The Message and Ministrations of Dewan Bahadur R. Venkata Ratnam, volume 2/Chapter 15

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XV

SERVICE :

THE HUMAN HEART THE HOLIEST TEMPLE.

(1905)


ABADHANA.

Hymn— A khilabvaJunandapathi (Bengali)-

Lord of myriad worlds ! Lord of countless seas and oceans deep ! All bowing to Thee; all held in the hollow of Thy hand, Lord ! Supreme Master ! Sole Sovereign ! Thou art the only everlasting Protector and Purveyor unto these myriad worlds! We, too, prostrate ourselves before Thy majesty. In this little world, tiny atoms, mere dust-grains as we are, we yet bold the sweetest communion of brotherly fellowship will all, even through Thy grace, out of Thy sole fatherhood of all. Unknown yet felt, unseen yet realised, in Thy marvellous methods, Thou hast knit together the denizens of these countless orbs by one family tie, ruled by one law of love, designed for one destiny of a divine purpose and led on by one gleam of heavenly light. We fee] that, at this hour of worship, we are a congregation, a family, a fraternity, at one with the holy band of worshippers congregating in the spacious temple of this|universe. The dumb creatures and the so-called lifeless objects—they, too, dance and participate in the hymn, the symphony, the celestial harmony of heart-worship. Aye, the whole universe is wonderfully attuned into one united hosanna in praise of Thee. Blessed, blessed, blessed be Thou!

At this hour of worship, we feel that we are all spirit, wholly Thine, entirely transformed into sonship, child-ship unto Thee. This gift of love, this blessed boon of adoring sonship, ends all our sorrows, dispels all our fears, removes all our infirmities and marvellously regenerates us into devoted and trusting servants of Thee, our own dear Lord. Blessed, blessed, blessed be Thy name!

A humble little band of worshipping spirits in the universal congregation of hearts, we beseech Thy in-coming grace on us. Come, our own dear, ever-adorable God. Here we have met to lay bare our hearts, to disburden our griefs and sorrows, to confess our sins and transgressions, to disclose our faults and frailties, to own our endless gratitude, to be enriched with the gifts of Thy mercy, to be transformed by the might of Thy grace into newer life, fresher aspirations and firmer resolutions. Do Thou descend, in Thy mercy and Thy grace into our hearts. We seek not the gifts of the world. Here, there, everywhere they lie in inexhaustible abundance, provided in Thy providence, fore-arranged in Thy prevision even before we needed them or took thought of them. We desire to grow into Thee, we seek to put on Thee more and more, to imbibe Thee, to be infused, instilled, suffused, surcharged with the spirit of Thy holiness. Here we come with that thirst, with that yearning, with that joint petition; that is our combined supplication, that is our united prayer at Thy foot-stool. May we be drunk with the nectar , the indescribable, the unutterable ecstasy of Thy companionship, Thy presence, Thine own charming, enrapturing presence. Touch us; do grant us to feel Thy touch Unseal our eyes; remove the scales of ignorance and cast down the barriers of sin. Open the gates of our hearts and disclose Thyself. Sages have sung that Thou art the Viswapathi. Thy glory is manifested, Thy radiance flames forth. Thy music thrills the world with raptures. Thy mercy showers down the ambrosia of joy and peace and love. Yet we need and long for Thee as the dear God of each one of us—embraced, beloved, adored, enchanting, enrapturing, transporting. Alone with the Alone, possessed with Thee, detached from the world, each one of us would have Thee unto himself. Yet we are all here, believing in spiritual fellowship, to enjoy Thee together. How to make that possible Thou alone knowest. Ours is to ask, Thine to grant; ours is to pray, Thine to vouch-safe; ours is to supplicate, Thine to bless. Have mercy; have mercy; have mercy! We rejoice to sing They praise, not that Thou needest it, not that we offer it as a homage or even as a confirmation of our allegiance to Thee, but wholly because the heart is prompted and the soul is impelled to it. We feel we must sing Thy name even as therefrom comes the exalting experience of the vivid preception and the sanctifying inspiration of Thy holy presence. Thou are the prime Truth, the vital Fact, the imperishable Reality, the enduring Essence of this vast, illimitable universe. Thou art the sum and substance, the spirit and strength, the stay and support, the all-in-all, of all that we see. And yet how we dupe ourselves with hollow shows and deluding conventions, hide-bound by customary routines and traditional formalities! Thou art the Indweller of this whole called the universe: as the sages have sung. All that exists is inspired, enveloped, permeated, suffused, transfused by Thee. Thou art the staying strength below; Thou art the hovering grace above; Thou art the enveloping breath around. In this encrusted globe below and in those beckoning stars above; in the solemn quiet of the night and in the vivifying light of the down, we behold Thy abiding presence. Incalculably rich, indescribably varied and yet marvellously harmonised, this universe is the manifestation of Thy power, wisdom, goodness and holiness. We live in the expansive temple of this world. In the hardness of that which resists, in the softness of that which soothes, in the geniality of the sunshine which awakens new hope in the heart, in the revolving cycle of the seasons which bring tokens of Thy ceaseless mercy, in the unfailing fidelity of the earth's movement and rotation suggestive of the permanence of Thy purpose, even as it is sustained by Thy love, we behold Thee. In the throbs of the heart, in the pricks of conscience, in the commanding sense of duty., in all these we behold Thee. Thy sovereign Will reigns, Thy awe-inspiring Presence beams forth, everywhere. All laws are the expressions of Thy eternal truth, even as all love is the outpouring of Thy inexhaustible affection from the central fountain. Blessed, blessed, blessed be Thou!

With our bodies, with our minds, with our souls, with all our powers and faculties, with all our intuitions and endeavours, with the science of the sages, with the history of the ages, with the minstrels' chants and the artists' "witcheries," with all these we glorify Thee as the Eternal Reality. In Thee as the all-embracing Unity, we feel unified. Thus we are all one—one to know Thee, one to love Thee, one to abide in Thee, one to rejoice in Thee, one to tender the offering of song and the homage of service unto Thee, one in eternally adoring, endeavouring and working with all our thoughts and desires and deeds, in perfect unison with Thee. Thou hast granted unto us countless occasions to perceive and to realise that we are all one in Thee as the true, eternal God. We are privileged to worship Thee. Unto us has been vouchsafed the supreme right of calling Thee our Father and praising Thee as the only adorable God, the sole Object of our hearts' longing and of oar souls' adoration. We rejoice in this privilege and render grateful thanks unto Thee. The world calls Thee Infinite. But we feel that it is a word all too poor to represent Thy amplitude, Thy altitude, Thy illimitable, inconceivably surpassing greatness and grandeur. Yet Thy mercy comes down, Thy grace descends, Thy condescending clemency enters into our tiny hearts. There-in lie alike Thy real greatness and our sure hope—the pledge that we are of Thee, the guarantee that Thou shalt be with us for ever. We thank Thee for this holy union that never can cease and nowhere can terminate.

Oh Thou supremely holy God! We bow down before Thee and we render our hearts unto Thee. Teach us, we beseech Thee, to realise Thee, to receive Thee, to embrace Thee, to make the heart of each one of us an abode vast enough, a home sweet enough, a shrine sacred enough unto Thy Holy Spirit. Even as the entire solicitude and untiring vigilance of the devoted, loving wife is applied to the sole end of engaging the love of her adored spouse, we would so address all our prayers, so direct all our desires and so engage all our intentions and purposes as to achieve the one object of receiving Thee and securing Thee as the abiding and enchanted God in our hearts and souls. Teach us, we beseech Thee, how to cleanse and purify, how to illumine and adorn, how to beautify and sanctify our hearts and souls that Thou mayest deign to enter them. All the world's charm of light and colour and fragrance we would gather into our hearts that Thou, our best Beloved, mayest accept them as the favourite retreats of Thy love. All sacred places, all sanctified altars, all consecrated temples, we would translate into our souls that Thou mayest abide in them as Thy holy shrines. All the sages that "vision" Thee; all the saints that enjoy Thee; all the sinners that, like ourselves, through the gloom and the weariness of sin and sorrow, supplicate Thee for relief and regeneration; all the prophets that gaze through the mysteries of Thy greatness and the marvels of Thy mercy; all the devotees enraptured into dance and song by the charms of Thy beauty—all, all we embrace and welcome into our hearts that Thou mayest be befittingly habited in them. Teach us, we implore Thee, to render our hearts and souls into mansions and ministers worthy of Thee, Teach us thus to commune with Thee, to be absorbed in rapturous contemplation of Thee. Glance meeting glance, touch thrilling with touch, love embracing love, may we thus commune with Thee directly, immediately, personally I Grant unto us this beatitude, we beseech Thee, our hearts' Low and our souls' Lord!

DHYANAMU.

(Congregational Chant.)

PRARDHANA.

Bhavambodhipotham saranyamvrajamah!

Verily Thou art the Ferryman across. As Thy devotees have sung with myriad-organed music, Ferryman, take us across; Ferryman, take us across—not from this to the next world, not from near earth to distant heaven, not from the stale old to the tempting new, not from ours to not-ours, not from man to God; but across that tremendous chasm that yawns within our own selves. Carry us across passion and sin; ferry us across the gulfs of temptations and struggles, steer us through the storms of evil and sin, even to the haven of truth, light and life. Unto Thee, the unerring Ferryman across, we appeal. Lead us out of untruth into truth, lead us out of darkness into light, lead us out of death into life. Thou the almighty, all-conquering, awe-inspiring One, do Thou, with the radiance of Thy glory, with the charm of Thy beauty, reveal Thyself in our hearts and renew us with Thy eternal love. We bless Thee and we seek to be blessed in Thee. We glorify Thy name!

ANUTHAPAMU.

And shall it be all prayer and supplication to be cared for and taken across? Shall we not, in Thy presence, tear asunder all our foolish desires, fond lingerings and frail leanings towards the cravings of the flesh and the allurements of the world? Shall we not sacrifice before Thee, even as the proofs and pledges of our sincere self-surrender unto Thee, our pet passions, our fond fashions, our absorbing ambitions, our secret schemes, our insatiable indulgences? Shall we not trust into Thy hands all our concerns and interests? Shall we not say unto Thee, with unalloyed sincerity and soul-deep devotion, "Let Thy will be done"?

Long have we foolishly run and sought after the vain things of the world. Not that we would now be shielded and saved from what are called the trials of life; but we would seek the incoming of Thy spirit into all the concerns of our life; that thus the old, irksome responsibilities may become new, quickening obligations, our self-imposed tasks may become Thy divine ordinances, the vows of our renunciation may become the mandates of Thy mercy, and the associations of our establishing may become alliances in Thy Holiness; that thus the old home may become the new sanctuary, the old companions may become new co-pilgrims, the old society may become the new fraternity, the old world may become the new temple, the old pursuits may become new missions, the old recreations may become new enjoyments; that thus the food we suppose we earn may become the love come from the Mother's hand, and the clothing we fancy we acquire may become the garb of mercy that the Mother casts upon us; that thus the old pledges may become new covenants, the old intuitions may become new and God-ordained aspirations; that thus our whole life may be transfigured into a happy communion with the living, loving God all the days and all the years of our lives! Do Thou tear away, even with the thoroughness that true love demands, all that is deep-rooted in us of vice and sin, iniquity and immorality, debasing lust and degrading desire! Do Thou, with unsparing chastisement, purge out all that lurks within our hearts, with hydra-headed persistence, of worldliness, selfishness, cupidity, prejudice, passion, anger, hatred, lust and licentiousness. May we be taught to know and feel, and rejoice in the knowledge and the feeling, that of Thee is our true freedom, from Thee is bur true happiness, unto Thee is our true progress! Thus may our lives ever tend and grow toward Thee, and in Thee alone may we find our home, station, place, position—the only success and reward of life! Thus in the amplitude of love, in the keenness of brotherhood, in the impartiality of truth, in the sincerity of good faith, may we be enabled to live our lives in Thee—transparent as a crystal, deep as the ocean, firm as a rock, yet soft and gentle as the dew that descends to refresh and the light that enters to cheer! May we be Thy servants, worshippers, workers, devotees, consecrated unto Thy purposes, dedicated unto Thy glory, seeking nought but Thy will, working for nought but the weal of Thy children! Thy truth prevail! Thy love reign supreme! Thy kingdom come! Thy name be glorified everywhere and through all ages! Blessed, blessed, blessed be Thou now and for ever!

ASEESH.

The Lord of all light lead us! The Lord of all truth illumine us! The Lord of all mercy protect us! The Lord of all grace sanctify us! May the all-holy Lord dwell in us and reign over us! Blessed be the name of the Lord now and for ever!

Om! Brahma Kripahi Kevalam!

Om! Santhih! Santhih! Santhih!