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XIII. HE WOULD BE ACCEPTED FOR SERVICE




Appoint me your treasurer, Mother, and trust me. I am not one who forgets the salt he has eaten.

Everyone loots your storehouse of gems,[72] I cannot endure it. You have left it in charge of the Demon's Bane, Śiva the Forgetful.[73] He is swift to give, easy in complaisance, yet you let him keep your treasury! Half of you he has received as a fief;[74] then why pay him salary as well, and such salary? I, your wageless servant, possess but the dust of your Feet. If you be like your [39]father,[75] I am lost. But, if you be like mine,[76] I shall grow wealthy.

Prasād says: Let me die in the saving grace of those Feet that spurn aside all forms of curse. If I may clasp those Feet,[77] all danger leaves me.

Traditionally, his first song, the one his employer found written in an account-book.

FOOTNOTES:

[72] Literally, 'the gem-storehouse of your Feet.'

[73] She stands on Śiva, who in that way possesses her Feet. This possession is also the 'salary' which Śiva receives.

Śiva is 'the Forgetful,' lost in meditation, drowsed with drugs. Śākta poets indulge in a great deal of what must be called pious badinage of Śiva.

[74] In the combined image, half-Umā, half-Śiva, called Hara-Gaurī.

[75] See note to II. Rāmprasād means: If you are stony and hard-hearted, I shall get nothing.

[76] Śiva, the careless and generous; Rāmprasād's father by a kind of adoption, since the poet is child of Kālī, his consort.

[77] Pada means both foot and Post, employment. Hence, the words mean also, if I may get this position.

XIV. MEDICINE FOR HIS MIND'S DISEASE

My Mind, if you would only take my prescription! Here are Paṭals[78] of truth, here is Śrīnāth Datta.[79]

The time will come when you will wish for these.

Forget your worldly bliss, and worship the Victor of Death![80]

Rāmprasād says: Then, my Mind, you will be healed from the world that is your disease.

The only interest of this poor but undoubtedly authentic song is that it is one of the few in which Rāmprasād draws on his hereditary medical lore, as a member of the Vaidya or doctor caste.

FOOTNOTES:

[78] The Paṭal is a vegetable. Vegetables are much used in prescriptions of kavirājas, or country doctors.

[79] Srīnāth Datta seems to have been Rāmprasād's spiritual preceptor.

[80] Mṛituñjaya, a name of Śiva. There seems to be only one place—in the Purāṇas—where an explanation of the name is attempted; and that explanation is too obscure to be given here. It is sufficient to remember that Śiva is the Great Destruction that itself cannot be destroyed.

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