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Ashtakshara Keerthanam

Ashtakshara Keerthanam
[Song about Eight Letters]
By Poonthanam
Translated by P. R. Ramachander

[Poonthanam was possibly one of the greatest forerunners of Bhakthi cult in Kerala and his greatest work was Jnana Pana. Loosely it can be translated as "Pot of Knowledge". But "pana" here is not pot but a style of folk poem. This is written in a common man's language and in a common man's verse. It preaches the greatness of repetition (singing) of the Holy God's names. In between Poonthanam wrote about the world he saw and the world he wanted to see. Some people term it as the Bhagavad Geetha of Malayalam. Here is a mellifluous extremely poetic prayer addressed to the God who is worshipped by the eight letter chant, "Om Namo Narayanaya".]

1. Krishnambuja nethra Krishna, Nruhare, Padmanabha,
Krishnachyutha krupanasraya karunamrutha jaladhe,
Krishnanandha jaya Govinda Jagadeaswara Krishnu, Mukunda,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh Krishna with black lotus like eye, Oh Narasimha, Oh Padmanabha,
Oh Krishna, Oh Achyutha, Oh god who becomes indebted to those who surrender, Oh sea of nectar of mercy,
Hail Oh joyful Krishna, Govinda, god of universe, Krishna, Mukunda,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

2. Narayana, Nalinekshana, Narakardhana, murali,
Nadhamrutha tharali krutha naga jangama vithathe,
Nana jana hrudayambuja nilayachyutha Vishno,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh Narayana, Oh lotus eyed one, Oh killer of Naraka,
Oh God who with nectar like music of his flute, melted our mind,
Oh God who made the snake move out, Oh Vishnu who lives,
In the lotus like mind of various people as Achyutha,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

3. Athimohana sarasiruha dala komala nayanaa,
Athasi kusuma sushmadhara parimoshana nipuna,
Athi sithala karunamrutha vaivasi krutha hrudaya,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh Bewitching pretty God with lotus like eyes,
Oh expert in taking away our mind wearing very pretty flower of flax,
Oh God who using the very cold nectar of mercy makes us helpless,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

4. Kamalakara paralalitha kamalanvitha kamalodhara sushama,
Parimelitha charanambuja yugal aanatha Bhuvana,
Samalayutha viphaleekrutha kusalamrutha charitha,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh God holding a lotus flower, with a lotus like navel and served by crowd of lotus flowers,
Oh god who is the universe with roaring lotus like pair of feet,
Oh God who has a nectar like happy story of blemish and wantonness,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

5. Kala Bhashana, chala bhooshana mathi dhooshana harana,
Vidhi naipuna vishami krutha janaduraga nruhare,
Hela krutha halaamadaneelambara sahaja,
Velathiga jana kaalana kalanala sadrusa,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh stealer of false speech, fraud acts and sinning thoughts,
Oh Lord Narasimha, expert in fate who removed people of mischief far away,
Oh Lord wearing blue cloths, who is the friend those intoxicated amorous dalliance
Oh Lord who is like forest fire which is the god of death to very bad people,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

6. Leelakrutha hey vama mahesa jana subaga,
Mandhara suma mandhira vara Thulasi vana maalaa,
Mandhee krutha Madhu kaidaba madanopama sushamaa,
Santhapitha santhathyarchanasandheepani charana.
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh good fortune of people who is the God of Vamapura, who is fond of sports,
Oh garland of forest of Thulasi, who has perfume of Mandhara flowers and is the divine one of the temple,
Oh God similar to god of love with great prettiness, who was slowed down by Madhu and Kaidabha,
Oh God, who offered his children at the feet of his teacher Sandheepini who was sorrowing,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

7. Indhindhira varnaa kundalaanolitha karnaa,
Vrundavana vasaa, pasu vrundhavana sheelaa,
Vrundharaka vrundharchitha padambuja Vishno,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh God with the colour of a large bee, whose ears are decorated by ear globes,
Oh God who lives in Vrindavana, who used to graze the cows there,
Oh Eminent Lord Vishnu whose lotus like feet are worshipped by Thulasi leaves,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

8. Vamalaya vaasaa drutha hemangadhe vibhavaa,
Bhama kucha kalasarchitha Damodhara deva,
Somabharanaaswadhitha namamrutha Vishno,
Ashtakshara parikeerthana Bhagwan thava Saranam.

Oh Lord who lives in Vamapura, who wears golden ornaments,
Oh God who worships the pot like breasts of Bhama, Oh God Damodara,
Oh Vishnu whose nectar like name is appreciated by Lord Shiva wearing the moon,
Oh God who is sung by eight letters, I surrender to you.

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