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KrishNAshtakam Posting by Sri Shree

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Mon Sep 08 1997 - 19:18:32 PDT

Dear Sri Shree : It was so enjoyable to read 
Adhi Sankara"s text on KrishNAshtakam and the excellent
translation of the verses . It is a splendid eulogy 
of Sri KrishNA . Adhi SankarA was born at Kalady , which is  not 
too far from Sri GuruvAyUrappan's ( Sri KrishNan 's ) temple.
His mother was a great devotee of Sri KrishNA ( VishNU
Bhakthai ) . At one time , when Adhi SankarA was criss-crossing 
India , he was passing over the temple of GuruvAyUrappan , 
whose uthsava mUrtham was being taken around in 
the traditional seevALi procession . Adhi sankarA did not
pay  attention and continued with his aereal travel . sudenly ,
he lost power and momentum and was hurled down at the feet 
of the Lord . He  recognized his apachAram to the supreme Lord
and is said to have composed this ashtakam . It could also
have been composed on another occasion .

Adhi SankarA's devotion to Sriman NaarAyaNA is pretty well
documented . His successors even today at the four peetams 
end their Srimukhams with NaarAyaNa smrithi . Their reverence
for Lord NarasimhA is also linked with this great AchAryA's
reverecne for the Lord of Naarasimha Vapu : . This AcharyA's
reverence for Sri VishNU poured out in his Sri VishNu sahasra
Naama Bhashyam . 

I want to refer to a wonderful sthothram by Adhi SankarA as a
measure of gratitude to Sri Shree's posting of KrishNAshtakam .
That is " The Sri VishNu bhujngam " set in the Bhujanga PrayAtha 
metre . These 18 slokAs contain great choices of words to
offer salutation to VishNu and His consort Sri Devi . 

The occasion for this Bhujangam was the time , when his mother
was on her last moments. The loyal son inspite of his acceptance
of SanyAsAsramam had promised to be near her during her last
moments. He composed and sang Sri Siva Bhujangam 
requesting Lord SivA to receive her in Siva sAyujyam . The AchAryA
appealed to Lord SivA in the 20th verse this way :

" When I hear the terrifying call /song  of the Lord of death 
( Yama DevA ) , and the frightening rattle of the skulls in 
the garlands of his servants , O Lord , come on Your 
majestic bull with your retinue and ask YamA not to frighten
Your devotee ( Adhi SankarA's mother )"  . 

Lord SivA responded to the request of His amsa-bhoothar 
along with the Siva GaNAs at Kaladi by the bed side of 
AryAmbhA , the mother of Adhi SankarA . She was however
terrified by the sight of Siva -dhUthAs and begged her son to 
withhold them . Suddenly , the son remembered that his 
mother was a great devotee of Sri KrishNA . Then , he composed
Sri VishNu bhujangam and immediately , the attendants of 
VishNu attired in resplendent pithAmbharams ,shining crowns 
and fragrant garlands appeared  before AryAmbha and gracefully 
led her soul to Sri VaikunTam . Thus was born the beautiful
Sri VishNU Bhujangam of Adhi SankarA .

His choice of words are salutations to the supermacy of 
Srman NaarAyaNA as the Supreme Brahman . In the first
slokam already , he salutes Him as " Thureeyam param 
Brahma yam Veda Tasmai NamOsthu " . In the eighth slokam ,
he offers his praNAmams this way : Parasmai parEbhyOpi 
tasmai namOsthu " ( Let my salutations be to Him , who 
is beyond all beyonds ) .

The tenth slokam is simply brilliant in his mood as a saraNAgathA .

sareeram kalathram sutham bhandhuvargam 
   vayasyam dhanam sathma bhruthyam bhuvam cha I
samastham PARTITHYAJYA  haa kashtamEvam
   gamishyAmi du:kkEna dhooram kilAham II

( Meaning ) : Having abandoned forever my body consciousness ,
wife , children , kith and kin , friends , wealth , servants ,
I come to slaute You and I will seek YOU and You ALONE .

I will conclude with the 16 th and 17th slokAs , which are 
again echoes of the beautiful anubhavam of Adhi SankarA
of Sriman NaarAyaNA :

namasthE JagannAtha ! VishNO ! namasthE 
   namasthE gadhA chakrapANE ! namasthE I
   samasthAparAdham KshamasvaakilEsa II  

(Meaning ) : I offer my salutations to the Lord of the universe ,
the limitless , the bearer of disc , mace, remover of the sufferings
of His  devotees , forgiver of all my trespasses and omissions ,
the Lord of ALL . 

mukhE mandhahAsam nakhE chandrabhAsam 
    karE charuchakram surEsadhivandhyam I
bhujangE sayAnam bhajE padhmanAbham 
    Hareranyadhaivam na ManyE na ManyE II

(meaning ) : He is the one with a resplendent smile
on His face , with nails having the luste of the moon ,
with a disc adorning His hand and is worshipped by 
the Lord of DevAs . He is one that reclines on the serpent
bed with BrahmA on His navel lotus . Him and Him alone 
I worship . I do not consider any other than Hari as God at all .

That is the memory wave generated by the beautiful 
posting of Sri Shree KumAr . 

Oppiliappan Kovil VaradAchAri Sadagopan