Of the many hundreds of poetic Sanskrit stotras —songs of glorification offered to the Supreme Lord, His devotees, and the holy places of His pastimes—King Kulashekhara's Mukunda-mala-stotra is one of the most perennially famous. Srila Prabhupada frequently enjoyed citing certain favorite stanzas from it. The Mukunda-mala-stotra , although composed in elegant Sanskrit, is a simple expression of King Kulashekhara's devotion to Krishna and his eagerness to share his good fortune with everyone else. Like most other works of the stotra genre, it aims less at presenting a plot than at vividly and honestly expressing the true feelings of a lover of God. With deep humility he repeatedly begs simply to be allowed to take his next births as a bird, fish, or flower in the place where Lord Krishna enacts His pastimes, and in this way to enjoy the association of His devotees.
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Aleksandar Uskokov. In the second part I will say a few things about the poem itself. As a result, Hari gives him not only a son, but an incarnation of his own kaustubha jewel. But he pursues worldly fame more than devotion.
The Lord has to intervene: he puri- fies him from the qualities of tamas and rajas inertia and passion , and makes him strong in sattva goodness. The king is happy and returns home pacified. One day, however, the reciter has some business to attend to and sends his son in his stead.
He awakes, however, in an instant, but is disap- pointed, like a man no longer seeing the wealth obtained in a dream. When they come, he is overjoyed by the mere sight of them: he jumps from the throne and leaves whatever business he was doing, however important it may be. The ministers have to intervene. If he does that, he will enjoy heaven on earth. At the second watch of the night, he strips off his jewelry to take a bath. Bring them here. The servants report the matter to him.
Bring the ornaments to me right away, or death will be your punishment! No one else could have stolen the ornaments. The king is pained by these false reports. If he does not punish them, he would be an accomplice in such a sin. If what I say is true, the snake will not bite me. As everyone is celebrating, the ministers go bad again and steal and hide a priceless necklace, unnoticed by anyone.
The king is informed and summons the ministers: they have to deliberate and bring the thief immediately. They are the appointed priests, and they handle the riches all the time unrestrictedly.
If they are checked, the king gets mad. Indeed, it does not bite him. The boy is a prodigy: he quickly learns all the Vedas and sciences, including the Dhanur Veda. He fights for their honor, provides them with immediate access to him, disapproves when they are restricted in any way, and so on.
The impres- sion about the author that we get by reading the poem and the character con- structed by the hagiographer are almost a perfect match. The first of these is a 13th-century inscription in Burma in Tamil characters recording the consecration of a Mandapa.
It is possible, thus, that some version of the stotra dates back at least to the 10th century. The text remains popular in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra, in a more or less stable recension of 40 verses plus the invocation. There are also Kerala and Kashmir recensions, 31 and 34 verses respectively Menon, viii. Their stotras are, as noted by Nayar, highly personal. Seen as poetry, it is also unique. Let me expand a little on this. Two things about it immediately capture our attention: the extent to which alliteration is present, and the number of highly poetic meters that are employed.
Further, alliteration is its omnipresent feature. There is no need to go further, as practically every verse is an instant of alliteration. Noticeably, however, we find no instances of the complex sound-figures called yamakas, and the verses read both beautifully and easily. It is clearly not a goal of the author to make the audience ponder over words so as to detract from immediate com- prehension; he does not want to show off his poetic skills.
What he wants is to create accessible beauty, a piece that will be charming but intelligible. Aesthetic rapture is the goal, but it mainly comes from the beauty of the verbal composi- tion and only secondarily from implied or suggested meaning.
The poem abounds in direct speech. The poem aptly works the imagery of water as drowning those with- out rescue and refreshing the exhausted. The dominant tone and the context in which these are used is not the aesthetic; rather, it is the soteriological: the poet prays for immediate death now while he is still in his prime, lest he be incapable of thinking of the Lord at the time of death.
The symbolism, in other words, is dominantly religious; the aesthetics of the poem has soteriological overtones.
The poem wants to produce aesthetic rap- ture, but I do not see it trying to situate itself within the frame of rasa poetry.
But this delight is not quite rasa. On the other hand, the literature in which the names are marks of glory of the limitless Lord in every verse, though it may be poorly composed, purifies the sins of men, for the accomplished listen, sing and call out these names.
Mere beautiful words are no better than the crowing of ravens. Geese are attributed with the extraordinary ability to extract only the milk from a milk-water suspension. But the goose, the satkavi, is above all the bhakta. He then is to discern the good from the beau- tiful, but not quite reject the beautiful. In the end, he recites beautiful poetry with no reservation—a full harmony of the good and the beautiful.
Glory, glory to the Lord, whose tender body is dark like a cloud! Glory, glory to Mukunda, who removes the burden of the Earth.
Oh Mukunda, bowing down to you with my head, I implore your honor for only this much: birth after birth may I have your grace to never forget your lotus feet. Dallying with charming, lovely, slender and delicate beauties in the heavenly garden is not what I want either.
Let me, rather, cherish you in the temple of my heart in whatever state I may be. My Lord, I care neither for dharma, nor for mounding wealth, least of all for indulging in sensuality. Whatever must be, so be it, Lord, as it accords with prior deeds.
My truly cherished desire is this: birth after birth, may I have unfaltering devotion to your two lotus feet. Oh killer of Naraka, I can live in heaven or earth, or even in hell, however your desire may be, but even in death I will think of your feet, their beauty excelling that of the autumn lotus.
Plunging myself in the refreshing pond of Hari—his hands and feet its lotuses, his bright eyes its fish, rippling with the waves of his arms—and drinking of its invigorating water, I, exhausted by the desert of life, cast away all weariness at once. My heart! Do not stop delighting in the killer of Mura, whose eyes are like lotuses and who wields a conch. Dread not, you dullard, pondering over and over the torments of the realms of death.
He does away with the vices of the whole world: would he not indulge his own servant? May I not listen to other collections of narratives, [though] their form is pleasant to the ear, leaving aside tales of your deeds. Lord of the world, may I not remember those who deny you even in their thoughts!
May I never be without an opportunity to worship you in this or any future life! Ears, listen to the stories of Acyuta! Feet, go to the abode of Hari! Listen, ye mortals, you who have well and truly immersed yourself in this ocean of worldly life, thick with waves of calamity, as I will tell you in short about the highest good.
Your might is superior, surpassing all limits, and when it is manifest, the earth is but a speck of dust, the oceans no more that drops of water, fire is a trifling, minute spark, the wind is a soft sigh and the sky is a barely discernible hole. Oh lotus-eyed Lord, please always sustain our lives as we evermore relish the nectar of your two lotus feet, with joined palms, head bowed in respect, hair standing on end all over our bodies, our throats filled with sobs as we recite and our eyes pouring out tears.
Please protect me, I know of no one but you. It carries one over worldly existence, and it provides a way out of the thick of darkness.
It is the single mantra that grants all lordly power, the mantra that rescues from the snake bites of vice. It is the cure against the torments by mighty demons, and it is the single invigorating panacea in the three worlds.
There is no end to the good that it does to devotees, and there is no other cure for the disease that is existential fear.
It is conducive to the attainment of felicity. Without remembering his two lotus feet, recitation of sacred texts is but a cry in the wilderness, and the daily performance of Vedic vows is good only for fat loss.
Alas, we have not been doing it in our previous lives, and so we have to stay in wombs and undergo similar suffering. They relate a reality which is higher than the highest, and they are the reward of the pious, seeming to drip honey. Why do you, then, torment it with medicines, you dull blockhead? The hosts of gods are your retinue and liberation is your grace. This much only do I know of you. Oh endless Hari, please lift me up, wretched and sunken in the ocean of life that I am, as you are the supreme person!
Alas, men are so absorbed in vice. His two dear friends were the lotus stems of the twice-born, the most eminent of the community of poets and well-versed in the Vedas. Or so say the hagiographies. The inscription is recorded by Hultzsch in Vol. There is a beautiful pun in this verse.
Of the many hundreds of poetic Sanskrit stotras —songs of glorification offered to the Supreme Lord, His devotees, and the holy places of His pastimes—King Kulashekhara's Mukunda-mala-stotra is one of the most perennially famous. Srila Prabhupada frequently enjoyed citing certain favorite stanzas from it. The Mukunda-mala-stotra, although composed in elegant Sanskrit, is a simple expression of King Kulashekhara's devotion to Krishna and his eagerness to share his good fortune with everyone else. Like most other works of the stotra genre, it aims less at presenting a plot than at vividly and honestly expressing the true feelings of a lover of God. With deep humility he repeatedly begs simply to be allowed to take his next births as a bird, fish, or flower in the place where Lord Krishna enacts His pastimes, and in this way to enjoy the association of His devotees. The saintly king Kulashekhara lived more than a millennium ago in India, yet his Mukunda mala stotra speaks to us today with the fresh voice of eternal truth. It is the voice of a realized soul beseeching the lord—and us—with the utmost sincerity.
The saintly king Kulasekhara lived more than a millennium ago in India, yet his Mukunda-mala-stotra speaks to us today with the fresh voice of eternal truth. It is the voice of a realized soul beseeching the Lord- and us- with the utmost sincerity. Here is how he calls us to our salvation:. It is the name of Krsna.
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