Absolute Surrender to Sankara – TOTAKAASHTAKAM – ॥ तोटकाष्टकं ॥

In the process of my spiritual journey, I have been trying to understand the works of Adi Sankaracharya. The child in me ventured and tried to understand the following works of Adi Sankara so far.

Sivananda Lahari, Siva Panchaksharam, Subramanya Bhujangam, Nirvana Shatakam, Bhaja Govindam and Ganesha Pancharathnam. The current venture is into Dakshinamurthy Sthothram.

Last week during one of my Whatsapp messaging with my eldest brother (whose name is incidentally Gurumoorthy), I got the link of the MS Subbulakshmi’s song on Totakaashtakam. That was the trigger.

How childish I am and how immature I have been! True to the nature of a child (as would be described by Adi Sankara himself in one of the Slokas of Dakshinamurthy Stothram), it didn’t even occur to me that I should offer my prayers to Adi Sankara himself first, before venturing. How can anyone commence a journey without offering prayers to the காவல் தெய்வம் ? (The Protector) Sankara.

To me it became clear that The Guru, appeared as an innocuous message from my brother Gurumoorthy and triggered me to dive into Totakaashtakam and ensure that I don’t carry on the journey without offering my prayers to Adi Sankara – the Akhila Guru’s (Lord Sankara’s) avatar.

So, here is my humble understanding of the Ashtakam and my prayers to Adi Sankaracharya.

I dedicate this translation to the lotus feet of Maha Periavaa Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi. Here is a rare video clip of Maha Periavaa explaining Totakaashtakam.

I will resume Dakshinamurthy Stothram now in the next blog on 07th May 2021.

Durga Pancharathnam- Verse 5

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7d025kljtj94cka/Durga%20Pancharatnam-RYKQcQQ3Evs.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

त्वं ब्रह्मपुच्छा विविधा मयूरी

ब्रह्मप्रतिष्ठास्युपदिष्टगीता

ज्ञानस्वरूपात्मतयाखिलानां

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ ५॥

English Transliteration

tvaṁ brahma pucchā vividhā mayūrī

brahma pratiṣṭhā asya upadiṣṭa gītā |

jñāna svarūpa ātma taya ākhilānāṁ

māṁ pāhi sarvēśvari mōkṣadātri || 5 ||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

त्वं – you

ब्रह्म – supreme spirit

पुच्छा – tail

विविधा – various

मयूरी – Peacock

ब्रह्म – supreme spirit

प्रतिष्ठा- install/standing firmly

अस्य – of this

उपदिष्ठा – instructed/initiated

गीता – Bhagwad Gita

ज्ञान – knowledge

स्वरूप – quality/Nature

आत्म – soul

तय – protect

आखिलानां – entire/whole/universe

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ ५॥

Meaning in English

Hey Mayuri*, you are praised as the route to Brahmam,

You are the form of Brahamam established by the Bhagwad Gita too,

You are the wisdom personified, enact the sport of creation

And so please protect me, oh goddess of all and oh giver of salvation.

* Durga worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a peacock. And hence she is addressed as Mayuri

Meaning in Tamil

பரம்பொருளை அறிய பாதை நீதானே பெண்மயிலே

பரம்பொருளே நீயென பகவத்கீதை உரைத்திடுதே

மெய்யறிவின் இயற்சக்தியாய் ஆன்மா பேணி, அகில

அண்டமதின் அன்னையே காத்தருள்வாய் முக்தி

Durga Pancharathnam – Verse 3

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7d025kljtj94cka/Durga%20Pancharatnam-RYKQcQQ3Evs.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

परास्य शक्तिः विविधैव श्रूयसे

श्वेताश्ववाक्योदितदेवि दुर्गे ।

स्वाभाविकी ज्ञानबलक्रिया ते

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ ३॥

English Transliteration

parāsya śaktiḥ vividhaiva śrūyasē

śvētāśvavākyōditadēvi durgē |

svābhāvikī jñānabalakriyā tē

māṁ pāhi sarvēśvari mōkṣadātri || 3 ||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

परास्य – Absolute

शक्तिः – Shakti

विविधैव- several

श्रूयसे – heard/extolled

श्वेताश्व – white horses ? Here it refers to Swethavatara* Upanishad,

वाक्योदित- from the words

देवि दुर्गे । – devi Durga

स्वाभाविकी – innate, natural

ज्ञान – knowledge

बल – fruit

क्रिया – act/operation

ते –

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि

Meaning in English

You are His Shakthi called Para, which is spoken in different ways, You are the one who is being celebrated by Swethavatara* Upanishad, You are by your nature , the power force in all actions and wisdom, And so please protect me , oh goddess of all and oh giver of salvation. * This major Upanishad gives the basic teachings and concepts of Bhagwad Gita.

Meaning in Tamil

பலர் போற்றும் பரம் எனும் சக்தியே

உபநிடம் போற்றும் துர்கா தேவியே

உள்ளியல்பான உயர் அறிவுச்சக்தியே

அண்டமதின் அன்னையே காத்தருள்வாய் முக்தி

Durga Pancharathnam – Verse 2

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7d025kljtj94cka/Durga%20Pancharatnam-RYKQcQQ3Evs.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

देवात्मशक्तिः श्रुतिवाक्यगीता

महर्षिलोकस्य पुरः प्रसन्ना ।

गुहा परं व्योम सतः प्रतिष्ठा

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ २॥

English Transliteration

dēvātmaśaktiḥ śrutivākyagītā

maharṣilōkasya puraḥ prasannā |

guhā paraṁ vyōma sataḥ pratiṣṭhā

māṁ pāhi sarvēśvari mōkṣadātri || 2 ||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

देवात्म – divine nature

शक्ति – power

श्रुति – Veda

वाक्य – utter/saying

गीता – song

महर्षि – saints

लोकस्य – people

पुरः – inside place (heart)

प्रसन्ना – kind/delight

गुहा – (deep inside) heart

परं – absolute

व्योम – Sky/heaven/space

सतः truth

प्रतिष्ठा – rest/permanently reside

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ २॥

Meaning in English

You are the self power of the divine , sung about by the Vedas,

Delighted the hearts of great saints propitiating you ,

Who have established yourselves in their hearts as Truth,

And so please protect me, oh goddess of all and oh giver of salvation.

Meaning in Tamil

இறைமையின் உள்ளடக்கம் நான்மறைபோற்றும் நாயகி

உன்துதி பாடும் பேர்முனிகள் இதயம் மகிழ்விப்பவளே

உள்ளக்குகை வெளியில் உண்மையென உறைபவளே

அண்டமதின் அன்னையே காத்தருள்வாய் முக்தி

Durga Pancharathnam – Verse 1

Audio Link

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7d025kljtj94cka/Durga%20Pancharatnam-RYKQcQQ3Evs.mp3?dl=0

Sanskrit Verse

ते ध्यानयोगानुगता अपश्यन्

त्वामेव देवीं स्वगुणैर्निगूढाम् ।

त्वमेव शक्तिः परमेश्वरस्य

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ १॥

English Transliteration

tē dhyāna yōgānu anugatā apaśyan

tvām eva dēvīṁ svaguṇaihi nigūḍhām |

tvamēva śaktiḥ paramēśvarasya

māṁ pāhi sarva eshwari mōkṣadātri || 1 ||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

ते – those

ध्यान – meditation

योग – contemplation/yoga

अनुगता – follow

अपश्यन् – not seeing

त्वं – you

एव – indeed

देवीं – goddess

स्व – of self

गुणै – virtues

निर्गूढाम् – concealed/hidden

त्वं – you

एव – only

शक्तिः – Shakti

परमेश्वरस्य – better half of Parameshwara

मां पाहि – protect me

सर्वेश्वरि – Universal Mother

मोक्षदात्रि – liberator

Meaning in English

Those, who follow meditation(dhyana) and contemplation (yoga), can’t see you; indeed the Goddess hidden in your own virtues. You are the energy behind Lord Parameshwara. Protect me oh Universal Mother, the liberator for salvation

Meaning in Tamil

தியானம் தவம் புரிவோர் காண இயலா

தன்நற் பண்பினில்மறை தேவி நீதானே

சடையோனின் சக்திவடிவம் நீதானே

அண்டமதின் அன்னையே காத்தருள்வாய் முக்தி

Guru Purnima & Dedication to the Guru

Last year in 2019, it was July 19th. July is normally the month of Guru purnima. This year it is on 5th July 2020.

Last year being the first year of my blogging, I dedicated the blog to my Guru, my father. This year I was contemplating as to what to do. What better way to dedicate & observe this month than to try and understand the unique composition by the greatest legend who lived in the 20th century – Kanchi Maha Swami fondly known as Paramacharya, Kanchi Periavaa, Shri. Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi.

In this month starting July 3, on every Friday, over 5 blogs I will try and understand His Durga Pancharathnamala. The available information in the world wide web was of immense help to me in this process.

It is also a strange coincidence that the first Carnatic Music Composition that came to me for my Tamil translation work in July is on Goddess Kamakshi, the principal deity on whom Paramacharya Kanchi Maha Swami composed Durga Pancharathnamala. This is scheduled on July 5th.