Treasure Island

sundaram chandrakalaadhar

(30.07.1945 / vaththalagundu, tamilnaadu, india)


What is true devotion?

He is a farmer-

His means may not be much;

Not highly literate

To know by heart

The hymns and compositions

Of great seers and sages

Or of religious poets

To roll out in animated devotion

In front of deities in temples

To exhibit his borrowed arrogance

And assume a halo

Demanding attention-

He is not in saintly attire

Nor with a flowing beard

That brings respect in its wake-

Humbly dressed

Crowded by his family-

He knows not the names

Of the many deities installed-

His only purpose is

To worship god

And to fulfill the vow

Taken on a crisis-

Shaving heads of all dear ones

And applying sandal paste liberally

And sacred ash all over forehead

Or other religious markings-

Lighting camphor cakes in plenty

At the courtyard of deities -

Simply praying with all devotion

Raising his closed palms heavenwards

With no demands made to to god

Worrying the least huge expenditure

That may befall his meagre income-

Facing all the hostile conditions of travel,

Wait, push, rush and neglect-

Resting and sleeping in inhuman conditions-

All with a matchless patience;

Cursing none and complaining to none

Thinking only of the sole purpose of pilgrimage!

While I, calculating every coin spent

And devotion taking a back-seat,

With my bloated ego

Of my might of learning

And memory of hymns

Stand speechless and wonder-struck

And clearly defeated by the intensity

And purity of devotion of simple souls

Sans songs and hymns on Gods

Soulfully addressing,

'' O God, O Mother, O Father! '

And nothing else beyond him!

O God what use then

Of all my borrowed masterly prayers

When I realize with all my heart

True devotion requires none

Of borrowed mastery of language

To curry favour God

But only a deep-longing

And a burning faith sans anything

That reduces to ashes

All our rotting egos!

I held my head in shame

And set free all the hymns

I held captive in my mind by rote-

Thrashed the mean thought

That God could be bought

For glowing and glittering phrases!

-S.Chandra Kalaadhar

Submitted: Saturday, June 25, 2011
Edited: Saturday, June 25, 2011

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