Love – Mad
[Translated from the Tamil lines of Nammalwar]

The realization of God in all things by the Vision of Divine Love.

The poetic image used in the following verses is characteristically Indian. The mother of a love-stricken girl 9symbolising the human soul yearning to merge into the Godhead) is complaining to her friends of the sad plight of her child, whom love for Krishna has rendered ‘mad’; - the effect of the ‘madness’ being that in all things she is able to see nothing but forms of Krishna – the ultimate spirit of the Universe.)

Seated, she caresses Earth and cries, “This Earth is Vishnu’s;”

Salutes the sky and bids us, “Behold the Heaven He ruleth;”

Or standing with tear – filled eyes cries loud, “ O Sea – hued Lord!”

All helpless am I, my friends; my child He has rendered mad (1)

Or joining her hands she fancies, “the Sea where my Lord reposes!”

Or hailing the ruddy sun she cries out, “Yes, This is His form”

Languid, she bursts into tears and mutters Narayana’s name.

I am dazed at the things she is doing, my gazelle, my child, shaped god-like (2)

Knowing, she embraces red fire, is scorched and cries, “O Deathless!”

And she hugs the wind; “Tis my own Govinda, “she tells us.

She smells the honied Tulsi, my gazelle-like child, Ah me !

How many the pranks she plays for my sinful eyes to behold. (3)

The rising moon she showeth, “Tis the shining gem-hued Krishna!”

Or, eyeing the standing hill, she cries: “O come, high Vishnu!”

It rains; and she dances and cries out, “He hath come, the God of my love !”

O the mad conceits He hath given to my tender, dear one! (4)

The soft-limbed calf she embraces, for “Such did Krishna tend,”

And follows the gliding serpent, explaining, “That is His couch.”

I know not where this will end, this folly’s play in my sweet one,

Afflicted, ay, for my sins, by Him, the Divine Magician (5)

Where tumblers dance with their pots, she runs and cries, “Govinda.”

At the charming notes of a flute she faints, for “Krishna, He playeth.”

When cowherd dames bring butter, she is sure it was tasted by Him.

So mad for the Lord who sucked out the Demoness’ life through her bosom! (6)

In rising madness she raves, “All worlds are by Krishan made.”

And she runs after folk ash-smeared; forsooth. They serve high Vishnu!

Or she looks at the fragrant Tulsi and claims Narayana’s garland.

She is ever for Vishnu, my darling, or in, or out of, hr wits. (7)

And in all your wealthy princes she but sees the Lord of Lakshmi.

At the sight of beautiful colours, she cries, “O my Lord world-scanning!”

And all the shrines in the land, to her are shrines of Vishnu.

In awe and in love, unceasing she adores the feet of that Wizard. (8)

All Gods and Saints are Krishna-Devourer of Infinite Spaces!

And the huge dark clouds are Krishna; all fain would she fly to reach them.

Or the kine, they graze on the meadow and thither she runs to find Him.

The Lord of illusions, He makes my dear one pant and rave. (9)

Languid she stares around her or gazes afar into space;

She sweats and with eyes full of tears she sighs and faints away;

Rising, she speaks but His name and cries, “do come, O Lord!”

Ah, what shall I do with my poor child o’erwhelmed by this maddest love? (10)



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