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Chitra Stabakam

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One of my well-wishers, Sri Thirunarayanan, Retd. Sanskrit Professor of Trichy sent me a book titled Chitra Stabakam. It contains 59 slokas and each one is unique in its poetic beauty. I wish to share it with the members of this forum who are interested in Sanskrit and literature in general. Here is the first. I propose to write others if readers like it.

कमलायतनां चित्ते कलये यत्पदाम्बुजम्।
चित्रं विबुधसन्मौलि चित्रस्तबक भूषितम्।।
kamalAyatanAm citte kalaye yatpadAmbujam |
ciram vibudhasanmauLi citrastabaka bhUshitam ||

Meaning 1:
I am contemplating on PirATTi who resides on the lotus and whose lotus feet are adorned by the devAs with reverence on their heads and worshipped with flower bouquets. I am composing this citra stabakam as a jewel resting on their heads.

Meaning 2:
The word stabakam is used very cleverly here. Stabakam means a specific
composition and also a flower bouquet. The poet says that the devAs worship PirATTi by bowing their heads at Her lotus feet. The flowers that they wear on their head adorn Her feet thus. The poet is composing the citra stabakam held in high esteem by the poets and the wise as if they are supporting it on their heads.

The citra stabakam is composed as an offering to PirATTi’s lotus feet.

In this Slokam, the words ‘vibudha’ and ‘citra’ are used in two contexts. ‘vibudha’ represents both the devAs and the paNDitAs. ‘citra’ means flower bouquet and the composition that contains many ‘vicitram-s’ or amusing and entertaining features. The word ‘ambujam’ is used in this Slokam to represent the lotus feet of PirATTi, that is resting on the lotus and that is adorned by flowers further.

In the term ‘sanmauLI (sat mauLI)’ the ‘sat’ indicates that the head that adorn the citra stabakam and the flowers that adorn PirATTi’s feet are the best. ‘bhUshitam’ indicates that the Slokams contain beautiful words with exquisite meanings.

वेदानि सर्वशास्त्राणि विभाव्य भवतीं रमे।
दास्यं यस्यास्तवोपैति देवी सापि सरस्वती।।

vedAni sarvaSAstrANi vibhAvya bhavatIm rame|
dAsyam yasyAstavopaiti devi sA api sarasvatI||

ramE! After careful examination of all the SAstrAs, I am worshipping You. Even
the goddess of ‘vak’ (words/speech) SarasvatI is your liege.

‘sarva SAstrANi vibhAvya’ – upon careful and repeated examination of SAstrAs, a person will firmly resolve that it is ramA Devi who is the subject of worship as all the SAstrAs indicate that She is the ParadevatA.

Another interpretation is that ‘bhavatIm vibhAvya sarva SAstrANi vedAni’ - when
I worship You, I become knowledgeable on what all the SAstrAs say. How is this
possible? Even the goddess of knowledge, SarasvatI, is Your slave and hence all
the knowledge are under Your control.

In the line of AcAryAs, PirATTi is next to PerumAL. Hence, She imparts
knowledge just like a lokAcArya. PirATTi is the means for knowledge and the
subject of knowledge.

In this Slokam, one wonders whether the term ‘vedAni’ is a verb or a noun. Whenconsidered along with the other term ‘SAstrANi’ it seems to be used as a noun. However, the sentence lacks a verb. Hence, the term ‘vedAni’ should be
considered as a verb. This is not obvious at the outset. One is able to comprehend it only upon careful examination. This type of a structure is called
‘apaSabdAbhAsam’ or apparent verbal error.
कमले देवदेवस्य महिषि त्वं स्तुतक्रमे
विमले देवि देह्यस्य महितत्वं नतस्यमे
kamale! devadevasya mahishi! tvam stutakrame |
vimale! devi! dehyasya mahitatvam natasya me ||

Kamale! Vimale (blemishless One)! You are the consort of the devAdidevan.
Everyone is praising the way You function. I, the lowly one, am also worshipping
You, such an esteemed Devi. Please remove my lowliness and grant me eminence.

The poet is saying that PirATTi will not earn dishonor if She lifts him up from his
deplorable state as everyone is praising the special way in which She operates.
She is the only means to rise above lowliness.

This Slokam displays the gomUtrikA bandham. If we take alternate letters (even
numbered) in the first half, the order of letters are:

म दे दे स्य हि त्वं त मे
ma de de sya hi tvam ta me

The same above set of letters is repeated in the next half. This hard-to-follow
pattern was used by the great poet ‘daNDi’.

पाहि देवि कलशोदधेस्सुते
देहि पापविलयं दयानिधे
शेषशायितयिते तमोमुषं
शेमुषीं कलय नस्सुशोभनाम्

pAhi devi! kalaSodadhe: sute!
dehi pApa vilayam dayAnidhe!|
SeshaSAyidayite! tamomusham
SemushIm kalaya na: suSobhanAm||

Devi! Daughter of TiruppArkaDal! Mercy incarnate! The consort of the one who
reclines on AdiSesha! Please save us. Grant us annihilation of our sins. Please
grant us auspicious mind that is free from evil habits.

The poet is placing three requests in front of PirATTi: Please protect us, remove
our sins and grant us a pure and auspicious mind free from any bad habits. In
essence, the poet is requesting PirATTi’s protection in all the three time periods,
past - to remove his sins committed then, present - to protect him now, and
future - to give him a pure mind that will not err.

This Slokam has the ‘prathama pAda gUDha citram’ (the hiding of the first
pAdam) usage.

The eleven aksharams in the first pAdam are repeated in other pAdams. ‘pAhi de’ in the first pAdam is reversed as ‘dehi pA’ in the second second pAdam. The rest of the aksharams are interspersed in other pAdams.
संश्रितानवितुमास्थया दया
सारिणी दिगधीसेविता।
स्वप्रियस्य कलयन्त्युरः पदं
सम्पदं दिशतु सा हरिप्रिया।।

samSritAnavitumAsthayA dayA
sAriNIha digadhISasevitA |
svapriyasya kalayantyura: padam
sampadam diSatu sA haripriyA ||

Let the beloved of Hari, one who is worshiped by the gods of the eight directions,
one who showers grace and the one who decorates TirumAl’s chest, grant us all
the riches. She is eager to protect Her devotees.

PirATTi is the storehouse of all the riches, so She can easily grant all our wishes.
As the gods of the directions including the god of wealth, Kubera, worships Her,
as She is the beloved of Sriman nArAyaNa and also as She has immense love and mercy towards us, May She grant us all the riches (sampadam diSatu)!

This Slokam has the caturtha pAda gUDha citram (the disappearance of the
fourth pAdam). The eleven letters in the fourth pAdam are spread throughout
the other three pAdams as shown in red.
राजसेजननिरक्षणाय नः
सागरेन्द्रतनये सदातनी।।

SrI:! aSesha jagat Arti hAriNI
SeshaSailataTa SekharAyitA |
rAjase janani! rakshaNAya na:
sAgarendra tanaye! sadAtanI ||

sAgarendra tanaye (Daughter of the King of Oceans)! SrI! Mother! You remove
miseries of everyone in this world, You are eternal. You remain as the crest jewel
of the SeshAcalam for our protection.

Does PirATTi remove everyone’s miseries? Will She not take care of Her
devotees? The term ‘aSesha’ could be split as ‘a + Sesha’ to mean the
SeshabhUtar of the ‘akAra sabdha vAcyan - VishNu’ or as ‘aSesha’ to mean
everyone in this world. PirATTi emerged from the ocean that houses many
gemstones and jewels, She lives on the SeshAcalam hill, She is like the crest
jewel/Sun, who protects everyone. The purpose of Her staying on SeshAcalam hill is only to care for us.

In this Slokam, none of the aksharams from the ‘m ma’ vargam is present. The
letters, उ u’, ‘ऊ U’, ‘व va’ etc and anusvaram are also not present. Hence, the
entire Slokam can be recited without the lips touching each other. This type of
citram is called ‘niroshTyam’.
हरेः प्रिये भगवतो हृतसंश्रित साध्वसा ।
अन्वहं क्रियमाणानां अंहसां संहतीरयात्।।

hare: priye! bhagavatO hrta samSrita sAdhvasA|
anvaham kriyamANAnAm amhasAm samhatIrayAt||

The beloved of BhagavAn! You remove the anxiety of those who surrender to You. Please remove quickly the heaps of sins that I am committing daily.

Why should PirATTi remove our sins quickly? We are busy committing sins
without any break. They are accumulating very quickly. Hence, She has to remove them quickly also.

This Slokam has kriyA vancana citram, where "cheating" is done with the verb.
The word ‘hare:’ seems to be a noun that has the sixth case ending
(shashTiyantam). In actuality, it is the verb parading as a noun. We see a similar situation with the last padam is ‘samhatIrayAt’; it is in the form similar to ‘iyAt’ ‘bhUyAt’ and as there is only one verb ‘ayAt’ it causes the delusion that it may be the verb. Actually, it is the noun ‘rayAt’ with the fifth case (ablative) ending. In reality, ‘hare:’ is the verb just like ‘kacche’, ‘pibe’. As verb ‘cheats’ the reader, it is called ‘kriya vancakA’.
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