Totakashtakam: Lyrics in English with Meaning, Benefits

Totakashtakam is a divine hymn composed by Totakacharya to praise the greatness of Guru Adi Shankara.

Starting with the words vidhi thakhila shastra Sudha jaladhe, the Totakashtakam lyrics contain eight stanzas and are composed in a way where the terms are beautifully placed explaining the Jagadguru’s greatness.

Apart from explaining Shankara’s compassion, his knowledge on Advaita Vedanta, and his importance, both the lyrics and Totakashtakam meaning seeks the blessings and protection of Guru to grant the divine knowledge and to uplift from the cycle of Samsara.

Coming to Totakacharya, the composer of this ashtakam, he is one among the chief disciples of Adi Shankaracharya and his initial name was Giri.

Although he was not bright as his other disciples, he was much loyal, devoted, and pure at his heart, which made Adi Shankara enlighten Giri in all the shastras, who then became Totakacharya. For his master’s mercy and greatness, he composed the Thotakashtakam.

Totakashtakam - Adi Shankaracharya

Totakshtakam Lyrics and Meaning – English

Vidhi thakhila sastra Sudha jaladhe
Mahithopanishad kadhitardha nidhe
Hrudaya kalaye vimalam charanam
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (1)

O the one with the knowledge of all the sastras, like the ocean that gave the nectar
Who preaches the treasure like internal meanings of the great Upanishads
I meditate in my heart on your faultless feet
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Karuna varunalaya palayamam
Bhava sagara dhukha viduna hrudam
Rachayakhila dharshana tatva vidham
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (2)

O the ocean of compassion, please protect me
Whose heart is afflicted by the misery of this world existence (ocean of Samsara)
Make the one who understands the knowledge of all the schools of philosophy
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Bhavatha janatha suhitha bhavitha
Nija bhodha vicharana charumathe
Kalayeshwara jiva viveka vidam
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (3)

O the one who knows the true self and by whom the people found the ultimate happiness
Who is skilled in understanding the knowledge of supreme self, O the one with a beautiful mind
Make me understand about God and the beings (Jiva)
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Bhava eva bhavaniti me nitaraam
Sama-jayatha chetasi kautukitha
Mama varaya moha maha jaladhim
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (4)

Knowing that you are the embodied form of Supreme God
This truth filled my heart full of excitement
Protect me from this vast ocean of delusion
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Sukruthe dikruthe bahudha bhavatho
Bhavitha samadarshana lalasatha
Atideenamimam paripalaya mam
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (5)

Only on doing various deeds in various ways in abundance
My desire for understanding the unity and seeing all things, in the same way, may get fulfilled
Protect me, this extremely helpless being
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Jagati mavitum kalitha kruthayo
Vicharanthi maha-mahaschalatha
Ahimanshuri vatra vibhasi puro
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (6)

To protect this world, in various ways by the acts
Highly enlightened people wander in disguise for this purpose
Of them, you look like the one with the shine of the sun
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Guru pungava pungava-kethanate
Samata mayatham nahi kopi sudhi
Sharanagata vatshala tatva nidhe
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (7)

O the supreme among the Gurus, the one having bull as the emblem
No of the wise are equal with you in terms of knowledge
Who is compassionate to those who take your refuge, The treasure of philosophical knowledge
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Vidithana maya visadaika kala
Na cha kimchana kanchana masti guro
Dhruthameva vidhehi krupam sahajam
Bhava Shankara deshika me sharanam (8)

I have not even understood even a single branch of knowledge
Not even I have any sort of wealth
Bestow your natural grace quickly on me
O such great teacher, Shankara, be my refuge

Totakashtakam Benefits

Chanting Totakashtakam has immense benefits. They are clearly explained within the lyrics indirectly.

The main benefit is to seek the blessings of Guru Shankara to grant the divine knowledge and to uplift the lives from the cycle of Samsara to the moksha marga. Be known that Guru Adi Shankara is considered as an incarnation of God Shiva himself.

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