Prayers to the Lord of Guruvayoor from Narayaneeyam -4

Prayers to the Lord of
Guruvayoor from Narayaneeyam -4
Narayaneeyam, considered to be a Magnum Opus of Meppathur
Narayanabhattathiri,  is a masterly
summary of  Srimad Bhagavatam in 1034
sanskrit slokas of great poetic merit. 
The whole work is divided into 100 dasakas of mostly ten slokas  each. It was completed in 100 days at the end
of which Bhattathiri, who was suffering from chronic rheumatic disease, was
completely cured and also had a beatific vision of the Lord of Guruvayoor as Venugopala
. In the last sloka of each dasaka Bhattathiri cries out his heart,  praying to the Lord to end his afflictions
and restore his health.  .        
below is the collection of last slokas from Daskas  31 to 40 of this great devotional work with a
prosaic translation in English.  A brief
note on the contents of each dasaka is also given, where possible, to
put the slokas in context.   
this Dasaka Mahabali tells Vamana to ask for anything he wants and it would be
granted. Vamana wants three feet of land measured by his foot.  Mahabali laughs and says ‘I am the Lord of
the three worlds. Asking me to give you three feet of land is preposterous. Ask
for the whole of the Earth and I shall give it to  you”.  Vamana replies that one who is not satisfied
by three feet will not be satisfied even with the three worlds and insists on
getting three feet of land.  Mahabali agrees
with reluctance  but Sukracharya warns
him that it is Mahavaishnu who has come and He is going to cheat Mahabali of
the three worlds by his three feet. But Mahabali  replies that if the Lord himself has come to
him begging there is nothing else which he can wish for. Vindhyavali,
Mahabali’s wife,  was ready with the Kamandalu for solemnising the gift by
pouring water.  But Sukracharya taking on
a miniature form stuck himself in the neck of the Kamandalu.  Vamana poked with a bundle of darbha grass to allow the water to
flow.  Sukracharya lost an eye because of
the poking.  The Lord measured everything
in two feet taking the form of trivikrama
spanning the three worlds.  There was
no place for the third foot of land. 
Mahabali’s pride was broken and he said in all humility “ O Lord! kindly
put your foot on my head to complete three feet.”  Indra got back his world and Mahabali was
despatched to Patala, nether world. Bhattatiri concludes this dasaka with the
following sloka:
दर्पोच्छित्यै विहितमखिलं दैत्य
सिद्धोऽसि पुण्यै-
र्लोकस्तेऽस्तु त्रिदिवविजयी वासवत्वं
च पश्चात् ।
मत्सायुज्यं भज च पुनरित्यन्वगृह्णा
बलिं तं
विप्रैः सन्तानितमखवरः पाहि वातालयेश्

All this was done to remove your conceit (pride).  (You have done meritorious deeds) and earned punya  because of which you have acquired all the siddhis (psychic powers).  You will have a world which excels Heaven and
later you yourself will become Indra. Finally you will merge in me attaining
   Thus blessing Mahabali,  you had Mahabali’s yagna (sacrifice)
completed. Such is your leela O Lord
of Guruvayur!  save me from my
In this dasaka is described the incarnation of the
Lord as fish (matsyavatara). The asura Hayagreeva stole the Vedas
from the mouth of Brahma who was sleeping. The Lord incarnated as a fish to
reclaim the Vedas.
While the King Satyavrata was offering tarpan in the waters of a river, the
Lord appeared as a tiny fish in his cupped hands filled with water.  The king put the fish in his Kamandalu and
took him home where he put it in a well.  The fish 
started growing bigger and bigger. 
So it was put in a lake then in a river and finally in the great
ocean.  The Rishis and the king were
happy to see the huge form of the Lord . T
hey were desirous of seeing the deluge  and, as instructed by the Lord, tied Earth to the huge horn of the fish.
Dragging the Earth-boat, the Lord (in the form of the fish) coursed through the
flood waters, showing the occupants the different parts of the world.  Finally the Lord killed the asura and
restored the Vedas to Brahma
स्वतुंगशृङ्गक्षतवक्षसं तं
निपात्य दैत्यं निगमान् गृहीत्वा
विरिञ्चये प्रीतहृदे ददानः
प्रभञ्जनागारपते! प्रपायाः॥३२.१०॥
You did strike the demon on his chest with your horn and kill
him.  You then recovered the Vedas and
restored them to Brahma who was extremely happy to get them back. (There is no end
to your leelavataras) O Lord of Guruvayur!, kindly save me (from the torments
of my afflictions)
story of Ambarisha is told in this Dasaka.  King Ambarisha was the great grand son of
Vaivaswata Manu. Though he ruled over the whole Earth his mind was always
absorbed in the Lord and he revelled in the company of His devotees. He was
observing Dwadashi Vrata for a year.
On the day on which the fast was to be broken ceremonially, Durvasa came with
his disciples. The King invited them for lunch. Durvasa accepted the invitation
and went with his disciples to Yamuna for 
midday ablutions, japa  etc.  By
the time the fast was to be broken, the maharshi had not returned.  Ambarisha broke the fast by taking water
only.  When Durvasa came back he found
out that Ambarisha had broken the fast without waiting for him. He got angry
and, plucking a few matted hairs and muttering a few mantras,  created a monster which menacingly advanced
towards Ambarisha.  Ambarisha, however,
was calmness personified;  he didn’t move
an inch from where he was standing. The chakra of the Lord guarding Ambarisha burnt
the monster to ashes and started chasing Durvasa who ran for his life.  First he went to Brahma and then to Siva,
both of them expressed their inability to do anything.  Finally, Durvasa approached Mahavishnu who said
that he was bounden to his devotees and could not do anything in this matter.
Durvasa  should go back and take refuge
in Ambarisha himself.  Maharshi came back
and caught hold of the feet of Abarisha who withdrew his feet in embarrassment
and requested the Lord’s chakra to be at peace. 
The Maharshi profusely thanked Ambarisha and blessed him. Bhattathiri
concludes this Dasaka with the following sloka:
राजा प्रतीक्ष्य मुनिमेकसमामनाश्वान्
संभोज्य साधु तमृषिं विसृजन् प्रसन्नं
भुक्त्वा स्वयं त्वयि ततोऽपि दृढं
सायुज्यमाप च स मां पवनेश! पायाः
The King had spent one whole year without eating anything
waiting for the Maharshi to return.  Now
he fed the maharshi who went back to his Ashram 
very pleased.  The King himself
partook of the food and, with his devotion to the Lord becoming much more
intense, finally merged his identity with the Lord.  Such is your commitment to your devotees O
Lord of Guruvayur, please save me (from my afflictions) 
dasaka contains the story of Rama until he meets with Hanuman on the
banks of the Pampa river.  Mahavishnu was
born as Rama, son of Dasaratha,  along
with brothers Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna, 
at the request of the Devas,  in
order to kill Ravana. Rama and Lakshmana were sent with Viswamitra to protect from
the Rakshasas the yagna being performed by the Rishi.  On the way, at the instance of Viswamitra,  Rama killed Tataka, the demoness. After saving
the yagna they set out, with Viswamitra, to Mithila where Rama broke the bow of
Siva.  As per the condition laid down by
Janaka, his daughter Sita, was given in marriage to Rama.  The brothers also got married to the other
daughters of Janaka and his brother.
coronation as the King was stopped by Kaikeyi, the youngest wife of Dasaratha,
who wanted from Dasaratha the two boons he had promised in their early
life.  By the first boon she wanted her
son Bharata to be made King and by the second boon Rama was to be sent to live
in the forest for 14 years. Dasaratha was heartbroken at the prospect of being
separated from his dearest son Rama. 
Rama, however, with supreme composure accepted the condition imposed by
Kaikeyi to keep his father’s promise to Kaikeyi.
and Sita accompanied Rama to the forest. 
They crossed the Ganga and happily lived for some time in the
Chitrakoota mountains where from Bharata they got the news of their father’s
death.  Rama performed the after-death
rites for his father and gave his Padukas
 to Bharata at his request. Bharata
kept Rama’s Padukas on the throne and looked after the affairs of the state on
behalf of Rama represented by his Padukas.
along with Sita and Lakshmana, moved to Panchavati on the banks of the Godavari
and started living there.  One of those
days, the sister of Ravana named Surpanakha, approached Rama and, captivated by
his handsomeness, wanted him to marry her. 
Rama sent her to Lakshmana who cut off her nose. In retaliation, her
brother Khara came with his army and Rama, singled-handed, finished off the
whole army with lightning-quick launch of arrows from his bow. Surpanakha then
went to Ravana and described the beauty of Sita to him.  Ravana decided to abduct Sita and sent
Maricha to lure away Rama from Sita. 
Maricha took the form of a golden deer seeing which Sita wanted Rama to
get it for her.  Rama pursued the deer
which led him away far from the Ashram. 
Finally Rama hit him by an arrow and Maricha, before dying,  cried in Rama’s voice “O Lakshmana, save
me”.  Hearing this Sita panicked and
compelled Lakshmana to go to the help of Rama. During this interval Ravana came
in the guise of a monk (sanyasi) and,  on
the pretext of asking for alms, lured Sita outside the parnashala and
abducted her. 
Rama and Lakshmana came back to the hut it was empty. Sita was not seen
anywhere in the vicinity.  With a heavy
heart they set out on a search for Sita. Bhattathiri concludes this dasakam
with the following sloka:
भूयस्तन्वीं विचिन्वन्नहृत दशमुखस्त्वद्वधूं
त्युक्त्वा याते जटायौ दिवमथ सुहृदः
प्रातनोः प्रेतकार्यं|
गृह्णानं तं कबन्धं जघनिथ शबरीं
प्रेक्ष्य पंपातटे त्वं
संप्राप्तो वातसूनुं भृशमुदितमनाः
पाहि वातालयेश ॥३४.१०॥
searching for Sita You met Jatayu who told you that Ravana had abducted Sita
after slaying him (Jatayu). Jatayu breathed his last and You performed his
after-death rites. You killed Kabandha who was trying to grab you and visited
Sabari (who had been waiting for Rama all these years). On the banks of Pampa,
having met with Hanuman, You felt extremely happy. O Lord of Guruayoor! save me
(from my afflictions)
Dasaka continues with the story of Rama from the previous Dasaka.  The meeting with Hanuman leads to friendship
with Sugreeva who promises to help Rama in finding Sita.  Rama, in return, kills by deceit Vali who had
abducted the wife of Sugreeva who sent his monkeys in search of Sita. Rama left
his ring and a message with Hanuman, to be given to Sita when the latter found
her. The monkeys were sent in all directions. 
Hanuman,  along with a few other
monkeys,  went to the South  where they met Sampati, the brother of Jatayu,
who told them that Sita was in Lanka. 
Hanuman, taking on a huge from, landed in Lanka crossing the ocean with
one jump from the top of the Mahendra Mountain, overcoming all the obstacles on
the way. He finds Sita in the Asokavana of Lanka, gives the ring of Rama and
delivers the message.  Sita, who had been
despondent about being rescued, was assured by Hanuman that Rama would liberate
her from captivity after killing Ravana and those who supported him. Sita gave
Hanuman her Chudamani and a message
to be delivered to Rama.  Hanuman met
with Ravana and warned him of the consequences if he did not return Sita with
honour to Rama. Ravana ordered Hanuman’s tail to be set on fire after being
wrapped in clothes dipped in oil. Hanuman, however. did not at all feel the
heat because of Sita’s prayer to Agni and also because Agni is friend of Vayu,
father or Hanuman.  Hanuman leaps back to
the other shore and delivers the message and chudamani to Rama who, overjoyed,
embraced Hanuman.  Rama and Lakshmana,
along with the army of monkeys, built a barrage in the sea to cross over to
Lanka.  At this point Vibhishana, younger
brother of Ravana, took refuge in Rama leaving Ravana. Then Rama,   Lakshamana, Sugreeva, Hanuman and
Vibheeshana, along with the army of monkeys crossed over to Lanka.   There ensued a terrible war between the two
armies in which, finally, Ravana,  along
with his kith and kin and ministers, was killed.  Rama along with Sita and others returned to
Ayodhya by the Pushpaka vimana of Ravana. Rama was crowned as the King.
Rama sent away Sita into the forest as one of his subjects in his kingdom cast
doubts on her fidelity to Rama, though, in his heart of hearts, Rama knew that
she was without blemish.  There in the
forest Sita, who was under the care of Valmiki, was delivered of twin boys.
They grew up in the ashram of Valmiki who taught them to sing Ramayana authored
by him.  The boys sang the Ramayana in
the Yagnasala of Rama.  Sita
vanished into mother Earth from where she was born. Rama left his mortal body in
the Sarayu river and returned to his abode of Vaikuntha. This dasaka
concludes with the following sloka:
   . .  .   
सोऽयं मर्त्यावतारस्तव खलु नियतं
भवेत् कामधर्मातिसक्त्या ।
नो चेत् स्वात्मानुभूतेः क्वनु
तव मनसो विक्रिया चक्रपाणे
स त्वं सत्त्वैकमूर्ते! पवनपुरपते!
व्याधुनु व्याधितापान् ॥३५.१०॥
Lord! Your incarnation in the human form is for educating human beings by
setting an example.  It also shows that
too much of attachment to kama  and Dharma
 will lead to sorrow of separation
and abandonment of someone who is innocent. 
Otherwise, for you, rooted in the experience of the Self, how can there
be negative reactions in the mind?  O
Lord of Guruvayur! the embodiment of pure sattwa!  please remove the suffering from my
dasaka contains the story of Parasurama,  born of Jamadagni Maharshi and his wife Renuka
Devi.  By the age of fourteen he learned
all the Vedas. Once when Renuka was collecting water from a pond she saw
reflected in the water the handsome form of a gandharva, and for a moment, she
lost her heart to him. Jamadagni divined this and got angry. He asked his
eldest son to chop off her head but he refused. The other sons also refused.
Finally Parasurama cut off the heads of his mother and brothers as ordered by the
father. The father’s rage was cooled and at the request of Parasurama he
brought back to life his wife and the other sons by the power of his tapas.  By his tapas
Parasurama propitiated Siva and got from him divine weapons. He fought with
Kartaveeryaarjuna who had got the calf of Kamadhenu
abducted by force as he could not
do anything to Kamadhenu who could
defend herself. Kartaveeryaarjuna was killed in the battle along with his
followers.  Parasurama ruthlessly axed
the aggressive kshatriyas who had turned against the brahmins
concludes this dasaka with the following sloka:  
तपस्तन्वन् पुनर्मज्जितां
गोकर्णावधि सागरेण धरणीं दृष्ट्वार्थितस्तापसैः।
सिन्धुं स्रुवक्षेपणा-
दुत्सार्योद्धृतकेरलो भृगुपते!
वातेश संरक्ष माम् ॥३६.१०॥
Lord! You deposited your weapons in the Mahendra Mountain and did intense tapas  to expiate your killings. Requested by sages who
wanted to reclaim the land up to gokarna ( on the west coast) submerged in the
sea, You got your bow and the agneyastra
 by the power of your meditation. The
Lord of the sea was terrified and receded to the point where the sruva you had
thrown had fallen, bringing into existence the land mass known as Kerala. O
Lord of Guruvayur of such power! Please save me (from my paralysis)   .    
this Dasaka to Dasaka 88 is the story of Krishnavatara. The Asuras,  killed by the Lord during the battles between
the devas and asuras but still had Karmas
to work out,  were born on the Earth and
became ruthless kings. Mother Earth, unable to bear the weight of these wicked
kings,  approached Brahma and cried her
heart out. The devas, who knew the plight of Earth, were already there.  Brahma went to Mahavishnu along with Bhumi
and the devas.  He heard  Mahavsihnu’s words in his heart and verbally transmitted
them to Bhumi and the devas “ I know the condition of Bhumi. To remedy the situation
I shall incarnate with my plenary powers in the dynasty of Yadus.  Devas and devis  should take birth, with their partial powers,
on  Earth, to serve me.“  Hearing these words every one felt happy and
this time the marriage of Vasudeva and Devaki was solemnised at Mathura and, at
the conclusion of the marriage, Devaki’s brother (cousin) Kamsa drove the
couple’s chariot towards Vasudeva’s palace. On the way an invisible voice from
the sky predicted that the eighth child of Devaki would kill him.  Immediately Kamsa, sword in hand, caught hold
of Devaki’s locks to kill her but Vasudeva entreated him to spare her and
promised that he would deliver to him the children born to Devaki soon after
their birth.  Kamsa relented and when the
first child was brought to him he did not kill the child as still there was a
streak of love in his heart. But Narada told Kamsa that he and others of his
ilk were asuras and Yadus were devas.  Hari
was a Mayavi and, if counted backward,  the first child may well be the eighth.  Kamsa was confused and he killed the first
six children as they were born. This dasaka concludes with the following sloka:
प्राप्ते सप्तमगर्भतामहिपतौ त्वत्प्रेरणान्मायया
नीते माधव! रोहिणीं त्वमपि भॊः
देवक्या जठरं विवेशिथ विभो ! संस्तूयमानः
स त्वं विधूय रोगपट्लीं भक्तिं
परां देहि मे ॥३७.१०॥
eighth pregnancy of Devaki was the incarnation of Adishesha. Prompted by you,  your yogamaya transferred the foetus to the
womb of Rohini and you O Lord!, the very essence of Existence, Consciousness
and Bliss! entered the womb of Devaki, your praises sung by the devas.  O Lord of such Maya destroy all my ailments
and bless me with the highest form of devotion
birth of Krishna is described in this dasaka. The atmosphere was cool with
clouds raining water.  The minds of good
people were calm and content. The Lord was born at midnight when the moon was
rising. Though in the form of a child, 
he revealed himself in all his splendour with his crown and other
ornaments, with the discus, conch, mace and lotus in his four hands and with a
beautiful dark complexion. On his chest was Lakshmi glancing around and
dispelling the negative vibrations in the cell in which Devaki and Vasudeva
were incarcerated. They were beside themselves with joy and sang His praises.
The Lord reminded them of their previous births.  Then, requested by Devaki, He became the
normal child and asked Vasudeva to take him to Nandagokula and exchange
him for the girl child born there to Yasoda. This dasaka concludes with the
following sloka:   
शेषेण भूरिफणवारितवारिणाथ
स्वैरं प्रदर्शितपथो मणिदीपितेन
त्वां धारयन् स खलु धन्यतमः प्रतस्थे
सोऽयं त्वमीश ! मम नाशय रोगवेगान्
Vasudeva set out with child Krishna) it was raining heavily.  Adishesha with his hoods gave protection from
the rain.  The manikya ( a
precious stone) in his hood provided light in the dark night. Carrying you Vasudeva,
the most fortunate, set out on his journey. O Lord of Guruvayoor! kindly put an
end to the tempo of my ailments. 
Vasudeva was carrying the child Krishna to Gpkul, Yamuna was in turbulence with
its waters rising as if trying to touch the sky. But as Vasudeva reached the
river the depth of the water was not more than ankle-deep. At Gokulam every one
was spellbound in sleep.  Vasudeva
quietly laid Krishna by the side of Yasoda and carried the girl (who was
yogamaya herself) born to Yasoda to his place. All the gates opened and closed
automatically. When Kamsa heard of the birth of the child he hastened to the
cell of Devaki and found a girl child in her hands.  He thought this must be some trick of that
juggler Vishnu.  Ignoring the pleadings
of Devaki he caught hold of the girl by her two tiny legs and was about to dash
her against a rock when, with lightning speed,  she escaped from his clutches and, hovering
above the earth, revealed her resplendent form with eight hands carrying
different weapons.  She sternly warned
Kamsa that the one who is destined to kill him is already born somewhere, it
was no use killing her. Kamsa  sent his
asuras to kill all newly born babies in the neighbourhood. In the meanwhile
there was great celebration in Nandagokula on the birth of Yasoda‘s child
which,  with its dark complexion and
beautiful form, captivated the heart of everyone.  Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the
following sloka:
भवत्कुशलकाम्यया खलु नन्दगोपस्तदा
प्रमोदभरसङ्कुलो द्विजकुलाय किं
नाददात् ।
तथैव पशुपालकाः किमु न मङ्गलं
जगत्त्रितयमंगल! त्वमिह पाहि मामामयात्
the sake of your welfare Nandagopa, beside himself with joy, generously
distributed gifts to brahmins.  The other
gopas performed many auspicious rites for the well-being of the boy. O Lord of
Guruvayur who does good to all the three worlds! save me from my afflictions.
Putana moksha is described in this dasaka.  Putana, the demoness, was one of those assigned
by Kamsa the task of killing new born babies. 
She transformed herself into a beautiful woman captivating the heart of
every one.  She entered Nanad’a house
and, while other gopis were simply watching struck by her beauty, took the
child Krishna and put him to her breast to suckle.   She
had poisoned her breasts with the idea of killing Krishna.  But the child sucked her life along with the
milk and the demoness fell dead regaining her huge, frightening form. Bhattathiri
 concludes this dasaka with the following
भुवनमंगल! नामभिरेव ते
युवतिभिर्बहुधा कृतरक्षणः ।
त्वमयि वातनिकेतनाथ! मा-
मगदयन् कुरु तावकसेवकम् ॥४०.१०॥
prayed for your protection by warding off evils by your own auspicious names
which bring good to the whole world.  O
Lord of Guruvayur! free me from my bodily ailments and make me your humble
servant and devotee.

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