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 4

Audio Link

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

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

OM

**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