Sankara’s Smithy 12 – The Seasonal Strike


Time and tide wait for no man is an old saying. The wheel of time is constantly moving ahead and waits for no one. The days are passing us by, one after another and the days that have gone by never return. We all know it, don’t we? However how do we do spend our time every day? Here is an interesting statistics:
Across the world, we spend the most time working and sleeping; and paid work, housework, leisure, eating and sleeping take together 80-90% of the 1440 minutes that we all have available every day. We hardly have any time for our own self. What a pity!

Here is a time lapse video tailored to depict this state of us.
A dayin our life
We do not know how the whole day passes. We are desperate to wait for the week end, the month end, the year end and the holidays. This goes on and on and on that we do not even heed the passing of each year until suddenly the realisation of “What have I done” comes down like a thunder when the designated time ( Sloka 1 - samprapte sannihite kaale) arrives. Even at that time our desires don’t end. We stil have items to be ticked off in our bucket list.

This is what Adi Sankara brings out in this beautiful Sloka 12. Let us examine this Sloka.

Sanskrit Verse

दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रात:

शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायात: ।

काल: क्रीडति गछत्यायु

स्तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशावायु: ॥

Adi Sankara

English Transliteration

dinayāminyou sāyam prāta: 

shishiravasantou punarāyāta:

kālakrīdati gachatyāyu:

tadapi na munchatyāshāvāyu:

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

दिनयामिन्यौ= dina+yAminI=day + night;
सायं= saayam - evening;
प्रातः= praatah - morning;
शिशिर= shishira - frosty season;
वसन्तौ= (and) vasantau - Spring season;
पुनः= punah - again;
आयातः= aayaatah - have arrived;
कालः= kaalah - Master Time;क्
रीडति= kridathi - plays;
गच्छति= gachhathi - goes (away); ebbs away
आयुः= aayuh - life/age;
तदपि= tadapi - tat.h+api, then even;
न= na - not;
मुञ्चति= mun chatthi - releases;
आशा= aasha - desire;
वायुः= vayuh - air (the wind of desire does not let off its hold)

Meaning in English

Day and night, dawn and dusk, winter and spring come and depart again and again. Time thus frolics and plays and life ebbs away. Yet, one does not give up the gusts of desires.


Swami Chinmayananda’s eloquent explanation 

“The day decays to end itself in the night. The night dies only to blossom forth into the following day. The dawn grows in vigour and heat to be the noon, but soon wanes away to be the mellow dusk. On the wheel of happenings, the months steadily glide along and, in its soft-footed silent march, the irresistible floods of time roll up in waves of years, sweeping everything in front of its relentless might. Hushed in the silence of its own wonderment, age slips unperceived into its slushy grave.

Time moves on. That which was future becomes the present, and itself rolls away to join the endless ocean of the past. Time never stops, on no condition, for no person! It is ever on the march! Man, gathering memories from his own 'past', barricades his ‘present’, sets them ablaze with his excitements in his day-to-day life, and the rising fumes of his bosom blur his vision to make his life rigged with his anxieties for the ‘future’. As we thus waste ourselves with our endless manoeuvres, in the irresistible stride of time all our hopes and plans get defeated and routed.

Life is at Time's mercy ... In not recognising this, man desires to enjoy the sense-objects, strives, sweats and toils endlessly to acquire, to possess and to aggrandise - to hope, to spend ... And death snatches away everything from him ... He is compelled to leave everything here - and with painful bundles of impressions (vdsands) acquired in his desire-ridden selfish life, the miserable creature departs. How sad! Indeed, how tragic!

Desire for the fleeting, delusory golden-deer is, for the time being, seemingly more powerful for Sita than her infinite love for Rama, her divine beloved. This is delusion at play - maya with a vengeance.

Life steadily ebbs away, but desire fed by the sense gratifications only grows the more by them. Body decays and becomes infirm; it has grown to have no more strength to enjoy, but the man hungers all the more for sense-enjoyments. Death crawls behind; disease and decay accompany him. Piloted by worries and anxieties, this mournful procession reaches the edge of the grave ... Still man wants the joys of the pain-ridden objects.”

Swami Chinmayananda used to quote a beautiful simile. A man is chased by a tiger in the forest. He falls into a well. He is stuck in the well on a branch midway down. If he slips by a fraction of an inch he will plunge into the water below where water snakes are swimming about. The tiger peers threateningly at him from the top. Just then the man is stung by bees. Soon rats are busy gnawing at the creeper on which the man is being supported. A bear comes and claws into the honeycomb on the tree overhanging the well. In this perilous position, with danger at every turn, a drop of honey drips on his face from the honeycomb above. The man, forgetting all his perils, sticks out his tongue to lick it!

This typifies the kind of satisfaction we are seeking in worldly life.
The serpents are one’s binds and bonds or attachments to objects , the well itself represents family life. The rats represent TIME. And the honey in the midst of all these dangers represents the momentary pleasures of sensual life.

Therefore, be wise. Give up desires. Seek the all-satisfying Reality that lies behind the mental show of change and sorrow. The Infinite alone will satisfy you. Seek it with a mind withdrawn from the fever of all passions”.


In Bhagwad Gita, Lord Sri Krishna explains: 

All those who are lured to the sense objects and desire them are not awake but asleep to their nature of completeness which is Self contained and needs no perfection. The Jnani who is the knower of Truth, by the power of renunciation bestowed through Grace is able to restrain the outward going senses and is therefore fully awake to the consequences of allowing the sense organs a free play. As such, the Sage is asleep to the temptations of the world which attract the ignorant ones.

We have to understand that none of the objects of the world can give permanent happiness because of its temporary nature. Only that which is permanent alone can give permanent happiness. Self alone is permanent and hence it alone can give permanent happiness. If this is understood and there by if we have constant thought of the Self, that is only way to over come the delusion with the objects of the world.

The Time cycle is unavoidable; it is a law of Nature. But the cycle of joy and sorrow can be overcome by living in the light of knowledge and discovery of our true nature of spirit. This Sloka is cautioning us and telling us to lead our life intelligently. We should enjoy our life in such a manner that we retain our freedom and, in course of time, discover an inner self-sufficiency so that we become free from the dependence upon the world for our enjoyment.

“For that, in our day to day life we need ABCD, says Swami Paramarthananda - what we need is Appropriate Balanced Clean Desire”

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

Sanskrit Verse

त्वं ब्रह्मपुच्छा विविधा मयूरी



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 4

Audio Link

Sanskrit Verse

देवात्मशब्देन शिवात्मभूता

यत्कूर्मवायव्यवचोविवृत्या ।

त्वं पाशविच्छेदकरी प्रसिद्धा

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ ४॥

English Transliteration

dēvā atma śabdēna śivā atma bhūtā

yat kūrma vāyavya vacō vivr̥tyā

tvaṁ pāśa vicchēdakarī prasiddhā

māṁ pāhi sarvēśvari mōkṣadātri || 4 ||

Meaning of the Sanskrit Words

देव – God

आत्म – Soul

शब्देन – sound

शिव – Lord Siva

आत्म – Soul

भूता – being

यत् – that

कूर्म – one of the outer winds of the body

वायव्य – one of the inner winds – the air passage from heart to centre of the forehead

वचो – speech

विवृत्या – manifest

त्वं – you

पाश – chain

विच्छॆदकरि – विच्छे करि – seek for

प्रसिद्धा – famous/well known

मां पाहि सर्वेश्वरि मोक्षदात्रि ॥ ४॥

Meaning in English

Formed by Self-power of sound of Siva’s aatma, You are declared by sacred texts as the sound of Anahatha**, Which exists in Kurma and Vayavya*** as Shakthi. You are known as one cutting off worldly attachments (or the rope that drags you to death), And so please protect me, oh goddess of all and oh giver of salvation.

Note: From the heart to the middle of the eyebrows is said to be the region of Vayu. It is black in colour and shines with the letter ‘Ya’. Carrying the breath along the region of Vayu, one should contemplate on Isvara, the omniscient. The Yogi does not meet his death through Vayu.) ( Naga, Kurma, Krikara, Devadatta and Dhananjaya are the five sub-Pranas; Kurma performs the function of opening the eyes


**Anahata sabda – just before one enter Samadhi in yoga one can clearly hear Om inside which is not heard outside the physical body after this the person goes into Samadhi.

* **Vayavya Dharana

Meaning in Tamil

சிவான்மச்சக்கர ஒலி வழி உருவெடுத்த சுயசக்தியே

உள்மூச்சு வெளிமூச்சு வாக்கினிலும் உறை சக்தியே

பாசக்கயிற்றினை செயலாக்கும் பெயர் பெற்ற சக்தியே

அண்டமதின் அன்னையே காத்தருள்வாய் முக்தி

Durga Pancharathnam – Verse 3

Audio Link

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

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

Carnatic Musing 6 – Goddess Kamakshi – Shyama Sastri – Raga Punnaga Varali

Audio Link to the Song:

Sanskrit Verses of the composition


कनक शैल विहारिणि श्री

काम कोटि बाले सुशीले


वनज भव हरि नुते देवि

हिम गिरिजे ललिते सततं

विनतम् माम् परिपालय शङ्कर

वनिते सति महा त्रिपुर सुन्दरि (कनक)

कम्बु कण्ठि कञ्ज सदृश वदने

चरणम् 1

करि राज गमने मणि सदने

शम्बर विदारि तोषिणि शिव

शङ्करि सदा मधुर भाषिणि (कनक)

चरणम् 2

चण्ड मुण्ड खण्डन पण्डि(ते)क्षु

दण्ड कोदण्ड मण्डित पाणि

पुण्डरीक नय(ना)र्चित पदे त्रि-

पुर वासिनि शिवे हर विलासिनि (कनक)

चरणम् 3

श्याम(ळा)म्बिके भ(वा)ब्धि तरणे

श्याम कृष्ण परिपालिनि जननि

कामि(ता)र्थ फल दायिके

कामाक्षि सकल लोक साक्षि (कनक)

English Transliteration


kanaka Saila vihAriNi SrI

kAma kOTi bAlE suSIlE


vanaja bhava hari nutE dEvi

hima girijE lalitE satataM

vinatam mAm paripAlaya Sankara

vanitE sati mahA tripura sundari (kanaka)

kambu kaNThi kanja sadRSa vadanE

caraNam 1

kari rAja gamanE maNi sadanE

Sambara vidAri tOshiNi Siva

Sankari sadA madhura bhAshiNi (kanaka)

caNDa muNDa khaNDana paNDitE-ikshu

caraNam 2

daNDa kOdaNDa maNDita pANi

puNDarIka nayana-arcita padE tri-

pura vAsini SivE hara vilAsini (kanaka)

caraNam 3

SyAmaLA-ambikE bhava-abdhi taraNE

SyAma kRshNa paripAlini janani

kAmita-artha phala dAyikE

kAmAkshi sakala lOka sAkshi (kanaka)

Meaning of the Sanskrit words


कनक – golden

शैल – mountain

विहारिणि – resident

श्री काम कोटि बाले – daughter of Sri Kamakoti (Goddess Kamakshi of Kanchipuram)

सुशीले – oh virtuous


वनज – lotus

भव – abide

हरि – Lord Vishnu

नुते – Lord Brahma

देवि – Goddess

हिम गिरिजे – daughter from the Himalayan Mountains

ललिते – Goddess Lalitha

सततं – always

विनतम् – extol

माम् – me

परिपालय – protect

शङ्कर – Lord Shankara (Siva)

वनिते – consort

सति महा – Oh great mother

त्रिपुरसुन्दरि – Goddess TripuraSundari (Durga)


कम्बु – conch

कण्ठि – neck

कञ्ज – lotus

सदृश – like

वदने- face

करि – elephant

राज – king

गमने – gait

मणि – gems

सदने – resident

शम्बर – Demon Sambara (destroyed by Goddess Danu – daughter of Daksha

विदारि – destroy

तोषिणि – delight

शिव- Siva

शङ्करि – Sankari

सदा – always

मधुर – sweet

भाषिणि – speak

CaraNam 2

चण्ड – Demon Chanda

मुण्ड – Demon Munda

खण्डन – kill


क्षुदण्ड – sugar cane

कोदण्ड – bow

मण्डित – adorn

पाणि – hands

पुण्डरीक – lotus

नय(ना) – eyes

र्चित – worshipped

त्रि-पुर वासिनि – resident in three abodes (முப்புறம்) )

शिवे हर – Siva

विलासिनि – beloved

CaraNam 3

याम(ळा)म्बिके – Mother Shaymala

भवा – worldly existence

आब्धि – Ocean

तरणे – crossing

श्याम कृष्ण – Shyama Krishna pen name of sastry

परिपालिनि – protect

जननि – mother

कामित – desired

रर्थफल – worldly objects as fruits of action

दायिके – one who gives

कामाक्षि – Goddess Kamakshi

सकल – all

लोक – world

साक्षि – witness

Tamil Translation


பொன்மலை வாசியே காஞ்சியின் தலைமகளே நற்குண நாயகியே


கமலம் உறை அயனும் மறைபொருள் மாயவனும் துதி தேவியே

மலைமகளே, எழிலே, எந்நேரமும் உன் புகழ்பாடும் எளியோனைக்

காப்பாய் சங்கரியே, அருள்மிகு அன்னையே, முப்புரத்தாளே

சரணம் 1

சங்குமிடறு கமலவதனமுடன் களிர் நடையுடையாளே

நவரத்தினமனை உறை, சாம்பரன் வதை, கயிலையன் மன மகிழ்,

சிவசங்கரியே எந்நேரமும் இன்சொல் உரை அன்னையே

சரணம் 2

சண்டமுண்ட அரக்கர் வதை தனித்திறனாளியே.

கரமதனில் கரும்புவில் கோலமுடன்

அரவணி ஆதியின் பிரிய நாயகியே

கமலவிழியன் வணங்கும் முப்புரத்தாளே

சரணம் 3

சியாமள அன்னையே இப்பிறவிப்பெருங்கடலைக் கடக்கவைப்பவளே

சியாமகிருஷ்ணனைக் காப்பவளே விழைபொருட்செல்வமளிப்பவளே

காமாட்சியே அனைத்துலகமதற்கும் சாட்சியே அன்னையே

Meaning in English

She is the principal lady of SrI kAma kOTi , resident of Himalaya ! Virtuous One!
dEvi is prayed by brahmA and vishNu! Mother lalitA – daughter of himalayas! Consort of Sankara! the great tripura sundari!
She is Conch necked! Lotus like faced! Her gait is Majestic like King Elephant! You reside in house of gems! Delighter of Siva! Siva Sankari! The mother who always speaks sweetly!
The expert who killed asuras caNDa and muNDa! whose hands hold sugar-cane bow! She whose feet have been worshipped by vishNu! resident in tri-pura! Beloved of Siva!
O SyAmaLA! You enable crossing the Ocean of Worldly Existence! protects SyAma kRshNa! kAmAkshi bestows desired Worldly objects! She is the Witness of all Worlds!

Durga Pancharathnam – Verse 1

Audio Link

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.