The Message and Ministrations of Dewan Bahadur R. Venkata Ratnam, volume 2/Chapter 13

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Pathithapavana (Purifier of the fallen)-— how sweet, how tender, how engaging, how reassuring, is that sacred name of the All merciful ! Consoling, refreshing, inspiring beyond expression it is to think of, to apprehend and to approach the Divine Mother as the Reclaimer of the erratic, the Restorer of the lost, the Purifier of the tainted, the Uplifter of the fallen, the Solacer of the suffering, the Healer of the wounded and the Saviour of the sin-stricken ! Painfully conscious of sin and yet too feeble to resist it; lament- ing his piteous plight and yet helpless to better his condition ; cursing wickedness as detestable and yet caressing it as win-some ; shedding bitter tears of regret and yet relishing the tempting poison ; loathing vice as a monster with a 'frightful mien' and yet enduring and even embracing that monster as a charmer— this struggling sinner, this tortured transgresser, this rotten wretch on the rack, what peace, what comfort, what happiness can he command ? He can come to no resolve, he can form no determination, he can put forth no effort, that can be of any use and effect against the apparently invincible force of sin. He can look for relief from no source ; he can hope for succour from no quarter ; he can appeal to no being for rescue. Remedy after remedy he has tried in vain ; endeavour after endeavour has proved futile. Thus he feels like a lonely outcast ; a slave even to what he thoroughly detests and would not wish even unto his worst enemy. Peace and rest, comfort and happiness, appear to be lost for ever ; and his only lot seems to be eternal perdition. But unto him, sunk in this deep despair, comes the soothing, the cheering, the revivifying good-news that the Almighty One is sure to help and uplift him, that Supreme Being before whose face no enemy dare stand, at whose very gaze man's apparently indomitable enemies of impurity, worldliness and sin vanish away as mist. How unutterably blessed this miserable man, in his pitiable plight, feels, as the heavenly hope enters his soul that a new star will rise in his heart, a reverse tide will set up in his life, and his torturing grief will yield place to healing happiness. He feels as though snatched from the very jaws of death ; he is roused with courage and strength to meet and vanquish his old enemies ; he experiences a sure hope that sin will be reduced to dust and ashes and on those ruins will rise the stately edifice of pure morality and true religion. Like a balmy breeze refreshing the drooping frame, like a charming voice cheering the heavy heart, like a vernal shower bringing the vital sap to the withering plant, like the silvery stream imparting life and strength to the weary hart, and like the shining star guiding the bewildered way-farer lost in gloom, this life-giving thought, this hope-imparting belief that there is a heavenly Purifier of the fallen invigorates and rejuvenates the sore-struggling, half-sinking sinner ; who thus feels nerved to a new fight with the frightful foes that have so long held him down. He is* as it were, endowed with a new heart and gifted with a new strength ; and he feels his future is secure. Thus this firm faith in the holy Healer, the potent Purifier, the sure Saviour, is at once hope and strength, peace and power, unto him who, wrung with anguish, knew not how and whence relief could come.

Besides the sinner, aware of his appalling fate but helpless to avert it, there are others unto whom the Purifier of the fallen is an inexhaustible source of hope and strength. Is it not the common experience of most of us that, fighting hard against temptations and passions, we were often pushed to the very brink of the abyss, and a fall was almost inevitable ; but the saving thought, the redeeming belief, that the great Restorer ever helps those who help themselves, worked like a charm, filled us with hope irrepressibiy strong and power immeasurably great — -a hope and a power that led us on from victory to victory ? Thus the happy remembrance that there is the great Purifier of the fallen, whose heart knows no fatigue and whose helping hand is never withheld, is a magic incentive to face the foe undauntedly and to fight the battle confidently. This faith is a shield against the arrows or temptation, a sword for beating back the attacks of passions. If the Divine Saviour is so tender and helpful to him who knows yet errs, who detests his sins and yet indulges in them, how much more would He be- friend and strengthen one who strains every nerve in fighting those common foes of man — temptations-and passions ! Again, this belief in the Purifier of the fallen immensely adds to the firm faith of the loyal servant. That God is the All-merciful One who cherishes boundless love even for the transgresser, goes in search of the lost man, pardons and purifies and places in the right path him who has sinned against his own Lord and Father — can any man perceive this truth and not feel impelled to love, adore and obey that All-merciful One with the whole heart, soul and strength ? To realise God as the great Purifier, the gracious Sanctifier, is to be irresistibly led to revere Him and bow down before Him in awe and reverence. Lastly, the Purifier of the fallen is as the right arm of might unto those who, pressing hard towards their own destination, feel it a part of their mission in life to aid others in reaching their goal. He who believes that there is one potent Reclaimer of all the refractory will also believe that his own hands will be strengthened, his own efforts will be reinforced, as he faithfully employs them for the uplift of others ; and he is stimulated and encouraged to work with redoubled energy for the redemption and salvation of his sisters and brethren. The Purifier of the fallen is the guarantee that all earnest endeavours will be ultimately crowned with successs. Will the gentle reader develope and complete this very imperfect exposition of the sweetest, the loveliest, the loftiest of all God's sublime attributes?