41. From Govinda Damodara stotram of Lilashuka

श्रीकृष्ण राधावर गोकुलेश गोपाल गोवर्धन नाथ विष्णो।

जिह्वे पिबस्वामृतमेतदेव गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति॥

 shrIkRRishhNa rAdhAvara gokulesha gopAla govardhana nAtha vishhNo .

jihve pibasvAmRRitametadeva govinda damodara madhaveti

O tongue, drink only this nectar (of the names), “Śrī Kṛṣṇa, dearmost of
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Lord of Gokula, Gopāla, Lord of Govardhana, Viṣṇu,
Govinda, Dāmodara,” and “Mādhava.

Th origination of this stotra goes back to the Gopis of Brindavan in Krishna’s time. One Gopi, for example, was selling milk and curd on the streets of Brindavan. But her mind was so transfixed on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, that , instead of announcing ‘Curd, Curd  for sale ‘ as she was walking along,

she kept on announcing loudly,  ‘Govinda, Damodara, Madhava, etc.!





सेव्यः श्रीपतिरेक-एव जगतां एते च षट् साक्षिणः

 प्रह्लादश्च विभीषणश्च करिराट् पाञ्चाल्यहल्या ध्रुवः॥


audAryAd-agha-SoshaNAd-aghaNita-SreyaH-padaH-prApaNat /

sevyaH SrIpatir-eka-eva jagatAm ete ca shaT sAkshiNaH

prahlAdaSca vibhIshaNaSca karirAT pAncAly-ahalyA dhruvaH //


 In the entire universe, it is Sri hari (VishNu) that is to be worshipped as the Ultimate Resort. Six colossal figures stand testimony to this: Prahlada, Vibhishana, Gajendra the elephant-king, Panchali, Ahalya and Dhruva. They are the blessed ones who have received , respectively, superlative affection, supreme refuge, undisputable protection, infinite compassion, total absolution and apex of benefaction, from the Lord.

(More details in the article on SIX MONUMENTAL WITNESSES.



पिता त्वं माता त्वं दयित-तनयस्त्वं प्रिय-सुहृत्

त्वमेव त्वं मित्रं गुरुरसि गतिश्चासि जगतां।

त्वदीयस्त्वद्-भृत्यस्तव परिजनस्त्वद्-गतिरहं

प्रपन्नश्चैवं सत्यहमपि तवैवास्मि हि भरः॥


pitA tvaM mAtA tvaM dayita-tanayas-tvaM priya-suhRt    

  tvameva tvaM mitraM gururasi gatishcAsi jagatAM /

tvadIyas-tvad-bhRtyas-tava parijanas-tvad-gatirahaM   

prapannash-caivaM saty-ahamapi tavaivAsmi hi bharaH //


To me and to all the worlds Thou art the Father, mother, beloved son, dear friend, well-wisher, teacher and the goal. I for my part am Thine – Thy servant, Thy attendant and a refugee at Thy feet. Having offered whole-hearted surrender to Thee, I remain, now, Thy sole responsibility.


This is one of the innumerable verses in the ocean of bhakti literature replete with the depiction of the attitude of total surrender to God. The nature and intensity of our bhakti depends on our level of spiritual evolution, the state of our mind and the stage of its development in this life. What will suit most of us is not the shAnta (calm) bhakti of Bhishma, not the vAtsalya (filial affection) bhakti of YasodA, not the mAdhura (love) bhakti of Gouranga, but the dAsya (service) bhakti of which there are umpteen examples. Service to the Lord and -- mark it – to his devotees and in a larger sense to the entire humanity who are His children, this is the bhakti to which we can certainly rise. This bhakti comes out of an attitude of surrendeer as delineated in this verse of Yamunacharya, the Guru of Shri Ramanuja


सम्पत्कराणि सकलेन्द्रियनन्दनानि साम्राज्यदाननिरतानि सरोरुहाक्षि।

त्वद्वन्दनानि दुरितोद्धरणोद्यतानि मामेव मातरनिशं कलयन्तु नान्ये॥

sampatkarANi sakalendriya-nandanAni sAmrAjyadAna-niratAni saroruhakshhi .

tvadvandanAni duritoddharaNodyatAni  mAmeva mAtaranishaM kalayantu mAnye..

Acharya Sankara is saying here as his conclusive statement, even though he was  only a boy of around seven when he composed this poem  in order to pray for  the poor householder who gave him just an old Amalaka. ‘Maam vandanaani eva kalayantu nAnye’ says he. Oh Mother with lotus eyes, the prostrations that I make to you  are my wealth; I need nothing else. The salutations, which give  wealth, which also bestow all that is pleasant for the senses – in other words, all material pleasures ; which are intent on benefactions of  even kingdoms to the devotees;  -- all this is said in the first half of the verse.  But  he doesn’t want to continue the prayer and finish it with saying ‘May these prostrations shower these good things also on me”. Even as a boy already he had dispassion enough to think fast right at the end of the half verse and so in the second half of the verse he alters the tempo and says: “Salutations which remove the deep-rooted sins – May the salutations alone  be the benefactions to me, I don’t need anything else’!. In other words, ‘May all the good things from these prostrations reach the rest of the world ; but, for me, the very privilege of prostrations alone is the fruit. This is a subtle point , namely, with which word the word ‘eva’ is to be joined in the meaning?  ‘maam eva’  means ‘me alone’. But ‘vandanaani eva’ means, let the ‘prostrations alone’  reach me as benefactions . I don’t need any other  (“na anye”).  This latter meaning  fits in well with Acharya Sankara’s modesty and his spiritual compassion for the rest of the world!

There is also an alternate reading in the second half, which  has the word

 दुरिताहरणोद्यतानि  instead of  दुरितोद्धरणोद्यतानि. The only difference is between the words ‘uddharana’  (pulling out from the roots) and ‘aaharana’ (removing or eradicating’.  Since ‘durita’ is sin, pulling out the sins from its roots is a more powerful expression than simply ‘removing’ the sins,  the ‘uddharana’ reading is preferred.

45. FROM ACHYUTASHTAKAM used as a bhajan  in BRINDAVAN

अच्युतं केशवं रामनारायणं  कृष्ण दमोदरं वासुदेवं हरिं।
श्रीधरं माधवं गोपिकावल्लभं जानकी नायकं रामचन्द्रं भजे॥

achyutaM keshavaM rAmanArAyaNaM  kRRishhNa damodaraM vaasudevaM hariM .
shrIdharaM mAdhavaM gopikAvallabhaM 
 jAnakI nAyakaM rAmachandraM bhaje .



​गङ्गा  गीता च गायत्र्यपि च तुलसिका गोपिका-चन्दनं तत्

सालग्रामाभि-पूजा पर-पुरुष तथैकादशी-नाम-वर्णाः।

एतान्यष्टाप्ययत्नान्यपि कलि-समये त्वत्-प्रसाद-प्रसिद्ध्या

क्षिप्रं मुक्ति-प्रदानीत्यभिदधु ऋषयस्तेषु मां सज्जयेथाः 

ga~NgA gItA ca gAyatry-api ca tulasikA gopikA-candanaM tat

sAlagrAmAbhi-pUjA para-purushha tathaikAdashI-nAma-varNAH /

etAny-ashhTApy-ayatnAny-api kali-samaye tvat-prasAda-prasiddhyA

kshhipram-mukti-pradAnIty-abhidadhur-RRishhayas-teshhu mAM sajjayethAH //

Oh Supreme Lord! there are just eight items, namely, Ganga, Gita, Gayatri, Tulasi leaves, sandal paste, the worship of sAlagrAmaM, (the fast on the day of) Ekadasi, and Divine names. These eight, declare the sages, are the easy and quick means of salvation, in this age of kali-yuga, as they secure Thy abounding grace. May I be intensely devoted to them all!

Comment:  This asks for karma-yoga with the stamp of bhakti. There is a folk-lore sloka which says:

gangA gItA ca gAyatrI govindeti catuShTayaM /

catur-gakAra-samyukte punar-janma na vidyate //

Meaning, ‘when the four that begin with the consonant ‘ga’ are integrally present, the four being gangA (the river Ganges), gItA, gAyatrI and govinda (standing for God’s name) – then there is no rebirth’.  Bhattatiri  adds to these four, another four.

In the orthodox traditions initiated by Adi Sankara, five main divinities are worshipped through a sophisticated ritual called pancAyatana-pUjA, [ One may go to 'Panchayatana-pUja-vidhi' on this website almost as the last article) meaning, worship at five altars. Here the divinities are worshipped not in their human-like forms but in certain symbols in the form of stones, which are nothing but certain rock formations available in specified locations in India.

The Sun-God, sUrya, is taken as inherent in certain crystals normally found in Vallam in Tamilnadu. The Mother Goddess, shakti, is represented by the svarNamukhi stone found in the bed of the river of that name in the Andhra region of South India. VishNu is worshipped in the sAlagrAma (mentioned in Bhattatiri’s verse) stone that can be had in plenty on the bed of the river Ghantaki in the Himalayas. Ganesa is the red shonabhadra stone found on the bed of the river Sone flowing into the Ganges. Finally shiva is the bANa-linga found in the Omkarakunda of the river Narmada, near the island of Mandhata. The pancAyatana pUja tradition may be taken as an intermediate stage between the worship of Godhead with form and the worship of the formless, because the symbols of worship as rock formations have certainly a form but they are also formless in that they have no parts like face, eyes, body, hands and feet. It is as though the devotee trains himself to take the mind from the formful to the formless while at the same time allowing full scope for one’s devotional feelings. Also note that in the Vaishnava tradition, the emphasis is on the sAlagrAma to such an extent that the other four of the pancAyatana tradition are mostly omitted.




अन्धस्य मे हृत-विवेक महाधनस्य चोरैः प्रभो बलिभिरिन्द्रिय-नामधेयैः 
मोहान्धकूप-कुहरे विनिपातितस्य लक्ष्मी-नृसिम्ह मम देहि करावलबम्।

andhasya me hRRita-viveka mahAdhanasya coraiH prabho balibhirindriya-nAmadheyaiH 
mohAndhakUpa-kuhare vinipAtitasya 
 lakshhmI-nRRisimha mama dehi karAvalabam. 

​Oh God Lakshmi-narasimha! Please deign to lift me up from this bottomless pit of delusion into which I have fallen because of my own so-called senses, actually powerful robbers who  have blinded me by robbing me of my treasurable intellect

The senses being robbers of our  intellect is a recurring concept in all our scriptural literature.  So there are are several analogies. Here are two:

The supreme is shining as the Light of Lights (jyotishAm jyotiH) within ourselves. This is analogous to a lighted lamp placed in a vessel with several small holes in it. The Light of the Self which is within this body of nine gates is then reflected by mAyA through the sense organs and projected as rays of bliss -- because what is inside is full of bliss. Wherever these rays fall -- on the objects of sense, for instance -- those objects come to light. The soul which identifies itself with the body and the senses wrongly thinks that the sense of happiness that he derives in 'seeing', 'hearing', 'smelling', 'touching' and 'tasting' is actually in the external sense object and it is these rays from the senses that bring him this happiness.

Take another analogy. There is a tent full of holes which allow the rays of sunlight to creep in. A child who is inside the tent may wrongly think that it is the tent that gives the light. Actually the child does not realize it is the tent that is an obstacle to the light from the Sun and it is the holes in the tent that bring the sunlight in. In the same manner we do not realize that it is the body-mind-intellect that hides the Light of the Self within and it is the holes of the sense-organs that sneak in the bliss from that Light now and then through the various sense-experiences. And we mistake the happiness we enjoy as that which arises from the sense objects. Suppose the child attempts to get the light that it needs from the very tent which prevents light from coming in; so also we are so childish spiritually that we expect to improve our happiness from the very sense objects and sense organs which prevent us from 'seeing' the Light of the Self which is already there in us. If we cast away the tent the whole place will be flooded with all the light from the sun; so also if we cast away the identification with the body-mind-intellect we will become the mass of Bliss that is natural to the Self.


लक्ष्मीपते कमलनाभ सुरेश विष्णो वैकुण्ठ कृष्ण मधुसूदन पुष्कराक्ष।
ब्रह्मण्य केशव जनार्दन वासुदेव देवेश देहि कृपणस्य करावलम्बम्॥

lakshhmIpate kamalanAbha suresha vishhNo vaikuNTha kRRishhNa madhusUdana pushhkarAkshha .
brahmaNya keshava janArdana vAsudeva 
 devesha dehi kRRipaNasya karAvalambam ..

 49. I also add the following famous prayer to Lord Narasimha:

उग्रं वीरं महा-विष्णुं ज्वलन्तं सर्वतो-मुखम्।
नृसिम्ह-भीषणं भद्रं मृत्योर्मृत्युं नमाम्यहम्॥

ugraM vIraM mahA-vishhNuM jvalantaM sarvato-mukham .
nRRisimha-bhIshhaNaM bhadraM mRRityormRRityuM namAmyaham ..


    जपो जल्पः शिल्पं सकलमपि मुद्रा विरचना 
गतिः प्रादक्षिण्यक्रमणमशनाद्याहुति विधिः।
प्रणामः संवेशःसुखमखिलमप्यात्मार्पणदृशा 
सपर्यापर्यायः तव भवतु यन्मे विलसितम्॥

​japo jalpaH shilpaM sakalamapi mudrA viracanA 
gatiH prAdakshhiNyakramaNamashanAdyAhuti vidhiH .
praNAmaH saMveshaHsukhamakhilamapyAtmArpaNadRRishA 
saparyAparyAyaH tava bhavatu yanme vilasitam ..



The  key word here is ‘AtmArpaNadRRishA’  This is the core word  of not only this shloka but of all Hindu scriptures. This is the Atma-nivedanaM, the last of the nine-fold methodologies enunciated in the Bhagavatam. It is also the complete surrender described in all bhakti literature and particularly in the Gita.  The expression literally means “By the attitude which is ready to lay one’s life at Her feet”.  When that attitude is present, all talk becomes a Japa, all action becomes a mudrA and so on. A person who can do this surrender would have his whole life sanctified as a pUjA to Her Almighty. An exactly analogous thought almost in the same words has been given by Acharya Shankara himself in his ‘Shiva-mAnasa-pUjA’. “You Lord Shiva are my AtmA, my mind is ambikA the daughter of the Mountain, my five prANas are the gaNas that serve you, my body is your temple, all my involvement in sensual experience is your pUjA, my sleep is the samAdhi state, my wanderings on my feet constitute Your circumambulation; whatever I talk shall be your praises; whatever I do, Oh Shambho, all that shall be a propitiation of You.”. Such a dedication of everything at the feet of the Lord is prescribed by the Gita also: “Whatever you do, whatever you consume, whatever you offer in the homa-fire, whatever you give away,  whatever intense concentration you do – all that should be offered to Me”  (IX-27). ‘There is nothing that I do’, ‘Good or bad, Am I the doer?’ – Such expressions of total surrender are everywhere in the works  of Shaiva Nayanmars, Vaishnava Alvars and also the saints of other religions. It is this kind of total surrender that gives the destination of one’s birth, namely JIvanmukti. What is talked of as  ‘the cessation of mind’ in the path of jnAna becomes the ‘total surrender’  in the path of Bhakti.  Both are “AtmArpaNaM” only.

To sum up, the body does what it does because it gets the power fromthe JIva within it; so also what all this JIva does is because it gets the power from  a supreme JIva-shakti behind it and that is the Mother Goddess. For that shakti not only this JIva but all the other JIvas constitute the  body; -- nay, the entire Universe is the body.  Once this idea settles deeply in our mental system there will be no problem  of laying our lives at Her feet. 


Adapted From the discourses on Saundaryalahari by Kanchi Shankaracharya (MahA Periava of the 20th century)


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