Paramacharya's Durga Pancha Rathnam

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Composed by HH Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kama Koti peetam.
Translated by P.R.Ramachander and K. Vaidyanathan

This great stotra was composed by Swami Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Matam (1884-1994) who was fondly referred by his devotees as Paramacharya or in hushed tones as Periyava (great person).

On ArAdhanam (homage) day in Tenambakkam (around two o' clock in the afternoon), PeriyavaaL was sitting on the bank of a pond, with one leg in the water.

It was time for me as ArAdhana brAhmaNAL to get inside for the ArAdhanam, wearing the vastram (cloth). PeriyavaaL's AGYA (order) for me, calling me by his clap of hands, to sit near him with a piece of paper and pen. The pen and paper were brought at once! PeriyavaaL started uttering Sanskrit words one by one. At some points, just telling me the meaning and asking me to produce the Sanskrit padam (word), when the words formed a line, a beautiful stuti called 'Durga Pancharatnam' came up. [Svetasvara Upanishad sAram (essence)]. Each shloka (verse) ends with 'mAM pAhi vi Sarveshvari mokSadAtrI'. (This shloka is written on a marble stone on the left side when one goes to Kamakshi temple).

In the middle of the above stotram (hymn) when the word 'You are the one who taught the Gita' (upadiSTa-gItA) came up, looking at my considering it for a kSaNam (moment), he asked, "Why, does it seem incorrect to you to say that Kamakshi did gItopadesham?" I kept quiet with a smile.

Forthwith an AGYA clapping hands to bring the Gita bhASyam (commentary) book. The next moment came the bhASya book in eight volumes! PeriyavaaL turned the page once, and showed me the first page that came up and said, "Read this shloka and its bhASyam."

This is that shlokam: 'braHmaNOhi pratiSTAhaM'

"For the changeless, eternal Brahmam, the Maya which is Shakti is the pratiSTA (that through which Brahmam spreads as the many worlds is called pratiSTA). I am That. I am the Brahmam; and I am its pratiSTA will be appropriate; because, there is a bhASyam that 'shakti shaktimatoH abhedAt' [both the Shakti and the One who has it are not of different tatvam (nature)]." This incident clearly shows the back ground in which this prayer was composed.)

sree durgayaii namaha!!! Salutations to Durga

te dyanayoganugata apashayan
twam eva deviim swagunair nigudaam
twam eva shakthii parameshwerasya
maam paahi sarweshvari mokshadatri

Those adopting meditation (Dhyana) and contemplation (yoga) saw,
You as the only divine Goddess hidden in her own qualities
And you are the only power behind the great God of universe,
And so please protect me, oh goddess of all and oh giver of salvation.

devatma shaktihi sruti vakya geeta
mahirishi lokasya pura prasanna
guha param vyoma sataha pratishta
maam paahi sarweshvari mokshadatri

You are the self power of the divine , sung about by the Vedas,
Delighted in front 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.

parasya shaktihi vividhaiva suryaese
swetaswa vakyothitadevi durge
swbhaviki gnana bala kriya te
maam paahi sarweshvari mokshadatri

You are His Shakthi called Para, which is spoken in different ways,
You are the one who is being celebrated by Swethavatara[1] 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.

devatma shabedena shivatma Bhuta
yath kurma vayava vacho vivritya
twam pasa vicheda kari prasidda
maam paahi sarweshvari mokshadatri

Formed by Self-power of sound[2] of Siva’s aatma
You are declared by sacred texts as the sound of Anahatha[3],
Which exists in Kurma and Vayavya[4] 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.

twam brahma puccha vividha mayuri
brahma pratishtasupadista gita
gyana swarupa atmataya kilanaam
maam paahi sarweshvari mokshadatri.

Hey Mayuri[5], 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.

References & Notes

  1. This major Upanishad gives the basic teachings and concepts of Bhagwad Gita
  2. OM
  3. 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.
  4. Vayavya Dharana: 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
  5. Durga worshipped Lord Shiva in the form of a pea cock. And hence she is addressed as Mayuri