Prayer to the Goddess For Forgiveness

Verses from the Devyapadhakshamapanastotram, by Adi Shankaracharya

These are five out of the eight verses of “A Prayer To Beg Forgiveness From the Goddess,” written by Adi Shankaracharya, one of the greatest yogis ever and a true realized being. The story behind the prayer is that Shankaracharya was traveling through the Himalayas on his way to a debate. In those days Shankaracharya was a believer in Non-Dualism, the doctrine of Absolute Monism. He did not believe in the reality of the Divine Mother (Shakti) and Her Creation which, according to his philosophy, was all Maya (illusion). Keep in mind that the word shakti also means ‘power’ or ‘energy.’ Shankaracharya was climbing up a steep hill when he suddenly became very ill with dysentary. He had to lie down and finally he passed out. He was awakened by the feeling of water on his face. Opening his eyes, Shankaracharya saw a very beautiful young girl smiling at him and sprinkling him with water. He passed out again. He was awakened by the girl and once more he passed out. The third time he awoke, the girl leaned over to him and asked in a sweet childlike voice,”Maharaj, what is wrong with you?”

Shankaracharya replied in voice weakened by pain, “I have no shakti.”
On hearing this the girl leaned close to him again and said, “Oh? But you don’t believe in Shakti!” And laughing, she changed right before his eyes into the form of the Goddess called Bhawani, the Mother of the World, and disappeared! He was completely healed, and from the depths of his heart he composed this prayer. Afterwards he composed many of the most beautiful prayers to the Goddess.
I learned this from Shri K. C. Tewari and his sons, Sharad and Nirmal.

1. Na mantram no yantram tadapi cha na jaane stuti maho
Na chaawaanam dhyaanam tapi cha na jaane stuti kataha
Na jaane mudraaste tadapi cha na jaane wilapanam
Param jaane maatastwa danusharanam klesha haranam

I don’t know how to recite Your mantra, how to worship You with yantra,
Nor do I know how to welcome you or meditate upon you.
I don’t know how to pray to you or how to do Your mudra.
Nor do I know how to open my heart to you and tell you of my suffering.
But this I know, Oh MA!
That to take refuge in you will destroy all my sorrow.

2. Widheragyaa nena dravina virahe naa lasatayaa
Vidheyaa shakya twaa tawa charana yoryaa chyuti rabhoot
Tadetat kshantavyam janani sakalo dhaa rini shiwe
Kuputro jaayetaa kwachidapi kumaataa na bhawati

Because of my ignorance, poverty and sloth,
I have not been able to worship Your feet.
But Oh Mother! gracious Deliverer of all,
All this should be forgiven,
For a bad son may sometimes be born,
But a bad mother, never…

3. Pritivyaam putraaste janani bahawa santi saralaah
Param tesham madhye virala tara loham tawa sutah
Madheeyo yam tyaagah samuchitamidam no tawa shiwe
Kuputro jaayeta kwachidapi kumaataa na bhawati

Oh MA! You have so many worthy sons on earth
But I am a worthless,
Yet it isn’t right that You should abandon me
For a bad son may sometimes be born in this world
But a bad mother, never…

4. Jaggan maatar maata stawa charana sewa na rachitaa
Na waa datam dewi dravina mapi bhooya stawa mayaa
Tatapi twam sneham mayi niroopamam yatpra kurushe
Kuputro jaayeta kwachi dapi kumaataa na bhawati

Oh Ma! Mother of the World.
I have not worshipped Your feet
Nor have I given wealth to You
Yet the love and affection You bestow on me is without compare.
For a bad son may sometimes be born in this world,
But a bad mother, never…

5. Na mokshasya kanksha bhawa wibhawa waancha pichana me
Na wigyaanaa peksha shashi mukhi sukhechaa pi na poonah
Atastwaam sanyaache janani jananam yaatu mama wai
Mridaanee Rudraanee Shiwaa Shiwaa Bhawaanee ti japatah

I have no desire for liberation
Nor do I desire wealth or knowledge.
Oh Moon-Faced One! I don’t even wish to be happy.
But I beg only this of You,
That my whole life may pass in the singing of these words:
Mridaani, Rudraani, Shivaa, Shivaa, Bhavaani. [Names of the Goddess]


Track 7