Sunday, September 23, 2012

Translation of a popular Hymn to Shiva


Nithin Sridhar

Karpur Gauram Karunavataram |
Sansara Saram Bhujagendra Haram ||
Sada Vasantam Hridayaravinde |
Bhavam Bhavani Sahitam Namami ||

“Karpura Gouram” means “White like camphor”. The color white signifies many things. Firstly, White color of Shiva represents his “detachment. ”. An object appears White in color, when it absorbs no wavelengths and reflects back everything. Similarly Shiva reflects back all experiences the world imposes on him. He remains unaffected from everything. Every person may perceive him based on his own conditioning and Shiva simply reflects back all experiences back to the world without absorbing any of it. Hence, Shiva is considered as “The Witness”. Further, the White color represents the fact that Shiva is the source of all manifestation similar to White light from which all other colors of spectrum manifests and then merges back.

“Karunavataram” means “full of compassion”.  Karuna is one of the Nava-Rasas and Shiva is personification of Karuna-Compassion.  That is the reason He is the refuge to the downtrodden, the diseased, the dead people (pitr), the spirits (bhuta,preta etc) and all people whom the society and the world as denounced.  Interestingly Shiva is the presiding deity of the three of the nine rasas: Bhibatsa-Disgust, Bhayanaka-Terrifying and Raudra-Fury . The various tales and legends about Shiva show that he is most easy to please. He does not discriminate people based on fame or riches. He accepts everything offered to him with love and devotion be it a bowl of sweet rice or a piece of goat meat. This shows the vastness of compassion of Shiva who embraces the whole manifestation with love and without disowning anyone. Further, He is not only embracing but also liberating. He is the” First Guru” as he imparts Moksha to everyone who approaches him.

“Sansara Saram” means “the essence of whole world”.  Shiva being the source of all manifestations is the embodiment of very existence. As Isa Upanishad says “Isa-vasyam Idam Sarvam” meaning “All this—whatever exists, the whole cosmos  is inhabited by him”. Hence, one should always try to recognize the divine spark present in the whole world, in every aspect of daily life. Just as a spark is not separate from the fire, so is the manifestation not separated from Him. Hence, by offering all the actions in the fire altar of life, one will be able to understand Shiva-the Essence of life.

“Bhujagendra Haram” means one who wears “King of Serpents on his Neck.

“Sada Vasantham Hrudayaravinde” means “He who always stays in the Lotus Hearts of every being”.  Shiva always stays in the Anahata Chakra (Heart chakra) of every person. One Just needs to worship him in his Heart. Any person who wants to Realize God, must look inside his own self. This is indeed true for any deity. For this very reason, every Sadhana (Puja/Havan) begins with Prana Pratishtapana, wherein the Life/Prana is taken from one’s Heart and is invoked into an idol or fire and at the end of the Sadhana, Prana is taken back into Sadhaka’s Heart.

“Bhavam Bhavani Sahitam Namami” means “I bow to Bhava along with Bhavani”.  “Bhava” means Existence, state of existence (Shiva) and “Bhavani” means the Power to exist, the cause of existence.

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