Totakashtakam

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By Totakacharya
Translated by Ramesh Krishnamurthy

Totakacharya (Toṭakācārya) was the one of the four closest disciples of Adi Shankaracharya, and is traditionally regarded as the first head of the northern āmnāya pīṭha (Jyotirmaṭha in modern day Uttarakhand state) established by Adi Shankaracharya.

He is said to have composed this octet in praise of his Guru.

 viditākhilaśāstrasudhājaladhe mahitopaniṣat kathitārthanidhe 
hṛdaye kalaye vimalaṁ caraṇabhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [1]

The knower of the nectar-ocean of all the śāstra-s, the teacher of the upaniṣadic treasure, I meditate in my heart on your lotus feet; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara

 karuṇāvaruṇālaya pālaya māṁ bhavasāgaraduḥkhavidūnahṛdam 
racayākhiladarśanatattvavidaṁ bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [2]

O abode of oceanic compassion, my heart is afflicted with the pain of the bhavasāgara (ocean of births, i.e. samsāra), make me the knower of the truths of all the darśana-s; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara

 bhavatā janatā suhitā bhavitā nijabodhavicāraṇa cārumate 
kalayeśvarajīvavivekavidaṁ bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [3]

People find joy through You, who has the noble intellect for inquiry into the nature of the Self, teach me the knowledge of Iśvara and jīva; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara

 bhava eva bhavāniti me nitarāṁ samajāyata cetasi kautukitā 
mama vāraya mohamahājaladhiṁ bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇaṁ [4]

You are Shiva himself, knowing this I am filled with joy. Protect me from the vast ocean of delusionary attachments; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara

 sukṛte 'dhikṛte bahudhā bhavato bhavitā samadarśanalālasatā 
atidīnamimaṁ paripālaya māṁ bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [5]

When virtuous deeds have been performed in abundance, only then arises the desire for the samadarśana (vision of sameness, i.e. the knowledge of non-duality). Protect me who is extremely helpless; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara.

 jagatīmavituṁ kalitākṛtayo vicaranti mahāmahasaśchalataḥ 
ahimāṁśurivātra vibhāsi guro bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [6]

To save the world, great men wander around having assumed various guises. Among them, You shine like the Sun; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara.

 gurupuṁgava puṁgavaketana te samatāmayatāṁ nahi ko 'pi sudhīḥ 
śaraṇāgatavatsala tattvanidhe bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [7]

O best among teachers, the Lord who bears the bull as his emblem, who lovingly accepts those who seek refuge, who is the ocean of truth; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara.

 viditā na mayā viśadaikakalā na ca kiṁcana kāñcanamasti guro 
drutameva vidhehi kṛpāṁ sahajāṁ bhava śaṁkara deśika me śaraṇam [8]

I do not clearly understand any branch of knowledge, nor do I possess any wealth. Grant me the grace that is natural to You; be thou my refuge, O preceptor Śaṁkara.