This has always been considered the first of MAnikka-vACagar's poems, and it has all the characteristics of a preface, as enumerated in the NannUl; but its very technical completeness makes its genuineness doubtful; and it rather apperars to have been added by the Tillai assembly when the lyrics of the Saint were first collected. In the VAthavUrar purANam(V II) it is said that after the divine Master had returned to Kailacam, the sage with the 999 devotees remained under the Kurunthu tree at Perunn-turrai, where the God had first appeared to him; erected a shrine there, and spent this time in adoration and praise, until his fellow-worshippers passed through the fire to Civan, leaving him alone. To this, the first period of his religious history, the following three poems belong; and also according to tradition, lyrics 19, 20, 23-29, 32-34, 36, 38, 39, 41-48, and perhaps a few others.
Here all the Tamil lines are of four feet, except the last, which has three only. The connection is VeNTaLai. The metre is veng-kalipA.
Hail, the five letters! Hail, foot of the Lord !
Hail, foot of Him Who not for an instant quits my heart !
Hail, foot of the Guru-pearl that rules in GOgari !
Hail, foot of Him Who becomes, abides, draws near as the Agamam !
Hail, foot of Him, the One, the Not-One, and the King ! (5)
Victory to the foot of the King, who soothed my soul's unrest and made me His !
Victory to the jewelled foot of Pinnagan, who severs continuity of birth !
Victory to the flower-foot of Him Who is far from those without !
Victory to the anklets of the King, rejoicing 'mid those that fold adoring hands !
Victory to the anklets of the glorious One, who uplifts those that bow the head ! (10)
Praise to the foot of ICan ! Praise to my Father's foot !
Praise to the foot of the Teacher ! Praise to Civan's roseate foot !
Praise to the foot of the Stainless, who in love stood near !
Praise to the foot of the King, who cuts off delusive birth !
Praise to the foot of glorious Perun-turrai's God ! (15)
Praise to the Mount, in grace affording pleasures that cloy not !
Because He, Civan, within my thought abides,
By His grace alone, bowing before His feet,
With joyous thought, Civan's 'Ways of Old' I'll tell,
That thus my former 'deeds' may wholly pass. (20)
I came, attained the grace the 'Brow-eyed' showed,
Adored the beauteous foot by thought unreached.
O Thou, Who fill'st the heaven, Who fill'st the earth, art manifested light,
Transcending thought, Thou boundless One ! Thy glory great
I, man of evil 'deeds' know not the way to praise ! (25)
HIS VARIOUS EMBODIMENTS
Grass was I, shrub was I, worm, tree,
Full many a kind of beast, bird, snake,
Stone, man, and demon. 'Midst Thy hosts I served.
The form of mighty Asuras, ascetics, gods I bore.
Within these immobile and mobile forms of life, (30)
In every species born, weary I've grown, great Lord !
HE FOUND THE MASTER
Truly, seeing Thy golden feet this day, I've gained release.
O Truth! as the OngAram dwelling in my soul,
That I may 'scape. O spotless one ! O Master of the bull !
Lord of the VEdas! Rising, sinking, spreading, subtile One ! (35)
Thou art the heat ! and Thou the cold ! the Master Thou, O spotless One !
Thou cam'st in grace, that all things false might flee,
True Wisdom, gleaming bright in splendour true,
To me, void of all wisdom, blissful Lord !
O Wisdom fair, causing unwisdom' self to flee far off ! (40)
CIVAN'S FIVE OPERATIONS
Thou know'st no increase, measure, end ! All worlds
Thou dost create, protect, destroy, enrich with grace,
Release. Thou causest me to enter 'mid Thy servant band.
More subtile Thou than fragrance. Thou'art afar, art near.
Thou art the Mystic word, transcending word and thought. (45)
As when are mingled milk, sweet juice of cane and butter,
Thou dost distil, like honey, in the thought of glorious devotees,
And cuttest off the continuity of births - our mighty One !
HUMAN EMBODIMENT AND ENLIGHTENMENT BY GRACE
Thou hast the colours five ! While heavenly ones extolled
Thou didst lie hid, our mighty Lord ! In the strong grasp of deeds, (50)
I lay, hidden amid illusion's shrouding gloom.
Thou binding with rare cords of virtue and of sin,
Didst clothe with outer skin, enveloping with worms and filth, -
Within my nine-gated dwelling foul bewildered,
By the five senses sore deceived, - (55)
To me, mean as I was, with no good thing, Thou didst grant grace,
That I, with mind erewhile embruted, - pure one ! - should
Become commingling love, in soul-subduing rapture melt !
Thou cam'st in grace on this same earth, didst show Thy mighty feet
To me who lay mere slave, - meaner than any dog, - (60)
Essential grace more precious than a mother's love !
EPITHETS OF PRAISE
Spotless splendour ! Brightness of full-blown flower !
O Teacher ! Honied ambrosia ! Lord of Civa-town !
O venerated One, Guardian, Looser of PAcam's tie,
Working in grace of love, that in my mind delultion may die out ! (65)
Great river of exceeding tenderness, with ceaseless flow !
Ambrosia that satiates not ! Infinite, almighty Lord !
Light unseen that lurks within the souls that sought Thee not !
Thou Who abidest in my soul, till melting waters flow !
Thou Who art without pleasure or pain, Who yet hast both ! (70)
Loving to loving ones ! Effulgent One, Who all things art,
And their negation too ! Great Master, whom no darkness gathers round !
First One, Thou'rt End and Midst, and art devoid of these !
Father, Lord, Who drew'st, and mad'st me Thine !
Eye of the minds that see by keenest glance of wisdom true, (75)
Hard to be eyed ! Subtle understanding, none can scrutinize !
Holy ! Who comest not, nor goest, nor mingling liv'st !
Guardian who guardest us ! Great Light whom none can see !
Flood of delight ! Father ! Light of all passing splendours
That appear ! Unutterably subtle Intellect ! (80)
Of all that in this world diverse pronounced as truth
Is known, Thou art the knowledge sure ! Full certitude !
Precious ambrosia, fountain welling up within ! My Owner Thou !
I can't endure, our Guru, in this changing straitened frame to 'bide.
Aran! All Thy saints made true invoke Thee, (85)
Worshipping abide, and praising Thee, from falsehood freed,
Hither return no more ! That deeds and birth cling not,
To sever bonds of this deceitful sensuous frame the might is Thine !
Lord who dost dance, trampling dense darkness down !
Dancer in Thillai ! Dweller in the Southern PAndi land ! (90)
Thou Who dost cut off evil birth ! - Adoring ever, Thee they name,
Whom words declare not; then 'NEATH THY SACRED FEET
THEY LEARN THE MEANING OF THEIR SONG. The blessed ones
In Civan's town who dwell, - full many a one, - beneath
The feet of Civan, lowly bending utter praise. (95)