Kanakadhara Stotram by Guru Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao
WHAT IS KANAKADHARA STOTRAM AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
Shastra(m), Purana(m) and other literature passed on to us by many legendary personalities are an immeasurable wealth, especially the slokas and stotrams, which are like capsules filled with rich essence. Kanakadhara is one among them, but what makes it any different from others?
Many devotees and rishis expressed their love and admiration towards Iśvara (Ishwara) with hidden meaning and purpose through slokas, pattikas, poems, dandakams, and stotrams. Such literature concentrates on admiring the attributes and greatness of Ishwara, and yes they are undoubtedly exceptional. Some, on the other hand, was composed of listing Ishwara’s titles, and qualities like Astotrams or Sahastra Namavali. Some are to admire the beauty (Soundaryam, not physical beauty) and features of Ishwara, one such extraordinary composition by Sri Muka Shankarendra Saraswathi was Muka Pancha Shati, which describes Devi Kamakshi’s delightful Soundaryam. There are those that depict or narrate the accounts of Ishwara in various incarnations. Finally, there are those which are composed of addressing a specific need of devotees like stotrams dedicated towards prosperity, health, knowledge, holy matrimony, children and more. From all the above, Kanakadhara stands apart, how?
As we steer through this stotram, we will see that it was not composed in leisure but was an extempore (done without preparation). It was also not to list or to convey one’s devotion or admiration. It was not specific to wealth, which is a widely false notion that got propagated. In short, it was a flow, like the Ganga that gushed out of a five-year-old boy who was moved seeing someone’s sorrow. With this flow that gushing out of Him, He stood there, head raised high in confidence, compassion, and with belief, looked towards Ishwara and advocated on behalf of those in sorrow. That boy, that day, like an attorney defending his clients exhibiting evidence and references of Ishwara, for which Sri Lakshmi with the very first sloka was overwhelmed and was ready to shower Her anugraham (grace), however, She waited and watched. Let’s see why.
Om Ganeshaya Namaha
“Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnur, Guru Devo:maheswara:ha,Guru Shakshat Para:brahma, tasmay Sri Guravay Namaha”
“Guru is the lamp in whose light one can see Ishwar(a), may that light shine upon our darkness and bring us into the ever joyous state of Brahm:anandam”
Maatru Devo:bhava Pitru Devo:bhava Aacharya Devo:bhava, Athiti Devo:bhava ~Taittiriya Upanishad
Dheena Devo:bhava ~ Swamy Vivekanandha
Note To Readers
Pravachanam in Sanatana Dharma is a verbal discourse on Shastra(m) or on a Guru Siddhanta(m) (an approach or discipline taught by a Guru) of Sanatana Dharma and never to be interpreted as preaching. Pravachanam is not a career or profession nor is it a business. It’s when devotees or well-wishers of society, especially elders, reach out to a devoted scholar and urge to help understand a specific topic in Shastra through verbal discourse, including the life and teachings of a Guru. Pravachanams are usually, but not limited to, are performed on auspicious days and on auspicious grounds like temple premises and/or during an auspicious event. Such discourses could last for a few hours or divided across many days. One of the reasons why older temples of Sanatana Dharma were immense in design to encompass not just the visit of the prime deity but also to perform various religious events like schooling of vyakaran(am) (grammar and vocabulary), marriages, cultural events, festivities, pravachanams and more. The topic of discourse is usually an account from Shastra (including Puranas) are chanted or read from its respective text followed by its explanation. The explanation encompasses various references from other texts from Shastra to help viewers and listeners of all backgrounds, to better understand its tatva(m) (essence) and meaning. The primary purpose of pravachanam is to help people of all backgrounds to understand Shastra through Purana(m), or Guru Siddhanta(m) so that it can help uplift human conscience and gratitude so that we can face tough days with confident, and good days with gratitude towards Ishwara.
Readers’ Expectations From This Text
Any topic of Shastra(m) or Guru Siddhanta incorporates the tatva (also called as tatvam) of Ishwara (Ishvar) and each such topic might illustrate a different approach towards comprehending this tatva(m), the topics are a conscience effort to expound such essence with references and citations from various Sanatana Dharma literature. So what is tatva or tatva(m)? It is the core message of literature that is inherent and illustrated with references and examples quintessential towards comprehending the concepts and the underlying meaning. In other words, tatvam is the essence whose comprehension is the true purpose of literature. Vedas are the ultimate literature passed on to humanity making them the foundation of Sanatana Dharma and it’s this very essence that is continual in all Upanishads, replenished as accounts and events in all Puranas and Itihaasa, and through Guru Siddhanta. No matter which literature of Sanatana Dharma we explore, destiny is but the same tatva and the same applies to our quest to explore Kanakadhara as we will savor the same tatva. The examples and analogies described are no different from our day-to-day lives, hence, are meant to help us understand various thoughts and question that dwell within us. Topics like, what is God or Ishwara? What is the difference between Ishwara and Shakthi? Why Ishwara or God does things the way He does? How does one reach out to God or Ishwara? Why so many forms of God or Ishwara? Why does one suffer? How does one solve their suffering? Is there a previous and next life? What is the significance of a temple and Namaskar? What is Dharma (also called as Dharm)? What is the significance of women in Sanatana Dharma? How is Sri Vishnu and Shiva be understood and compared? What is Karma and Dharma? Why is Ishwara represented as masculine and Shakthi as feminine? Who is a Guru and so much more? This is neither an article to browse through, nor should one attempt to finish reading it with a competitive notion. Kindly read this slowly as the topics are vital concepts of Sanatana Dharma and so are vital to comprehending existence and its purpose. The origin of this content is a conscious effort to translate a verbal discourse from one of the great living legends and Guru from Sanatana Dharma, Sri Sri Sri Brahmasri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (henceforth will be referred as Sri Chaganti garu).
One might find a word-to-word translated meaning of each sloka in Kanakadhara because of many significant efforts made by extraordinary minds. However, the intent of this reading is for us to understand and contemplate the wealth of such profound literature passed on to us by great personalities of this unprecedented Dharma (Not Religion, it’s a Dharma). Each sloka and each word in it are chosen for a reason, encapsulating an inherent message, so that we the inheritors of such legacy could explore and experience the confidence and joy concealed within. Each word has its place and tells us a story. Each title takes us on a journey into various Puranas and its accounts. Each story vitalizes our ancestry and our vocabulary. This reading is not just to understand a stotram, it is to get a glimpse into the core of Sanatana Dharma. It gives comfort, closure, purpose, and meaning to that which was unknown or forgotten. Following such exploration, one during their dhyana(m) (meditation) can and should visualize each of its references in bliss as we journey through many rich stories and examples. One can only hope that the flow of such unprecedented discourse, will illuminate our lives and uplift our conscience.