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51- 100)








Sivananda Lahari, eulogizing Lord Shiva, is a beautiful devotional poem by

the First Sankaracharya which clearly brings out the devotee and the poet in
him. This composition in different metres and embellished with figures of
speech enthrals the devotee as well as the lover of poetry. It is a pleasure to
recite this stotra especially after understanding the meaning. Given below is
the text of this stotra (in Devanagari) followed by a simple translation in
English which, of course, is no where near doing justice to the beauty and
import of the original in Sanskrit
( )
(SLOKAS 51-100)

May Lord Shiva play in the lotus of my heart, who is consort
of Bhramarambika whose abode is on top of Srisaila, who is raring to dance
for the sake of sage Bhringi, who has vanquished Gajasura, who was
overjoyed by the sight of Madhava, who is the embodiment of nada (sound),
whose complexion is white, who is revered by Kama (who conquers others)
and who sides with good people to save them.

The chataka bird that is my Mind always desires you O Shambhu with dark
blue neck! who rains the nectar of compassion, who is active in removing
sufferings and misfortunes like the heat of summer, who is propitiated by


for the fruits of the plant of knowledge, who is worshipped
by all good people, who can take any form, whose devotee-peacocks dance
in joy and who lives in mountains and who has waving matted hair.
[Here the poet draws a parallel between Lord Siva and the water-bearing
cloud which is also dark, which gives sweet water, which dispels the summer

heat, which is welcomed with flowers, which can take any form, which makes
the peacock dance, which hovers over mountain top and which spreads like
the matted locks of Shiva. The comparison is achieved by using words having
more than one meaning and thus can be interpreted to apply equally to Lord
Shiva and the cloud ]

I serve and worship Nilakantha (Lord Shiva) whose neck is of dark blue
colour, who has the sky as his crest, the thousand eyes of Adisesha as the
plume, who blesses those who bow to him by giving them the secret mantra
of Pranava, who is sung about as keki, who dances with joy on seeing
Parvati, of the colour of dark clouds, and who is fond of playing in the
garden of the Upanishads.
[ Nilakantha also refers to peacock. In this sloka the attributes of Shiva are
also applicable to the peacock such as having a crest and plume, dancing on
the sight of clouds etc.]

The evening twilight hour is end of the summer season, the deafening sound
of the drums beaten by the hands of Vishnu is the thundering of the clouds,
the glances from the eyes of the celestials are the flashes of lightning, the
tears of joy of the devotees are the rains and consort of Shiva (Shivaa) is the
peahen. I pray to Nilakantha (Shiva, also Peacock) whose splendorous dance
excels in this setting.

My prostrations to Lord Shambhu who is the very first one, whose splendour
is immeasurable, whom the Vedas seek to know, who can be attained (by
devotion, knowledge, surrender etc), who is the embodiment of knowledge
and happiness, who is engaged in protecting the three worlds, who is
meditated on by the yogis, whose praises are sung by the celestials, who is
a great mayavi (magician), who is excited about dancing and who has
matted locks.

My prostrations to Lord Shambhu who is eternal, who is the essence of the
three gunas, who conquered the three cities, who is the fortune of
Katyayani, who is the embodiment of Truth, who is the first householder, who
is of the nature of pure consciousness manifest to the minds of yogis, who

created the three worlds by his maya, who is eulogised in the Upanishads,
who is excited about dancing in the evenings and who has matted locks

For the sake of filling my stomach I uselessly go around approaching
everyone with the desire for money, but do not know serving you and
worshipping you. Because of the punya earned by my good deeds in my
previous births, O Sharva! You do abide inside all beings. At least for this
reason I am to be protected by you.

The one Sun, a friend of the lotus, dispels the darkness enveloping the whole
of the earth and sky and becomes visible to the eye. But you have the
brightness of ten million suns. Why are you not visible to me? How dense
must be the darkness enveloping me? Please remove this darkness and
reveal yourself before my eyes.

O Lord of all beings! Consort of Gauri ! The All-pervading! Just like the swan
longs for the lotus forest, the chataka bird longs for the dark clouds,
thechakravaka longs for the Sun, the beloved of the lotus, and
the chakora bird longs for the moon, my heart intensely longs for your lotus
feet, sought by following the path of knowledge and leading to the bliss
of kaivalya (liberation from the apparent sense of multiplicity and the
experience of the state of Absolute Unity of everything)

Just like the man being carried away by a current longs to reach the bank, a
tired traveller longs for the shade of a tree, one afraid of the rain longs for a
comfortable home, a guest (in search of food and shelter) longs for a
householder, a poor man longs for a rich man who is philanthropic, one who
is frightened by darkness longs for the light and one exposed to biting cold
longs for the (warmth) of fire, O my heart! hasten to the lotus feet of
Shambhu, which will dissolve all your fears, and be happy.

Just like the seeds of the ankola tree are attracted towards the mother tree,
the needle is attracted by the lode stone, the chaste woman reaches for her
husband, the creeper clings to the tree and the river flows towards the
















then it is called

Mother Bhakti takes care of the devotee child by placing it on the bed of your
remembrance, by bathing it in tears of joy making its hairs stand on end, by
clothing it in purity, by filling its stomach with the nectar of your stories and
protecting its body by rudraksha and ash.

The footwear repeatedly used on the road and worn-out becomes adornment
to the Lord, water carried in the month and spouted becomes divine
bathing, the remnants of a partly-eaten piece of meat becomes freshly
prepared offering to the Lord and the tribal living in the forest becomes the
crest-jewel of devotees of the Lord. Wonder of wonders ! What is there that
Nayanar a tribal
The sloka describes his way of worshipping the Lord who happily
There is a story about the intensity of his devotion to the Lord. It is
coming from the eyes of the deity. He immediately scooped out his
will he manage to put the other eye in place? So Kannappa Nayanar
on the spot where the other eye was to be placed. He then took out
and put it where his toe had been placed. The Lord revealed himself
hill where Kannappa Nayanar worshipped is very near the Kalahasti

O Consort of Gauri ! striking on the chest of Yama with your feet, trampling
the adamantine Apasmara, wandering on the mountains, the friction of the
crowns of celestials bowing down before you these are all the actions in

which your soft feet are engaged. Please accept walking always wearing the
gem-studded footwear of my heart (mind)

O Consort of Bhavani! What is impossible of attainment for him who worships
at your lotus feet? From him Yama keeps away fearing a kick on the chest,
the celestials do him nirajana (offering of the camphor light) by the light of
diamonds set in their crowns, the bride mukti, locks him in embrace, as soon
as she sees him. What is impossible for him to attain?

O Shambhu ! O Pasupati, you create this world for your sport. All humans
are your play-animals. Whatever is done by me is sure to make you
pleased. My activities will certainly be interesting to your own devotees
also. Therefore it is your duty to take care of me and protect me.

I take refuge in meditation on Sadashiva, that yields different types of
pleasures which produce tears of joy, provides such happiness as would
make ones hairs stand on end and which is depended upon by those who
want to attain the eternal state of mukti or kaivalya (liberation).

O The Merciful Lord of all beings! Please protect the cow of my devotion to
you which every time yields milk of sweet happiness, which occupies the
cowshed of your feet and which is the result of punya earned by good

I do not possess the attributes of being idiotic, animal-like, blemished or
having a crooked gait. Even granting that I have (those undesirable
attributes) am I not eligible to become your ornament? [ Because Shiva
wears Ganga on his head who has the attribute of jalata (being
watery, jadata = jalata , d and l being used interchangeably) He keeps a
deer in his hand which has the attribute of pasuta i.e. being an animal. He
keeps the moon on his head which has blemish on it. He wears snakes whose
gait is crooked as ornaments

My Lord, who is above all kings and who is more than this world, who is the
giver of countless fruits (benefits, blessings) and who is firmly seated in my
heart, can be easily worshipped and pleased, in private or in public, with a
free mind.

Meditation on the Lord is the bow, heightened bhakti is the string,
memories of the Lord are arrows which never miss the target. Armed with
these the the best among men of intelligence vanquishes the sin-enemies
and happily captures the stable kingdom (of mukti, liberation)

O Lord Shiva! only those men achieve fulfilment who, using meditation as
the magic collyrium to locate darkness and, flooding it with the light of the
powerful mantra of the names of the Lord, mentally lift up (on their heads)
your lotus feet, the refuge of the celestials and adorned with snakes as

O My good Mind! what, in search of which Lord Vishnu, consort of Lakshmi
and Bhumi (Goddess Earth), took the form of a boar, other than that ( lotus
feet of Shiva) what do you want to get ? Worshipping and serving the lotus
feet of Parameshwara, the greatest of the gods, is the field from which grow
the powerful herbs for the attainment of mukti, liberation.

May the lotus feet of Lord Shiva ( clothed by the eight quarters) engaged in
displacing desire, attachment, suffering and bad conduct in the mind by
divine fragrance, make the casket of my heart sweet-smelling.

O Enemy of Cupid! you are the leader of all the worlds and you are riding a
bull. Please ride my mind-horse which is auspicious, has charming wonderful
gait, has speed, responds to all gestures, is without blemishes and has good
and auspicious looks.

Devotion to the lotus feet of Lord Mahesha, the greatest of the gods, like a
cluster of clouds, rains the water of happiness. He whose mind-lake is filled
with this water is fulfilled, he attains the purpose of taking birth in this

The young wife separated from her husband always remembers him, recalls
their mutual affection, sees his portrait or sees him before her minds eye,
talks of him and broods about him. In a similar manner, my mind, which is
devoted to the lotus feet of Shiva, in its effort to get fixed, chants the
names of Lord Shiva as if in a trance and is anxious (to have his vision).

Instruct me how to serve the great and noble with reverence and with a good
heart and lift up my intellect, Oh, my Lord! like the good groom gently
teaching his new bride.

O Shambhu ! you are used to move about daily in the mind of yogis, soft as
lotus-petal. How could you break the hard doors of the chest of Yama, the
God of Death? My mind is worried about your tender and soft feet (being
hurt by this effort of yours). Please make your lotus feet visible to my eyes
so that I can massage them (and relieve their pain)

This fellow will be born, his mind is hard and I will have to move about in
it, thus thinking, for my protection, you practised walking with your soft and
tender feet on the hard mountains. If this were not so, what was the point of
practising walk on hard rock surfaces when there were divine homes, flower
beds and well laid-out smooth paths for walking?

O Mahesha with Uma ! whosoever, with his mind surrendered to you, reaches
such a happy state of mind wherein he spends some time each in

worshipping your lotus feet, in meditating on you and going into samadhi,
in hearing your stories, in seeing your form and singing your praises, is
indeed a jivanmukta (one who is liberated while still living)

O Consort of Arya! Lord Vishnu took several forms for your sake such as your
arrow and your bull. As your consort he occupied half your body. He became
a boar (and bored through the earth in search of your lotus feet). He became
Mohini, your sakhi (friend). He played the mridanga while you danced. He, a
part of your body, offered his eye at your feet (when one lotus flower was
wanting in your worship). If he is not the greatest among those worthy of
being worshipped, who else can be greater than him ?

Nothing good or happy can be gained by serving and worshipping gods who
are subject to births and deaths. There is no doubt about this. Those who
worship Lord Samba are the lucky ones since they reach the highest state of
bliss and peace.

O Lord Shiva! for your and your consort Gouris service I offer my mind-maid
who has all good qualities. O Friend of all the worlds! Ocean of Existence,
Consciousness and Bliss ! Show compassion to me and stay for ever in my

I am not an expert in churning the ocean, I cannot (bore through the earth
like a boar) and go to Patala and I am not a skilled hunter of wild animals.
Such being the case how can I offer you worship where food, flowers,
ornaments and clothes are important components.
[ Lord shiva drank the poison that emerged when the milky ocean was
churned. Vishnu could not, in the form of a boar, reach the feet of the
Lord to offer flowers. The serpents worn by Shiva as ornaments come


Shiva wears the skin of wild animals like elephant and
tiger which can be obtained only by a hunter]

Granting that all material required for Puja have been gathered, how am I to
do the actual Puja? I have not taken birth as a bird (swan) or as a boar
which is very difficult. O All-pervading Lord! I do not know your head or your
feet, tender as leaf buds. Even Brahma (in the form of the swan) could not
know (your head) and Vishnu ( in the form of the boar) could not know (your

O Shambhu! your food is poison, your adornment is snake, your clothes are
skins of animals and you ride a bull. What will you give me? What is there to
give me? Please give me devotion to your lotus feet

When I have built a bridge across the sea (like Rama), put down the king of
mountains by the palm of my hand (like Agastya) or born out of the lotus
from the navel of Vishnu (like Brahma), then I will be able to do your worship
with flowers, sing your praises or meditate upon you.

O Lord! If you are not pleased by prostrations, songs of praise or by
meditations and samadhi, please tell me whether I should propitiate you by
bow and pestle (like Arjuna who fought with you who were in the guise of
a kirata) or by stones (as sakhya who threw stones at you) and I will do as
you bid me.

O Lord Shambhu, I am not much enamoured of those paths (of reaching you
like yoga) involving a lot of effort. I would sing your praises and stories by
speech. I would mentally offer worship to your form and I would bow to you
with my head.

O Lord ! by your grace the primeval ignorance which had taken root in my
heart has been banished and Knowledge (which will lead to liberation) has
occupied my heart. Daily do I worship your lotus feet which brings all that is
auspicious and meditate on you who are the repository of mukti (liberation)

Sufferings, bad fate, bad luck, sorrow, egotism and abusive language have
been cast away from my mind. O Lord of Gauri, please lift me up, who has
been drinking the essence of your stories, by your auspicious glances

Let my heart revel continuously in the consort of Girija, who is the master of
everything, who wears the crescent moon on his head, whose neck is dark
as the black cloud and who has an effulgent form.

That which speaks of Shiva is the only tongue, those which see him are the
only eyes, those that always worship him are the only hands and the one
who always remembers him is the only fulfilled one ( who has achieved the
purpose of taking this birth)

My feet are very soft, your mind is very hard, O Consort of Bhavani! do
not entertain such doubts. If it is true, tell me O Lord! how come you are
living in the mountain (full of hard rocks)

O Destroyer of Tripura ! Please control the rutting elephant of my heart by
the goad of courage, pull him strongly by the chain of devotion and tie him to
the post of your feet by the fetters of knowledge (Consciousness).

This big rutted elephant of my mind wanders aggressively everywhere. O
Lord ! tactfully catch hold of him and tie him with ropes of bhakti and lead
him to a stable state (to the lotus feet of Shiva)

O Beloved of Gauri! Please accept my poem maid which has good figures of
speech, lilting words, good metres and good letters, is praised by good
people, is rich in emotions (rasa), is noted by the learned, bears all marks of

a good poem, has all good qualities, is soft and sweet, and is glittering with

O Lord Paramashiva! Brahma and Vishnu, taking the form a bird and an
animal, wandering in the heaven and earth respectively with the idea of
seeing your head and your feet, have become tired (without being able to
find your head or the feet). Is it proper for you O Lord! who are the ocean of
Mercy? O Shambhu ! my Master ! please tell me how will you appear before