(Appar was one of the most famous of the Saiya poet-saints of the Tamil area in ancient India. For a time he was persecuted by a king-whom he eventually converted! Legend says that one of the things he had to face was a trying ordeal by fire. When he came out of it and again faced his jeering persecutors, he sang one of his most beautiful hymns. Here are a few of the stanzas, as translated by K. G. Sesha Aiyar.)

The Indwelling God By Appar

Gladdening like the advancing spring-tide;

Cooling like a tank where bees,

Drunk with newly-gathered honey,

Hum midst over-hanging trees;

Like the evening moon, delightful;

Like the faultless Vina, sweet,

Like the south-wind soft, refreshing,

Are my Father Isan's feet! ...

Earthly minded! Truth ye learn not,

Though His servants show the way;

Vain ye live, and vainly dying

Unto earth will pass away ....

Marks and symbols, creeds and temples,

Numerous scriptures teach His ways!

0! 'Tis piteous that you sue not

Early for His saving grace!

Lord! Thou gavest me mouth to praise Thee!

Head before Thy feet to bow.

Gavest me mind to contemplate Thee!

Yet what long, long years ere now

Have in ignorance I wasted,

Praying not. nor at Thy feet

With my hands in adoration

Laying lovely blossoms sweet!

As along the channelled furrow

Easy runs the plough, my mind

Back to ancient ways still harks me

Habit-bound, e'en though I find

From the blandishments of women.

Fair as pictures drawn with skill.

Have I 'scaped, and in Thy worship

Stand resolved with all my will.

In the hearts of those who seek Him, Yearn for Him with love intense,

Has the Lord His temple, hid from

Those devoid of inward sense....

In the fuel fire is latent,

Butter in the milk unseen;

Hidden stands the Lord resplendent

In His universe, I ween.

Churn the milk, rub hard the fuel.

Butter comes and sparks ensue.

If with love's devotion earnest

Sought, the Lord comes into view.

Plant as churn-staff, love, and round it

Pass perception's cord; with might

Draw and churn; and the Indweller

In His Grace will bless your sight.

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