The musical hymn quoted below to which I have added a translation in English verse,
is from the Devaram of Saint Thirunavukkarasu, whose life and spiritual experiences will be
found briefly sketched in Vol. III of this journal. In this hymn, the Saint teaches us how to “die
unto sin” and points out the importance of personal love and devotion to God. “The letter killeth
but the spirit giveth life”; and however carefully one may conform to the externals of religion,
he gains nothing unless the truly religious spirit permeates and enthusiasises him.
பாவநாச திெதாைக.
பாவ@u பழிL ப_றற ேவM_வ [
ஆலிைல@ ðக§தா_ மவG கழ0
ேமவராü மிகQu மகி_§ u@மிG
காவலாளG கல§ த@u ெசüµேம. (1)

From hold of moral blame and sin,
O ye who would be truly free!
Adore the holy feet of Him,
Our Dancing Lord,
and think of Him
With love and joy. The Watcher
With you abiding grant His grace. (1)

(1) The dance is symbolic of the origination of Creative Vibration in the primordial substance of the universe.
The passage in the original refers to the five acts of God: Srishti (origination), Sthithi (maintenance), Samhara
(Involution) Tirobava (obscuration), and Anugraha (grace).
(2) cf. “காð@ெம0 காவலேன காMபறிய ேபெராள|ேய”
“O Watcher protecting, O Light rarely seen.” – Thiruvachakam.
cf. also “Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours
With larger other eyes than ours” – Tennyson.
க0ைக யாµெலG காவl[ பாµெலG
ெகா0@ தM@ ம[§ைற யாµெலG
ஒ0@ மாகட ேலாதந ராµெலG
எ0@ மச ெனனாதவ[ð கி0ைலேய. (2)



What though ye bathe in Ganga’s stream
What though ye bathe in Kaveri’s flow?
What though ye bathe in waters, cool?
And sweet to smell, off Comorin?
What though ye bathe in waving seas?
It boots him nought who does not feel
That everywhere the Lord pervades
. (2)

(3) Bathing in sacred waters has ever been considered meritorious by Hindus.
(4) cf. Thirumanthram:-
“காலின| 0 க@Lபlன|_ கLµµu
பாலிM ெணüµu பழ§ள| ரத@u
@வl ணா_ற@u ேபாள ெனuமிைற
காவ0 ென0@0 கல§ நிGறாேன.”
“As motion in wind, as sugar in cane,
As ghee in milk, as juice in fruit,
As scent in bloom-e’en so pervades
My Lord, the Watcher, everywhere.”

பLட ராகிெலG சா§திர0 ேகLகிெலG
இL_ மLkµ மெதாழி0 @ணெலG
எL_ ெமாGற மிரM_ மறியlெலG
இLட மசென னாதவ[ð கி0ைலேய.

What though ye be great doctors wise
What though ye hear the shastras read?
What though the duty ye assume?
Of doling out cooked food and gifts*?
What though ye know the eight and two
It boots him nought who does not feel
The noble truth that God is love
. (3)

(5) cf. Amiel: - “The kingdomof God belongs not to the most enlightened but to the best; and the best man is the
most unselfish man.”
* cf. Thomas a Kempis: - “He who has genuine and perfect charity, in nothing seeks himself, but desire God to
be glorified in all things.”
(6) The ten Upanishads seemto be meant here.
(7) cf. “That God which ever lives and loves” – Tennyson.
Also, Thirumanthram:-
“எGேப வlறகா யlைறசகி ய§திL_L
ெபாGேபா_ கனவl_ ெபா[ய வLபlu
அGேபா _@கி யக0@ைழ வா[ðகGறி
ெயGெபாG மணlயlைன ெயüத ெவாMணாேத.”


ேவத ேமாதிெலG சா§திர0 ேகLகிெலG
ந தி@0 பல நி§த0 பயl_றிெலG
ஓதி ய0கேமா ரா @ண[ெலG
ஈசைன µu@வா[ð கGறி யl0ைலேய. (4)

What though ye chant the Vedas four?
What though ye learn the scriptures all?
What though ye daily teach Ethics?
What though ye know the sciences six
Avails it nought to all but those
That think of Him, Our Lord that is. (4)

(8) The sciences subsidiary to Vedic study, viz., Siksha (Philology), Kalpa (Rituals), Vyakarana (Grammar),
Nirukta (Etymology), Chandas (Prosody), and Jyotisha (Astronomy).
காைல ெசG கல§ந [ @_கிெலG
ேவைல ேதாu வlதிவழி நி_கிெலG
னாைல ேவuவl யைட§த ேவLகிெலG
ஏல வ செனG பா[ðகGறி யl0ைலேய. (5)

What though ye go at dawn and bathe?
What though ye do each act by rule
What though ye sacrifices make
Avails it nought to all but those
That speak of Him, the blessing Lord. (5)

(9) cf. Paley: - “He that loveth God keepeth his commandments; but still the love of God is something more than
keeping the commandments.”
(10) cf. Bhagavad Gita: - “The worship of God in spirit is far superior to His worship with the offerings of things.”
கான நா_ கல§ தி[யlெலG
ஈன மிGறி யl@§தவ@ ெசüயlெலG
ஊைன µMட ெலாழி§ வாேனாðகிெலG
ஞான ெனGபவ[ð கGறி கGகி0ைலேய. (6)

What though ye roam through lands and wilds
What though ye faultless penance make?
What though ye give up eating meat
And heavenward look? None wins reward
But those that praise the knowing Lord. (6)

(11) i.e. on holy pilgrimage.



ðட ேவட§த ராகிð @@வlெலG
வாµ @ைன வ@§தி தி[யlெலG
ஆட0 ேவட§த னuபலð ð§தைனL
பாட லான[ð க0லா_ பயன|0ைலேய. (7)

What though in false disguise
ye move?
What though ye mortify your flesh13?
None wins a need but those that sing
The Lord that dances in the Void. (7)

(12) i.e. of religious orthodoxy.

(13) cf. Bhagavad Gita: - “Whatsoever oblation, gift, austerity, deed, is wrought without faith, “asat” it is called;
it is nought, here or hereafter.’

நG ேநாðகிெலG பLµன| யாகிெலG
@Gற ேமறி யl@§தவ@ ெசüயlெலG
ெசG ந [_ @ள|§§ தி[யlெலG
எG மசெனG பா[ðகGறி யl0ைலேய. (8)

What though your views are proper, true?
What though ye fast? Upon a hill
What though ye make a penance great?
What though ye bathe and show you fair?
It boots none aught but those that feel
That all through time the Lord produces. (8)

ேகாµ த [§த0 கல§ @ள|§தைவ
ஆµனா மரð கGQ இ0ைலேய0
ஓ_ ந [ைன ேயாLைடð @ட§தLµ
@µ ைவ§திLட @[கேனா ெடாð@ேம. (9)

E’en though in million waters he bathe,
If for the Lord he bears no love,
He peers the fool who water pours
Within a pot with holes and shuts
The lid, and thinks the water safe. (9)

ம_ ந_றவ@ ெசü வ@§திெலG
ெபா_ைற µ_ெற_§ தாட0 Qðகிறð
@_ற ந_@ைர யா[கழ_ ேசவµ
ப_றி லாத வ[ð@L பயன|0ைலேய. (10)

What though one painful penance make?
Unless he clings to the feet of Him


That crushed him
who would lift His mount
For all he does no need he wins. (10)

(14) The ten-headed Ravana in arrogance tried to lift up Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva; but Siva, with a slight
pressure of his toe, crushed his shoulders. This story allegorises the futility of human will and might against the
omnipotence of God.
N. B.

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