Poets of John Company/A Hymn to Narayena
A Hymn to Narayena.
Spirit of Spirits, who, through ev'ry part
Of space expanded and of endless time,
Beyond the stretch of lab'ring thought sublime,
Badst uproar into beauteous order start.
Before Heav'n was, Thou art:
Ere spheres beneath us roll'd or spheres above.
Ere earth in firmamental ether hung,
Thou satst alone; till, through thy mystic Love,
Things unexisting to existence sprung,
And grateful descant sung.
What first impell'd thee to exert thy might?
Goodness unlimited. What glorious light
Thy pow'r directed? Wisdom without bound.
What prov'd it first? Oh! guide my fancy right,
Oh raise from cumbrous ground
My soul in rapture drown'd,
That fearless it may soar on wings of fire;
For thou, who only knowst, Thou only canst inspire.
Wrapt in eternal solitary shade,
Th' impenetrable gloom of light intense,
Impervious, inaccessible, immense.
Ere spirits were infus'd or forms display'd,
BREHM his own Mind survey'd,
As mortal eyes (thus finite we compare
With infinite) in smoothest mirrors gaze:
Swift, at his look, a shape supremely fair
Leap'd into being with a boundless blaze.
That fifty suns might daze.
Primeval Maya was the Goddess nam'd.
Who to her sire, with Love divine inflam'd,
A casket gave with rich Ideas fill'd.
From which this gorgeous Universe he fram'd;
For, when th' Almighty will'd.
Unnumbered worlds to build.
From Unity diversified he sprang,
While gay Creation laugh'd, and procreant Nature rang.
First an all-potent all-pervading sound
Bade flow the waters—and the waters flow'd,
Exulting in their measureless abode.
Diffusive, multitudinous, profound,
Above, beneath, around;
Then o'er the vast expanse primordial wind
Breath'd gently, till a lucid bubble rose,
Which grew in perfect shape an Egg refin'd:
Created substance no such lustre shows,
Earth no such beauty knows.
Above the warring waves it danc'd elate,
Till from its bursting shell with lovely state
A form cerulean flutter'd o'er the deep.
Brightest of beings, greatest of the great:
Who, not as mortals steep
Their eyes in dewy sleep,
But heav'nly-pensive on the Lotus lay,
That blossom'd at his touch and shed a golden ray.
Hail, primal Blossom! hail empyreal gem!
KEMEL, or PEDMA, or whate'er high name
Delight thee, say, what four-form'd Godhead came,
With graceful stole and beamy diadem,
Forth from thy verdant stem?
Full-gifted BREHMA! Rapt in solemn thought
He stood, and round his eyes fire-darting threw:
But, whilst his viewless origin he sought,
One plain he saw of living waters blue,
Their spring nor saw nor knew.
Then, in his parent stalk again retir'd
With restless pain for ages he inquir'd.
What were his pow'rs, by whom, and why conf err'd:
With doubts perplex'd, with keen impatience fir'd
He rose, and rising heard
Th' unknown all-knowing Word,
"BREHMA! no more in vain research persist:
My veil thou canst not move.—Go; bid all worlds exist."
Hail, self-existent, in celestial speech
NARAYEN, from thy watery cradle, nam'd;
Or VENAMALY may I sing unblam'd,
With flow'ry braids, that to thy sandals reach.
Whose beauties, who can teach?
Or high PEITAMBER clad in yellow robes
Than sunbeams brighter in meridian glow.
That weave their heav'n-spun light o'er circling globes?
Unwearied, lotus-eyed, with dreadful bow,
Dire Evil's constant foe,
Great PEDMANABHA, o'er thy cherish'd world
The pointed Checra, by thy fingers whirl'd,
Fierce KYTABH shall destroy and MEDHU grim
To black despair and deep destruction hurrd.
Such views my senses dim,
My eyes in darkness swim:
What eye can bear thy blaze, what utt'rance tell
Thy deeds with silver trump or may-wreathed shell?
Omniscient Spirit, whose all-ruling pow'r
Bids from each sense bright emanations beam;
Glows in the rainbow, sparkles in the stream.
Smiles in the bud, and glistens in the flow'r
That crowns each vernal bow'r;
Sighs in the gale, and warbles in the throat
Of ev'ry bird, that hails the bloomy spring,
Or tells his love in many a liquid note
Whilst envious artists touch the rival string,
Till rocks and forests ring;
Breathes in rich fragrance from the sandal grove,
Or where the precious musk-deer playful rove;
In dulcet juice from clust'ring fruit distills,
And burns salubrious in the tasteful clove:
Soft banks and verd'rous hills
Thy present influence fills;
In air, in floods, in caverns, woods and plains;
Thy will inspirits all, thy sov'reign MAYA reigns.
Blue crystal vault, and elemental fires,
That in th' ethereal fluid blaze and breathe;
Thou, tossing main, whose snaky branches wreathe
This pensile orb with intertwisted gyres;
Mountains, whose radiant spires
Presumptuous rear their summits to the skies,
And blend their em'rald hue with sapphire light;
Smooth meads and lawns, that glow with varying dyes
Of dew-bespangled leaves and blossoms bright.
Hence vanish from my sight:
Delusive Pictures! unsubstantial shows!
My soul absorb'd One only Being knows,
Of all perceptions One abundant source,
Whence ev'ry object ev'ry moment flows
Suns hence derive their force,
Hence planets learn their course;
But suns and fading worlds I view no more:
God only I perceive; God only I adore.