6. Kanakadhara Sloka 2

Kanakadhara Stotram Sloka 2

मुग्धा मुहुर्विदधती वदने मुरारेः
प्रेमत्रपाप्रणिहितानि गतागतानि ।
माला दृशोर्मधुकरीव महोत्पले या
सा मे श्रियं दिशतु सागरसम्भवायाः

“Mugdha muhurvidhadhadathi vadhane Murare,
Premathrapapranihithani gathagathani,
Mala dhrishotmadhukareeva mahethpale ya,
Sa ne sriyam dhisathu sagarasambhavaya

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Summary: Oh Divine Mother, He (Śrī Viṣṇu) who slayed the Rakshasa (Evil) Murasura and freed the Prāgjyotiṣa Purá and earned the title “Murare”. May He also free us from our bondages of desire. Oh Devi, You emerged from the Milky Ocean as the daughter of King Samudra (Sagarasambhavaya) to bestow all auspiciousness. Like a bumblebee humming around a garland (Mala) of water lilies (mahethpale), Your eyes secretly gaze (dhrisho) with affection (Premathrapa), admiring His chin, His eyes, His smile and more, but when He  takes notice, You blush and lower Your eyes in shyness, and await an opportunity to see His charming beauty again. How can we blame You, oh Devi, as You are childishly and innocently (Mugdha) in love with the Jagannadha. May that divine sight (dhrisho) fall onto me and vanquish my pápa:karmā, bestowing wellbeing (sriyam).

Sagar_mathan
Various events during the Samudramanthana (Kshirasagara Manthana). (1820)

Detailed Analysis:

Out of all the names (titles) of Śrī Lakshmi (Lakṣmī), Śrī Śankara chooses to address Her as “Sagarasambhavaya”. It means the one who emerged from the Milky Ocean as the daughter to King Samudra. King Samudra here refers to the innate controller of Oceans (ocean like a galaxy), to whom Sri Lakshmi came as a daughter – similar to the way that she came as a daughter to Janaka as Sita or Janaki. Why that title? At first glance, this title seems to have no relevance to the context of this sloka. Also, there are many other names representing wealth and prosperity which would fit this poetic construct.

Let us ask another question. If She emerged as a daughter of King Samudra at one point in kālá (time), would that also mean that She didn’t exist before? If that were true, then Śrī Lakṣmī – like us – can be considered to have a janma (birth). If that were the case, then how can She be considered as Parashakti (Pāraśakti) who is devoid of kālá (time)? We encountered a similar sloka in Sri Suktam, Sloka 27, wherein Śrī Lakṣmī is referred to as:

 “लक्ष्मीं क्षीरसमुद्र राजतनयां श्रीरङ्गधामेश्वरीम्”
“Lakshmi Ksheera Samudra Raaja Tanaya Sree Ranga Dhaameshvari”

(Green Message Sri Suktam. n.d.)

This sloka also refers to Śrī Lakṣmī being the daughter (Tanaya) of King Samudra.

Śrī Śankara’s literature is like the Upanishads, wherein the flow is like a dialog, which triggers questions between a student and a teacher. What this means is, Śrī Lakṣmī was there before She emerged as the daughter of Samudra, but Her anugraham (grace) – which was once showered upon Indra (King of Devatas) – left and took abode as a daughter of King Samudra. It is to be understood that no matter how many times Shakti (śakti) takes abode as a daughter, it is always to glorify a devotee, like King Janaka to whom She manifested as Sita or Janaki. Hence the sloka “dharmeNa tanayA tava”, meaning Sita emerged from the earth before Janaka and by Ḍharma She can be considered as his tanaya (daughter). Similarly, She manifested as Lakshmi to King Samudra, to Bhishmaka as Rukmini, to Akasaraja as Padmavati, to Katyana Maharśi as Katyayani, to Bhrughu as Bhargavi, and so on, but She always seeks to unite as the consort of Ishwara (Iśvara) – Viṣṇu in case of Lakṣmī, Shiva (Śiva) in case of Pārvatī, and Brahmā in case of Sarasvatī.

The Story of Indra rejecting Ishwara Prasad

Once Indra (King of Devatas), riding his Elephant (Iravatam), came across Mahamaharśi Durvasa. Mahamaharśi blessed Indra with a garland, which was a Prasad granted by Iśvara. Indra took that garland objectively and used it to decorate his elephant. In other words, he discarded the garland, which was the very anugraham (grace) of Iśvara. Understanding the state of Indra’s ego, Mahamaharśi said, “since you relinquished the garland, which was the anugraham (grace) of Iśvara, may that grace leave you and, in turn, make you realize your gratitude towards Iśvara”. This is the reason why Prasad(am) from a Pooja (pūjā) should never be rejected since it is equivalent to rejecting Ishwara’s anugraham (grace). In special circumstances, it should properly and respectfully be discarded, like leaving it in a Tulasi plant. A similar story in the context of rejecting Iśvara’s prasadam can be found in stories of Śrī Satyanarayana Kalpa(m) (pūjā/Ratham). The more we reject Iśvara’s anugraham (grace), the more we permit ourselves to ignorance (avidya). This is the reason why, in Sanātana culture, one bows down to food prepared auspiciously and offered to Iśvara; once offered, one receives it with gratitude. Please note that Iśvara never touches or eats the offerings; His very sight and recognition is the grace, except in a few rare circumstances as explained by the Puráńas.

But why offer something to Iśvara, when everything in this creation is His? It is a gesture of gratitude and love. We love our children, but we express this through gifts and other physical expressions like hugging. Similarly, we express our gratitude by treating Iśvara as family. What we can learn from this is, when we receive flowers with respect to a pūjā or a temple as Iśvara prasadam, we should be very careful and not try to decorate our vehicles with it.

Please note that in Sanātana Ḍharma culture, great Maharśis (sages) like Durvasa, who attained Brahmā:gyana(m) wouldn’t use their skill for ego or selfishness. He took away Indra’s glory to lessen the destructive path He was heading towards. By being deprived of His glory, His wealth, and power, Indra now has time to contemplate and seek truth beyond ego. One can find many such instances with Maharśis. In many situations, they lessen the intensity when asked for forgiveness.

What is the significance of Prasad in Shastra (Śāstra)? Whatever we eat, one-sixth of it becomes our consciousness, so when Iśvara’s Prasad is consumed, one-sixth goes to energizing our consciousness. Sometimes when we are stuck in life seeking a solution, the solution might be right in front of us, but we fail to recognize or comprehend it. Suddenly we realize it and feel dimwitted. Prasadam can play a significant role in such situations. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.1-3)

“मुग्धा मुहुर्विदधती वदने मुरारेः
प्रेमत्रपाप्रणिहितानि गतागतानि ।
माला दृशोर्मधुकरीव महोत्पले या
सा मे श्रियं दिशतु सागरसम्भवायाः”

“Mugdha muhurvidhadhadathi vadhane Murare,
Premathrapapranihithani gathagathani,
Mala dhrishotmadhukareeva maheth pale ya,
Sa ne sriyam dhisathu sagarasambhavaya”

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Coming back to the brahmin family, what could be the reason behind their despair? Could they have rejected Iśvara’s anugraham (grace) like Indra? Śrī Śankara would know this and, maybe, His stotram encompasses this secret. So, let us move ahead with the story. Śrī Lakṣmī’s anugraham (grace) left Indra, due to which he lost his kingship and went into poverty, leaving Asuras to take control over the upper lokas. Now, where did Śrī Lakṣmī’s anugraham (grace) go? Also, did Śrī Lakṣmī give up on Indra forever? Let us see what happened. Indra and his staff went to Lord Brahmā in despair. Brahmā realized what had happened and advised Indra that He must contemplate and realize his mistake, but also asked them to reach out to Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu eventually, which they did. Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, being the preserver of creation, heard their sorrows and suggested to churn the Milky Ocean in the hope of getting the elixir of immortality, but the hidden secret was that Śrī Lakṣmī would also emerge from Samudra (as his daughter). What needs to be understood here is that Iśvara didn’t give up on Indra. He forgave him and gaveprovided a solution for him to uplift himself. This account is similar to the correction facility system in our government, having the ability to trim down the sentence upon good behavior. Indra and the Devatas churned the Milky Ocean and so came Śrī Lakṣmī as a beautiful young girl (unlike Janaki Devi/ Sita, who came as a baby daughter to King Janaka). As we have seen earlier, Śrī Lakṣmī comes as a daughter to many of Her devotees but Her heart resides only in Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, so Her eyes searched for Him. A young girl shouldn’t be looking at other men in this manner, as it is the Ḍharma of her father to understand his daughter’s wishes, hence Sri Śankara called Her “Mugdha”, which refers to the innocence in youngsters. Sri Śankara, in order not to insult Śrī Lakṣmī, phrased it gently by calling Her innocent in Her despair to unite with Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu. (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.6)

Though Indra churned the ocean for the elixir of immortality, upon seeing Śrī Lakṣmī, His heart filled with joy. He gave Her a beautiful throne made of jewels. The others also presented gifts upon seeing Śrī Lakṣmī. Samudra, with the pride of a father, got Her clothes made of silk. Bhudevi (innate śakti of Earth) gave her salutations through many gestures (Pallavā), Ganga (the innate śakti of holy rivers) gave Her the water of the river Ganga in poorna kalasham (round vessel), clouds played musical instruments in joy and many Maharśis/sages recited Vedā in Her admiration and performed abhisheka(m). Śrī Lakṣmī walked to Viṣṇu, looked at his hrudayam (heart) – knowing well that this heart is what preserves creation, protects Ḍharma, punishes the evil, uplifts those who are grateful and diminishes those who are not – and chose it to be Her true abode. A famous poet and devotee, Pottanna composed Srimad Bhagavāta(m) (Sri Bhagavāta Puráńa(m)) in Telugu, said:

“ఆ పాలవెల్లి కూతురు టీపుల చూపుల డోగి తాగి తిలకించి జగము బతికే:నరేంద్ర”
“Aa Paala-velle Kuturu teepula chupula dogi-tagi-telakinchi Jagamu bhatike Narendra”

“Aa Paalavelle Kuturu” meaning the daughter of the milky ocean, “teepula chupula dogi-tagi-telakinchi” meaning Her sweet eyes quenched the thirst of Indra and the Devatas. When describing Sri Lakshmi’s eyes as sweet, it is in the sense of how a mother sees her children waiting for her to feed them. We are referring to those eyes filled with desperation and anxiety and kindness towards her children. So when Her eyes saw them, it restored all the glory that was once lost.  “Jagamu bhatike Narendra” meaning various lokas (worlds), which were lifeless due to despair and fear, attained life.

Such was the extent in which Sri Śankara thought when he chose to address Sri Lakshmi by the title “Sagarasambhavaya” and “Mugdha” because he related this brahmin family’s situation, who might have once rejected Iśvara anugraham (grace) similar to Indra in this story. It is our nature to recollect old memories and have a nostalgic feeling when we see familiar places from our childhood or people from our past. Śrī Śankara’s intent was to present to Śrī Lakṣmī the accounts from Her avatara by addressing Her as “Sagarasambhavaya” and “Mugdha”. If Śrī Lakṣmī were to ask why forgive this brahmin family, Sri Śankara would show the dried amla fruit he had received from the brahmin’s wife, which was the only food in their house and which they had saved to break their fast on Dwadashi day after fasting on Ekadashi (Eka:dashi) the day before, hence earning the eligibility for forgiveness. This was Sri Śankara’s argument presented to Śrī Lakṣmī on behalf of the brahmin family.

Let us stop for a moment and realize one thing. Who is reciting this stotram? Sri Śankara. And at what age? A five-year-old boy, just out of compassion for this brahmin family, without expecting anything in return. That is the dexterity of Sri Śankara, a prodigy. We are fortunate to have inherited such literature and so we have nothing to fear. We should cherish this story and its references during our Dhyāna (meditation).

As readers, we have now got a taste and the direction in which we are exploring this stotram. We can now understand the approach by which Sri Śankara’s literature and its message be excavated through various stories and their morals.This approach is called tatva pariśilana(m), meaning “examination of tatva/truth”. This is the reason why this documentation is not something to read in haste. So, let us dive into more exciting stories and cherish the tatva through various concepts of Sanātana Ḍharma.

“मुग्धा मुहुर्विदधती वदने मुरारेः
प्रेमत्रपाप्रणिहितानि गतागतानि ।
माला दृशोर्मधुकरीव महोत्पले या
सा मे श्रियं दिशतु सागरसम्भवायाः”

“Mugdha muhurvidhadhadathi vadhane Murare,
Premathrapapranihithani gathagathani,
Mala dhrishotmadhukareeva maheth pale ya,
Sa ne sriyam dhisathu sagarasambhavaya”

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

Sri Śankara now addresses Viṣṇu as “Murare”, different from calling Him “Hare” in the earlier sloka. Why? Because, once there was a Rakshasa (Evil) named Murasura, who lived in water, invaded Prāgjyotiṣa Purá and hid it with seals made of Water and foulness. Sri Krishna (Śrī Kṛṣṇa : Viṣṇu’s avatar in Dwapara Yuga) flew on Garuda (His vahana, the closest reference is a vehicle) and released those seals. How does this story relate to us? This concept is similar to how we bind (undermine) the knowledge of  Śāstra due to our laziness (Tamo Guṇa) and chase endless desires in this material world.

RamakrishnaParamahamsa
Ramakrishana Paramahamsa. (n,d.)

Ramakrishna Pāramahamsa once said, if we could see all those desires that we bind ourselves with, we would feel troubled and disturbed. What does it mean, binding ourselves with desires? For example, when we say, this house belongs to me, we are binding ourselves to a material object with our emotions. Every time we claim ownership over an object, we establish a bond of emotion and create bondage. These traps of desires and attachments caused this brahmin family to be selfish in the past, hence Sri Śankara addresses Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu as “Murare”, so that He can release this brahmin family from their bondage (pápam). Because today, they haven’t deviated from their Ḍharma in performing Ekadashi fasting, even in such sorrow and poverty, and gave the only food in their house to Sri Śankara since they treated him as a guest.

“मुग्धा मुहुर्विदधती वदने मुरारेः
प्रेमत्रपाप्रणिहितानि गतागतानि 
माला दृशोर्मधुकरीव महोत्पले या
सा मे श्रियं दिशतु सागरसम्भवायाः”

“Mugdha muhurvidhadhadathi vadhane Murare,
Premathrapapranihithani gathagathani,
Mala dhrishotmadhukareeva maheth pale ya,
Sa ne sriyam dhisathu sagarasambhavaya”

(Green Message Kanakadhara Stotram, n.d.).

The eyes of Sri Lakshmi, filled with affection and admiration, secretly gaze at Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, hence the word “Premathrapa”. Sri Śankara compares Her gazing to a bumblebee which hums around a blossoming water lily, which in this case is Śrī Viṣṇu. Her eyesight keeps falling all over Śrī Viṣṇu  like a garland around Him, hence the words “Mala dhrisho” wherein mala means garland and dhrisho means sight. She gazes admiring Śrī Viṣṇu’s features, His chin, His eyes, His smile. If Śrī Viṣṇu suddenly happens to look at Her, She lowers Her eyes in shyness and waits for an opportunity to watch Him again. But how can we blame Her, because She is “Mugdha”, childishly in love with The Jagannatha.

Water Lily
Water Lily

Śrī Viṣṇu is also compared to a water lily, which blooms fully under the moonlight. Śrī Lakṣmī’s sight is compared to this moonlight. When it falls on Śrī Viṣṇu, His face blooms in joy like the water lily. This is a beautiful scenario of the Divine Mother and Father that one must visualize during Dhyāna(m). Like a bee which collects the nectar from flowers, Śrī Lakṣmī collects Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu’s beautiful hue and the essence of the Jagatrakshaka (savior of creation) with Her sight.

Bali_donating_Vamana
Bali donating to Vamana Murty, while Guru Shukracharya asking Bali not to (Sadashiva temple Nuggehalli, Karnataka, India) (2015)

During the Vamana era (Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu manifested as Vamana to restore the kingship of Indra, who had been overthrown by King Bali), Prahlada (grandfather of King Bali and a great devotee of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu), says to Vamana, “it was you who gave Bali this kingship of Indra, and now it is you who is taking it back. Both times you have blessed King Bali. When you gave the kingship, he realized his pride, when you took it away he realized your significance and understood the opportunity to live with devotion. What good is the kingship of Indra compared to the one who always chants your glory and cherishes service of Your feet?” This is the essence of Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, the preserver and protector of creation and this very essence is collected as nectar by the eyes of Śrī Lakṣmī. Hence, Her anugraham (grace) and Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu’s anugraham (grace) are the same.

A 15th-century poet named Annamacharya, devotee of Balaji (Venkateshwara Swamy at Tirupati), wrote a similar poem – part of which is as follows.

“చూడరమ్మ సతులారా సోబాన పాడరమ్మ కూడున్నది పతి చూడి కుడుత నాంచారి”
“Chudaramma sathulala sobaana paadaramma kudunnadhi pathi chudi kudutha nanchari”

(Annamacharya Samkirtanalu. 2006)

The poet says that Śrī Lakṣmī has inherited the calmness of the ocean by being the daughter of Samudra, the beauty of Manmatha (God of love) by being his mother, the mild coolness of Moon by being his sister, and so on. As Her attributes are never-ending, Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu married Her with such yearning.

Her affection for Her children as a mother, which is unmatched, and Her forgiveness, which has no bounds, forgave Indra and restored his former glory. In the case of this brahmin family, they might have done something wrong in the past for which they are suffering today, but now they have earned the eligibility for “sriyam”, meaning comfort and safety.

Sri Śankara, knowing this well, composed such a stotram extempore, and we are fortunate to have inherited such excellence and a solution to our sorrows. When living with such gratitude towards Iśvara, one will never face such sorrows. Exploring the essence of Kanakadhara will uplift us from our mistakes. This is the ultimate intent and essence in each sloka. Sri Śankara is hence achieving two goals, helping the brahmin family and giving mankind this essence to uplift us for times to come.   (Srichaganti. K.D.S, n.d., p.7)

 Vocabulary:
Palasamudra (
Pala:samudram): “Pala” means Milk-like white and Samudra(m) meaning ocean. When read as one it means “the milky ocean”. This milky ocean can be interpreted either as an actual ocean with milk or as the milky galaxy.
Loka: Loka, though generally referenced as celestial worlds in an expanding universe, can sometimes be perceived as a separate dimension, wherein kālá(am) (time) as perceived on Earth would be different compared to each loka. Puráńa(m) states the existence of fourteen lokas, out of which seven are considered as higher lokas called Vyahrtis (bhu, bhuvas, svar or swagra, mahas, janas, tapas and finally the highest of all lokas being Satya:loka(m)), and seven lower lokas known as Patalas (atala, vitala, sutala, rasaataala, talatala, mahaatala and patala). Below these lies naraka.

                                                                                                                                              (Wikipedia. 2017. L)

Abhisheka(m): A holy ceremonial bath that is different from the bath that we take. It is an auspicious ritual done towards the prosperity of worlds.

[please explore the vital concepts of Jīva, Ātman, Janma on this portal to better comprehend this sloka]

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