Allama Prabhu : If it rains fire

Allama Prabhu was a 12th c. mystic and poet in Karnataka, a key figure in the Shiv Bhakta movement that put devotion to Shiva above rituals and formalities. He appears to have come from a family of temple performers; his father taught temple dance and Allama Prabhu was a skilled temple drummer. He married a temple dancer but she died of a fever, and grief-stricken, Allama Prabhu began to wander aimlessly, until at last he came to a temple cave. There he met a saint who blessed him with spiritual knowledge. Perhaps because of this experience, many of his poems refer to the Lord Shiva, dwelling in the heart space, as ‘the lord of caves.’

If it rains fire
     you have to be as the water;

if it is a deluge of water
     you have to be as the wind;

if it is the Great Flood,
     you have to be as the sky;

and if it is the Very Last Flood of all the worlds,
     you have to give up self

and become the Lord.

Translation A. K. Ramanujan

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