Friday, July 07, 2006

Hymns for the Drowning

This is an audio post - click to play

Poems to Vishnu by Nammalvar the Tamil poet

While I was waiting eagerly for him
saying to myself,
"If I see you anywhere
I will gather you
and eat you up,"
he beat me to it
and devoured me entire,
my lord dark as a raincloud,
my lord self-seeking and unfair.
(Tiruvaymoli 9.6.10)

In that time when I did not know you,
you made me love your service,
in the midst of my unknowing confusion,
you made me your servant;
disguised as a dwarf, you asked,
"Three steps of earth, great king Bali,"
you tricked him unawares,
and now you've mingled inside my self.
(Tiruvaymoli 2.3.3)

In return for the great gift of your mingling inside myself,
I ended up giving you my self
-- so now what other return can I make?
you are the self of my self,
my father who ate seven worlds;
who is my self? who am I?
it's what you've made it, you who gave it.
(Tiruvaymoli 2.3.4)

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