Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adhi Shankara's Mathru Panchakam

Adhi Sankara’s elegy   to his mother dear  tinged in utmost sorrow

I humbly feel   that  by Calling  it panchakam, possibly the great Acharya  erred for these  are   the most five invaluable   jewels  of an elegy that   one of the greatest   human being ever born in India  wrote.
Each word   of these jewels   has been written in his   own blood by him.  The true sadness   of his heart   pf the greaest savant  whom we  know   is penned   in words  which  would never vanish as long as   the earth   exists . I am a book worm   who has  read a lot of books but no one has   ever  expressed his sorrow at losoing his mother  in such invaluable words.
   This is an era    when parents    are treated   as  unnecessary baggage  by many people. Ask them to tread this  Make every child you bring up chant these  gems after  making them understand it. Possibly the world would change

Mathru Panchakam
Adhi Shankara Bhagwat Pada
Translated into verse


Adhi Sankara Bhagawat Pada 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.Sankara agreed for this and took up Sanyasa.When he was at Sringeri, he realized that his mother was nearing death and by the power given to him by God  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 slokas which came out deep from his mind.This was possibly the only poem he wrote, which is not extolling any God and also not explaining his philosophy.
Mother has been extolled as a god form in several places in the puranaas and also God has been approached as a son approaches his mother by many great savants. She is Dhatree(One who bears the child), Janani(one who gives birth to the child), Ambaa(One who nourishes the limbs of the child) and Veerasu(One who makes him a hero), Shusroo(One who takes care of him) .But Sankara in these poems is not dealing either of God in the form of mother nor mother in the form of God.He laments to the lady who was his mother and points out how his conscience is pricking him for being not able to do the duty of a son.

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

2,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 there, and then
Smothered , embraced and fondled me , Oh mother mine,
And all the teachers and students  therewept with you dear,
What could I do , Except falling at your feet,  And offering my salutations.

3,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.
All  I  can give you is  my humble prostrations.

4.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.

5.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  could  but  give you  dry rice in your mouth.

1 comment:

Rasai Anna said...

I read the English translation (only) of this sloka of Adi Sankara on his mother, in a book titled MANY PATHS, ONE DESTINATION - Love, Peace, Compassion, Tolerance, and Understanding Through World Religions. This book, authored by Sri Ram Ramakrishnan of New Jersey, mentions about all the religions, including Hinduism. Whenever Hinduism is mentioned, the name of Adi Sankara comes before us. And, it is important to note that Adi Sankara's only verse other than various slokas and commentaries, is on his mother whom he respected and adored. Sri Mathrupanchakam is a sloka to be known by everybody. Sri Ram Ramakrishnan has quoted this moving sloka of Adi Sankara for the benefit of all. Sri P.R. Ramchander has been doing yeoman service in translating almost everything on the Hindu religion and both these gentlemen deserve a thousand thanks. It is hoped their writings would be widely read and be in many homes,to be preserved for posterity.