Explanation by Dr VVB Rama Rao
Pristine Use of Language - A Sanskrit Stawam
Adi Sankara is the most miraculous of God’s creation. Believed to be an incarnation of Shiva Himself, this great divine creation became an ascetic unbelievably in his very boyhood. When we think of this boy-monk and his eventual, extraordinary odyssey from Kaladi (in Kerala) to Kashmir winning hearts and souls all the way, composing hymns to gods and goddesses, convincing stalwarts and propounding a faith unifying the theory-torn and confused to his point of view, or to be precise, His deity, we all must accept the creator’s omnipotence. He is what Carlyle called vates sacer- the sacred seer and, in mundane parlance, hero as man of letters too. The pristine language, Sanskrit, with its melody, flexibility and conceptualization (if we believe in Benjamim Lee Whorf’s hypothesis of the origin of language) may be viewed as God’s own tongue, Dev Bhasha. Adi Sankara used, among several other things, this sacred language to sing the creator’s praise. His propitiatory, invocative verses stay everlastingly on the lips of the devout.
Stuti, Stawam, Stotram are all terms in devotional compositions relating to songs in praise of the Supreme Being. In another type of classication, these are described in terms of the length or number of lines in the composition; Panchaka (for five) shatka (six) ashtaka for (eight) and so on. Here is one f the most often recited praise address to Goddesss Lakshmi, the deity of opulence and wealth.
The propounder and exegete of advaita, monism, Adi Sankara, composed extempore umpteen stotras and stawams in praise of various deities on various occasions. These compositions are not premeditated. They are fountain springs activated by devotion of the highest order. These are a vast treasure highly venerated for their divinely illumined vision as also for their extreme felicity of expression. The most sublime ascetic uttered kanakadhara stawam on the spur of the moment. Once a poor woman whom he begged for alms gave him a gooseberry (amla), all that she had, explaining her poverty. Moved, the great sage and seer sang this praise of the Goddess Lakshmi. The moment the hymn came to a close there was a rain of gold, which made the woman dumb with overflowing devotion for the Supreme Mother.
angam hareh pulakabhooshaNa maashrayantee
bhringaanganeva mukulaabharaNam tamaalam.
angeekritaakhila vibhooti rapaangaleelaa
maangalyadaastu mama mangaladevataayaah || 1||
May the sidelong glance of Sri Lakshmi, the one who has in Her all affluence, attracted to Srihari like a honeybee to a Tamala tree in full bloom, give me auspiciousness.
mugdhaa muhurvidadhatee vadane muraareh
prematrapaa praNihitaani gataa gataani
maalaa drushormadhukareeva mahotpalE yaa
saa mE shriyam dishatu saagara sambhavaayaah || 2||
Sri Mahalaksmi’s glance is the most pleasant. Like a female honeybee that goes again and again to the beloved lotus, Her glances shift again and again to Murari, Srimannaarayana’s face with love and coy shyness. They appear like a garland. May the glances of the virgin of the Ocean of Milk (Goddess Lakshmi) bless me with affluence!
aameelitaaksha madhigamya mudaa mukundam
aanandakandam animEsha manangatantram.
aakEkara sthita kaneeka pakshmanetram
bhootyai bhavenmama bhujanga shayaanganaayaah || 3||
May Her glance in which She has kept for ever the beautifully drooping eyes of Her lord, Sree Mahavishnu, the glance that makes Love God, Manmadha blossom without a wink, bless me with all riches and wealth.
baahvantarE murajitah shrita kaustubhE yaa
haaraavaleeva harineelamayee vibhaati
kaamapradaa bhagavatOpi kataakshamaalaa
kalyaaNamaavahatu mE kamalaalayaayaah || 4||
May those sidelong glances serving Srihari with utmost devotion shining effulgently like emerald garlands bless me with all kinds of auspiciousness and prosperity.
kaalaambudaali lalitorasi kaitabhaarE
dhaaraadharE sphurati yat tatidanganEva
maatus samastajagataam mahaneeyamoortih
bhadraaNi mE dishatu bhaargavanandanaayaah || 5||
Sri Mahavishunu’s bosom is extremely beautiful like a row of black clouds. Goddess Lakshmi on His bosom shines like a glorious lightning. May the glance of that Universal Mother, Bhrigu"s daughter, give me all joy and all prosperity.
praaptam padam prathamatah khalu yatprabhaavaat
maangalyabhaaji madhumaadini manmadhEna
mayyaapatettadiha manthara meekshaNaardham
mandaalasam cha makaraalaya kanyakaayaah || 6||
Manmadha owes his first position under Srihari to the kind glances of Sree Mahalakshmi on him. May Her glance from Her half open, soft and tired glance come to me.
vishvaamarEndra padaveebhrama daanadaksham
aananda hetumadhikam muravid vishOpi
eeshannisheedatu mayi kshaNa meekshaNaarddham.
indeevarodara sahodaramindiraayaa || 7||
May the goddess Indira’s glance, comparable to the effulgence of the glorious black lotuses, that blesses all divine worlds and gives joy to Srihari, stay for a moment on me.
ishTaa vishishTamatayOpi ya yayaa dayaadraa
drishTyaa trivishTapa padam sulabham bhajantE
drshTih prahrushTa kamalOdaradeeptirishTaam
pushTim krisheeshTa mama pushkara vishTaraayaah || 8||
May the glance that could enable devout and good men get high positions like that of Indra, the glance with the glory of the light in the lotus, give me the strength and fullness that I pray for.
dadyaad dayaanupavanO draviNaambudhaaraam
asminnakinchana vihangashishau vishhaNNe
dushkarma gharma mapaneeya chiraaya dooram
naaraayaNapraNayinee nayanaambuvaahah || 9||
May the wind of Goddess Lakshmi’s glance, which dispels the cloud of the heat of evil deeds for long, as a favourable one, cause a cloud rain on this wretched little bird, Chataka, and rain prosperity.
srishTi sthitipralayakelishu sansthitaa yaa
tasyai namastribhuvanaika gurOstaruNyai || 10||
To the Mother of all Learning, the consort of GaruDadhwaja, Vishnu, to Sakambhari, the consort of Shiva, who plays Her part in the play of Creation, Sustenance and Destruction, to the Supreme Preceptor of all the three worlds, to Mother, my devout salutations.
shrutyai namOstu shubhakarma phalaprasootyai
ratyai namOstu ramaNeeya guNaarNavaayai
shaktyai namOstu shatapatra nikEtanaayai
pushTyai namOstu purushhottama vallabhaayai || 11||
My salutations to the auspicious fruit yielding form of Sriti, Veda. My salutations to the form of the extremely pleasant and joyous Ratiroopa. Salutations to the form of Shakti on the hundred petalled lotus. Salutations to the form of PushTi, the consort of Purushottama, the best of Beings.
namOstu naaleeka nibhaananaayai
namOstu naaraayaNa vallabhaayai || 12||
Salutations to Sree Mahalaksmi, the lotus-faced, the milk-ocean born, the sister of Moon and Nectar and the consort of Sri Mahavishnu.
namOstu shaarngaayudha vallabhaayai || 13||
Salutations again and again to the Mother whose dais and seat is the lotus, sovereign of the earth, the darling of Kodandapani, the Great Bow-bearer, Sri Mahavishnu.
namoOstu devyai bhrigunandanaayai
namOstu vishNorurasi sthitaayai
namOstu lakshmyai kamalaalayaayai
namOstu daamodara vallabhaayai || 14||
Salutations again and again to Bhrugu’s daughter, the Devi on Sri Mahavishnu’s bosom, the one having residence in the lotus and the consort of Damodara, Sri Mahavishnu..
namOstu kaantyai kamalekshaNaayai
namOstu bhootyai bhuvanaprasooutyai
namOstu nandaatmajavallabhaayai || 15||
Salutations to the form of effulgence, the lotus-eyed, the form of all affluence, the Mother of the Universe worshipped by deities and the consort of Nandagopabala, Sri Krishna.
sampatkaraaNi sakalEndriya nandanaani
saamraajyadaana vibhavaani saroruhaakshi
maamEva maataranisham kalayantu maanye || 16||
Mother! Salutations to You who bestow affluence, make all senses joyous, give empires strength. They are ever ready to uproot all evil. May those salutations make me fulfilled day and night.
santanoti vachanaanga maanasaih
stvaam muraarihridayeshvareem bhajE || 17||
I pray with all my heart and soul the Mother whose single glance could bless the devotee with all affluence and prosperity by a mere sidelong glance. Salutations to Her with my manas (hear-mind-intellect), body and action.
dhavalatamaam shukagandhamaalya shobhE
bhagavati harivallabhE manogyE
tribhuvanabhuutikari praseeda mahyam || 18||
Mother! Your eyes are like lotuses. The lotus in Your hand is splendid. You shine in white robes, sandal anointed, and garland decked. My heart knows You thus. Grace me with Your blessing!
digghastibhih kanakakumbha mukhaavasrishTa
praatarnamaami jagataam jananeemashEsha
lokaadhinaathagrihiNeem amritaabdhiputreem. || 19||
Elephants of the eight directions (diks) shower the waters of the river Mandakini with golden vessels on the Mother. I worship the Mother of the worlds, the consort of the Lord of the Universe and the daughter of the Ocean of Milk.
kamalE kamalaaksha vallabhE
karunaapoora taraingtai rapaangai
avalokaya maa makinchanaanaam
pradhamam paatra makrutimam dayaayayaa. || 20||
The beloved of Kamalaksha (Sri Mahavishnu)! O Kamalaadevi! Cast a sidelong glance with your moist, merciful eye at me, the topmost among the most impecunious, with your grace. Truly I deserve to be the object of your compassion.
stuvanti yE stutibhi ramoobhi ranwaham
trayee mayeem tribhuvanamaataram ramaam
guNaadhikaa gurutara bhaagyabhaajinO
bhavanti tE bhuvi budhabhaavitaashayaah. || 21||
Those who with these praises sing the gory of the Goddess Lakshmi would acquire great qualities and get great prosperity and be blessed with noble hearts that would earn the praise of the wise and the good.
suvarnadhaara stotram yachchankaraachaarya nirmitam
trisandhyam yahpaTEnnityam kubErasamObhaveth. || 22||
The one who recites this composition of Sri Sankaracharya at the three sandhyas, dawn, noon and dusk would equal Kubera, the Deity of Money.
Dr V.V.B.Rama Rao, is a retired ELT professional with nearly forty books to his credit. He is a creative writer, translator and essayist now living in New Delhi.