Panchashati is a devotional composition by Muka Kavi dedicated to Kamakshi. The
real name of the poet is not known. Legend has it that he was born dumb but
regained not only his voice by the grace of Goddess Kamakshi but also became
a poet of considerable merit. Mooka Panchashati
consists of five satakams, each Satakam containing 100 verses. The
Satakams are Arya Satakam,
Padaravinda Satakam, Stuti Satakam, Kataksha Satakam and Mandasmita Satakam.
Kamakshi is the presiding deity of Kancheepuram. Her consort is Ekamreshwara, an aspect of
Lord Shiva. Kanchi is the Central
Peetham established by Aadi Shankaracharya who installed and consecrated
the idol of Kamakshi and established the
system of worship there. The other
Peethams are at Badrinath in the North, Dwarka in theWest, Puri in the East and Sringeri (Sringa giri)
in the South.
into English of a hymn of this nature is a delicate task and readers may kindly
pardon the shortcomings, though every attempt has been made to make the
translation as close as possible to the intended or perceived meaning.
compassionate glances of the consort of Ekamranatha that they dispel the darkness of my delusion and
attachment. Those glances are generous
enough to make even those who are dumb great poets and are alive to the need
for keeping Kanchi a cool place (i.e.
happy and contented),
glances of yours which release from the clutches of attachment and possessiveness, which are dark blue as
the blue gemstone, which have taken on the job of protecting the three worlds
and which are generous in giving boons.
exhibit skill in the art of love
expounded in Kamashastra. They
are the source of ananda ( joy,happiness), they are long reaching up to
the ears and they are extremely flitting and playful.
glances which are wave-like, full of compassion, dark, accompanied by a beautiful
soft smile, pretty and slightly crooked.
reach out to help the bright smile and gladden the heart of Shiva. (Your
glances reach out to help Arjuna and gladden the heart of Bhima). Like the army of Pandavas it moves towards
Karna ( it reaches up to the ears)
Pandu, also means ‘white’ which
qualifies the ‘smile’.
refers to one of the Pandavas and also means Lord Shiva. Karna refers to Karna of Mahabharata and also means
beautiful side- glances which are like the arrival of night spreading dense
darkness in all quarters cause the scorching sun of my misery to set and let
the moon of joy rise spreading its light.
side-glance is like an intoxicated elephant.
The radiance of pearls in your ear-ornaments appears as the tusk of this
elephant. The expert mahout who is
riding this elephant is your mercy (compassion, kindness). May this elephant uproot the tree of all my
ill-luck and miseries.
the wish-yielding tree, kalpataru.
By its shade it drives away the sorrows of the world. Its tender leaves are the radiance from the
diamonds in your ear ornaments. Its flower
honey is mercy, compassion. Thus shines
the kalpataru of your glances.
river. (both are dark in complexion).
Both are fond of those who depend on the Sun.(Yamuna is the daughter of
the Sun god. Your glances are wide as the lotus which depends on the sun for
blossoming) The radiance from your ear-globes resembles a forest of red
lotuses. Lotus flowers of red hue grow
in Yamuna also. Your
glances flow towards the sea of effulgence of the face of enemy of
Cupid, Shiva. ( Yamuna also flows into Ganga which Lord Shiva carries in his
the river Yamuna]
side-glance embraces a sukriti (person who has earned enough
merit by his good deeds), the mukti damsel also embraces him
simultaneously. These two damsels, your
side-glance and mukti are always
of the same mind.
formation which always follows the marut ( wind, sons of Diti friendly
to Indra). The rainbow of your eyebrows
is colourful and displays different feelings and emotions. Seeing these (cloud
and rainbow) there is a wave of interest in Nilakantha, that is Shiva (also peacock which dances with joy when it
sees the clouds)
your sidelong glance is like the Yamuna mingling with the waters of Ganga
(because your glance is dark as the Yamuna and your smile is bright as the
waters of Ganga). Your glances form, as
it were, a garland of dark blue lilies
on the chest of Lord Shiva ( as they linger on it intermittently). They are
also like moss on the surface of the lake which is the effulgence of your
of your sidelong glances help nourish the young plants of auspicious, picturesque and poetic output fit
for the enjoyment of the wise which grows in properly cultivated fields of those
who love and enjoy poetry and have been trained in its nuances.
are, by nature, ambulatory and
wavering. It is stained by anjana.
It is bent on encroaching the path of the ears (srutipatha also means the path of the Vedas). It is therefore surprising that your glances charged with mercy grant kaivalya
or liberation to those who bow at your feet. [Being stained and trespassing the
path of the Vedas are not quite in consonance kaivalya, therefore the surprise)
the best medicine in bringing back to life Kamadeva burnt down by Shiva, in
captivating the heart of Shiva who sports the crescent moon and in blocking the
activities of the planet which is mamata (attachment, possessiveness)
eyes, though dark, generate raga (red, love and affection ) in Murari
(Vishnu), though flimsy, they make the devotion of men strong and, though crooked, they make those who bow to them straight. Let those glances of yours fall on me and dance ( with joy).
ambulatory glances are always alert on
keeping control over the heart of Shiva, the enemy of Kama. But Mother! wonder of wonders the contact
with those very glances releases one
from all bondages.
ते करुणाकटाक्षः ॥१८॥
Kamakshi charged with mercy remove all my difficulties and problems. Those glances have the bow of the arched
eye-brows and they manifest love for Shiva.
They always help protect the three worlds. In this respect your glances are like
Rama who also carries a bow, who loved
Sita (videhabhavaa) and who helped Vibhishana (a rakshasa) gain the kingdom of Lanka)
The field, watered by love, in
which grew the seed of sringara again after Kama was burnt down by fire
from the third eye of Shiva was only the
touch of your glances.
Your glance is like the sage Agastya. It is a treasure house of
greatness which playfully blocks the Vindhya mountain of Samsara just as
sage Agastya put Vindhya down. It also
reduces the ocean of courage (determination) of Shiva to a palmful of water
just as sage Agastya drank the ocean by the power of his penance.
garland of your sidelong glances from your dark eyes, when it falls on your
consort Ashtamurti (Shiva) becomes like moonlight. It is cool like the
moonlight by the raining of nectar (from the moon which adorns Shiva’s head).
It has natural sweet friendship with utpala (lily) like the moon because
those glances are dark blue like the blue lily.
It also has the company of taraka
(which means Shiva in the case of the glances of Kamakshi and stars in the case
of the moon).
covered with hairs standing on end, handsome as a forest of lotus flowers with
thorns, is always kissed by the waves your pretty glances forming a
garland, as honey-bees flit over lotus
dances on the stage of radiance of your glances. The stage has a canopy of dark
blue created by your tresses and it is lighted up by the brilliance of the
diamonds in your ear-globes.
are very cool, the playfield for Cupid and lighted up by a smile, invigorate me for a moment without delay.
of shyness and love is like a slowly moving swing on to which Lord Shiva’s eyes
often climb with excitement and become delighted in the process.