The expounder of the topics of the great Upanisadic treasure-trove! O the Ocean of compassion! Save me whose heart is tormented by the misery of the sea of birth! Make me understand the truths of all the schools of philosophy! By thee the masses have been made happy, O Thou who hast a noble intellect, skilled in the inquiry into self-knowledge!

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Jagadguru Adi ShankarAchArya is a unique historical figure of India in that he combined within himself the characteristics of a poet, logician, an ardent devotee and a mystic and at the same time was the leading exponent of the system of philosophy called advaita. In his commentaries on the Prasthanatraya, he exhibited a rare faculty of relentlessly logical and concatenated argument and refutation, and such subtlety of reasoning as has been unsurpassed in the philosophical works of the world.

There is an interesting history associated with this stotra. Anandagiri was one of the less scholarly disciples living with Shankara at Sringeri. But Giri, as he was called, was extremely devoted to the AchArya. Giri would always engage himself in the service of his Guru. Once it so happened that Shankara was about to begin his usual morning discourse on the upanishads and the other disciples started reciting the shAnti pATha.

He really does not deserve to learn the shAstras. What is the point in waiting for him to join us? Out of sheer compassion for Giri, the AchArya blessed him with the knowledge of the shAstras, making use of supernatural powers to do so.

As a result, Giri became a learned scholar instantaneously. The other disciples were struck with wonder to hear him extemporaneously compose the aShTaka in the difficult meter. Giri also composed another work, again in the toTaka meter, called the ShrutisArasamuddharaNa.

Due to the grace of the Guru, Giri became a knower of all scriptures, and he earned the respect of PadmapAda and other disciples. He came to be known as toTakAchArya, because he was an adept in composing verses in the toTaka meter. The above story is from the Shankara digvijaya of Madhava-Vidyaranya.

Here a sa-gaNa is made up of two short syllables followed by a long one. The hymn naturally lends itself to be set to music.

I meditate on Your pure lotus feet in my heart. O Preceptor Shankara, be my refuge. By Your grace make me the knower of the truths of all the systems of philosophy.

Make me understand the knowledge of God and the soul. Knowing this my mind is filled with an abundance of joy. Put an end to my sea of delusion. Protect me who am extremely helpless. O Guru, You shine like the sun among them.

The Lord whose flag bears the emblem of the bull! You have no equal among the wise. You who are affectionate to those who seek refuge! The treasure of truth! Quickly bestow on me the compassion which is natural to You. The file is not to be copied or reposted for promotion of any website or individuals or for commercial purpose without permission. Please help to maintain respect for volunteer spirit.





Totakacharya - Totakashtakam


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