Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mangalacarana / Invocation

In the Gaudiya Vaisnava (Hare Krishna) line to which I belong, the following are standard prayers that we may recite before entering into any speaking or writing endeavor.  The purposes of these prayers are to offer our deep thanks and ecstatic praise to the saints and sages who have gone before us as well as to the Lord Himself in His various forms, and to request mercy upon us from all these wonderful persons.

For me, these prayers are nothing short of amazing in their lyrical beauty and depth of feeling, and they seem more and more so the more progress I make in understanding and appreciating them instead of taking them for granted.  I encourage anyone else who feels interested in them to get a copy of the Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas book if you don't have it already, and study these Sanskrit verses along with their word-for-word meanings (which I'm leaving out of this post for the sake of brevity, but which helped me so much in learning to understand the gorgeous Sanskrit and what it means).  There is a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.  Even from amongst the standard prayers of invocation, what I've included here is just a sample.  There are so many more beautiful verses available there to dive into!  And what to speak of the songs throughout the rest of the book!  To me, the songbook is delicious, addictive, irresistible.  When no other obligation is pressing on me too painfully I can spend happy hours reading it, singing the variegated words of love and wisdom, and floating in nectar.  :)

If anyone unfamiliar with this book is interested in obtaining a copy, your local ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple may well carry it, and someone at the temple would also very likely be able to teach you the melodies for the songs.  If it sounds intriguing to you to see how an ancient form of worship from Vedic India is carried out faithfully in the modern day, and to taste a little of our famous sanctified food (prasadam), your nearest Hare Krishna temple may be worth a visit.  Otherwise, the book is at the present time available from a few different online stores; just do a search for the title. 

For those of you who, like me, love to see the diacritical marks on the Sanskrit so that you can be sure of pronouncing it correctly, I'm sorry.  I've left them out due to fear that the Sanskrit words might morph into something unreadable for anyone who would be viewing them in a different font. 

* * *

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

  "I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge."

sri-caitanya-mano-'bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

"When will Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?"

vande 'ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa jivam
sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam krsna-caitanya-devam
sri-radha-krsna-padan saha-gana-lalita-sri-visakhanvitams ca

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and of all the other preceptors on the path of devotional service.  I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnavas and unto the six Gosvamis, including Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, and their associates.  I offer my respectful obeisances unto Advaita Acarya Prabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and all His devotees, headed by Srivasa Thakura.  I then offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, Srimati Radharani, and all the gopis, headed by Lalita and Visakha."

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is very dear to Lord Krsna on this earth, having taken shelter at His lotus feet."

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine

"Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami.  You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Caitanyadeva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism."

namah om visnu-padaya krsna-presthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktisiddhanta-sarasvatiti namine

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, who is very dear to Lord Krsna, having taken shelter at His lotus feet."

 vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

 "I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord.  They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone, and they are full of compassion for the fallen conditioned souls."

namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te
krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah

"O most munificent incarnation!  You are Krsna Himself appearing as Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.  You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krsna.  We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

he krsna karuna-sindho
dina-bandho jagat-pate
gopesa gopika-kanta
radha-kanta namo 'stu te

"O my dear Krsna, ocean of mercy, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation.  You are the master of the cowherdmen and the lover of the gopis, especially Radharani.  I offer my respectful obeisances unto You."

jayatam suratau pangor mama manda-mater gati
mat-sarvasva-padambhojau radha-madana-mohanau

"Glory to the all-merciful Radha and Madana-mohana!  I am lame and ill advised, yet They are my directors, and Their lotus feet are everything to me."

presthalibhih sevyamanau smarami

"In a temple of jewels in Vrndavana, underneath a desire tree, Sri Sri Radha-Govinda, served by Their most confidential associates, sit upon an effulgent throne.  I offer my most humble obeisances unto Them."

sriman rasa-rasarambhi vamsi-vata-tata-sthitah
karsan venu-svanair gopir gopinathah sriye 'stu nah

"Sri Srila Gopinatha, who originated the transcendental mellow of the rasa dance, stands on the shore in Vamsivata and attracts the attention of the cowherd damsels with the sound of His celebrated flute.  May they all confer upon us their benediction."

tapta-kancana-gaurangi radhe vrndavanesvari
vrsabhanu-sute devi pranamami hari-priye
"I offer my respects to Radharani, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vrndavana.  You are the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and You are very dear to Lord Krsna."

* * *

Excerpted from "Songs of the Vaishnava Acharyas" by the
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, www.Krishna.com

The copyright information that I found at iskcondesiretree.info (which also provided permission to reproduce less than 5% of the book if accompanied by the above phrase) stated that the book is "Copyright © 1972-2006 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 3764 Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034, USA. All rights reserved."