Hymn to Tirumal

Paripatal 2

1. The Time of the Boar

When the sun and the moon,
given to alternations
from the oldest times,
went out,

and the fresh golden world above
and the earthen one below
were ruined,

there were ages of absence
even of sky
rolling time after time.

Sound was born first
in the first age of sheer sky —
womb of every growing germ
though yet without forms,

then the ancient age of winds
driving all things before them,

the age of mist and cool rain

and when all four elements
lay drowned in the old flood,
the particles of earth
lay there,

recovering their own
natures, getting themselves

then came the age of great earth
lying potential
in them all;

beyond the times counted
in millions, billions, trillions,
quadrillions, and zillions,

came the time of the Boar
that raised the earth
from the waters
and let it flourish.

Knowing that it is only one
of your Acts,
we know no one really can know
the true age
of your antiquity.

First One, Lord of the Wheel,
we bow,
we sing your praise.

2. How You Appear

O you, you appear young
to those who say
you're younger,
and brother to the conch-colored one.

To those who say
you're older,
and brother to the one dressed
in clothes dark as all-burying darkness
with a gold palmyra for banner,
you appear older.

To the undying wisdom
sifted without error
by sages
you appear in a state
of neither-nor.
Yet in any search
for true awareness
in this state or that,
you show only your own,
the excellence
of your most ancient state.

3. The Red Goddess

Wearing jewels
many-colored as rainbows
bent across the high heavens
on your chest, itself a jewel
studded with pendant pearls,
you always wear the Red Goddess
as the moon wears
his shadow.
Which doesn't agree at all
with those who read the Vedas
and say,

You as the Boar,
with white tusks, sharp and spotted,
washed by the rising waves,
you lifted up and married
the Earth-maiden,

so not a spot of earth
is ever troubled by the sea.

4. The Lord at War

Lord fierce in war,
the conch you blow
sounds like thunder
to the enemies
rising as one man,
hearts raging, fearless,
rising like a hurricane
to join battle.

Banners break and fall,
ears go deaf,
crowns shiver on their heads,
and the earth loosens
under their feet
at the thunder of your conch.

O lord fierce in war,
the discus in your hand
cuts off the sweet lives
of enemies:
heads fall and roll
wreaths and all
like tens of thousands
of bunches
on the heads of tall black palmyra trees
not stripped yet
of root, branch,
frond, or young fruit,
falling to the earth
all at once.

Not one head
standing on its body,
beheaded all at one stroke,
they gather, roll, split,
come together and roll apart,
and lie dead at last
in a mire of blood.

That discus
consumes enemies at one stroke:
Death is its body,
its color the leaping flame
of bright fire
when gold burns in it.

5. His Forms

Yours is the luster
of the great blue sapphire;

your eyes, a pair
of famed lotuses;

the truth of your word
certain as the returning day.

If one looks for your patience
it's there, magnificent, wide as earth;

your grace,
a sky of raincloud
fulfilling everyone;

so say the sacred texts
of the eloquent brahmans.

O lord with the red-beaked
on your banner,

you're like all that
and also like all else, and beyond,

you're in these,
and in all things everywhere:

in the sacrificer's
Vedic word,

in the sacrificial pillar
built step by step,
and also in the seizing
of the sacrificial animal
strapped to that pillar,

the kindling of a raging fire
according to charted text
and famous tradition,

and in the building of that fire
to glowing light
and prosperous flame

is your form,
your food:

in all these
brahmans see
your presence
that composes even aliens
who doubt your presence.

In your heart
you had only to think
food of the gods,
and the gods received at once
life without age,
peace without end.

Lord unfathomable,
at your feet
we bow,
clean of heart,
putting our heads to the ground
over and over
we bow,
we praise,
we celebrate,
and we ask, O lord,
with our dear ones around us
we ask:

may our knowing
only what is.
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