Durga Shuktam – வேத வழிபாடு – துர்கை – Durgashtami Special

Couple of years ago, I was keen to learn Vedic Chants. At 66, it was not the right age to start definitely; but “desires” do not respect age and I started learning to chant a few Shuktams thanks to my good friend Sri.Viswanatha Raju. Durga Shuktam was one of them. That efforts got stalled due to my travel abroad and getting stuck there due to the pandemic. However my efforts to understand the essence of these Vedic chants continue and hopefully I will make some progress.

There is an argument that goes on inside me that there should be no attempt to translate these Vedic Chants into any other language as it is impossible to get the exact equivalent and the consciousness behind the original words and syllables. There is also a counter that we must go ahead and do even at the risk of breaking tradition and purity of thoughts for the benefit of the “Vedic illiterates and ignorant persons” like me.

So here I am, with my maiden attempt at Durga Shuktam. Please feel free to criticise and offer your perspective on this experiment of mine.

Caution : The chanting is my maiden attempt. The chanting may not be as per the QR (quality requirement). Pl take it as a toddler’s walk and bear with me.

Chanting & Meaning in Tamil – Video Link

Link to the file with Tamil Meaning

Sanskrit Verses with English Transliterations

जातवेदसे सुनवाम सोममरातीयतो निदहाति वेदः ।
स नः पर्षदति दुर्गाणि विश्वा नावेव सिन्धुं दुरितात्यग्निः ॥१॥
Jaatavedase Sunavaama Somam-Araatiiyato Nidahaati Vedah |
Sa Nah Parssad-Ati Durgaanni Vishvaa Naave[a-I]va Sindhum Durita-Aty[i]-Agnih ||1||

तामग्निवर्णां तपसा ज्वलन्तीं वैरोचनीं कर्मफलेषु जुष्टाम् ।
दुर्गां देवीँशरणमहं प्रपद्ये सुतरसि तरसे नमः ॥२॥
Taam-Agni-Varnnaam Tapasaa Jvalantiim Vairocaniim Karma-Phalessu Jussttaam |
Durgaam Devii[ngu]m-Sharannam-Aham Prapadye Su-Tarasi Tarase Namah ||2||

अग्ने त्वं पारया नव्यो अस्मान् स्वस्तिभिरति दुर्गाणि विश्वा ।
पूश्च पृथ्वी बहुला न उर्वी भवा तोकाय तनयाय शंयोः ॥३॥
Agne Tvam Paarayaa Navyo Asmaan SvastibhirAti Durgaanni Vishvaa |
Puush-Ca Prthvii Bahulaa Na Urvii Bhavaa Tokaaya Tanayaaya Shamyoh ||3||

विश्वानि नो दुर्गहा जातवेदः सिन्धुं न नावा दुरितातिपर्षि ।
अग्ने अत्रिवन्मनसा गृणानोऽस्माकं बोध्यविता तनूनाम् ॥४॥
Vishvaani No Durga-Haa Jaatavedah Sindhum Na Naavaa Durita-Ati-Parssi |
Agne Atrivan-Manasaa Grnnaano-[A]smaakam Bodhy[i]-Avitaa Tanuunaam ||4||

पृतनाजितँसहमानमुग्रमग्निँ हुवेम परमात्सधस्थात् ।
स नः पर्षदति दुर्गाणि विश्वा क्षामद्देवो अति दुरितात्यग्निः ॥५॥
Prtanaa-[A]jita[ngu]m-Sahamaanam-Ugram-Agni Huvema Paramaat-Sadhasthaat |
Sa Nah Parssad-Ati Durgaanni Vishvaa Kssaamad-Devo Ati Durita-Aty[i]-Agnih ||5||

प्रत्नोषि कमीड्यो अध्वरेषु सनाच्च होता नव्यश्च सत्सि ।
स्वां चाग्ने तनुवं पिप्रयस्वास्मभ्यं च सौभगमायजस्व ॥६॥
Pratnossi Kam-Iiddyo Adhvaressu Sanaac-Ca Hotaa Navyash-Ca Satsi |
Svaam Ca-Agne Tanuvam Piprayasva-Asmabhyam Ca Saubhagam-Aayajasva ||6||

गोभिर्जुष्टमयुजो निषिक्तं तवेन्द्र विष्णोरनुसंचरेम ।
नाकस्य पृष्ठमभि संवसानो वैष्णवीं लोक इह मादयन्ताम् ॥७॥
Gobhir-Jussttam-Ayujo Nissiktam Tave[a-I]ndra Vissnnor-Anusamcarema |
Naakasya Prssttham-Abhi Samvasaano Vaissnnaviim Loka Iha Maadayantaam ||7||

ॐ कात्यायनाय विद्महे कन्याकुमारि धीमहि
तन्नो दुर्गिः प्रचोदयात् ॥
Kaatyaayanaaya Vidmahe Kanyaakumaari Dhiimahi
Tan-No Durgih Pracodayaat ||

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih

Meaning in English

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
1.1: To that Jataveda (one from whom the Vedas are born) we press out the Soma (i.e. Invoke Her ardently); (We invoke that Jataveda) Who consumes by Her Fire of Knowledge (Veda) all the Adversities (within and without) (And frees us from the bondage of the world),
1.2: May that Agni (Fire of Durga) carry us over this Ocean of the World which is full of Great Difficulties and beset with great Perils; like a Boat (carrying one over a very rough Sea),

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
2.1: To Her, Who is of the colour of Fire (Agni Varna) and blazing with Tapas (Tapasa Jwalantim); Who was born of that Fire (of Tapas) (Vairochinim), and Who is worshipped through Fruits of Actions (Karma Phalas) (offered to Her Fire as oblations),
2.2: To that Durga, to that Devi, I take Refuge (Sharanam Aham) by falling at Her Feet (Prapadye); (O Mother Durga, I Prostrate before You) Please ferry me mercifully (over this Ocean of the World full of great Difficulties and Perils),

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
3.1: O Agni (Fire of Durga), You Who are eulogized (for carrying one across this Samsara); Please ferry us (too), by carrying us (i.e. our Souls) over Your Auspicious Nature, and make us cross this World full of Great Difficulties (Samsara), …
3.2: … (and also spread Your Auspicious Nature over the) Land and Earth, (so that the Earth) becomes abundantly Fertile and Green (and we feel Your presence in external Nature); And fill us, (We who are) Your Children with Your Bliss (so that we feel Your presence internally),

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
4.1: O Jataveda (one from whom the Vedas are born), You remove (grave) difficulties in all the Worlds; Please carry us like a Boat in this very difficult Ocean of the World (Samsara),
4.2: O Agni (Fire of Durga), our Minds are invoking You (ardently) like sage Atri (who continuously chants the mantras), and our beings are (now) filled with Your Consciousness (by continuously invoking You),

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
5.1: (She is) the (Great) Fire Who is Invincible in Battle, and charges ahead in a Terrible manner conquering (the Enemies); We invoke Her together from the Highest Assembly (i.e. ardently invoke Her together with the greatest reverence),
5.2: May that Agni (Fire of Durga) carry us over this World full of Great Difficulties, by (charging ahead and) Burning to ashes the very difficult Enemies (within us) with Her Divine Fire,

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
6.1: You are lauded for spreading Bliss in the Sacrifice since ancient times (The Bliss resulting from killing the inner Enemies); You act as a Hota (Invoker of Bliss) by abiding as a New Maiden (Who is eternally young and free of decay) (in the Sacrificial Altar within the Hearts of the Devotees),
6.2: Your own Conscious Form, O Agni (Fire of Durga) is a source of Happiness (Bliss) for us, and a source of Welfare for our Sacrifice,

(We offer our oblations to the Fire of Durga to cross over this very difficult ocean of worldly existence)
7.1: With Senses (i.e. Mind and Heart) Pleased (by Your Blissful Presence) and becoming Unattached (to the external world), we are Infused with Your (Devotion), O the Highest One; May we Follow (i.e. Immerse ourselves in) Your All-Pervading (Blissful Consciousness) …
7.2: … within the Spiritual Sky (Chidakasha), and dwell here in this Vaishnavi Loka (World of Your All-Pervading Consciousness), being Intoxicated (by Your Blissful Nature),

Durga Gayatri:
1: Om, (Let our mind contemplate) on Devi Katyayani to know Her (Conscious Form); (And then) Meditate on that Kanyakumari deeply (Who is the Universal Mother),
2: May that (Fire of) Durga awaken (our Consciousness).

Om, (May there be) Peace, Peace, Peace (at the the three levels – Adidaivika, Adibhautika and Adhyatmika).

Meaning Courtesy:


Dakshinamurthy Slokam – 7 – Part 1 – RE Cognition – An Introduction

Wow – I know it – I have seen it

In this verse Adi Śankarācārya is restating the ātma svarupam. We have been told that ātma is not deha, prana, indriyani, buddhi and śūnyam. If ātma is not anyone of them, then what exactly is ātma? That is beautifully described here; Svātmānam. Svātma means my own self; my own essential nature; or the real self. What is this real self?

If it is concluded, on the strength of recognition or pratyabhijná of self-identity, that Ātman is a persistent entity, what is this pratyabhijná? And what its purpose? In Vedanta, Pratyabhijná is also not enumerated among the right sources of knowledge called pramánas along with pratyaksha, etc. Then how can it be a source of knowledge (pramâna)?

The answers to these questions are enlightened in this seventh stanza of the Sloka/Hymn.

The Concept of Re cognition of an object/thing:

Recognition which is essentially a re- cognition (Pratyabhijnána) consists in re-cognising an object/thing—in the form ‘this is the same as that’—which, having once before presented itself to consciousness, again becomes an object of consciousness at present. Semantics in English can give different names for this – recollection, episodic memory, self awareness, Autonoetic consciousness etc. The basic fact is the transaction between consciousness and an object. Let us see an example – a black colored box with golden handle.

  1. First let us see cognition. In the case of external objects, whenever we experience an object, let us say a box, we invent/use an expression to refer to that experience – a box. Let us say that as a kid I have seen a black colored box with a golden handle.
  2. Now after several years later as an adult I see an identical black box with a golden handle, then what do I say “Wow; it is exactly the same or like the same that I saw/experienced several years earlier as a kid”. All the accidental circumstances of place, time and form are left out of account when I recall and say “wow…”.

In this recollection (Recollection here means consciousness of something as having been experienced before), “I” remain the same; there has been no change to that “I”. In other words, in this recollection, Ātman remains the same through all the varying states of wake, dream and deep sleep (jagrat, svapna, and suṣupti), unchanging though the body changes in infancy, childhood, youth, manhood, and old age of an individual. This Black colored box with golden handle is recognized as that Black colored box with golden handle in all the above states. Present both before and after, both at the time of experience and at the time of recollection, Ātman recollects the thing which has persisted in Himself in the form of a samskára or latent impression. So, in the whole process of initial cognition, re-cognition and recall, the Ātman remains the same irrespective of the states of the individual.

The Concept of Re cognition of an Ātman:

Similarly, the pratyabhijnána of Ātman consists in His becoming conscious that He is omniscient, etc., after casting aside the notion that He is of limited knowledge and so on, a notion engendered by His association with Mâyâ. That is to say, the recognition of Ātman’s self-identity consists in the intuitive realisation of His essential nature as the infinite Consciousness and infinite Bliss, after eliminating all limitations of Maya and its effects ascribed to Him by the ignorant.

And how do I refer to that experience? As said earlier, every experience is identified through an “wow” expression. What is that expression for ātma? This ever-experienced ātma, is referred to me by me as Aham – Aham iti. It is ever experienced in the form of I-am; I-am; I-am; “I-am’ experience is there continuously. Throughout the waking state, “I-am” continues; the ātma is experienced as I am, during the dream state; even during the sleep state, “I am” continues. You do not verbalise during sleep; but that experience is verbalised after waking; “I am” experience is present in sleep, but it is verbalised, vocalised only in the waking state; verbalisation is later, but the experience is there; even during sleep. Therefore I-am, I-am, I-am, this continuously experienced I am is ātma.

This “I am” or “aham” is present silently without verbalisation. That is why silence is golden and has no price tage attached to it. That is why we don’t understand it also.

“இதற்கு சொல் என்றும், பொருள் என்றும், மொழி என்றும் இல்லை. அதனாலேதான் இந்த சொல்லாத சொல்லுக்கு விலை ஏதுமில்லை” என்றான் கவிஞன்.

When and where do I have this experience of “I am” or aham ? The answer to this question is provided by Adi Śankarācārya in this Sloka. Let us see the meaning of the Sloka in the blog scheduled on 24th October 2021.

Narayaneeyam – Daskam 2 – Sloka 2


When I was trying to understand this Sloka, I was reminded of the introduction that Dr S. Radhakrishnan provided to his commentary on Bhagwad Gita.

“dvaitam mohAya bodhAt prAk. prApte bodhe manIshayA pUjArtham kalpitam dvaitam advaitAdapi sundaram”

“Before the rise of knowledge, duality is misleading but when our understanding is enlightened, we perceive that duality is more beautiful than even non-duality and is conceived so that there might be worship”.

Narayana Bhattathri, an enlightened soul “looked at the Eternal one not so much as the God of philosophical speculation but as the God of Grace such as the heart and the soul need and seek; a God who inspires personal trust, love, reverence and loyal self-surrender”. No wonder he comes out with this poetic description of the Lord’s beauty. Let us enjoy his description.

Audio Link


Sanskrit Verse



काञ्चित् काञ्चनकाञ्चिलाञ्च्छितलसत्पीताम्बरालम्बिनीम्

आलम्बे विमलाम्बुजद्युतिपदां मूर्तिं तवार्तिच्छिदम् ॥२॥

English Transliteration

keyuuraangada kankaNOttama mahaaratnaanguliiyaankitashriimadbaahu

chatuShka sangata gadaa shankhaari pankeruhaam |

kaa~nchit kaa~nchana kaa~nchilaanChita lasatpiitaambaraalambiniim

aalambe vimalaambujadyutipadaaM muurtiM tavaartichChidam

Transliteration in Tamil


ஶ்ரீமத்₃பா₃ஹுசதுஷ்கஸங்க₃தக₃தா₃ஶங்கா₂ரிபங்கேருஹாம் |

காஞ்சித் காஞ்சநகாஞ்சிலாஞ்ச்சி₂தலஸத்பீதாம்ப₃ராலம்பி₃நீ-

மாலம்பே₃ விமலாம்பு₃ஜத்₃யுதிபதா₃ம் மூர்திம் தவார்திச்சி₂த₃ம் || 2||

Meaning in Tamil

கடயம் கங்கணம், விரலதனில் அரிய ரத்தின மோதிரம்

கதாயுதம், சங்கு சக்கரம், தாமரை ஏந்தும் நான்திருக்கரம்

ஒளிமிகு மஞ்சள் பட்டாடை பொன் மேகலை அலங்காரம்

எழில்மிகு தூய கமலஉடல் தாங்குமிரு மென்மலர் பாதம்

அடியார் அல்லல் அறுத்தாட்கொளும் வரையறு இயலா உன்

வடிவம்தனை தஞ்சமென சரணடைந்தேன் குருவாயூரப்பனே 2.2

Meaning in English

I take refuge in Your form with ornaments such as) Keyur (epaulets) Angada (armlets) Kankana (bracelets)and finger rings, studded with gems adorning the sacred four arms, holding the mace, the conch, the discus and the lotus, wearing a yellow resplendent silk cloth, fastened by a golden waist band with pure lotuses like lustrous feet. Oh Lord I take refuge in Your indescribable form that removes the woes of the devotees.

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

• केयूराङ्गद- – keyur + angada – shoulder guard, armlet – தோளணி, கடயம்

• कङ्कणोत्तम- bracelet – காப்பு, கங்கணம்

• केयूराङ्गद-कङ्कणोत्तम-महारत्न-आङ्गुलीय-अङ्कित- = (ornaments such as) Keyur (epaulets) Angada (armlets) Kankana (bracelets)and finger rings, studded with gems

• महारत्नाङ्गुलीयाङ्कित-(महारत्न-आङ्गुलीय-अङ्कित) – precious jewel அரிய ரத்தினம், finger ring, மோதிரம், studded/marked பொருந்திய

• श्रीमद्- wealthy, வளமிகு

• बाहु- forearm – முன்கை

• चतुष्क- set of 4

• सङ्गत— integrated/united –

• गदा- mace – தண்டாயதம்

• शङ्खारि- (शङ्ख-अरि) – conch, discuss – சங்கு, சக்கரம்

• पङ्केरुहां – lotus – தாமரை

• श्रीमद्बाहु-चतुष्कसङ्गत-गदा-शङ्ख-अरि-पङ्केरुहाम् = adorning the sacred four arms, holding the mace, the conch, the discus and the lotus

• काञ्चन- golden – பொன் – தங்கம்

• काञ्चि- girdle – மேகலை

• लाञ्च्छित- decorated – அலங்கரி, ஒப்பனை

• लसत्- glitter/shining – ஒளிமிகு

• पीताम्बरालम्बिनीं – (पीताम्बर-आलम्बिनीम्) – yellow clothes, wearing – மஞ்சள் நிற ஆடை அணி

• काञ्चन-काञ्चि-लाञ्च्छित-लसत्-पीताम्बर-आलम्बिनीम्- = wearing a yellow resplendent silk cloth, fastened by a golden waist band

• विमलाम्बुज- (विमल-अम्बुज) pure lotus, தூய தாமரை

• द्युति- lustrous, splendour, ஒளிமிகு,

• पदाम् – feet – பாதங்கள்

• आर्तिच्छिदं – आर्ति. छिदम् – grief, cut, which removes the woes (of devotees) – அல்லல், அறு

• काञ्चित् – indescribable – வரையறுக்க இயலா

• तव – Your – உன்

• मूर्तिम् – Form – வடிவம்

• (अहम्) – I – யான்

• आलम्बे – take refuge – சரண் அடைந்தேன்