by Swami Krishnananda
When Pandyan king in Madurai ruled a flood in Vaigai rose,
A threat discharged on kingdom's wealth and royal glory's pride.
The kind, aghast at ceaseless rush of swelling waters' roar,
Summoned his court and dwelt on means of meeting danger's roots.
The palace ordered every house to send a man for work
To bunds erect and walls upraise to stem the force of tides.
The rule of law enforced the hardest punishment on those
Who desisted or failed to comply with the demand made,
The rich and poor, strong and weak, and every citizen,
Deputed men to render service as the edict went.
The whole of town and village folk did rise to hurry forth
In labour deemed so emergent to save the city's life.
Lo, everyone, not one is left, from imposed force of law's.
So stringent was the order come from despot ruler's will.
An old and weak and poor dame of city's corner's hut,
Was also served the notice come, as no one was exempt.
The bending back with feeble eyes moved out in open streets
In search of someone who could work, as second she had none.
When lowest level of support to breaking point does move,
The last of strings that ties to earth the soul does break and snap.
Since all was gone, same body's breath, with legal wrath as only friend,
The aged lady unwittingly summoned 'all' to her rescue.
A little boy from off the road eagerly rushed and spoke to her
To service lend on payment made, a joy and grief to her distressed.
It's joy because someone had come, and grief because she had no wealth
To pay the servant for the workwhich he demanded as his due.
"I have some cakes of pounded rice, please have it as wages I pay,
No other thing I can afford; if you are willing go and work".
So saddened lady made her point to which he gladly did agree,
And having eaten some of cakes he went to labour for the bund.
When all were hard at rugged labour on the banks to raise the walls,
The little lad just threw some mud and idly strolled in careless ease.
While this was bad he made it worse by complaining of hunger-thirst,
And frequently making his way to lady's hut for eating cakes.
The king did notice lethargy and idle play of servant sent,
And on enquiry came to know an old woman had sent this boy.
Casting his glance on work pretentions, irked at wilful negligence,
The king his whip of lashes raised and dealt a blow on back of boy.
Then what happened, who can describe, the atoms split their very core,
And every cell of all creation shook with shock of thrash of whip.
The king who struck was first belaboured with the strike of rod
And felt the pain of blow he dealt on working peasant boy.
The workers all in thousands stretched busy in building bunds,
Did each one feel the hit on back as if a stone did roll.
The hills in tremor showered blasts of earth element from their pores,
And seas rose up in heaving waves as if the mountains in them sank.
Vibrations struck the sun and moon and stars in the sky spat tongues of flame,
Brahma and Vishnu in Their seats and Indra felt the sudden quake.
The boy in play took up a handful of the earth from ground,
And threw it on the gaps of bund which closely fixed the walls.
This in an instant raised the barracks turning tides away,
To marvelled looks of all the folks who drudged for days and days.
Lo, wonder this, who is this rustic lad who played these pranks
And struck with wonder everyone who dazed beheld what this could be.
Suddenly in place of that one little boyish frame
Arose the magnificent frame of Siva, Almighty
Who lighted up the firmament as thousand suns would rise,
And blessed the kind and all the people with his divine grace.