mighty Lord, was nigh to save !
That we His servants pondering HIm, should safety win,
The Teacher on a prancing charer mounted came,-
of Perun-turrai's shrine th'Eternal Deity,-
That day His friends from every side He made His own !
THEY WHO HIS NATURE KNOW OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (16)
He came. The gods in reverence bowed their heads, and praised.
A sea of mighty mercy,- He in grace brake off
His servants' bonds, and set us free. Our Deity,-
th' Eternal-One of Perun-turrai's shrine,- that day
Himself passed o'er the sea, whose surging billows rose;
His grace He gave within the lofty walls
Of Lanka's home to the soft-fingered captive maid !
HIS WORTH WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (20)
Lord of the bow that wrapt the cities three in flames;-
a huntsman's guise he took with guard of dogs around;-
Before Him gathered gods obeying His behests;-
our mighty Lord, in forest wilds where He abode
Took pity on the hunted boar ! Ican, that day,-
our Father, Perun-turrai's King, the Eternal Deity,-
A pig became, wonder unique, and milk bestowed !
HIS DEEDS WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (24)
In their fair garden home 'mid lotus flowers and hum
of bees, the maids with beauteous brows assemble round,
Chaunting bow down, strew full-blown flowers, and praise
our Ican,- radiant Beam of rosy growing light,-
Who ever bides in Perun-turrai's flowery grove,-
our Holy-One. To earth He came,- appeared,- destroyed
Earth-born diversities,- gave grace. His MIGHT OF LOVE
WHO'VE POWER TO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ARE ONE ! (28)
His breast wears garlands of the opening cassia flower;-
Here, He slew the tiger strong of claw;-
The partner He of Umai, lovely queen;-
of Perun-turrai girt with rich groves King;-
Ican, in great and spotless glory bright;-
He folds the beauteous ones in soft embrace;-
He to the vast sea's king in fiery form appear'd;-
HIS FORM WHO KNOW SHALL UNION GAIN WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ! (32)
Our mighty Lord with pure white ashes decked;-
Who came Bright Ruler of Mahendiram;-
Ican, Whose planted foot the gods adore;-
the southern Ruler, Perun-turrai's King;-
Who loving pity showed to me that day,
showed me His jewelled foot to melt my soul,
My sorrows soothed, in grace made me His own !
HIS DEEDS WHO KNOW WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORED ARE ONE ! (36)
The Beauteous-eyed;- the Immortals' Lord and ours;-
Ambrosia to His servants;- Prince Who came
To earth to loose our mighty bonds, that we
a bliss unique in earth and heaven might gain;-
With strong control he sways th' ASSEMBLY wise;-
skilled Leader;- Perun-turrai's King;- that day
To Madura with damsels thronged He came:
HIS WAYS WHO KNOW SHALL UNION GAIN WITH OUR SUPERNAL LORD ! (40)
Hymn XLIV.- ennap pathikam
This poem expresses his intense longing to rejoin at once the Master and His disciples.
I. Longings for endless joy.
Would birth in earthly forms might cease, devoted love so might I gain !
O Civa-Peruman, Whose form is beauteous like red lotus-flower;
Thou art my rare Ambrosia; midst the assembly of Thy saints
Thy sacred grace unique show Thou; be gracious, take me too and save !
II. He pleads the promise.
I'm not my own, Thy slave am I; sever'd from Thee no moment can
I live; a cur, I nothing know,- O Cankaran!In pitying grace
Thou Mighty said'st to me, 'Behold,' and showed'st Thy jewell'd feet. Our Lord,
And was the promise false that said, 'I sever nevermore from Thee?' (8)
III. Love that 'maketh not ashamed.'
Melting my frame, granting Thy grace, showing to me Thy flow'ry feet,
Erewhile Thou madest me Thine own, O Sage, O First of sages all !
My Bliss, Thou didst dissolve my soul, and dost my life consume.
Grant me Thy love, King of my soul; that so Thy grace from shame may shield ! (12)
IV. He laments his deadness of soul.
Of piety I'm void, nor bow at vision of Thy golden feet;
My heart is dead, my lips are seal'd;- yet cause this 'birth' to cease, our Lord !
Pearl-like Thou art, gem-like Thou art ! First One, I utter my complaint:
So oft I've follow'd Thee, henceforth apart from Thee I bear not life ! (16)
V. Spiritual declension.
I see Thy gracious feet no more, which seeing erst mine eyes were glad;
I've ceased to cherish Thee; I've ceased to utter childlike praise; and thus
Tanu, my mighty Lord, I'm lost; the state, that melting thinks on Thee,
By meannesses I've ceas'd to know; 'twere shame to me to see Thee come ! (20)
Thee, Lord supreme, with milk-white ash adorn'd, meeting with grace superne
Thy servants true,
Who dost appear, and show the hav'n of grace,- Thee, glorious Light, I, void
Extol as my Ambrosia, praising Thee,- praise, glorify, invoke with weepings loud !
Master, thus working in me mightily, in grace O speak, in pity speak ! (24)
Hymn XLV.- yathirai pathu
This is our Sage's wonderful 'psalm of the up-going,' He commemorates his first visit to Tillai, and thence mystically sets forth the soul's pilgrimage through the world of sense to union with Civan on the silver mountain.
I. The setting-forth on the journey.
Our King with head flow'r-wreath'd, BHUYANGAN-LORD,
by mercy's swelling flood that all dissolves,
Commingled ever, like perception's self,
within our souls,- 'O come,' hath said in love,
And made us lowly ones His own ! Come ye
with one accord; behold, the time hath come;
Pass we,- falsehood for ever left behind,-
to enter 'neath the Master's jewelled feet ! (4)
II. The pilgrims's preparation of soul.
Enter no more the juggling senses' net !
BHUYANGAN'S flow'ry feet, the mighty Lord,
Ponder intensely,- other things desire ye not :
dismiss them, let them go, and pass ye on !
With joyous smile He, entering this world,
made us-who were like curs impure- His own,
As it befits to draw anigh the Lord,
let each with no weak faltering step move on ! (8)
III. Earthly ties must be loosed.
Each to himself be his own kith and kin !
each to himself be his own law and way !
For who are 'WE'? what 'OURS'? and what are 'BONDS'?
illusions all,- let these departing flee !
And, with the ancient servants of the King,
taking His sign alone for guiding sign,
Shake falshood off; go on your happy way,
unto BHUYANGAN'S golden foot, - our King ! (12)
IV. Sober, hopeful assurance.
All ye His servants who've become,
put far away each idle sportive thought;
Seek refuge at the Foot where safety dwells;
hold fast unto the end the sacred sighn;
Put off from you this body stained with sin;
in Civan's world He'll surely give us place !
BHUYANGAN'S self, Whose Form the ashes wears,
will grant you entrance 'neath His flow'ry feet ! (16)
V. Faint not, press on !
Free ye your souls from pains of wrath and lust;
henceforth the time shall not be long drawn out !
Beneath our Master's feet with glad acclaim
that we in one may go, in one combine !
Even we in Civan's town shall refuge find,
whose flo'r-wreath'd gates to us shall not be clos'd !
There enter'd we in ecstasy shall sing
the glories only of BHUYANGAN-KING ! (20)
VI. Persevere ! The glorious consummation awaits you.
Praise ye ! Adore ! Bring beauteous flowers !
BHUYANGAN'S foot plant ye within your souls !
Despise adversities of every form !
Henceforth no hindrance bars your happy way
To Civan's town, that fill'd with glory shines
To Civan's foot go we to worship there !
Before the saints that there abide we'll move,
and stand in soul-dissolving rapture there ! (24)
VII. Loiter not, scatter not !
Let those that bide abide,- abide not we
in world that not abides. Straight pass we on
Unto the foot of our BHUYANGAN-KING,
Whose sacred form is milk with golden hue !
All ye that loitering stand delay not now !
Gather in one to march, where'er ye stand !
Unto the Mighty One access henceforth
is hard to gain, if ye should loiter now ! (28)
VIII. The gate opens !
Ye, with the Lord, in rapture infinite
conjoin'd for ever, who have gained to dwell !
In strong illusion henceforth sink not ye,
in sooth; nor utter senseless words profane !
The sacred door where dwells the priceless Gem,
is opening even now. To Civan's town
Come, move we on, to reach the sacred foot
of BHUYANGAN, to Mal divine unknown ! (32)
IX. Anticipate the joys of fruition.
Ah, think how ye may reach the goal ! Your thoughts
correct, and duly chasten'd, ponder this !
Ye, who are sinking now in love's excess,-
enjoying, never sated, the ambrosial grace
Of BHUYANGAN, the Spouse of Her, whose eyes.
are like the gleaming spear that warrior wields,-
Joy ye to go to Civan's jewell'd foot,
nor wallowing lie ye here in falsehood's mire ! (36)
X. They enter in !
Will ye not come this day, and be His own,
and prostrate fall, and worship, and adore?
Those lost in wilderment, who would esteem?
Ye who bewilder'd and confounded stand,
If ye would perfect clearness gain, this do !
Ye who would gain in this wide realm the grace
Of sacred BHUYANGAN, of Civa-world
the King ! Ah, haste ye, hate ye, haste ye on ! (40)
Hymn XLVI.- tirupadai ezhuchi
THE SACRED MARCH
[THE HOLY WAR.]
Strike the sounding drum of the Guru, Wielder of wisdom's sword;
Spread the white canopy over the Guru, Who mounts the charger of heaven;
Enter and take to you armour of ashes, fragrant, divine;
Possess we the heavenly fortress, where hosts of illusion come not ! (4)
Servants of His,- march on in the van; ye Devout ones,- move on the flanks;
Ye Sages of power illustrious,- come fill up the swelling ranks;
Ye Mystics of strength unfailing,- advance and close up the rear:
We shall rule the heavenly land, no hosts of evil for ever to fear ! (8)
Hymn XLVII.- tiruvenba
THE SACRED VENBA
[THE STATE OF 'THOSE WHO HAVE ATTAINED.']
This purports to have been composed immediately after his return to Perun-turrai, when he was hoping for speedy consummation, but felt impatient.
I. How shall I endure this state of imperfection?
What shall I do while twofold deeds' fierce flame burns still out,-
Nor doth the body melt,- nor falsehood fall to dust ?
In mind no union gained with the 'Red Firs's honey'
The Lord of Perun-turrai fair ! (4)
II. How employ the weary time of waiting?
Shall I cry out, or wail, or dance, or sing, or watch?
O Infinite, what shall I do? The Sire Who fills
With rapturous amaze,- great Perun-turrai's Lord
Let all with me bending adore ! (8)
III. The wonder of his conversion.
No sense of fault had I ! Nor of refreshment knew.
In safety's path, by worship at His roseate feet.
He stood on earth, His dart shot forth, and to my thought
Linked Himself;- Perun-turrai's Lord ! (12)
IV. He came in grace.
He stood before me, rooting out my 'twofold deeds,'-
The mighty Ruler Who at last shall cut off 'birth';
Lord of the south; in Perun-turrai great in grace,
Who dwells; Balm of all human woes ! (16)
V. Praise superfluous.
To them that know what word can praise the King? - Him, Who
All worlds brought forth, Whom Vedic god and Mal knew not;
The mighty Lord, Whose seat is Perun-turrai's shrine;-
In me to-day, and evermore ! (20)
VI. The bliss of His advent.
He filled with frenzy; set me free from 'births'; my soul
With speechless fervours thrilled,- blest Perun-turrai's Lord,-
The Sire in grace exceeding made me His; the balm
For all my pain; the deathless BLISS ! (24)
VII. Leading and light.
He showed the realm where 'births' return no more; He came
In grace that no requital knows, Ambrosia sating not !
This is the light diffus'd within my thought by Him,
The Lord of Perun-turrai's shrine ! (28)
VIII. Condescending love.
Glorious, exalted over all, the Infinite,-
To me mere slave, lowest of all, Thou hast assigned
A place in bliss supreme, that none beside have gained or known !
Great Lord, what can I do for Thee? (32)
IX. Unparalleled gift.
The three, the thirty-three, all other gods beside
See Thee not, Civan, mighty Lord ! Riding the steed
Hither descending didst Thou come. When at Thy foot
I lowly bow, bliss thrills my frame ! (36)
X. Be not afraid to ask of Him.
Soul, ponder His twain feet Who here made me His own !
Beg for HIs grace ! Behold, He will give all,- the King
Who grace bestows,- Whose seat is Perun-turrai's shrine,-
Dwelling ambrosial in my soul ! (40)
XI. Light and love from His indwelling.
He hath increased delight, hath darkness banished,
For aye cut off afflictions' clinging bond, and light
Of love hath given,- the Lord of Perun-turrai great,
Well pleased to make my heart His home ! (44)
Hymn XLVIII.- pandaayanan marai
I. No requital of electing grace.
THE ANCIENT MYSTIC WORD.
[THE REALITY OF DIVINE GRACE.]
The ancient fourfold mystic word draws not anigh His seat;-
Nor Mal nor Ayan Him have seen; yet me, the most abject,
By grace He made His servant ! To Gokari's King, my heart,
Say, is there any just return ? (4)
II. The great manifestation in Perun-turrai.
Praise Perun-turrai ! There the King, who on the charger came,
Abides, and gives a mighty flood of honied sweetness forth,
By which my soul's threefold impurity is swept away;-
So roots of 'birth's' wild forest die ! (8)
III. He assumes many characters to save men.
In wilds a Hunstsman; in sea He casts a net;
On land He rides the charger: thus our 'deeds' destroys.
The fair foot-flower of Perun-turrai's Lord praise Thou,
My heart, that error thus may die ! (12)
IV. The centre of Worship.
Householders devout; saints who mighty 'deeds' destroy;-
Those whom 'tis meet the world should bow before, and praise;-
Immortals too in worship circling move, and laud ! O friends,
In Perun-turrai blest adore ! (16)
V. Come, see the King.
To Perun-turrai drawing near; that woes disperse,
Ponder the King of lofty Gokari; and see
Him Who with Her whose words are music sweet abides
In Utt'ra-koca-mangai's shrine ! (20)
VI. Ever praise the God of Perun-turrai.
The eyes that see Him there are all a rapture of delight;-
The saints that cherish Him are freed from mortal birth;-
The Mighty One, in Perun-turrai dwells for aye;-
My heart, give Him unstinted praise ! (24)
VII. 'Perun-turrai' is the saving word.
This is the purport sole of all men say; all speech
Surpassing, gem-like word, as flawless jewels' sheen !
Utt'ring but 'PERUN-TURRAI,' I'm from 'births' released;
That healing foot fixt in my mind ! (28)
Hymn XLIX.- tirupadai yatchi
THE MARSHALLING OF THE SACRED HOST.
[THE CESSATION OF LIFE'S EXPERIENCES.]
It was no easy taks to work out a version of this lyric, the rhythmic beauty of which is very remarkable. I have striven, at the risk of sundry irregularities in metre, to imitate the flow of the original; but the numberless allusions in a poem, which sums up the whole Caivite idea of the blessedness of Civan's final manifestation to the emancipated soul, will give the reader trouble, if he is at all to enter into its spirit. The metre itself is very unusual, resembling somewhat that of the Attys of Catullus, and is much admired by those who use the poem in their temple service. My rendering is, I believe, strictly and almost literally exact; but it differs in some respects from the Tamil paraphrases. The intense mystic fervour of the song must take itself felt !
I. His appearing.
Eyes the twain His jewell'd Feet beholding shall be glad;- SHALL IT NOT BE?
Joy amid joys of damsels beautiful shall cease to lure;- SHALL IT NOT BE?
The round of birth in earthly worlds shall in oblivion pass; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Twin flow'ry Feet that Mal knew not adoring shall we bow; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
To sing with gladsome melody, and dance our endless task; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The warriors of the fair Pandi-land's Lord we shall sing; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The mystic change for which the heav'ns are glad will come; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If He who cast the net-the Woodman,- come, in grace made manifest to me? (8)
One with one, and five with five,- the life shall last; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Thy servants' servants' servants made, we shall be free; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The Mother thinks on her young, and rising hastes; so shall He come; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The casual qualities that no beginning own shall fill the thought; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
At 'this is good,' and 'this is ill,' no more shall trembling shake; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
We too to join Thy saints above shall onward pass; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Th' Ambrosia supreme that fills my loving thought we then shall gain; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If the bull's Lord, my Master, Whose I am, within my soul shall entering come? (16)
Bonds, changes, qualities, all loos'd and cast aside shall fall away; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Within my mind, erewhile with fancies fill'd Ambrosia supreme shall flow; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The Endless, Indivisible shall in us dwell; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The heav'nly Light, from endless days supreme shall then appear; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The pains from silly ones with crimson lips shall be dispell'd; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The sparkling eyes His sacred form shall then embrace; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Sorrow of grief-ful birth, that from illusions springs, shall all depart; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If I can, my own loving Lord, in presence meet me here? (24)
The bliss to rest within His lov'd embrace shall we enjoy; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
In mercy's vast and boundless sea sweetly this day shall we disport; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The mystic music of the beauteous gems, within my soul shall thrilling sound; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The sacred ashes that the Lord for aye adorn shall we approach; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
'Mid steadfast loving ones foremost in service there shall I abide; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The flow'ry Feet, to even the mystic scrolls unknown, shall we adore; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The sweet red water-lily Flower my head shall crown; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If Peruman, the gracious, -Ican, He Who owns, arise to visit me ? (32)
Fond fancies all, that valued earth's illusions vain, shall cease; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Before the flow'ry Foot to heavenly ones unknown we'll bow; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The perturbations all from blindness sprung shall cease; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The mind of loving saints this day shall greatly joy; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Entanglement of 'sex diverse,' and self shall now be loos'd; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
States manifold, their very names unknown, we'll'scape; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Innumerous mystic powers my soul shall then possess; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If Peruman, the gracious Ican, He who owns, arise to visit me? (40)
The ashes white upon His sacred golden form all beauteous shine; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
A rain of flowers adoring hands of mighty saints shall shower; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The heart's intent of damsels bright with slender form shall then appear; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The sounds from smitten lyre that rise shall multiply delights; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
His servants' feet upon my head shall flourish then; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Himself to set His servants free shall forthwith come; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Sweet instruments of music duleet strains shall everywhere rehearse; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If Ican, Whose of old I am, my Sire, in grace arise to visit me (48)
The pure gems' wordless music then shall rapture yield; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The light that hides within my soul sudden shall rise and burn; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
That manifold phenomena may cease the Deity shall come; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Experiences divine unknown before shall unfolding rise; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Distraction caused by those whose lovely brows are bows shall cease this day; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The Essence excellent that even heavenly ones know not shall be with us; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The eightfold qualities that know no bound shall we attain; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If He, Whose crest the crescent moon adorns, to make us His in grace arise? (56)
From shell that music breathes the sounds shall then burst forth; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The qualities that quit not earthborn race shall fret no more; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Delusion that declares this good, or that, shall all die down; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
Our whole desire shall ask to serve His servants 'neath His feet; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The thought of damsels bright of eye shall then rejoice; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The bliss of Civan shared by glorious saints we then shall know; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
The heavenly all-pervasive Light Ambrosial shall we gain; -SHALL IT NOT BE?
If He, the endless Vedic Lord, to make me His in grace arise (64)
Hymn L.- Aananda malai
I. How may I join my friends beyond?
THE GARLAND OF RAPTURE.
[DESIRE OF THE EXPERIENCE OF CIVAN.]
Th' Immortals all have gained Thy flower-like feet,
bright as the lightning's glance;- have crossed
The world's wide sea, and bearing golden flowers
they praise ! Reveal in love, I pray,-
Thou Refuge of the stony worthless heart,
how one like me,- distressed,- cast off,-
Sunk in the sea of fond desire,- at length,
how many I come to Thee? (4)
II. Have pity on my lonely grief!
Thou gav'st the station blest I knew not of;
but I knew not Thy grace,- was lost !
Master, no failure is in Thee at ail;
Who comes to aid Thy slave? I cry !
Not joined with Thine own ancient saints,-
who serve and praise Thee many a day,
My Leader loved, here left behind I stay;-
Thou see'st my lonely pain ! (8)
III. I am His - when shall I join Him?
Of virtue void, of penitential grace
devoid, undisciplined, untaught,-
As leathern puppet danced about, giddy,
I whirling fell, lay prostrate there !
He showed me wondrous things; He showed the way
to pass to worlds not reached before;
The raft He show'd : when shall I come, a wretch.
to Him Who made me His ? (12)
IV. Am I rightfully abandoned?
I perish, as to perish is my doom;
the blame, Imperishable One,
Thou tak;st; and, if to suffering doomed, I bear
my destined woes, what is the gain?
O Guru-Gem, Who dost defend and rule,-
that I sink not in cruel hell;
Is't good, our Leader lov'd, that Thou withdraw,
and stand not in the midst? (16)
V. Is there no pity?
Thou Who dost cherish men like mother dear,-
uncherish'd, left, a weakling here,-
And must I perish, I a cur ! In love
henceforth Thy goodness show to me !
I've called Thee hast no grace for me,
but now Thou hast no grace for me,-
Vile me, whom Thou 'mid saints didst make Thine own !
I'm he ! Should'st Thou not save ? (20)
VI. I claim Thy consolation.
O King, should'st Thou not show Thy grace?
I, wretched, lie at ruin's door.
And, if Thou bid me not to come to Thee,
who is there here to calm my fears?
Are they who're doomed to die, my fellows all?
'This is unmeet,' will not men say?
O God, Dancer in Tillai's hall, I tremble,
henceforth comfort me ! (24)
VII. I sink powerless before Thee.
Thou mad'st the jackal be a charger fleet !
Didst work enchantments manifold !
The mighty SOuth King's Madura Thou fill'dst
with madness, Perun-turrai's Lord !
O Being hard to reach ! O Avanaci's Sire !
The Pandi kingdom's rushing flood !
O Splendour, infinite, unknown, in sooth
I know not aught to do ! (28)
Hymn LI.- achchop pathikam
THE WONDER OF SALVATION.
This hymn was composed after he had settled down in Tillai, his active life finished, and was waiting for the great release. He surveys, as he was so fond of doing, the whole course along which his Master had guided him; acknowledges how often he had fallen through an undisciplined and unpurified mind; and records with thankfulness that grace him the victory at last. No rapture is like his! Each verse addresses his Master variously as (1) Father, (2) the Mystic Dancer, (3) the Guru, (4) the High and Lofty One, (5) the Master, (6) the Blissful, (7) again as the Guru, (8) the Author of all things, and (9) the Mother (being one with Umai).
I. The Father's converting grace.
To me, who toiled and moiled 'mid fools, that knew not WAY of final peace,
He taught the WAY of pious love;- and that 'old deeds' might cease and flee,
Purging the foulness of my will, made me pure bliss, took for His own;-
'Twas thus the FATHER gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (4)
II. The mystic Dancer converts the heretic.
A WAY that was no rightful WAY I followed, deeming it the WAY,-
That I might seek no meaner WAY, but only seek HIS sacred grace
To gain, - He, Whom no signs describe, His mystic DANCE has given to know !
'Twas thus the DANCER gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (8)
III. The Teacher leads and guards in the way of truth.
Me trusting every lie as truth, - plunged in desire of women's charms,-
He guarded that I perished not with soul perturb'd,- the Lord Superne,
On whose left side the Lady dwells ! He brought me nigh His jewell'd feet,-
'Twas thus my GURU gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (12)
IV. The Lofty One purifies by discipleship.
To me, - born in this clay, and doom'd, o'erworn, to perish, and to fall, -
Love inconceivable He gave;- made me His own;- caused me to wear
His own perfumed ashes white;- that I the way of purity
Should reach, the LOFTY gave me grce: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (16)
V. The Master relieved my soul of its fear.
Afflicted sore by glancing eyes of silly damsels, soft of foot,-
I stood, my mind by sorrow pierced; and then Thy grace I gain'd,- was sav'd,-
Ev'n I, O MASTER mine ! Thou bad'st Thy servant come; 'Fear not, 'Thou said'st !
'Twas thus that grace to me was given: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (20)
VI. The Last-One saved me from sensual servitude.
Birth of this frame that burns and falls I took for true,- did many deeds;
In converse joy'd with maidens wreathed in flowers, with lustrous armlets deck'd.
My bonds He cut, made me His own, cleansed foulness so no trace was left !
'Twas thus the LAST-ONE gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (24)
VII. The Guru's esoteric teaching.
Prostrate it was my fate to fall in 'wilderment of fair ones' charms.
In gentle love He led me forth, loosing the prison bars of 'bond';
Showed me the way to 'scape; and taught the meaning of the mystic OM
'Twas thus the GURU gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (28)
VIII. The First saved me by gift of personal devotion.
My troubled soul was whirled around in circling tide of death and birth;
I fell, enamoured with the charms of those with jewels rare adorned;
The Lord, whose Form the Lady shares, in mercy drew me to His feet.
'Twas thus the FIRST-ONE gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (32)
IX. Saves me with a Mother's love.
With those that knew not right or good,- men ignorant,- I wandered too.
The First, the Primal Lord Himself threefold pollution caus'd to cease;
Even me He took as something worth,- like dog in sumptuous litter borne !
'Twas thus the MOTHER gave me grace: O RAPTURE ! WHO SO BLEST AS I ? (36)
END OF TIRUVACAGAM.
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This file was last revised on 27 October 2021.