TEXT OF THE 63 PRAYERS: 1 to 10
1. वागीशाद्याः सुमनसः सर्वार्थानां उपक्रमे।
यं नत्वा कृतकृत्याः स्युः तं नमामि गजाननम्॥
vAgIshAdyAH sumanasaH sarvaarthAnAM upakrame .
yaM natvA kRRitakRRityAH syuH taM namAmi gajAnanam ..
To the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha,I offer my prostrations. It was He to whom all the divines down from the Gods of Speech onwards prostrated before they started on any task and felt satisfied at the end.
2. From Adi Shankaracharya's Subrahmanya bhujangam, #19:
कुमारेश सूनो गुहस्कन्द सेनापते शक्तिपाणे मयूराधिरूढ।
पुलिन्दात्मजा-कान्त भक्तार्ति-हारिन् प्रभो तारकारे सदा रक्ष मां त्वम्॥
kumAresha sUno guhaskanda senApate shaktipANe mayUrAdhirUDha .
pulindAtmajA-kAnta bhaktArti-hArin prabho tArakAre sadA rakshha mAM tvam ..
3. From Adi Shankaracharya's Dakshinamuri ashtakam. # 6:
राहु-ग्रस्त-दिवाकरेन्दु सदृशो माया-समाच्छादनात्
सन्मात्रः-करणोप-संहरणतो योऽभूत् सुषुप्तः पुमान्
तस्मै श्री-गुरु-मूर्तये नम इदं श्री-दक्षिणा-मूर्तये
rAhu-grasta-divAkarendu sadRRisho mAyA-samAcchhAdanAt
sanmAtraH-karaNopa-saMharaNato yo.abhUt sushhuptaH pumAn /
tasmai shrI-guru-mUrtaye nama idaM shrI-dakshhiNA-mUrtaye//
To The Self, who in sleep becomes Pure Existence, on the withdrawal of the veiling by mAyA, as in the case of the sun or the moon in eclipse, and on waking recognizes, 'I have slept till now', to Him of the form of the Guru, dakshinA-mUrti, is this prostration.
This verse is the sixth one in Adi Shankaracharya’s dakshinaamurti-ashtakam, is actually a punch-line rebuttal of the Buddhist-generated nihilist point of view that the absence of knowledge in sleep shows that the Ultimate is Emptiness. When there is nothing presented to Consciousness, as in the case of deep sleep, it is not as if consciousness is not there. The very fact that later one is able to say 'nothing was presented to my consciousness' shows that consciousness was aware of that nothingness. So consciousness is never absent. When the sun is under eclipse, the sun does not vanish. It is there all by itself. It is our view that is mutilated and distorted. It is this wrong perception that is removed by the Guru of all Gurus. In deep sleep consciousness is there all by itself. It is not necessary to have another agency show the presence of consciousness. In a dark room it is not necessary to have a torch to find a lighted lamp. The lighted lamp itself is self-luminous. The silent condition of the mind without thoughts of objects is the pure conscious condition of oneself. The bliss of sleep and the ignorance that characterises sleep are both ‘in the know of’ Consciousness. This Consciousness is brahman. The 'memory' of sleep and of the happiness of sleep is technically called pratyabhijnA. It is knowing oneself by oneself. When it is used as a verb, as in this verse (pratyabhijnAyate), it is a peculiar grammatic usage called karma-kartari prayoga. It is like ‘a calf releasing itself from the knot which held it on to the pole’. The verb means: 'to come to oneself, recover consciousness'. The statement 'I slept happily' has in it three factors: awareness (cit), bliss (Ananda), and existence (sat). The happiness that was enjoyed was not the pleasure of the senses, (they had gone to sleep); nor the happiness of the soul resting, (the soul was always what it was). ‘What is not can never be, nor can what is cease to exist’. (the meaning of 'is' and 'is not' is in an absolute sense.) (B.G. 2-16). Nor is the happiness of sleep just the absence of unhappiness (because there was no instrument of enjoyment present). The pratyabhijnA cannot recall what was not experienced. Also it is incorrect to say that at every instant different knowers are registering different pieces of knowledge and therefore there cannot be any pratyabhijnA. This kshaNika-vijnAna theory of a wing of Buddhist philosophy explains away the pratyabhijnA as delusion. But it is not a delusion. A recalling always needs continuity of consciousness between the past and the present and this continuity for recalling is available because the Seer never loses His Sight in view of His immutability (Br.U. 4-3-23). The seer can never lose the character of seeing, even as fire cannot lose the character of burning. The self sees, by its own light, like the sun. Even when there is no second, no object but the self that could be seen, the seer is.
4. GURU IS A BRAHMA-JNANI:
नित्यानन्दं परम-सुखदं केवलं ज्ञानमूर्तिं विश्वातीतं गगनसदृशं तत्त्वमस्यादि-लक्ष्यम्।
एकं नित्यं विमलमचलं सर्वधी-साक्षि-भूतं भावातीतं त्रिगुणरहितं सद्गुरुं तं नमामि॥
nityAnandaM parama-sukhadaM kevalaM GYAnamUrtiM
vishvAtItaM gaganasadRRishaM tattvamasyAdi-lakshhyam .
ekaM nityaM vimalamachalaM sarvadhI-sAkshhi-bhUtaM
bhAvAtItaM triguNarahitaM sadguruM taM namAmi ..
Always in the state of Bliss, Giver of Absolute Happiness, Pure Knowledge personified
Extending beyond the Universe, analogical to the vast Space, the One pointed by the Mahavaakya: 'tattvamasi' the One eternally present, blemishless and ever unmoved in mind, the Witness to every conscious Mind transcending all emotions and all the three guNas -- to that Sad-guru I prostrate with attitude of 'Nothing is mine'!
सदाशिवसमारम्भां शङ्कराचार्यमध्यमां।अस्मदाचार्यपर्यन्तां वन्दे गुरु-परम्परां॥
sadAshivasamArambhAM sha~NkarAchAryamadhyamAM .
asmadAchAryaparyantAM vande guru-paramparAM ..
I offer my prostrations to the great lineage of all the gurus, starting from Lord Shiva Himself, and all the way through Shankaracharya, upto my own Guru of the present.
6. TO MY FATHER WHO WAS MY GURU
योगिनं विश्वनाथाख्यं अस्मत्-तात-स्वरूपिणम्।
आत्मलाभात्परं लाभं वक्तारं न कदाचन॥
गीतार्थग्रन्थकर्तारं श्रीगुरुं प्रणमाम्यहम्।
योऽन्तः प्रविश्य मे वाचं धृतिं बुद्धिं प्रचोदयात्॥
yoginaM vishvanaathAkhyaM asmat-tAta-svarUpiNam.
AtmalaabhAtparaM lAbhaM vaktAraM na kadaacana ..
gItArthagranthakartAraM shrIguruM praNamAmyaham.
yo.antaH pravishya me vAcaM dhRRiitiM buddhiM pracodayAt ..
I bow to my revered Guru, in the form of my own father, the Yogi known by the name of Visvanatha, who never ever thought of anything as a gain other than the regaining of the Self and who composed the meanings of the Gita in a book of his own. May he be immanent in me and prompt my speech, fortitude and intellect.
7. TO LORD VAIDYANATHA OF VAIDEESVARAN KOIL. #6 OF VAIDYANATHASHTAKAM
वेदान्त-वेद्याय जगन्-मयाय योगीश्वर-ध्येय-पदाम्भुजाय
त्रिमूर्ति-रूपाय सहस्र-नाम्ने श्री वैद्यनाथाय नमः शिवाय
vedAnta-vedyAya jagan-mayAya yogIshvara-dhyeya-padAmbhujAya /
trimUrti-rUpAya sahasra-nAmne shri vaidyanAthAya namah shivAya //
This is a Vedantic shloka embedded in an 8-shloka hymn, which is otherwise, a very common type of prayer, particularly oriented towards the Vaidyanatha deity (the Lord of all doctors and doctoring) of a temple near Chidambaram. This verse contains a mine of Vedantic import. First of all the ‘namaH shivAya’ mantra is imbedded in it. The five (impersonal) epithets that govern the name of the Absolute indicate the only five ultimates to which everything may be reduced, namely, sat, cit, Ananda, nAma and rUpa, as a penultimate step to the final reduction to the advaitic One and Only One. The first is the ‘sat’ aspect, the ‘I’ that transcends everything. That transcendent entity is the essential common content of That as well as This. Any attempt to know It has to be done only through the teaching of Vedanta by the Guru. It is the Ultimate Knowledge that Vedanta directs you to. The next one is the ‘cit’ aspect. The perceptibility of the universe however is only a transitory phenomenon. Its transitoriness is exactly what makes it less real than the substratum of brahman on which it is superimposed. This is where we go to the next epithet: jagan-mayAya. The universe is full of Him. It is He that shows Himself as the universe. So learn to see Him in the universe. ‘He who sees only the elephant in the wooden elephant is only a child in the spiritual plane. The world appears; but it only appears. Also what we see as the universe is not a transformation of brahman like what was milk earlier is now the curd that we see and taste. brahman never undergoes any change. It is brahman itself that is appearing as the universe; the rope appearing as the snake.
How do we really ‘experience’ it? Only by resorting to the Lord. And so we go to the next epithet: ‘yogIshvara-dhyeya-padAmbhujAya’. Throughout the vast literature of Vedanta, resort to the Lord’s help is a sine qua non. It is not the Effort of Man but the Grace of the Almighty that brings moksha. His Lotus Feet has to be meditated on and Nidhidhyaasana done with His Grace will open the Gates of Realisation or End of Ignorance. That is the end to which we are all striving. The sure way to strive is to hold on to the padAmbhuja (Lotus feet) of the Lord. This is the Ananda aspect because Meditation itself is Bliss.
tri-mUrti-rUpAya: The Lord is in three forms The Vedantic tenor of this shloka reminds us that it is not just the conventional meaning of tri-mUrti that is implied here but an esoteric interpretation of everything that is three-fold.
Sahasra-nAmne: The thousand names that try to describe Him do not complete the delineation; because it can never be completed. The word ‘sahasra’ only indicates the non-enumerability of His names and qualities. He actually has no name and that is why any name fits Him! Each name says something about the Absolute. Since there are infinite things to say about the Absolute, the count of names is endless.
Incidentally, Lord Vaidyanatha of Vaideeswarankoil, happens to be my family deity.
8. TO SHRI VENKATACHALAPATI (BALAJI) OF TIRUPPATI
श्री पद्मनाभ पुरुषोत्तम वासुदेव वैकुण्ठ माधव जनार्दन चक्रपाणे।
श्रीवत्स-चिह्न शरणागत पारिजात श्री वेङ्कटाचलपते तव सुप्रभातम्॥ (प्रणतोऽस्मि नित्यम् )
shrI padmanAbha purushhottama vAsudeva
vaikuNTha mAdhava janArdhana cakrapAne .
shrIvatsa-chihna sharaNAgata pArijAta
shrI venkatachalapate tava suprabhataM
9.TO THE GREAT DEVOTEES OF ALL TIME
रुक्माङ्गदार्जुन-विभीषण-युधिष्टिरादीन् पुण्यानिमान् परम-भागवतान् स्मरामि॥
puNyAnimAn parama-bhAgavatAn smarAmi ..
10. TO GODDESS SARASWATI
दोर्भिर्युक्ता चतुर्भिः स्फटिकमणिमयीमक्षमालां दधाना
हस्तेनैकेन पद्मं सितमपि च शुकं पुस्तकं चापरेण।
भासा कुन्देन्दुशङ्खस्फटिकमणिनिभा भासमाना समाना
सा मे वाग्देवतेयं निवसतु वदने सर्वदा सुप्रसन्ना॥
dorbhiryuktA caturbhiH sphaTikamaNimayImakshhamAlAM dadhAnA
hastenaikena padmaM sitamapi ca shukaM pustakaM cApareNa .
bhAsA kundendusha~NkhasphaTikamaNinibhA bhAsamAnA samAnA
sA me vAgdevateyaM nivasatu vadane sarvadA suprasannA ..
Devi Saraswati Who has Four Hands ; She Holds a Rosary of Beads which Shines like a Crystal (Gem) ... with one Hand and a Pure White Lotus (with the other hand); And with the other two Hands She Holds a Parrot and a Book, With Pure White Lustre like the combination of Jasmine, Moon, Conch and Crystal (Gem), Her Shining Form is Incomparable, May She Who is the Goddess of Speech always Reside in my Mouth (i.e. Tongue) and Shower Her Grace.
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