Kanakadhara Stotram Sloka 3 Cont..
Kshemam & Yogam
Ashram(am): four stages and four disciplines of a human which are Brahmachairya, Gruhastu, Vanaprastu(m) and finally Sanyasam.
Gruhastu: the discipline of a married stage of life wherein all its respective karma are followed.
Loka: Loka though generally referenced as celestial worlds in an expanding universe, can sometimes be perceived as a separate dimension, wherein kaal(am) (time) as perceived on Earth would be different compared to each loka. Purana(m) states the existence of fourteen lokas, out of which seven are considered as higher lokas called as Vyahrtis (bhu, bhuvas, svar or swagra, mahas, janas, tapas and finally the highest of all lokas being Satyaloka), and seven lower lokas known as Patalas (atala, vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala, patala and the bottom most loka being naraka). (Wikipedia. 2017. L)
Kshemam means to retain the happiness and the sense of safety one already possesses. Yogam means to expect happiness and security that does not already exist. An individual in Gruhastu Ashram should desire both Kshemam and Yogam in one’s life. One must question this crucial fact, just because we desire something, is it guaranteed? If we have the ability to retain our happiness, then why do some people lose it? As we discussed in the topic of papa(m) & punya(m) that there are no two separate entities in Sanatana Dharma, one to give and one to take. It’s obvious that while giving or taking there is no prejudice or favoritism. If retaining happiness is not in a person’s control, what can anyone do about it? This is something we can learn from the topics on this portal. One can gain a state of happiness for certain reason or by an event, but another event can change that state. Can one be happy all the time, is that possible, especially in this reality? Well, the answer is not straightforward, as per Shastra(m) the very reason a species comes to existence in this loka is to shed both papa & punya and its vasana. If a jiva accumulates only punya then that jiva will go to Swargaloka (Swargaloka), if that jiva accumulates only paapa then it goes to Narakaloka (Narkaloka), but if both paapa and punya are in certain ratio then they come to Bhuloka (Bhuloka) to shed it. While shedding one’s karma, one could accumulating more in the cycle of karma, or shed both and walk towards Ishwara (Ishvar) in the path of dharma. There is a total of seventeen lokas, seven are considered higher lokas and seven lower, a specific set of punya or paapa leads a jiva to traverse through these lokas. Indra is the title of kingship over Swargaloka, Sri Vishnu directed King Bali to Satyaloka (Satyaloka), there are many such examples in Purana(m) explaining various lokas. Coming back, when one chooses a life of gratitude during good times, and a life of tolerance during tough times, one can achieve anything, because they have Ishwara’s supports. This statement doesn’t necessarily mean to walk in the path of dharma for few days and hope things to change spontaneously. It’s faith that matters, and that faith is tested during both good and tough times. Many envision achieving things in their lives, but with the support of Ishwara there is no limit to what one can achieve. How does one gain such strength? A resolve to exploring and reciting Shastra(m) and/or an extraordinary composition like Kanaka Dhara will result in Ishwara cultivating such strength in us.
In Sri Valmiki Ramayanam, Sundara Kanda, book 5, Sarga (Chapter) 36, Sloka 19, Sita Devi says to Hanuma:
“कच्चित् आशास्ति देवानाम् प्रसादम् पार्थिव आत्मजः |
कच्चित् पुरुष कारम् च दैवम् च प्रतिपद्यते ||”
“kaccit aashaasti devaanaam prasaadam paarthiva aatmajaH |
kaccit puruSha kaaram ca daivam ca pratipadyate”
(Valmiki Ramayana. S.K. n.d.)
Meaning, Sita Devi is asking Hanuma if Rama is urging the anugraham (grace) of Ishwara along with His own will and strength, and with the understanding of the role played by fate.
With this understanding, if one wishes to retain one’s happiness and acquire new happiness in life, two things need to be acknowledged. First, accept that one has performed mistakes and good deeds in past or previous lives, which lead to the current human state, without which one would not have attained this unique life as a manusha (human being), especially when there are more than eight million species on Earth. Second, with this consensus, conclude that all Karma (actions) be entwined with dharma/devotion (bhakthi), why? Because when one realizes that everything is owned and created by Ishwara, and hopes to cultivate the same compassion shown by Ishwara, then such a living, results in harmony with others and with nature. Such a life, with the recitation of Kanaka Dhara (and or Shastra), can achieve Ishwara’s anugraham (grace), which in return results in Kshemam and yogam. It also might lead to Ishwara steering us to a well-established position and lifestyle, making us an example and a tool to help and support others.
An excellent example would be the book ‘Wings of Fire’ written by A.P.J Abdul Kalam, former President of India. Mr. Kalam, who initially desired for a career, rather was selected for a different position in Indian Air Force. Depressed with this news, he lied down in an Ashram lawn. A sage passing by noticed his sadness and asked for a reason. On hearing Mr. Kalam, the sage stated the reason to be God’s will, for you to excel and be used as a tool to help and uplift many. The Sage then suggested Mr. Kalam pursue this position with confidence in God, and wait for its glory to manifest. These words gave Mr. Kalam the confidence that has made him a pioneer in the satellite technology and the nation’s defense security, eventually to emerge as the President of India. After his Presidential term, Mr. Kalam spent the rest of his life teaching and spending time with students, which he loved and long aspired. Those words of the sage and his confidence in God shaped his glorious and proud future. A life lived with the satisfaction considering a tool of Ishwara, one can excel in any career. It’s to be noted that the passion to choose the desired career is not discriminated here, but just passion, without confidence in Ishwara might not lead to the same peace that one achieves when Ishwara is accepted to the ultimate guide. It’s to be noted that irrespective of our choice, Ishwara will always have the same compassion since He owns no favoritism. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.10)
Sri Shankara’s talent and the anugraham (grace) of His Kanakadhara is not just to this brahmin family, but will outspread to us all, since we all can, and will have to face the inevitable effects of our Karma and receive its karma-phala (Fruit of our actions) by the same “Karma akarma phala pradhata” (the bestower of the result of Karma, who is Ishwara). Though He is the one who gives us the karmaphala, and no matter how tough, one cannot stop urging Ishwara for forgiveness and for devotion towards Him (yes to get devotion towards Ishwara, one must ask Ishwara to grant us that devotion, since there are no two entities, one to give and the other to take).
There are many significant stotram passes on to us, some might be specific to urging Ishwara for the opportunity to have children, some might be associated with marriage and some for prosperity in respect to a person’s ashram. Such stotrams might not necessarily by applicable to all, however, from our understanding so far of the essence of Kanakadhara, one can’t interpret it as a stotram seeking wealth, if so it would be to undermine and disregard its essence. Kanakadhara has taught us the ability to seek Ishwara’s forgiveness for our Karma (since we don’t know our past karma and its result), hence one cannot conclude Kanakadhara to be applicable or relevant to only a given situation. Kanakadhara by Sri Shankara was an extempore, sung to urge Ishwara for forgiveness on behalf of the brahmin family and not to bestow wealth to the brahmin Family because Sri Shankara never asked for riches (this forgiveness, which we earlier referred to as Tadi). Kanakadhara is applicable to us all, irrespective of the situation, without which, how can one understand the limit of yogam and kshemam in one’s life. Therefore, Sri Shankara at the age of five (we keep referring to this aspect again and again) with such exceptional compassion choose His first stotram to be the one to grant us the forgiveness and Kshemam that we should all seek for being a manushya (human). Sri Shankara is hence called ‘Sham-Karothi Ethi Shankaraha’ meaning Shankaraha is the giver of joy and happiness, so what better name than Sri Shankara to the boy who has granted us such an opportunity towards happiness.
आनन्दहेतुरधिकं मुरविद्विषोऽपि ।
ईषन्निषीदतु मयि क्षणमीक्षणार्धम्
Iissan-Nissiidatu Mayi Kssannam-Iikssanna-Ardham
(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).
In the earlier sloka, we saw Sri Shankara use the same reference ‘Mura-Vidvisso-pi’, meaning the One who has liberated Purana from the asura known as Murasura. So, ‘Aananda-Hetur-Adhikam Mura-Vidvisso-pi’ means, Sri Lakshmi showers happiness upon those who reject the action of Murasura. If we recollect from our earlier reading, Murasura is someone who is bound with desires, similar to many of us who bind ourselves to materialistic desires and cannot free ourselves from those self-imagined attachments. The more we assume and keep referring to materialistic objects as ‘mine’ the more we get coupled with them, we keep losing the opportunity to give or share. There will come a kaal(am) (time), for every man when the last breath of life is taken, all those ownership one proclaimed shall detach. Sri Shankara is advocating that, though this brahmin family didn’t share in their previous lives, for which they reap the sorrow for their Karma, they now have shared, not just any offering, but the only item left for them to eat (amla fruit/ gooseberry) to me. Hence rejected the nature of Murasura, making herself a reason for Sri Vishnu to be proud and happy.
When and Why will Sri Vishnu feel happy? As a preserver of creation, what could make Sri Vishnu happy? Let’s take an example of a judge in court, what would make him/her proud? Only to pass a judgment that would both free the innocent and punish the guilty. Similarly, as the preserver of creation, Sir Vishnu would be happy when one liberates themselves from self created attachments, and struggles to free themselves from the effects of Murasura within us. In Ksherasagara Madanam (Churning of Ocean) in Book 8 of Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)), Chapter 9, Sri Lakshmi emerged from the ocean, but before Her, an anti-creation element emerged that could dissolute creation itself. To save creation, Shiva consumed it, but before consuming, He consoled His dear wife Parvathi Devi saying the following sloka from Halahala Bakshanam Sarga in Srimad Bhagavata(m) (Sri Bhagavata Purana(m)) composed by a poet and scholar Bammera Pothana:
“హరి మదినానందిచిన హరిణాక్షి జగబులెల్ల నానందించున్
హరియును జగములు మెచ్చఁగ, గరళము వారించు టొపుఁ గమలదళాక్షి!”
“HariMadi Anandinchina HariNaashi .. Jagamuella Anandinchun,
Hariun Jagamulu Mechaga, Garalamu-varinchu topu GamalaDalakshi”
(Pothana Bagavatham Audio. H.M. 2016)
Meaning, Shiva is consoling His wife (Devi Parvathi), that Her Brother (Sri Hari/Sri Vishnu) who is the preserver of the worlds, will be happy when the worlds of this creation are happy, for which I will consume this destructive and poisonous element that is about to dissolute creation.
Sri being the source and the power behind all prosperity, safety, and all happiness, resides in Vishnu, as Sri Vishnu, and acts through Him. Which makes Her (Sri) both the giver and the non-giver of all prosperity, because of this, Sri becomes the reason for Sri Vishnu’s joy. So, Sri Shankara continues by saying:
आनन्दहेतुरधिकं मुरविद्विषोऽपि ।
ईषन्निषीदतु मयि क्षणमीक्षणार्धम्
Iissan-Nissiidatu Mayi Kssannam-Iikssanna-Ardham
(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).
Meaning, Sri Shankara is asking Sri’s sight (the joy of Sri Vishnu) to fall upon the brahmin family (also to everyone reciting this and experiencing this). Note that He is not asking Sri Lakshmi to watch for some time, rather is asking ‘Kssannam-Iikssanna-Ardham‘ meaning a quick and partial glance. This quick and partial glance would be enough to bring all prosperity to this family and also for Sri Shankara to be proud to have given such a stotram to the world. One should notice the analysis and examination of Sri Shankara from the words He chooses to construct his sloka in extempore. Without a proper examination, how can anyone give a proper conclusion? How can Guru without a thorough examination, suggests a student on where to focus or make corrections accordingly. Such are Sri Shankara’s references and His analogies with so much thoughtfulness and intensity. Moving on Sri Shankara uses the word ‘Indiivaro’ meaning a dark (deep red) water lily. Sri Shankara is referring Sir Lakshmi’s eyes and Her glance to have the soothing coolness of the dark stigma of the water lily which is similar to the soothing coolness of moonlight or a dark night sky. But why partially opened eyes and why not fully opened eyes like a full blossomed lotus? Because with wide opened eyes, if She Lakshmi Stares, it could also mean to experience Her seriousness or wrath or anger. A similar reference can be seen in Soundarya Lahari, Sloka 57, wherein Sri Shankara says:
“दृशा द्राघीयस्या दरदलितनीलोत्पलरुचा”
“drishA draghiyasyA daradalitanilOtpalarucha”
(Hindu Literatrue. S.K.K. n.d.).
‘daradalita-nilotpalarucha’ meaning the eyes of Devi Parvathi are like partially bloomed dark water lily with the dark stigma which is gracious, tender, fragrant and has a soothing feel.
So, Sri Shankara is comparing Sir Lakshmi’s eyes to have the same soothing coolness, filled with mercy, anugraham (grace), compassion and the anxiousness of a mother (we referred to this as ‘tadi’). He continues by saying that Her gracious sight is meant for us because we are Her children, and if not us then who else? It’s we who are in sorrow, and it’s we who seek forgiveness for our mistakes and so it’s we who are eager for Her glance to fall upon us, fulfilling the purpose of the kindness in Her eyes. Like a cow, eats grass and produces milk, but for whom? It’s for the calf, who is eager to receive it, which runs to Her mother expressing love and hunger. Looking at its calf’s gesture of love and hunger, the cows release its milk. Similarly, it’s our eagerness to uplift ourselves from our mistakes and sorrows, makes us eligible for Her mercy and kindness in Her eyes. Hence, Sri Shankara claims this brahmin family to be now eligible for those kind eyes to notice them for a ‘Kssannam’ moment. He further says that, till now, they waited with confidence and belief in their karmaphala, expecting only Ishwara to uplift them. For all of us who are reading this, our strength lies in the confidence that our Divine Mother who possess that compassion and mercy in Her eyes, would save us from our pains and mistakes. It’s She who saved that brahmin family that day, and so She will save us today from our suffering and our uncertain future, restoring prosperity and devotion, even if our karma concludes any imminent and irreversible loss and suffering. These gracious eyes will lessen that intensity of our Karmaphala and save us from dangerous outcomes. When we start to cultivate our faith in Her, seeing this brahmin family as an example, so will the doors of prosperity open for us towards our confident and truth in Sanatana Dharma. Like a calf with love runs towards its mother, Sri Shankara like the calf expressed and urged Ishwara through His Kanakadhara, and since we know that the Divine Mother was ready to bestow Her anugraham (grace) at the very first sloka (stance), She didn’t. She knowingly, though happy and proud of Sri Shankara, waited, waited for Sri Shankara’s Kanakadhara (like the nectar of immortality and like the holiness of Ganga) to flow, and flow in full so that we who are reading it, be drenched in this flow. She intentionally restrained Her Kanakadhara, so that Sri Shankara’s Kanakadhara be bestowed to this world. When Sri Shankara’s Kanakadhara flows within us, then Sri Lakshmi’s Kanakadhara shall shower upon us without a doubt. A rain doesn’t stop because we don’t have an umbrella, so if Sri Shankara’s Kanakadhara flows within us, we, without explicitly asking, Sri Lakshmi’s Kanakadhara will shower. Having known this, is it true to consider this stotram as one to bestow wealth to the brahmin family?. If it was riches, Sri Shankara could have given that himself being born in a wealthy family, or does it have a flow of more than just wealth, a flow towards forgiveness, towards prosperity, towards devotion, towards faith, and all the way towards Aaham Brahmasme? (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.10)