Guruvayoor from Narayaneeyam -3
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 21 to 30 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.
dasaka describes the nine varashas (Ilavruta, Bhadrashwa, Harivarsha,
Ketumala, Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, Kuru, Kimpurusha and Bharata) and the form of the
Lord in each Varsha and the devotees who worship those forms of the Lord. Bhattathiri prays thus in the last sloka of
meditate on your form as the thousand-headed Adisesha with a single Kundala
which is always oscillating, wearing deep blue robes, using the plough as the
weapon and attended by women of the serpent family and with your abode in
Patala. O Lord of Guruvayur remove my afflictions.
story of Ajamila is narrated in this Dasaka. Ajamila was a brahmana but he was
seduced by a prostitute and lived with her and begot children. He abandoned all his karmas as a brahmana and earned a living by improper means. He
doted on his last child by name Narayana.
When he was on his death bed the Yama’s servants, with their terrible
forms, came to take Ajamila’s life.
Overcome by fear he called his son ‘Narayana’. Immediately the attendants of Vishnu appeared
before him and told the attendants of Yama that Ajamila had been redeemed from
his sins because at the hour of death he had uttered the name ‘Narayana’. Not
only that, his old vasanas had also been destroyed. Yama’s servants went back
and reported to their master. In the
last sloka of this daska Bhattathiri prays thus:
hearing the report of his servants Yama
issued instructions to all his servants that they should not approach your
devotees. O Lord of Guruvayur! such is the greatness of your name; save me from
of King Chitraketu who begot a son by the blessings of Angiras maharshi. The son
was killed by the other wives of the King because of which the king was drowned
in sorrow. Maharshi Angiras came to him with Narada and, by their yogic powers, called the Jiva of the
dead son and asked it to dwell in the same body to make its parents happy. The jiva asked them
“Who are my parents? I have had many parents in many births’. Hearing this Chitraketu got rid of his
delusion. Narada gave him a stotra and a mantra chanting and meditating on
which he had the vision of the Lord in the form of Adisesha who instructed him
in the knowledge of the Self. Once
Chitraketu was cursed by Uma who was angered when the former criticised Siva
for sitting Uma on his thigh.. He was born as Vritrasura and fought with Indra
whom he surprised by giving him the knowledge of the Atman. The poet ends this
dasaka with the following prayer to the Lord:
प्रत्युतेन्द्रसुहृदो मरुतोऽभिलेभे ।
asuras) wanted a son to kill Indra and for this she worshipped you. But she actually gave birth to the maruts who turned out to be friends of Indra. Even if the intention is evil, one who
worships you gets only auspicious results.
O Lord of Guruvayur! such is your greatness; save me from my illness.
dasakam contains the first part of Prahlada’s story where Hiranya
kashipu tries to mend the ways of Prahlada who is always immersed in the loving
devotion and remembrance of the Lord.
But Prahlada does not waver from the path he he has chosen for
Himself. Hiranya Kashipu tries to kill
him by various means but he is not able to hurt even a hair on his son’s body.
His anger knows no bounds. He asks
Prahlada who his power is. Prahlada replies that Hari is his own power and also
the power of the whole world including Hiranyakashipu. Bhattathiri concludes this dasaka with the
following prayer of his.
पश्चाद्विष्णो न हि वदितुमीशोऽस्मि सहसा
is this Hari who is the atma of all beings in the world?”- thus saying
Hiranyakasipu struck the pillar with his sword. What happened just after that is not in my
power to narrate instantly. O Lord of Guruvayur! you are full of compassion and
you are the atman of the whole world.
Please save me and protect me“
contains the second part of Prahlada’s story. The Lord emerges from the pillar
(struck by Hiranyakashipu) with the terrible form of half-lion, half-man and a
terrible roar reverberates throughout the three worlds. The Lord, with his nails, rips open the
stomach of Hiranyakashipu and drinks his blood. No one has the courage to
approach any where near him. Finally
Brahma sends Prahlada to Narasimha. The Lord’s anger cooled as soon as Prahlada
fell at His feet. He picked up the boy and sitting him on his lap put his hand
on his head and blessed him. Bhattathiri ends this dasaka with the following
Lord! You did only act out this terrible drama (how can you be moved by such
emotions as anger?) Your greatness is extolled in the Sritaapaneeya Upanishad.
Your form is of pure sattwaguna. You
are above all. Who can transgress you? O Lord of Guruvayur! Prahlada is dear to
You and You are dear to him. Please save me from all my diseases.
story of Gajendra moksha is narrated in this Dasaka. King Indradyumna of Pandya Khanda was a
devotee of the Lord. Once when he was engaged in worship, sage Agastya visited
him. Since the king’s attention was in the worship, he did not notice Agastya’s
presence. The sage therefore cursed him as a result of which he became an
elephant. However, he was the king among
elephants and ruled the forest. Once while bathing, an alligator caught him in the leg and the
elephant, trying with all his strength,
could not extricate himself even with the help of his family members. The tug of war continued for years. Finally
the elephant was on the point of giving up when he remembered a stotra he used to
recite in his previous birth. Reciting this stotra, surrendering himself
mentally to the Lord, the elephant picked up a lotus in his trunk and offered
it to the Lord. Mahavishnu heard the
call and hastened on his Garuda to rescue him. With his discus he killed the alligator
and released the elephant. The alligator
also was released from the curse he was under and became a gandharva as
and about me early morning, will be blessed with health, wealth and happiness”,
saying thus You went along with Gajendra to Your abode (Vaikuntha). O Vishnu!
Lord of Guruvayoor! please save me (from my afflictions).
churning of the milky ocean by the devas and
asuras is described in this Dasaka. Sage Durvasa gifted a divine garland to Indra
which his elephant crushed under its feet because of the Indra’s
negligence. Cursed by Durvasa, Indra
and other devas, lost their youth and
their wealth and were vanquished by the asuras.
Mahavishnu advised the devas to conclude a peace treaty with the asuras and do
the churning of the milky ocean jointly with them to obtain amrit. Mandara mountain was to be the churning rod
and Vasuki was to be the rope. The Lord himself put these things in place. When the churning started Mandara started
sinking into the ocean. Then Mahavishnu
took the form of a giant tortoise, and lifted up the Mandara and supported it
on his expansive back.
concludes this dasaka with the following prayer:
by the intense churning, whales, crocodiles and other creatures of the ocean
were swimming like mad in panic but there was no change in the ocean, no sign of its yielding amrit. Then O Lord! You yourself, alone,
started churning the ocean holding Vasuki, the serpent, by both your hands. It
was a sight to see O Lord of Guruvayur!
Save me from my afflictions.
dasaka describes the emergence of Lakshmi from the milky ocean and her
garlanding of Mahavishnu as a mark of her acceptance of Him as her
consort. The appearance of Dhanwantari with amrita is described in the last verse of this Dasaka is given
as the water-charged dark cloud, You yourself emerged as Dhanwantari from the
milky ocean holding the pot of amrita in Your hands. O Lord of Guruvayur!
kindly cure me of all my ailments.
Dasaka describes how amrita was distributed by Mahavishnu, in the form of Mohini, to the devas,
seducing and hoodwinking the asuras. Lord Siva wanted to see the
captivating form of Mohini and Vishnu obliged and appeared in a most
enthralling form of a teenage girl whom Siva embraced passionately.
extricated herself from Siva’s embrace) and started running, with Siva
following her in hot pursuit.. Ejaculation brought Siva back to terra firma. Honoured
by You, Lord Shiva narrated Your greatness to his consort Uma. O Lord of
Guruvayur of such greatness, save me
(from my illness). .
dasaka describes the incarnation of Mahavishnu as Vamana. Mahabali, who was
killed after the churning of the milky ocean, was brought to life by Sukracharya
and he performed many sacrifices and by his might brought the three worlds
under his control. The Devas lived incognito for fear of Mahabali. Aditi, mother of the Devas, was worried about
the abject condition of the devas and took refuge in her husband Kashyapa. As
advised by her husband she worshipped Mahavishnu with great devotion observing payovrata, as instructed by her
husband, for twelve days, At the end of the twelve days Mahavishnu revealed
himself to her and told her that He would take birth as her son, she should not
reveal seeing Him to any one. The Lord
entered Aditi’s womb and took birth as Vamana, of short stature, and
immediately took the form of a young brahmachari.
Equipped with all the paraphernalia of a brahmachari, he reached the yagnashala of Mahabali on the banks of the Narmada. Mahabali, impressed by his appearance,
welcomed him with great respect and humility and washed his feet. Bhattatiri
concludes this Dasaka with the following sloka.
was fortunate enough to wash the Lord’s
feet the water from which even Lord Shiva reverentially puts on his head. This
was because Mahabali was born in the lineage of Prahlada, the great devotee of
the Lord and he had great faith in brahmins and in Yagnas. O Lord of Guruvayoor! kindly save me ( from all my physical