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The song of praise to the dancing Shiva


by ERNEST WOOD, 1931

1)     O prosper us, Auspicious Lord,
        Performer of the frantic dance,
    O Bearer of the little drum
        Sounding damad, damad, damad;
    As through the forest of Thy hair,
        Descends the purifying stream
    About Thy neck, from which depends
        Thy garland made of serpent-kings.

2)    O may’st Thou be my constant joy,
        Who dost the young moon crest employ;
    Whose breadth of brow supports the fire
        Blazing dhagad, dhagad, dhagad;
    The river of the holy ones,
        Revolving in Thy mound of hair,
    Like wind-tossed creepers, waves upthrows
        And glory on Thy head bestows.

3)     May I find bliss within Thy being
        O Thou, enrobed in space alone;
    Whose mind is gladdened by the glance,
        Side-long and constant, love-entranced,
    Of Parvati, sweet daughter of
        The Lord of Mountains, Himavat;
    Whose eyes compassionful, dispel
        Our miseries insuff’rable.

4)    In Thee, O Master of all Life,
        My heart ecstatic joy may feed;
    O Thou, with upper garment smooth,
        The passion-blinded demon’s skin.
    The tawny serpents in Thy hair
        Upon the face of Nature paint
    Light from the jewels of their hoods-
        A radiance, like to saffron spread.

5)    O Great One, Bearer of a skull,
        May we be prosperous in Thee;
    On whose broad brow blazes the fire
        That with its flame consumed the god
    Of flower love; who art obeyed
        By all the leaders of the gods;
    Among whose hair the Ganges plays;
        Whose crest-jewel gleams with moon-like rays.

6)    May’st Thou, O Moon-Tiaraed One,
        To us eternal riches be;
    O Thou, the foot stool of whose throne
        Is carpeted with pollen strewn
    From flowers that deck the jeweled crowns
        Of all the gods, from Indra down;
    Whose twisted hair in coils is bound
        The King of serpents girdled round.

7)    Thou Three-Eyed One, be my delight;
        O Thou, who form’st, with highest skill,
    Rare figures on the breast of her
        Descended from the hard of Hills.
    Upon the tablet of Thy brow
        Blazes dhagad, dhagad, dhagad,
    The fire in which was sacrificed
        The fell five-arrowed God of Love.

8)     O Thou, Upholder of the Worlds,
        Extend to us Thy blessings rich;
    O skin-adorned, Moon beams-graced;
        Thou bearer of the holy flood;
    Whose neck, enwrapped in darkness thick
        As moonless midnight, flashes forth
    Amidst the ring of gathered clouds
        Its shining light unconq’rable.

9)     I worship Thee, destroyer of
        Death, passion and blind ignorance,
    The castles three, the elephant,
        The sacrifice and birth and death;
    Whose graceful plantain-stem-like throat
        Sheds radiance all about Thy neck,
    Resembling with its splendour dark
        The fully-blossomed lotus blue.

10)    I worship Thee, destroyer of
        Death, passion, and blind ignorance,
    The castles three, the elephant,
        The sacrifice, and birth and death.
    The arts of her who blesses all
        Are like the blossoms of a tree,
    From which the honeyed essence flows
        To Thee, the bee that in them joys.

11)    O Shiva, Thou art conqueror;
        Performer of the frantic dance,
    Which joins the beating of the drum,    
        Sounding dhimin, dhimin, dhimin,
    With melody sublime and grand;
        While on Thy awful brow the fire
    Flares with the fanning of the breath
        Of serpents whirling rapidly.

12)    O Shiva, when shall I with true
        Adorning equally accept
    A hard stone and the softest bed,
        A serpent and a string of pearls,
    A priceless diamond and a clod
        Of earth, a friend and enemy,
    Mere grass and women lotus-eyed,
        His subjects and a mighty king?

13)    O when shall I be always glad,        
        Dwelling in holy Ganges’ bower,
    From evil thoughts my mind released,
        My hands before my forehead joined,
    Repeating ever and again
        The chant of “Shiva, Shiva” writ
    Upon the forehead of her grace
        The best of women, Parvati?

14)    Extend to us our hearts’ delight,
        O Thou, joy-giving day and night;
    O Shining Presence, Lord Supreme
        To Parvati, of women queen,
    In Indra’s land the maidens fair
        Wear jasmine clusters in their hair;
    From these the pollen dropping free,
        Exudes a salve which graceth Thee.

15)     O may the world be conquered by
        Thy marriage – music benison,
    With “Shiva, Shiva” as its theme,    
        When sweet-eyed Parvati is bride;
    The sound of which melodious,
        By highly-gifted women sung,    
    Destroys all evils, be they dire
        As the sub-ocean blazing fire.

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