Oh mother dearest…

Adi Shankara was born at Kalady in Kerala in a Namboodiri Family. His mother was Aryamba and his father died very early. When he wanted to take up sanyasa very much against the will of her mother, she finally agreed with a condition, that he should be present near her death bed and also he should perform the obsequies. Shankara agreed for this and took up Sanyasa. When he was at Sringeri, he realized that his mother was nearing death and reached there immediately. He was near his mother at the time of her death and also performed the funeral ceremonies. It was at this time he wrote these five shlokas.

aasthaam tavaddeyam prasoothi samaye durvara soola vyadha,
nairuchyam thanu soshanam malamayee sayya cha samvatsaree,
ekasyapi na garbha bara bharana klesasya yasya kshmo dhathum,
nishkruthi  munnathopi thanaya tasya janyai nama.

Oh mother mine,
With clenched teeth bore thou the excruciating pain,
When I was born to you,
Shared thou the bed made dirty by me for an year,
And thine body became thin and painful,
During those nine months that you bore me,
For all these in return,
Oh mother dearest,
I can never compensate,
Even by my becoming great.

gurukulamupasruthya swapnakaale thu drushtwa,
yathi samuchitha vesham praarudho maam twamuchai
gurukulamadha  sarva prarudathe samaksham
sapadhi charanayosthe mathurasthu pranaama.

Clad in a dress of a sanyasin,
You saw me in my teacher’s school,
In your dream and wept,
And rushed thither,
Smothered, embraced and fondled me, Oh mother mine,
And all the teachers and students wept with you dear,
What could I do,
Except falling at your feet,
And offering my salutations.

ambethi thathethi shivethi tasmin,
prasoothikale yadavocha uchai,
krishnethi govinda hare mukunde tyaho,
janye rachito ayamanjali.

Oh mother mine,
Crying thou shouted in pain,
During thine hard labour,
“Oh mother, Oh father,
Oh God Shiva,
Oh Lord Krishna,
Oh Lord of all, Govinda,
Oh Hari and Oh God Mukunda,”
But in return,
Oh my mother dearest.
I can give you but humble prostrations.

na dattam mathasthe marana samaye thoyamapi vaa,
swadhaa vaa no dheyaa maranadivase sraadha vidhina
na japtho mathasthe marana samaye tharaka manu,
akale samprapthe mayi kuru dhayaam matharathulaam.

Neither did I give you water at thine time of death,
Neither did I offer oblations to thee to help thine journey of death,
And neither did I chant the name of Rama in thine ear,
Oh Mother supreme, pardon me for these lapses with compassion,
For I have arrived here late to attend to those.

mukthaa manisthvam, nayanam mamethi,
rajethi jeevethi chiram sthutha thwam,
ithyuktha vathya vaachi mathaa,
dadamyaham thandulamesh shulkam.

Long live,
Oh, pearl mine,
Oh jewel mine,
Oh my dearest eyes,
Oh mine prince dearest,
And oh my soul of soul,
Sang thou to me,
But in return of that all,
Oh my mother dearest.
I give you but dry rice in your mouth.

 

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