These are the prayers of Lord Shiva to the Supreme Lord, Vasudeva. This is presented by Lord Shiva to the sons of King Pracinabarhi for reaching the ultimate spiritual perfection. These prayers are from the Srimad-Bhagavatam (4.24.33-74).
It is first described therein (4.24.24-32) that the sons of King Pracinabarhi approached Lord Shiva, who, in return, was very pleased to see them. Lord Shiva first told them, “You are all the sons of King Pracinabarhi, and I wish all good fortune to you. I also know what you are going to do, and therefore I am visible to you just to show you my mercy. Anyone who is surrendered to the Supreme Lord, Krishna, the controller of everything—material nature as well as the living entity—is actually very dear to me. A person who executes his [spiritual] occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Lord Brahma, and if he becomes more qualified he can approach Lord Shiva. Yet, a person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krishna, or Vishnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Shiva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world. You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Person Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am.
“Now I shall chant one mantra which is not only transcendental, pure and auspicious, but is the best prayer for anyone who is aspiring to attain the ultimate goal of life. When I chant this mantra, please hear it carefully and attentively.”
Thus, out of his causeless mercy, the exalted personality of Lord Shiva, a great devotee of Lord Narayana [Vishnu, Krishna], continued to speak this sacred set of verses to the King’s sons, who were standing with folded hands.
jitam ta atma-vid-varya
svastya svastir astu me
sarvasma atmane namaha
Lord Shiva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish that You be auspicious for me. You are worshipable by virtue of the all-perfect instructions You give. You are the Supersoul; therefore I offer my obeisances unto You as the supreme living being.
My Lord, You are the origin of the creation by virtue of the lotus flower which sprouts from Your navel. You are the supreme controller of the senses and the sense objects, and You are also the all-pervading Vasudeva. You are more peaceful, and because of Your self-illuminated existence, You are not disturbed by the six kinds of transformations.
My dear Lord, You are the origin of the subtle material ingredients, the master of all integration as well as the master of all disintegration, the predominating Deity named Sankarshana, and the master of all intelligence, known as the predominating Deity Pradyumna. Therefore, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
namo namo ‘niruddhaya
My Lord, as the supreme directing Deity known as Aniruddha, You are the master of the senses and the mind. I therefore offer You my obeisances again and again. You are known as Ananta as well as Sankarshana because of Your ability to destroy the whole creation by the blazing fire from Your mouth.
nityam shuchi-shade namaha
My Lord, O Aniruddha, You are the authority by which the doors of the higher planetary systems and liberation are opened. You are always within the pure heart of the living entity. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto You. You are the possessor of semen which is like gold, and, thus, in the form of fire, You help the Vedic sacrifices, beginning with the chatur-hotra. There fore I offer my obeisances unto You.
nama urja ishe trayyaha
tripti-daya cha jivanam
My Lord, You are the provider of the pitrilokas (planets of the ancestors) as well as the demigods. You are the predominating deity of the moon and the master of all three Vedas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the original source for all living entities.
saha ojo-balaya cha
My dear Lord, You are the gigantic universal form which contains all the individual bodies of the living entities. You are the maintainer of the three worlds [three basic planetary systems], and as such You maintain the mind, senses, body and air of life within them. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
namah punyaya lokaya
My dear Lord, by expanding Your transcendental vibrations, You reveal the actual meaning of everything. You are the all-pervading sky within and without, and You are the ultimate goal of pious activities executed both within this material world and beyond it. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances again and again unto You.
mritave duhkha-daya cha
My dear Lord, You are the viewer of the results of pious activities. You are inclination, disinclination and their resultant activities. You are the cause of the miserable conditions of life caused by irreligion, and therefore You are death. I offer You my respectful obeisances.
namas ta ashisham isha
namo dharmaya brihate
My dear Lord, You are the topmost of all bestowers of all benedictions, the oldest and supreme enjoyer amongst all enjoyers. You are the master of all the world’s metaphysical philosophy, for You are the supreme cause of all causes, Lord Krishna. You are the greatest of all religious principles, the supreme mind, and You have a brain which is never checked by any condition. Therefore I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto You.
namo vacho vibhutaye
My dear Lord, You are the supreme controller of the worker, sense activities and the results of sense activities [karma]. Therefore, You are the controller of the body, mind and senses. You are also the supreme controller of egotism, known as Rudra. You are the source of knowledge and the activities of the Vedic injunctions.
darshanam no didrikshunam
rupam priyatamam svanam
My dear Lord, I wish to see You exactly in the form that Your very dear devotees worship. You have many other forms, but I wish to see Your form that is especially liked by the devotees. Please be merciful upon me and show me that form, for only that form worshipped by the devotees can perfectly satisfy all the demands of the senses.
The Lord’s beauty resembles a dark cloud during the rainy season. As the rainfall glistens, His bodily features also glisten. Indeed, He is the sum total of all beauty. The Lord has four arms and an exquisitely beautiful face with eyes like lotus petals, a beautiful highly raised nose, a mind-attracting smile, a beautiful forehead, and equally beautiful and fully decorated ears.
The Lord is superexcellently beautiful on account of His open and merciful smile and His sidelong glance upon His devotees. His black hair is curly, and His garments, waving in the wind, appear like flying saffron pollen from lotus flowers. His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle bells, waist belt, and various other bodily ornaments combine with conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower to increase the natural beauty of the Kaustubha pearl on His chest.
The Lord has shoulders just like a lion’s. Upon these shoulders are garlands, necklaces and epaulets, and all of these are always glittering. Besides these, there is the beauty of the Kaustubhamani pearl, and on the dark chest of the Lord there are streaks named Shrivatsa, which are signs of the goddess of fortune. The glittering of these streaks excels the beauty of the golden streaks on a gold-testing stone. Indeed, such beauty defeats the beauty of a gold-testing stone.
The Lord’s abdomen is beautiful due to three ripples in the flesh. Being so round, His abdomen resembles the leaf of a banyan tree, and when He exhales and inhales, the movement of the ripples appears very, very beautiful. The coils within the navel of the Lord are so deep that is appears that the entire universe sprouted out of it and yet again wishes to go back.
The lower part of the Lord’s waist is dark and covered with yellow garments and a belt bedecked with golden embroidery work. His symmetrical lotus feet and the calves, thighs and joints of His legs are extraordinarily beautiful. Indeed, the Lord’s entire body appears to be well built.
nakha-dyubhir no ‘ntar-agham vidhunvata
pradarshaya sviyam apasta-sadhvasam
padam guro marga-gurus tamo-jusham
My dear Lord, Your two lotus feet are so beautiful that they appear like two blossoming petals of the lotus flower which grows during the autumn season. Indeed, the nails of Your lotus feet emanate such a great effulgence that they immediately dissipate all the darkness in the heart of a conditioned soul. My dear Lord, kindly show me that form of Yours which always dissipates all kinds of darkness in the heart of a devotee. My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master.
etad rupam anudhyeyam
My dear Lord, those who desire to purify their existence must always engage in meditation upon Your lotus feet, as described above. Those who are serious about executing their occupational duties and who want freedom from fear must take to this process of bhatki-yoga.
bhavan bhaktimata labhya
My dear Lord, the king in charge of the heavenly kingdom is also desirous of obtaining the ultimate goal of life—devotional service. Similarly, You are the ultimate destination of those who identify themselves with You [aham brahmasmi—“I am spiritual”]. However, it is very difficult for them to attain You, whereas a devotee can very easily attain Your Lordship.
tam duraradhyam aradhya
satam api durapaya
ekanta-bhaktya ko vanchet
pada-mulam vina bahih
My dear Lord, pure devotional service is even difficult for liberated persons to discharge, but devotional service alone can satisfy You. Who will take to other processes of self-realization if he is actually serious about the perfection of life?
yatra nirvishtam aranam
vishvam vidhvamsayan virya-
Simply by expansion of His eyebrows, invincible time personified can immediately vanquish the entire universe. However, formidable time does not approach the devotee who has taken complete shelter at Your lotus feet.
na svargam napunar-bhavam
martyanam kim utashishaha
If one by chance associates with a devotee, even for a fraction of a moment, he no longer is subject to attraction by the results of karma or jnana [knowledge]. What interest then can he have in the benedictions of the demigods, who are subject to the laws of birth and death?
athanaghanghres tava kirti-tirthayor
syat sangamo ‘nugraha eva nas tava
My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the cause of all auspicious things and the destroyer of all the contamination of sin. I therefore beg Your Lordship to bless me by the association of your devotees, who are completely purified by worshiping Your lotus feet, and who are so merciful upon the conditioned souls. I think that Your real benediction will be to allow me to associate with such devotees.
na yasya chittam bahir-artha-vibhramam
tamo-guhayam cha vishuddham avishat
munir vichaste nanu tatra te gatim
The devotee whose heart has been completely cleansed by the process of devotional service and who is favored by Bhaktidevi does not become bewildered by the external energy, which is just like a dark well. Being completely cleansed of all material contamination in this way, a devotee is able to understand very happily Your name, fame, form, activities, etc.
yatredam vyajyate vishvam
vishvasminn avabhati yat
tat tvam brahma param jyotir
akasham iva vistritam
My dear Lord, the impersonal Brahma spreads everywhere, like the sunshine or the sky. And that impersonal Brahman, which spreads throughout the universe and in which the entire universe is manifested, is You.
yo mayayedam puru-rupayasrijad
bibharti bhuyah kshapayaty avikriyaha
yad-bheda-buddhih sad ivatma-duhsthaya
tvam atma-tantram bhagavan pratimahi
My dear Lord, You have manifold energies, and these energies are manifested in manifold forms. With such energies You have also created this cosmic manifestation, and although You maintain it as if it were permanent, You ultimately annihilate it. Although You are never disturbed by such changes and alterations, the living entities are disturbed by them, and therefore they find the cosmic manifestation to be different or separated from You. My Lord, You are always independent, and I can clearly see this fact.
kriya-kalapair idam eva yoginaha
shraddhanvitah sadhu yajanti siddhaye
vede cha tantre cha ta eva kovidaha
Me dear Lord, Your universal form consists of all five elements, the senses, mind, intelligence, false ego (which is material) and the Paramatma, Your partial expansion, who is the director of everything. Yogis other than devotees—namely the karma-yogi and jnana-yogi—worship You by their respective actions in their respective positions. It is stated both in the Vedas and in the Shastras that are corollaries of the Vedas, and indeed everywhere, that it is only You who are to be worshiped. That is the expert version of all the Vedas.
tvam eka adyah purushah sputa-shaktis
taya rajah-sattva-tamo vibhidyate
mahan aham kham marud agni-var-dharaha
surarshayo bhuta-gana idam yataha
My dear Lord, You are the only Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. Before the creation of this material world, Your material energy remains in a dormant condition. When Your material energy is agitated, the three qualities—namely goodness, passion and ignorance—act, and as a result the total material energy—egotism, ether, air, fire, water, earth, and all the various demigods and saintly persons—becomes manifest. Thus the material world is created.
shrishtam va-shaktyedam anupravishtash
chatur-vidham puram atmamshakena
atho vidus tam purusham santam antar
bhunkte hrishikair madhu saru-gham yaha
My dear Lord, after creating by Your own potencies, You enter within the creation in four kinds of forms. Being within the hearts of the living entities, You know them and know how they are enjoying their senses. The so-called happiness of this material creation is exactly like the bees’ enjoyment of honey after it has been collected in the honeycomb [like people who put together a home and then try to enjoy it under great duress].
sa esha lokan atichanda-vego
vikarshasi tvam khalu kala-yanaha
bhutani bhutair anumeya-tattvo
ghanavalir vayur ivavishahyaha
My dear Lord, Your absolute authority cannot be directly experienced, but one can guess by seeing the activities of the world that everything is being destroyed in due course of time. The force of time is very strong, and everything is being destroyed by something else—just as one animal is being eaten by another animal. Time scatters everything, exactly as the wind scatters clouds in the sky.
pramattam uccair iti kriya-chintaya
pravriddha-lobham vishayeshu lalasam
tvam apramattah sahasabhipadyase
kshul-lelihano ‘hir ivakhum antakaha
My dear Lord, all living entities within this material world are mad after planning for things, and they are always busy with a desire to do this or that. This is due to uncontrollable greed. The greed for material enjoyment is always existing in the living entity [particularly atheists who do not accept the authority of the Lord], but Your Lordship is always alert, and in due course of time You strike him [in the form of the laws of material existence], just as a snake seizes a mouse and very easily swallows him.
Kas tvat-padabjam vijahati pandito
Yas te ‘vamana-vyayamana-ketanaha
Vishankayasmad-gurur archati sma yad
Vinopapattim manavash chaturdasha
My dear Lord, any learned person knows that unless he worships You, his entire life is spoiled. Knowing this, how could he give up worshiping Your lotus feet? Even our father and spiritual master, Lord Brahma, unhesitatingly worshiped You, and the fourteen Manus followed in his footsteps.
atha tvam asi no Brahman
My dear Lord, all actually learned persons know You as the Supreme Brahman and the Supersoul. Although the entire universe is afraid of Lord Rudra, who ultimately annihilates everything, for the learned devotees You are the fearless destination of all.
This ended the sacred mantra and prayer that Lord Shiva taught to the sons of King Pracinabarhi. Thereafter, he gave these princes his final instructions:
“My dear sons of the King, just execute your occupational duty as kings with a pure heart. Just chant this prayer fixing your mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. That will bring you all good fortune, for the Lord will be very much pleased with you. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is situated in everyone’s heart. He is also within your hearts. Therefore, chant the glories of the Lord and always meditate upon Him.
“In this way, in the form of a prayer, I have delineated the yoga system of chanting the holy name. All of you should take this important stotra within your minds and promise to keep it in order to become great sages. By acting silently like a great sage and by giving attention and reverence, you should practice this method.
“This prayer was first spoken to us by Lord Brahma, the master of all creators. The creators, headed by Bhrigu, were instructed in these prayers because they wanted to create. When all the prajapatis [progenitors] were ordered to create by Lord Brahma, we chanted these prayers in praise of the Supreme Being and became completely free from all ignorance. Thus, we were able to create different types of living beings. A devotee of Lord Krishna whose mind is always absorbed in Him, who with great attention and reverence chants this stotra [prayer], will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay. Although rendering devotional service to the Supreme Personality and worshiping Him are very difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra composed and sung by me [Shiva], he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Being is the dearmost objective of all auspicious benedictions. A human being who sings this song sung by me can please the Supreme Being. Such a devotee, being fixed in the Lord’s devotional service, can acquire whatever he wants from the Supreme Lord. A devotee who rises early in the morning and with folded hands chants these prayers sung by me, Lord Shiva, and gives facility to others to hear them certainly becomes free from all bondage to fruitive activities [karma].” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.24.69-78)
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