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)