(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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