Guiding Light: Kanaka Dhara Stotram

Guiding Light: Kanaka Dhara Stotram

Prof S AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, April 09, 2024, 08:29 PM IST
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‘Kanaka’ is gold, ‘dhara’ means stream or flow, and ‘Stotram’ is extolling verse. AdiShankaracharya who composed many books and commentaries also did many hymns in the praise of many deities he either visited or had the vision of. Kanakadhara is the hymn invoking the Goddess of Abundance, Lakshmi to the home of a poor couple.

Adi Shankaracharya adopted ‘Sanyasa’ (renunciation) or ‘household abdication’ during his childhood years itself. The ones who renounced are supposed to seek alms and continue their living. In one such instance on a day, he went to the home of a poor couple. Male member of the house had gone out for livelihood or gathering something to feed the family for that day. The lady of the house was happy to receive the young seeker but at the same time was sad that there was nothing to offer to the boy. She searched entire house thoroughly and she could find only a desiccated ‘Amalaki’ (dry gooseberry or ‘Amla’) and offered it to the boy. This was the only offering she could do at that time. Bala Shankaracharya could empathise with the situation that all she could find was that small, dried Amla fruit. He was moved at the sight of this poverty.

All Gurus have something in common, they show empathy and are very considerate. Adishankara could ‘see through’ that this couple in their previous lives apparently never donated and hence the current situation of misery and material poverty. Shankaracharya was the incarnation of the Lord Shankara himself and had this insight of the situation. He desired to help the couple and resolve the situation with the help of Goddess of Abundance, Lakshmi herself.

He prayed to the Devi Lakshmi and appealed about the situation. She replied along the above lines that this couple never did any charitable acts in their previous times, and hence the current tough situation. Kind-hearted Adi Shankaracharya appealed to the Mother Lakshmi that this very act of donating Amla in extreme poverty situation has negated all the negative karma of the couple. Additionally, the very glance of Lakshmi shall help re-writing the destiny of the couple. There was ‘pouring of golden Amlas’ on his appeal. The extolling hymn is ‘Kanakadhara Stotram’, and recited by many. Abundance prevails.

Prof S Ainavolu is a Mumbai-based teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM. Views are personal. https://www.ainavolu.in/blog

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