Kalika Ashtakam [1]

Shree Kaalika Ashtakam
Eight Verses in Praise of Kaalee
Translated by Prakash Sharma and Acharya Dan Konnor
Transliteration by P. R. Ramachander

[Even though this prayer is attributed to Adi Sankaracharya, this is not seen in the complete works of Adi Sankara as given in several web sites. The first three slokas are labeled as Dhyanam and the rest up to Phala Sruthi as the text of the ashtakam.]

Galadha Raktha mukthavali khanda mala,
Maha gora raava, sudamshtra karala,
Vivasthra smasanalaya mukthakesi,
Maha kala-kamakulaa kalikeyam.

One Whose neck is decorated with the garland of skulls of impure thoughts from which the blood of passion continues to flow, Who is terribly loud and Whose large teeth are frightening, Who is bare, Who lives in the cremation grounds, Whose hair is scattered, and Who is always eager for union with Mahaakaala, She is known by the name Kaalikaa.

Bhuje vama yugme siro asi dhadhaana,
Varam Daksha yugmebhyam vai thadaiva,
Sumadhya api thunga sthana bhara namra,
Lasad rakthasrukmakaddhhaya susmithasya.

One Who is holding the head of the ego and a sword in Her two left hands, and is offering blessings and granting fearlessness with Her two right hands, Whose waist is beautiful, Who is leaning forward from the weight of Her breasts which are filled with the milk of devotion, with the blood of passion trickling out from both sides of Her mouth, Who is slowly laughing, She is the One, Who is the Great Kaalikaa.

Sava dwandhwa karnavathasaa sukesi,
Lasad pretha pani prayukthaika Kanchi,
Savaakara - manchathirooda shivaabhi -
Schadhir dikshu shabdhayamanabhireje.

Great Kaalikaa, Whose ears bear two dead bodies* as earrings, Whose hair is dear to the hearts of all, Who is sitting on dead bodies, Whose aasana is in the form of a dead body, and Who is being extolled by the rising voices of the shringaalees, She is that Great Kaalikaa, Who is universally famous.

* We must first die unto ourselves to come to Her. Sometimes these are two dead babies, meaning that we must both become like simple little children and die unto ourselves to come to Her.

Viranchyadhi devasthrayasthe gunaamsthreen,
Samaradhya Kali!Pradhaana bhabhuva,
Anadhim suradhim makhadim bhavadhim,
Swaroopam thwadheeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! The best among the gods, Brahmaa having four mouths, Vishnu, and Lord Shiva, have become the best by worshiping every quality of Yours. O Mother, even the gods cannot attain Your form.

Jaganmohaneeyam thu vagvadheneeyam,
Suhrutha poshinim shathru samharaneeyam,
Vacharu sthambaneeyam kimuchataneeyam,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! You are the Great Kaalee or Sarasvatee Who attracts the world. You are the one Who takes care of devotees and destroys the enemies. Please let me know Who You are, You Who relish humanity and stop the voice. Even the gods are not able to attain Your form.

Iyam swarga dathri puna kalpavalli,
Manojamsthu kaamaan yadartha prakuryath,
Kadha they kruthardha bhavatheethi nithyam,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! This prayer of Yours is a heaven-provider and is equivalent to a branch of a Kalpavrisksha, a tree that fulfills all wishes just as soon as one imagines it. So, please fulfill all the wishes and heartfelt desires of Your devotees and worshipers. Those devotees are always blessed by Your prayer, even though even the gods are not able to attain Your form.

Lasad pootha chithe!Yadha aavirbhavasthe!
Japa-dhyana-pooja sudha dhoutha pankha,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother, Who always is drinking the drink of the gods, Who does favors for Her devotees! You always reside in a pious heart, even though the gods, Who remove the dust in their hearts with the nectar of recitation, concentration, and worship, are not able to attain Your form.

Chidhananda - kandham hasan mandha mandham,
Sarachandrakoti-prabha punja bimbham,
Muneenaam kavinaam hrudhi dhyotha manam,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! Even the gods do not know Your form as the fruit of the heart's pleasure, full of little smiles, a collection of moonlight from tens of millions of winter moons, You Who enlighten the hearts of poets and saints.

Maha - megha - kali, surakthabhi shubra,
Kadachith vichithraakruthir yoga maya,
Na Bala na Vrudha na kamathuraapi,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! Sometimes You become Mahaa Kaalee as dark as the great clouds, sometimes You become Mahaa Lakshmee bearing beautiful red color, and sometimes You become white-colored Mahaa Sarasvatee. Sometimes You become Yogamaayaa with most amazing form that awestrucks. The reality is that You are not a girl, not an old lady, not a young lady, and even the gods are unable to know Your form.

Kshamaswaparadham maha guptha bhavam,
Maya loka madhye prakasikrutham yath,
Thwa dhyanapoothena chapalya bhavath,
Swaroopam thwadeeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! Please forgive this crime of mine that I disclosed a confidential form of Yours to the world as I became childish while focused on You alone. Even the gods are not able to attain Your form!

Yadhi dhyana yuktha pateth yo manushyasthadha sarva loke vishalo bhavecha,
Guhe cha ashtasidhirmruthe chapi mukthi swaroopam thwadheeyam na vindanthi devaa.

O Mother! If a person recites these praises while concentrating on Mahaa Kaalee, he or she becomes great in this world, and all eight Siddhis reside in that person's house. That devotee is liberated: he or she attains Moksha or salvation upon his or her death - even though the gods do not know Your form!

|| Kaalikashtakam Sampoornam ||
Here ends the Kaalikaashtakam.