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TOTAKAASHTAKAM - ॥ तोटकाष्टकं ॥
(A Hymn of Eight Stanzas)

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Totakacharya
One of the chief disciples of Sri Adi Shankara composed an octad of verses in praise of the Master. The metre he has used in this composition is the difficult but beautiful totaka. Hence he was himself given the name Totakáchárya. Every word of this exquisite hymn bespeaks the utter devotion of its author to Sañkara. Sañkara, the Guru, is all to him. There is nothing equal to the Guru; nothing superior to him. The Guru is the dispeller of the darkness of ignorance. There can be no greater good than the removal of ignorance. The spirit of devotion of the disciple is best expressed in the soul-moving burden of this song :
Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Shañkara (bhava Sañkara deshika me sharanam)!


विदिताखिलशास्त्रसुधाजलधे
महितोपनिषत् कथितार्थनिधे ।
हृदये कलये विमलं चरणं
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ १॥

viditákhilashastrasudhájaladhe
mahitopanisatkathitárthanidhe
hrudaye kalaye vimalam charanam
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(1)


O Thou, the knower of all the milk-Ocean of Scriptures! The expounder of the topics of the great Upanisadic treasure-trove! On Thy faultless feet I meditate in my heart,
Be Thou my refuge O Master, Sankara!

करुणावरुणालय पालय मां
भवसागरदुःखविदूनहृदम् ।
रचयाखिलदर्शनतत्त्वविदं
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ २॥

karunávarunalaya pálaya mám
bhavaságaradukhavidünahrudam
rachayákhiladarshanattattvavidam
bhava Shañkara deshika me Sharaïam.(2)


O the Ocean of compassion! Save me whose heart is tormented by the misery of the sea of birth! Make me understand the truths of all the schools of philosophy!
Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

भवता जनता सुहिता भविता
निजबोधविचारण चारुमते ।
कलयेश्वरजीवविवेकविदं
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ३॥

bhavatá janatá suhitá bhavitá
nijabodhavichárana chárumate
kalayeshvarajivavivekavidam
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(3)


By thee the masses have been made happy, O Thou who hast a noble intellect, skilled in the inquiry into self-knowledge! Enable me to understand the wisdom relating to God and the soul.
Be Thou my refuge, O master, Sañkara.

भव एव भवानिति मे नितरां
समजायत चेतसि कौतुकिता ।
मम वारय मोहमहाजलधिं
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ४॥

bhava eva bhavániti me nitarám
samajáyata chetasi kautukitá
mama váraya mohamahájaladhim
bhava shankara deshika me sharanam.(4)

Knowing that Thou art verily the Supreme Lord, there arises overwhelming bliss in my heart. Protect me from the vast ocean of delusion.
Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sankara.

सुकृतेऽधिकृते बहुधा भवतो
भविता समदर्शनलालसता ।
अतिदीनमिमं परिपालय मा
ंभव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ५॥

sukrute dhikrute bahudhá bhavato
bhavitá samadarsanalalasata
atidinamimam paripálaya mám
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(5)


Desire for the insight into unity through Thee will spring only when virtuous deeds are performed in abundance and in various directions. Protect this extremely helpless person.
Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

जगतीमवितुं कलिताकृतयो
विचरन्ति महामहसश्छलतः ।
अहिमांशुरिवात्र विभासि गुरो
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ६॥

jagatimavitum kalitákrutayo
vicharanti mahamahasashchalatah

abhimámsurivatra vibhási guro
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(6)

O Teacher! For saving the world the great assume various forms and wander in disguise. Of them, Thou shinest like the Sun.
Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

गुरुपुंगव पुंगवकेतन ते
समतामयतां नहि कोऽपि सुधीः ।
शरणागतवत्सल तत्त्वनिधे
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ७॥

gurupuñgava puñgava ketana te
samatámayatám nahi ko pi sudhi:
Sharanágatavatsala tattvanidhe
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(7)


O the best of Teachers! The Supreme Lord having the bull as banner! None of the wise is equal to Thee! Thou who art compassionate to those who have taken refuge! The Treasure-trove of truth!
Be Thou my refuge, O Master Sankara.

विदिता न मया विशदैककला
न च किंचन काञ्चनमस्ति गुरो ।
द्रुतमेव विधेहि कृपां सहजां
भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् ॥ ८॥

viditá na mayá vishadaikakalá
na cha kimchana kánchanamasti guro
drutameva vidhehi krupám sahajám
bhava Shañkara deshika me sharanam.(8)


Not even a single branch of knowledge has been understood by me correctly. Not even the least wealth do I possess, O Teacher. Bestow on me quickly Thy natural grace.
Be thou my refuge, O Master Sañkara.