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Devotion to the Guru - Adi Shankaracharya

DEVOTION TO THE GURU


Gurvashtakam

janmanekashataih sadadarayuja bhaktya samaradhito

bhaktairvaidikalakshanena vidhina santushta Ishah svayam |

sakshacchrigururupametya kripaya driggocarah san prabhuh

tattvam sadhu vibodhya tarayati tan samsaraduhkharnavat ||

The Supreme Lord, moved by the devout and reverential homage of his disciples in accord with scriptural prescriptions in countless former births, incarnates out of compassion in the form of a Guru; he thereby comes within the orbit of sight, freely transmits to them the wisdom concerning Ultimate Reality, and enables them to cross over the ocean of sorrowful samsara, the realm of conditioned existence.

sharlram surupam tatha va kalatram

yashashcaru citram dhanam merutulyam |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

1. One's vesture may be superb, one's consort likewise, one's reputation resplendent and renowned, and one's riches like unto Mount Meru; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

kalatram dhanam putrapautradi sarvam

griham bandhavah sarvametaddhi jatam |

masashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

2. Wife, wealth, sons, grandsons and all such; home and kindred; the host of all these things may be there; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

sadangadivedo mukhe shastravidya

kavitvadi gadyam supadyam karoti |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

3. The Vedas with their six limbs and the knowledge of all sciences may be on one's lips; one may possess the poetic gift and may compose fine prose and poetry; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

videsheshu manyah svadesheshu dhanyah

sadaccaravritteshu matto na canyah |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

4. I am honoured in other lands and I am prosperous in my homeland; in the paths of righteous conduct there is none who surpasses me; thus one may think; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

kshamamandale bhupabhupalavrindaih

sada sevitam yasya padaravindam |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

5. One may be constantly extolled and one's presence highly honoured by hosts of emperors and rulers of this world; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

yasho me gatam dikshu danapratapaj-

jagadvastu sarvam kare yatprasadat |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

6. My repute has travelled in all directions through my philanthropy and prowess; all the things of this world are in my hands as rewards for my virtues; but if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

na bhoge na yoge na va vadirajau

na kantamukhe naiva vitteshu cittam |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

7. Consciousness cannot be confined to enjoyment or to yoga, nor indeed to multitudes of steeds, neither to the face of the beloved nor to riches; yet if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

aranye na va svasya gehe na karye

na dehe mano vartate me tvanarghye |

manashcenna lagnam guroranghripadme

tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim tatah kim ||

8. My mind does not dwell upon the forest nor even upon my home, nor in what is to be accomplished, not upon the body, nor upon what is auspicious; yet if one's mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?

gurorashtakam yah pathet-punyadehi

yatir-bhupatir-brahmacari ca gehi |

labhedvanchitartham padam brahmasamjnam

guroruktavakye mano yasya lagnam ||

9. Whoever, hallowed by holy merit, ponders the above octad extolling the Guru, whose mind is centred upon the words of the Guru, whether such a person be an ascetic, sovereign, student or householder, attains the desired goal, the consummation of union with brahman.

Rendition by Punarvasu
Adi Shankaracharya

Hermes, December 1988

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