In this excerpt from the Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva’s Shivastotravali, Swami Lakshmanjoo explains Utpaladeva’s wonder about being a “slave” to Lord Shiva without seeing his master.
Chapter 12 (58:58)
भगवन्भवदिच्छयैव दास –
स्तव जातोऽस्मि परस्य नात्र शक्तिः ।
कथमेष तथापि वक्त्रबिम्बं
तव पश्यामि न जातु चित्रमेतत् ॥२६॥
stava jāto’smi parasya nātra śaktiḥ /
kathameṣa tathāpi vaktrabimbaṁ
tava paśyāmi na jātu citrametat //26//
O Lord, by Your own will, You have made me Your slave. I didn’t ask You to put me on Your path. I never wished [for that]. It was Your own free will that You have kept me on Your path, and You have made me Your slave.
Well and good. If you have made me Your slave, that is alright. But I must see my master. If I am a slave of somebody, I must see that master. Katham, then how . . .
Because, parasya nātra śakti, no other power could do it.
DENISE: Make me Your slave.
SWAMIJI: Make me Your slave. It is Your own will that I have become Your slave.
. . . kathameṣa tathāpi vaktra bimbaṁ tava. And this, Your face, this beautiful face, why Your beautiful face is not shown to me? Na jātu paśyāmi, I never see Your face. So, when I am asked by the public, “whom you are serving?” what will I say? I have not seen my master. I’ve never seen You. Citrametat, this is a surprise; this is a surprising action.
Because, when you want to engage some servant for your [service], you are always with him, just coaching him, just ordering him, “do this, do this, do this”.
Bas, I am only a servant and there is no master to be seen. This is a wonder to me.Source: Hymns to Shiva, Utpaladeva’s Shivastotravali, revealed by Swami Lakshmanjoo
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