Totakashtakam – A hymn of eight stanzas

Srimad Guru Adi Shankaracharya
Srimad Guru Adi Shankaracharya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Totakashtaka is a hymn of eight stanzas written in Sanskrit by Totakacharya, disciple of one of the chief disciples of Guru Adi Shankaracharya, praising him. Every word bespeaks his utter devotion to his Guru. Guru is all to him. There is nothing equal or superior to Guru. Guru dispels darkness and ignorance. Removal of ignorance is the utmost greatness.

This is the original tune, very soothing and melodious, with a modern touch – so even people from non Classical background will love it, the music is catchy.  I listened to this song in the morning to energize my mind a bit.

Further interested? Here are the 8 hymns and their meaning in English. The hymns are originally written in Sanskrit.

I borrowed information from this site: (

hridaye kalaye vimalam cHaraNam
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam.(1)

O Thou, the knower of all the milk-Ocean of Scriptures! The expounder of the topics of the great Upanisadic treasure-trove! On Thy faultless feet I meditate in my heart, Be Thou my refuge O Master, Sankara!

karuNávarunalaya pálaya mám
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam.(2)

O the Ocean of compassion! Save me whose heart is tormented by the misery of the sea of birth! Make me understand the truths of all the schools of philosophy! Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

bhavatá janatá suhitá bhavitá
nijabodhavicHáraNa cHárumate
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam(3)

By thee the masses have been made happy, O Thou who hast a noble intellect, skilled in the inquiry into self-knowledge! Enable me to understand the wisdom relating to God and the soul. Be Thou my refuge, O master, Sañkara.

bhava eva bhavániti me nitarám
samajáyata cHetasi kautukitá
mama váraya mohamahájaladhim
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam(4)

Knowing that Thou art verily the Supreme Lord, there arises overwhelming bliss in my heart. Protect me from the vast ocean of delusion. Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sankara.

sukrite’ dhikrite bahudhá bhavato
bhavitá samadarsHanalalasata
atidinamimam paripálaya mám
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam(5)

Desire for the insight into unity through Thee will spring only when virtuous deeds are performed in abundance and in various directions. Protect this extremely helpless person. Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

jagatimavitum kalitákritayo
vicHaranti mahamahasascHalatah
abhimámsurivatra vibhási guro
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam(6)

O Teacher! For saving the world the great assume various forms and wander in disguise. Of them, Thou shinest like the Sun. Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Sañkara.

gurupuñgava puñgava ketana te
samatámayatám nahi ko pi sudhiç
SHaraNágatavatsala tattvanidhe
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam.(7)

O the best of Teachers! The Supreme Lord having the built as banner! None of the wise is equal to Thee! Thou who art compassionate to those who have taken refuge! The Treasure-trove of truth! Be Thou my refuge, O Master Sankara.

viditá na mayá viSHadaikakalá
na cHa kincHana káncHanamasti guro
drutameva vidhehi kripám sahajám
bhava SHañkara deSHika me SHaranam.(8)

Not even a single branch of knowledge has been understood by me correctly. Not even the least wealth do I possess, O Teacher. Bestow on me quickly Thy natural grace. Be thou my refuge, O Master Sañkara.



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