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Totakashtakam: A Hymn of Praise to Adi Shankara by His Disciple Totaka



Totakashtakam: A Hymn of Praise to Adi Shankara by His Disciple Totaka




Totakashtakam is a Sanskrit poem composed by Totaka, one of the four main disciples of Adi Shankara, the founder of Advaita Vedanta. Totaka, whose original name was Giri, was considered to be the least learned among the four disciples, but he attained enlightenment by the grace of his guru. He expressed his gratitude and devotion to Adi Shankara by singing this hymn of eight verses in a melodious meter called Totaka.




totakashtakam lyrics in tamil pdf 15



The hymn praises Adi Shankara as the ocean of scriptures, the sun that dispels the darkness of ignorance, the friend of the seekers, the master of logic and discrimination, the protector of the weak, the lord of speech, and the embodiment of compassion. Totaka seeks refuge in Adi Shankara as his only guru and requests him to bestow his natural grace upon him.


Totakashtakam is chanted by devotees of Adi Shankara on various occasions, such as Guru Purnima, Pradosha, and Shankara Jayanti. It is also recited as a part of Guru Vandana, a ritual of salutation to the guru. The hymn is believed to confer blessings of knowledge, devotion, and liberation to those who chant it with faith.


Here are the lyrics of Totakashtakam in Tamil script, along with their meaning in English. You can also download a pdf version of the lyrics by clicking on this link: Totakashtakam Lyrics in Tamil PDF.


àµàààààààà ààààààà àààà àààà àààààઠààààà àààààààà àààà You are like an ocean of nectar that contains all the scriptures; you are well-versed in the essence of Upanishads;


ààààààà àààà àµààààà ààààà àªàµ ààààà ààààà àà ààààà 1 I take refuge in you, O Shankara, my guru; please make my heart pure and free from defects.


ààààà àµàààààà àªààà àààà àªàµàààà ààààà àµàààà ààààààà You are like a cloud of compassion that showers your grace; you remove the sorrow caused by the cycle of birth and death;


ààààààà àà3âââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââââ â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â â


You delight in revealing the truth of reality;


à ààààà ààààà àà ààààà 2 I take refuge in you, O


The meaning and significance of Totakashtakam is to express the devotion and gratitude of a disciple to his guru, who has imparted him the supreme knowledge of Advaita Vedanta. Advaita Vedanta is a school of philosophy that teaches the non-duality of reality, that is, the identity of the individual self (atman) and the universal self (brahman). Adi Shankara was the foremost exponent of this school and revived it in the 8th century CE. He traveled across India and established four monastic centers (mathas) in the four corners of the country. He also wrote commentaries on the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, as well as many original works on various aspects of Advaita Vedanta.


Totaka was one of his four main disciples, along with Padmapada, Sureshvara, and Hastamalaka. He was initially a dull and slow learner, but he had great devotion and service to his guru. One day, when Adi Shankara was about to give a discourse on Vedanta, he asked for Totaka, who was busy doing some household chores. The other disciples thought that Totaka would not be able to understand or appreciate the teachings of their guru. But to their surprise, Totaka arrived and sang this hymn in praise of Adi Shankara, revealing his deep insight and realization of Advaita Vedanta. He also demonstrated his mastery over the Totaka meter, which is a rare and difficult poetic form. Adi Shankara was pleased with his disciple and named him Totakacharya.


Totakashtakam is a hymn that captures the essence of Advaita Vedanta and the role of the guru in guiding the disciple to liberation. It also shows the transformation that can happen in a sincere seeker by the grace of the guru. It is a hymn that inspires us to seek the true knowledge of our own self and to surrender to the feet of our guru. e0e6b7cb5c


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