શ્રીકપાલીશ્વરાષ્ટકમ્ Lyrics in Gujarati:
Shri Kapalishvara is the name of Lord Shiva who is the presiding deity at the ancient temple of Shiva in Mylapore, Chennai – the capital of
the State of Tamilnadu. His consort has the name Kalpakambal. Ashtakam (અષ્ટકમ્) means a poem consisting of eight verses. In this case
the verses are in praise of Shri Kapalishvara. He is praised here with qualities referred to in the vedas, puranas and also as the Infinite
Supreme Being. This shows that it is the Supreme Being that appears as Kapalishvara in the temple in Mylapore as any god in any other temple.
The following symbols are used in the explanations that are given below.
(1) – SA :- Saiva Agama. (2) – SP :- Shiva Purana. (3) – SAN – Shiva 108 Namavali.
(4) – SL – Shivanandalahari of Shri Shankaracharya. (5) – VS – Vishnu sahasranama.
(6) – BG – Bhagavad Gita. (7) – SS – Siva sahasranama (From Padmapurana)
with the commentary by late H.H. Sri Parasivendra Saraswati of Kanchi
The vedas (Taittariya Upanishad, Anandavalli) declare that the Supreme Being is beyond reach of senses and mind. યતો વાચો નિવર્તન્તે। અપ્રાપ્ય
મનસા સહ। For this, reason His qualities cannot be adequately portrayed by anyone. The Shiva Mahimmna stotram (22) puts this up in a graphic manner. The poet says that even if the blue mountain were to be a lump of ink powder, the ocean the ink-pot, the branch of the
heavenly tree Parijata be pen, the earth itself the writing leaf, and by taking these Saradha the Goddess of Learning writes for eternity,
even then His virtues cannot be fully described.
અસિતગિરિસમં સ્યાત્ કજ્જલં સિન્ધુઃ પાત્રં
સુરતરુવરશાખા લેખની પત્રમૂર્વી ।
લિખતિ યદિ ગૃહીત્વા સારદા સર્વકાલં
તદપિ તવ ગુણાનામીશ પારં ન યાતિ ॥
The question then is, why should one take up the futile job of writing a stotram in praise of the Lord knowing full well that it can never be
done satisfactorily? The same author of Mahimna Stotram provides the answer right at the beginning of the work.
મધુસ્પીતા વાચઃ પરમમમૃતં નિર્મિતવત-
સ્તવ બ્રહ્મન્ કિં વાગપિ સુરગુરોર્વિસ્મયપદમ્ ।
મમ ત્વેતાં વાણીં ગુણકથનપુણ્યેન ભવતઃ
પુનામીત્યર્થેઽસ્મિન્ પુરમથન બુદ્ધિર્વ્યવસ્થિતા ॥
He says that the Lord has given out the wonderful vedas which are sweet as the nectar. So, even the hymns composed by Brihaspathi, the learned guru of the devas will be insignificant to the Lord. This being so, I have ventured to praise You because the act will purify my speech.
Our puranas repeatedly say that chanting the Lord’s names and singing His glories destroy one’s sins. One need not worry about the level of
his learning to start in this endeavour. Sage Narada pointed this out to Sage Vyasa and advised him to write about the glories of the Lord.
તદ્વાગ્વિસર્ગો જનતાઘવિપ્લવો યસ્મિન્ પ્રતિશ્લોકમબદ્ધવત્યપિ ।
નામાન્યનન્તસ્ય યશોઽઙ્કિતાનિ યચ્છૃણ્વન્તિ ગાયન્તિ
ગૃણન્તિ સાધવઃ ॥BH(1-5-11).
The composition may be replete with faults. Yet, if each vesre speaks of the Lord’s glory , such a work alone will be liked by noble souls. They
will hear it, sing it and repeat it to the listeners. Because of this reason scholars and poets continue to write hymns in praise of the Lord.
The temple of Shri Kapalishvara is many centuries old. The Lord here has been sung by several Tamil saints known as Nayanmars. The famous composer Papanasam Sivan lived in Mylapore near the temple and was an ardent devotee of Kapalishvara. He had composed many songs in praise of the Lord and Devi Kalpakambal. Originally, the temple was situated on the sea shore. But it was badly damaged by tidal waves that battered the structure in the second half of the 16th century. It was later moved to the present location where a magnificient temple has come up. There is a large tank before the temple which is used for the float festival.
Being a major temple devoted to Lord Shiva all the important festivals associated with Lord Shiva are observed punctiliously. The temple is very popular and attracts a large number of devotees even on normal days. It includes locals and tourists from from all over India and abroad too. The crowds are particularly heavy on weekends, Fridays, on important days such as pradoshams (on the Trayodashi days) and Sivaratri.
In the passages that follow there may be statements that will appear to eulogise Lord Shiva as the Supreme Being and place other Gods on lower pedastals. These statements may cause some confusion or displeasure to some. There is no need at all for such feelings. Our puranas always resort to this kind of statements in which one form of God is praised as the Supreme Being and others are shown as an inferior to that particular deity. This is just to glorify that particular form. The intention is never to slight any deities. All puranas are particular in stating what is said in the vedas – that it is the one Supreme Being which appears as different Gods and in essecnce all are one and the same. The Lord says clearly in Gita that He receives worship offered to God in any form.
યે યથા માં પ્રપદ્યન્તે તાંસ્તથૈવ ભજામ્યહમ્ ।
મમ વર્ત્માનુવર્તન્તે મનુષ્યાઃ પાર્થ સર્વશઃ ॥ BG(4-11).
We see in some movies that one actor plays the roles of the hero and also other characters. The hero frequently fights with others (played by
same person). And finally some event reveals the fact that all of them are born to the same lady and are brothers. They hug each other in great
joy and live happily ever after. Similarly. the one Supreme Being alone appears in various forms. So, essentially all forms depict the same Being.
Shri Kapalishvara in the sanctum in the temple is in the form of a lingam. The form has esoteric significance. The word ᳚lingam” means a sign or emblem that characterises an object. લિઙ્ગ્યતેઽનેન ઇતિ લિઙ્ગમ્। The Agama texts, however, interpret the word to describe the Supreme
Being from which the universe emerges (નિર્ગચ્છન્તિ) and into which it finally merges. લયં ગચ્છન્તિ ભૂતાનિ સંહારે નિખિલાનિ
ચ। નિર્ગચ્છન્તિ યતશ્ચાપિ લિઙ્ગોક્તિસ્તેન હેતુના ॥ The Supreme Being is without parts and form. (અરૂપ). However this form is not easily understood or suitable for worship by most people since they have intense attchment to their bodies. Krishna says this clearly.
અવ્યક્તા હિ ગતિર્દુઃખં દેહવદ્ભિરવાપ્યતે ॥ BG(12-5).
Considering this problem that will face many, our shastras provide three concepts of the Lord. That is, sakala (one with form, rupa, like
Nataraja, DakShinamurty etc., ), nishkala (one without form, arupa) and sakala-nishkala (one with and without parts or specific form,
rupa-arupa).The lingam belonga to the third category – a combination of form and formlessness. It is thus extremely suitable for worship.
Its form is made of mantras and hence it is said that the Sivalinga is constituted of vidya or mantra deha. The three chapters of the Shiva
linga, namely the square base, the octogonal column and the upper part relate respectively to Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preservator and
Rudra the annihilator.
બ્રહ્મા વિષ્ણુશ્ચ રુદ્રશ્ચ ત્રિખણ્ડમિતિ કથ્યતે ।
ઊર્ધ્વં તુ શિવભાગસ્યાત્ વિષ્ણુભાગસ્તુ મધ્યમઃ ।
બ્રહ્માભાગસ્ત્વધઃ પ્રોક્તઃ શાસ્ત્રજ્ઞૈર્લિઙ્ગકુમ્ભયોઃ ॥
Thus the lingam represents the Supreme Being that embodies in itself the triad of gods. One of the names of Shiva is
લિઙ્ગરૂપી – લીનમર્થં ગમયતીતિ લિઙ્ગમ્। તદ્રૂપી લિઙ્ગરૂપી ।
અવિદ્યાતિરોહિત-જડપ્રપઞ્ચસ્ય ગમકત્વં પ્રકાશાત્મકસ્ય ચૈતન્યસ્ય,
તદ્રૂપી પરમેશ્વરઃ ઇત્યર્થઃ। તદુક્તં સ્કાન્દે –
અથાતઃ સંપ્રવક્ષ્યામિ શિવલિઙ્ગં સમાસતઃ ।
યસ્ય વિજ્ઞાનમાત્રેણ વિમુક્તો માનવો ભવેત્ ॥
શિવ એવ સ્વયં લિઙ્ગં ગમકમેવ હિ ।
શિવેન ગમ્યતે સર્વં શિવો નાન્યેન ગમ્યતે ॥SS(653).
Now we will say a few words about some important days observed in the temple. These days may be divided into two types – festivals and
vratams. Their purpose is the same, that is to make strong the remembrance of the Lord and bring us close to Him. Festivals like Deepavali and Dusserrah are marked by celebrations. The vratams, such as the Ekadasi and Shivaratri are marked by fasting, devotion, austeriry and observance of vows.
We are familiar with the story of the churning of the ocean by devas and asuras to obtain the Amrit or nectar. It is said that they used the
mountain Manthara as the churning pestle and the snake Vasuki as the rope. The asuras held the snake near the head and the devas the tail portion. As they started churning the snake suffered intense agony and vomited its venom. It was very potent and threatened to engulf the world. The devas ran to Lord Shiva and prayed to Him to save them and the world. Shiva, who is the embodiment of compassion took pity on them and consumed the venom. All the devas who gathered at that time felt immense relief and worshipped the Lord in gratitude without taking any food. This was the Ekadasi day. The Lord was pleased with their worship and distributed the Amrit to them. On the following day ( that is, on the dwadasi) the devas finished their puja early in the morning and had their food. On the next day, that is on trayodasi, the Lord who was pleased with their devotion performed a dance in the evening. Devi Parvati was watching the dance along with the devas. This dance performance lasted for one yama (યામ) or three hours. The period came to be known as pradosham. This is a vratam and devoted exclusively for the worship of Lord Shiva.
If the pradosham falls on a Saturday then it becomes specially auspicious. The pradosham is auspicious as on that occasion all the
gods and devas assemble to have the darshan of Lord Shiva and witness His dance. So, by visiting the temple on that occasion one can have
the benefit of having the darshan of Lord Shiva as also all gods. Some verses from Shiva Puranam that talk about the glory of pradosham are
given below. Rough translations of the verses are also given.
શંભુરેવ તદા પૂજ્યો નાન્યે વિષ્ણ્વાદયસ્સુરાઃ ।
યત્તત્ર સર્વેઽપિ સુરાસ્તિષ્ઠન્તિ શિવસન્નિધૌ ॥
અતસ્તસ્યાર્ચનં પૂજા કથાગુણગણસ્તવમ્ ।
તન્મન્ત્રસ્ય જપશ્ચૈવ કર્તવ્યો મોક્ષકાંક્ષિભિઃ ॥
દારિદ્ર્યદુઃખતાન્ધાનાં એતદ્દિવ્યાઞ્જનં સ્મૃતમ્ ।
ઋણાર્ણવનિમગ્નાનાં ઉડુપોઽયં સુતારકઃ ॥
On that occasion (evening of pradosham day) Lord Shiva alone is to be worshipped,and not other devas like Vishnu. For, all of them are there in the presence of Lord Shiva. So, one who seeks liberation should do His puja, listen to stories that narrate His glories and chant His mantra. Those who are severely afflicted by poverty and sorrow will get relief by this. This will serve as a boat that will help those who are immersed in ocean of debts.
પ્રદોષે પાર્વતીનાથે મહત્તન્વતિ તાણ્ડવમ્ ।
વાગ્દેવી વલ્લવીન્ધત્તે મૃદઙ્ગં ગરુડધ્વજઃ ।
રમા ગાનકલાં બ્રહ્મા તાલં વેણું દિવસ્પતિઃ ॥
સર્વે ચાન્યે સુપર્વાણઃ સેવન્તે તં મહેશ્વરમ્ ।
પુણ્યક્ષેત્રં સમાસાદ્ય મહાલિઙ્ગં નિષેવ્ય ચ ॥
પઞ્ચકૃત્વા નમસ્કુર્યાત્ સાષ્ટાઙ્ગં ભક્તિપૂર્વકમ્ ।
પાંસૂનાં અઙ્ગલગ્નાનાં એકૈકસ્ય નમસ્કૃતૌ ॥
દિવ્યવર્ષસહસ્રંતુ શિવલોકે મહીયતે।
During pradosha time Lord Shiva dances along with Parvathi Devi. Sarasvati Devi plays on veena. Vishnu plays on mridangam. Laxmi Devi sings and Brahma plays on cymbals. Indra plays on flute. All gods witness the glorious sight. One should reach a holy shrine and worship Mahalingam by prostrating to Him five times. By saluting thus one gets to live in Shivaloka for as many years as the dust particles that had stuck to his body.
દર્શનં વન્દનં લિઙ્ગપ્રદક્ષિણઞ્ચ તર્પણમ્ ।
પ્રદોષે ઋણમુક્તેઃ સ્યાત્ ભવતૂલમહાનિલઃ ।
ભુક્તિર્મૈથુનમભ્યઙ્ગં હરિદર્શનકીર્તને ।
વ્યર્થાલાપં પ્રદોષે તુ વર્જયેદ્વૈદિકો જનઃ ॥
Having darsan of Shivalingam, circumambulating It and performing tarpanam will pay off the five obligations one is born with. One should not indulge in eating, sex, oil bath, darsan of Hari and idle gossip during pradosham.
વિષ્ણ્વર્ચનં સદા કાર્યં પ્રદોષસમયં વિના ।
તત્રાપિ નરસિંહં તુ કીર્તયેદ્દર્શયેદ્ભુધઃ ॥
એવં પ્રદોષસમયે પૂજાં કર્તુમશક્નુવન્ ।
ગત્વા શિવાલયં પશ્યેત્ ભક્તોઽભક્તોઽતવા શિવમ્ ॥
One should worship Lord Vishnu always except on pradosham days. It is beneficial to have darsan of Lord Narasimha and worship Him on
pradosham time. One who is unable to do puja etc., as said above during pradosham can get the benefit by having a darsan of the temple of Lord Shiva.
It is said here that one should not have darsan of Vishnu on pradosham days but it does good to have darsan and worship Narasimaha. The reason is that Narasimha is Shiva only and not different from Him. The following quote from Nrisimhapurvatapani upanishad states this clearly.
ૐ ઋતં સત્યં પરં બ્રહ્મ પુરુષં નૃકેસરિ વિગ્રહમ્ ।
કૃષ્ણપિંગલ-મૂર્ધ્વરેતં વિરૂપાક્ષં શંકરં નીલલોહિતં
ઉમાપતિં પશુપતિં પિનાકિનં હ્યમિતદ્યુતિ-મીશાનઃ— ॥
The pradosham day occurring in the Magha month (11th in the Hindu calendar) is very special and is celebrated as Shivaratri. This is
the day when Lord Shiva revealed His glorious form to the gods to show that He alone is the Supreme Being. He appeared to them in the form of infinite effulgence. He told them that they all can derive benefit by worshipping Him. Accordingly the gods offered special puja to Him. Lord Shiva was pleased with their worship. He added that the day will be known as Shivaratri and will be a very auspecious one.
દિનમેતત્ તતઃ પુણ્યં ભવિષ્યતિ મહત્તરમ્ ।
શિવરાત્રિરિતિ ખ્યાતા તિથિરેષા મમ પ્રિયા ॥
Later the infinite form transformed Itself Into a lingam. The Lord said that whoever fasts on that day or worships Him will get all that
is good in this life and will escape rebirth. He also said that the lingam will get installed in all the temples and the place where the lingam appeared first will be known as Arunachalam. Aruna means red – the colour of the flame. Achalam means mountain. Shiva in this place is
known as Arunachaleshvara.
ભોગાવહં ઇદં લિઙ્ગં ભુક્તિમુક્ત્યેક સાધનમ્ ।
દર્શન-સ્પર્શન-ધ્યાનાજ્જન્તૂનાં જન્મ મોચનમ્ ॥
અનલાચલ-સંકાશં યદિદં લિઙ્ગમુત્થિતમ્ ।
અરુણાચલમિત્યેવ તદિદં ખ્યાતમેષ્યતિ ॥
This have occured in Tiruvannamali where the lingam in the temple is known as tejolingam (તેજોલિઙ્ગમ્।). The event is celebrated as an
annual festival in that town. A big lamp is lighted at the top of the hill behind the temple to mark the event. Thousands of people gather to
witness the light.
Shivaratri day is celebrated with great deal of fervour in Shiva temples all over the country. This is a vratam and so is marked by pujas, fasting
and offering prayers throughout the night. After having bath one should wear vibhuti, necklace of rudrakSha beads, worship the Lord with bilva leaves, chant thr sacred panchakShara mantra and visit Shiva temple and participate in the pujas that are done throughout the night. Fasting is prescribed as an aid to curb the wandering tendency of the mind so that it can concentrate on the job on hand – in this case the puja of the Lord. This is known to us for long. Shri Krishna mentions this in Bhagavad Gita (2-59).
વિષયા વિનિવર્તન્તે નિરાહારસ્ય દેહિનઃ।
Some verses from the Shiva puranas that extol the important day are given here with rough translation.
માઘકૃષ્ણચતુર્દશ્યાં ઉપવાસોઽતિદુર્લભઃ ।
તત્રાપિ દુર્લભં મન્યે રાત્રૌ જાગરણં નૃણામ્ ॥
Fasting on the chaturdashi day in the fortnight following the full moon day in the Magha month (ie) on Shivaratri day is not something that is
easily got by everyone. Still more difficult to get is the possibility of keeping awake duringthe night on that day.
અતીવ દુર્લભં તત્ર શિવલિઙ્ગસ્ય દર્શનમ્ ।
સુદુર્લભતરં તત્ર પૂજનં પરમેશિતુઃ ॥
It is very difficult to have darshan of the Shiva lingam. Still more difficult is a to get a chance to worship the Lord.
લભ્યતે વા પુનસ્તત્ર બિલ્વ-પત્રાર્પણં વિભોઃ ॥
Even in performing that worship to that omnipresent Lord the good fortune to offer bilva leaves to Him is got only by the fructification of good deedes done in innumerable births.
વર્ષાણામયુતં યેન સ્નાતં ગઙ્ગાસરિજ્જલે ।
સકૃદ્ બિલ્વાર્ચનેનૈવ તત્ફલં લભ્યતે નરૈઃ ॥
What merit one earns by taking bath in the river Ganga for ten thousand years is got by worshipping Lord with the bilva leaves on Shivaratri
અત્રોપવાસઃ કેનાપિ કૃતઃ ક્રતુશતાયતે ।
રાત્રૌ જાગરણં પુણ્યં વર્ષ-કોટિ-તપોધિકમ્ ॥
Fasting on the night of Shivaratri is equivalent to performing hundred vedic sacrifices. Keeping awake on that night is superior to austerities
performed in ten million years.
એકેન બિલ્વ-પત્રેણ શિવ-લિઙ્ગાર્ચને કૃતે ।
ત્રૈલોક્યે તસ્ય પુણ્યસ્ય કો વા સાદૃશ્યમૃચ્છતિ ॥
Nothing in all the worlds equals the merit one earns by offering one bilva leaf to the Lord on that holy day.
અહો બલવતી માયા યેન શૈવી મહાતિથિઃ ।
નોપાસ્યતે જનૈ-ર્મૂઢૈઃ અતિમૂર્ખૈરિવ ત્રયી ॥
OH! great is the power of maya. Ignorant people do not observe Shivaratri which is so glorious. This is just like the ignorant people not caring
to study the vedas.
ઉપવાસો જાગરણં સન્નિધિઃ પરમેશિતુઃ ।
ગોકર્ણં શિવલોકસ્ય નૃણાં સોપાન-પદ્ધતિઃ ॥
Fasting on Shivaratri day, keeping awake during that night, visiting the temple of the Lord, the holy place of Gokarna constitute the steps
for one to reach the abode of Lord Shiva .
THE SUMMER FESTIVAL:-
The summer festival (March-April) lasts for ten days. It attracts huge crowds from in and around the city of Chennai. We can have
the darshan of the Lord riding on the bull Nandi on the fifth day. One of the Lord’s name is ઋષભારૂઢઃ.The bull or rishabha
(ઋષભઃ) represents dharma which showers all desired results like dharma. artha kama and also gives purity of mind that helps
in pursuing mokSha. The commentator says :- ᳚વૃષ સેચને᳚ વર્ષણાત્ સર્વકામાનાંવૃષભઃ, ધર્મરૂપતયા સર્વકામપ્રદત્વાત્, તમારૂઢઃ; વૃષભવાહનઃ ઇત્યર્થઃ।SAN(40). The Lord also has the bull as the mark in His flag. Because of this He also has the name વૃષાઙ્કઃ।SAN(39).. This shows the great importance the Lord attaches to dharma.
On the seventh day we have the car festival when He goes round the streets in a car. It is very popular and attracts huge crowds. It is said that
one who can have the darsan of tha Lord in the car will escape rebirth. રથસ્થં વામનં દૃષ્ટ્વા પુનર્જન્મ ન વિદ્યતે । The ᳚car” represents the body.
આત્માનં રથિનં વિદ્ધિ શરીરં રથમેવ ચ ।
બુદ્ધિં તુ સારથિં વિદ્ધિ મનઃ પ્રગ્રહમેવ ચ ॥
says Katha Upanishad (1-3-3).
The Self within the body is the charioteer, the one who rides in the chariot. The વામનઃ or dwarf mentioned herein refers to the
Self, Supreme Being, the size of the thumb, who resides in the body, in the small chamber of the heart of everyone. The Katha Upanishad says
અઙ્ગુષ્ઠમાત્રઃ પુરુષો મધ્ય આત્મનિ તિષ્ઠતિ ।
ઈશાનં ભૂતભવ્યસ્ય ન તતો વિજુગુપ્સતે ॥
Even though the Self is all pervading, It is conceived as a dwarf residing in the heart to facilitate meditation on It.
Another important festival is the day when the 63 saivaite saints, known as Nayanmars are taken in a procession and the Lord follows His
devotees. A popular Tamil poet Avvaiyar has said in one of her poems that a devotee of the Lord is greater than the Lord Himself as he has
the Lord enshrined in his heart! This will remind us of what Sri Krishna told about His devotees to His friend Uddhava in the Uddhava Gita.
નિરપેક્ષં મુનિં શાન્તં નિર્વૈરં સમદર્શનમ્ ।
અનુવ્રજામ્યહં નિત્યં પૂયયેત્યઙ્ઘ્રિરેણુભિઃ ॥
He said that He invariably follows His devotees.
This festival is celebrated on the eighth day.
On the ninth day one can have the darshan of the Lord as ભિક્ષાટનઃ a mendicant going around the streets with a begging bowl. The question
now arises as to why the Lord is reduced to state of nothingness? Puranas tell that Lord Shiva took on the role of a beggar with a dishevelled
appearance to teach a lesson to some sages who were staunch adherents of the path of karma and ignored the higher path of jnana.They were proud of their of achievements in this path that got them some supernatural powers also.The beggar was extremely handsome. On seeing Him many of the men and women in the ashram precinct lost their balance and started following Him. When the sages saw this they were furious. They cursed him and let loose some demons created by their spiritual power. But their attempts to harm the beggar utterly failed and they felt humiliated. They surrendered to the Lord.
The ten days festival concludes with the wedding of the divine couple (Lord Kapali and Devi Kalpakambal). The function is celebrated with
great deal of enthusiasm by the people as they consider it as a marriage happening in their own house. Everyone brings presents to the ᳚bride”
and ᳚groom” in the form of silk sarees and silk dhoties etc. Many offer pieces of jewellery. They also bring sweet and savoury items prepared
specially for the occasion. Thus the marriage turns out to be a memorable occasion. After the function gets over the devotees are given prasad
offered to the divine couple. The wedding signifies the union of the Jivatma and Pramatma who were never separate, but felt separated due to
the veil of avidya or nescience. The Lalithasahasranamam describes Devi Lalitha as કામેશ-બદ્ધ-માઙ્ગલ્યસૂત્ર-શોભિત-કન્ધરા। Devi’s neck shines with the Mangalya thread tied by the Lord who, therefore has the name અમ્બિકાનાથઃ = અમ્બિકાયા નાથઃ પતિઃ। ઇદં ચાર્થતઃ
શ્રુતિ-પ્રસિદ્ધં નામ। ᳚નમો હિરણ્ય-બાહવે હિરણ્ય-વર્ણાય
હિરણ્ય-રૂપાય હિરણ્ય-પતયેઽમ્બિકા-પતય ઉમા-પતયે પશુ-પતયે
We also have the float festival (in January-February) when the Lord goes round the tank in a float.This symbolises the fact that the Lord Siva,
like a boatman, goes in a boat or raft, scours the ocean of samsara and looks for people who are struggling in the ocean and seeking His help
to come out of it. So Siva has these names .
સંસારાર્ણવ-મગ્નાનાં સમુદ્ધરણ હેતુઃ –
સંસારઃ જનનમરણાદિસમૂહઃ સ એવાર્ણવઃ, સમુદ્રઃ અપારત્વાત્,
તત્ર મગ્નાનાં સર્વદા દુઃખનુભવિતૄણાં,
તેષાં દુઃખનાશને હેતુઃ કારણં વેદાન્તમહાવાક્યજન્ય-
વૃત્ત્યારૂઢઃ સન્ સંસરપાશવિચ્છેદકરત્વાત્ ॥
᳚જ્ઞાત્વા દેવં સર્વપાશાપહાનિરિતિ।᳚ શ્રુતિઃ ॥SS(408) and
વિષયાર્ણવમગ્નાનાં સમુદ્ધરણસેતુઃ –
વિષયશબ્દેન વિષયાનુભવરૂપસંસાર ઉચ્યતે॥ સ એવાર્ણવઃ
સમુદ્રઃ વિષયાર્ણવઃ, તસ્મિન્ સંસારસમુદ્રે મહતિ,
અનાદાવનન્તેઽપારે નિરાલમ્બે વિષયેન્દ્રિયજનિતસુખલવલક્ષણવિભ્રમે,
મહાપાતકાદ્યનેકનિરયગતે, (દુર્વારવારિચરગર્ભે) હાહેત્યાદિ-
કૂજિતાક્રોશનોદ્ભૂતમહાર્ણવે મગ્નાનં સમુદ્ધરણે સમ્યગુદ્ધરણે
સેતુરિવ સેતુઃ ।
᳚ત્રિરુન્નતં સ્થાપ્ય સમં શરીરં
હૃદીન્દ્રિયાણિ મનસા સન્નિવેશ્ય ।
બ્રહ્મોડુપેન પ્રતરેવ વિદ્વાન્
સ્રોતાંસિ સર્વાણિ ભયાવહાનિ॥᳚ ઇતિ શ્રુતિઃ ॥SS(477).
This will bring to our mind the verse from the popular Karavalamba stotrAm wherein Shri Shankaracharya beseeches Lord Laxmi Narasimha to extend His hand and pull him out of the fearsome ocean of samsara.
દીનં વિલોકય વિભો કરુણાનિધે મામ્ ।
લક્ષ્મીનૃસિંહ મમ દેહિ કરાવલમ્બમ્॥(૧૦) ॥
Every individual is struggling in the ocean of samsasra, but does not know how to reach the shore. Also he does not have the abilty to know
the means. In such a precarious situation the kindly acharya tells us that reaching out to the Lord is the only way. One struggling in the
sea for a long time swallows the bitter water, feels weak and faint. In the same way one caught in the ocean of samsara takes in the poison of
pleasures and pains through the senses and is befuddled. The acharya herein gently reminds the Lord that saving someone caught in the sea
is not something new to Him. On an earlier occasion He had rescued Prahlada who was bound to a big slab of stone and thrown into the sea
by saying પ્રહ્લાદ-ખેદ-પરિહાર-પરાવતાર। The kindly Lord is one who is capable of helping us to get out of samsara and administer the required treatment. He is renowned in the vedas as the foremost and devine physician. Shri Rudram says this.અધ્યવોચદધિ વક્તા પ્રથમો દૈવ્યો ભિષક્। Krishna says that He will lift up those who have exclusive devotion to Him from the ocean of samsara. Gita (12-7).
તેષામહં સમુદ્ધર્તા મૃત્યુસંસારસાગરાત્ ।
ભવામિ ન ચિરાત્પાર્થ મય્યાવેશિઅતચેતસામ્ ॥
There is a separate temple inside the main temple for Devi who bears the name Kalpakambal. It is said that She took the form of a peacock and worshipped the Lord here to demonstrate the power of devotion. Peacock is called ᳚mayil᳚ in Tamil. Thus the place has come to be known as Mailai or as Mayilapuri and as Mylapore.
Kapali is one of Shiva’s names. (No.24-Shiva 108 namavali). Kapala means a skull. Siva wears a garland of skulls. Each skull in His garland is
said to be that of one Brahma, the creator god after Brahma’s demise at the time of resolution or pralaya. Brahma is only the name of the post, like that of the President or the Prime Minister. When the post is vacated by the occupant another suitable person takes up the post and the work of creation continues. This period is known as કલ્પં kalpam. At the time of Kalpam, Shiva withdrws the creation within Himself and releases it at the beginning of the next Kalpa. Krishna says this in Gita-(9-7).
સર્વભૂતાનિ કૌન્તેય પ્રકૃતિં યાન્તિ મામિકામ્ ।
કલ્પક્ષયે પુનસ્તાનિ કલ્પાદૌ વિસૃજામ્યહમ્ ॥
Brahma has a very long life according to our calendar. We may get an idea about Brahma’s longevity from the following figures. 360 human years = 1 year of devas. 12,000 years of the devas = The duration of 4 yugas. 2000 such periods = One day of Brahma. Brahma has a life of 100 years made of such days and is equal to 432 million years of mortals. Thus, it is very very long as per our reckoning. Still, Brahma has a finite life only, however long it may be. It has an end. So, every one, including Brahma, is absorbed by Lord’s Prakriti and released again.
Shiva wearing a garland made of skulls of Brahmas indicates that Shiva is beyond time, is eternal and lasts even after other lesser gods like
Brahma who are in the grip of time meet their end. Shri Nilakanta DikShita explains this in his Shivatattvarahasyam as follows. SAN(24).
કપાલીતિ – કપાલં બ્રહ્મકપાલં અસ્યાસ્તીતિ કપાલી। એતેન
અનેક-બ્રહ્માત્યય-દર્શિત્વ-લક્ષણં સનાતનત્વમુક્તં ભવતિ ।
Now we are faced with a peculiar problem. What can we ask of Kapaleeshvara, who Himself goes around with a begging bowl (kapalam or skull) in His hand? Shri Shankaracharya too faced this problem and had come out with an ingenious solution. He had seen that wandering beggars usually keep with them dogs, monkeys and such small animals. They make the animals do some simple tricks, entertain the people and collect alms. He says that he has a monkey called his mind that is very frisky, mischievous and uncontrollable. He beseeches the Lord to tie it with the cord of devotion and take it with HIm. Please look at this entreaty that is addressed to Kapali.
સદા મોહાટવ્યાં ચરતિ યુવતીનાં કુચ-ગિરૌ
નટત્યાશાશાખાવટતિ જ़્હટિતિ સ્વૈરમભિતઃ ।
કપાલિન્! ભિક્ષો! મે હૃદય-કપિમત્યન્ત-ચપલં
દૃઢં બધ્વા શિવ ભવદધીનં કુરુ વિભો! ॥ SL (20).
Thus, the hymn that follows is about the Infinite Supreme Being who appears as Kapali for the benefit of devotees and who is none other than Lord Shiva. Devi Kalpakamba is His Maya shakti also known as Prakriti. The Supreme Being associated with maya is known as Ishwara or Maheshwara. This is said in the Svethasvaropanishad as: માયાં તુ પ્રકૃતિં વિદ્યાન્માયિનં તુ મહેશ્વરમ્ । Maya has names as Parvati, Shiva, Uma etc. Shiva means auspiciouness. SS(18). શિવો મઙ્ગલરૂપઃ। નિર્માષ્ઠ-નિખિલ-દુઃખાનુષઙ્ગ-પરમાનન્દ-રૂપ ઇત્યર્થઃ ।
So is also Devi Kalpakamba who has the name Mangala (meaning auspicious). The following popular verse from Saptasloki Durga says this clearly.
સર્વમઙ્ગલમાઙ્ગલ્યે શિવે સર્વાર્થસાધિકે ।
શરણ્યે ત્ર્યમ્બિકે ગૌરિ નારાયણિ નમોઽસ્તુ તે ॥
Thus, by saluting them whose very names spell auspiciousness, one is bound to get all that is good in life here and hereafter. The following
popular verse says this.
યઃ શિવો નમરૂપાભ્યાં યા દેવી સર્વમઙ્ગલા ।
તયોઃ સંસ્મરણાત્ પુંસાં સર્વતો જય મઙ્ગલમ્ ॥
The Kaivalyopanishad (7) says:-
ઉમાસહાયં પરમેશ્વરં પ્રભું
ત્રિલોચનં નીલકણ્ઠં પ્રશાન્તમ્ ।
ધ્યાત્વા મુનિર્ગચ્છતિ ભૂતયોનિં
સમસ્તસાક્ષિં તમસઃ પરસ્તાત્ ॥
that one, by meditating on the highest Lord who is allied to Uma, supremely powerful. three eyed, has a blue neck and tranquil reaches
Him who is the source of all, the witness of all and is beyond darkness (ignorance or avidya).
This is said in the following verse also.
કલ્પકામ્બા-કપાલીશૌ ભક્તરક્ષણ-તત્પરૌ ।
તયોઃ અનુગ્રહો યત્ર વર્તતે તત્ર મઙ્ગલમ્ ॥
॥ શ્રી કપાલીશ્વરાષ્ટકમ્ ॥
કલાધરાર્ધ-શેખરં કરીન્દ્ર-ચર્મ-ભૂષિતમ્ ।
કુબેર-મિત્રમૂર્જિતં ગણેશ-પૂજિતં ભજે ॥ ૧॥
ભજે ભુજઙ્ગ-ભૂષણં ભવાબ્ધિ-ભીતિ-ભઞ્જનં
ભવોદ્ભવં ભયાપહં સુખપ્રદં સુરેશ્વરમ્ ।
રવીન્દુ-વહ્નિ-લોચનં રમા-ધવાર્ચિતં વરં
હ્યુમા-ધવં સુમાધવી-સુભૂષિઅતં મહાગુરુમ્ ॥ ૨॥
ગુરું ગિરીન્દ્ર-ધન્વિનં ગુહ-પ્રિયં ગુહાશયં
ગિરિ-પ્રિયં નગ-પ્રિયા-સમન્વિતં વર-પ્રદમ્ ।
સુર-પ્રિયં રવિ-પ્રભં સુરેન્દ્ર-પૂજિતં પ્રભું
નરેન્દ્ર-પીઠ-દાયકં નમામ્યહં મહેશ્વરમ્ ॥ ૩॥
મહેશ્વરં સુરેશ્વરં ધનેશ્વર-પ્રિયેશ્વરં
વનેશ્વરં વિશુદ્ધ-ચિત્ત વાસિનં પરાત્પરમ્ ।
વિરુદ્ધ-કર્મ-કારિણં સુશિક્ષકં સ્મરામ્યહમ્ ॥ ૪॥
સ્મરામ્યહં સ્મરાન્તકં મુરારિ-સેવિતાઙ્ઘ્રિકં
પરારિ-નાશન-ક્ષમં પુરારિ રૂપિણં શુભમ્ ।
સ્પુઅરત્-સહસ્ર-ભાનુ-તુલ્ય તેજસં મહૌજસં
સુ-ચણ્ડિકેશ પૂજિતં મૃડં સમાશ્રયે સદા ॥ ૫॥
સદા પ્રહૃષ્ટ-રૂપિણં સતાં પ્રહર્ષ-વર્ષિણં
ભિદા વિનાશ-કારણ પ્રમાણગોચરં પરમ્ ।
મુદા પ્રવૃત્ત-નર્તનં જગત્પવિત્ર-કીર્તનં
નિદાનમેકમદ્ભુતં નિતાન્તમાશ્રયેહ્યહમ્ ॥ ૬॥
અહં-મમાદિ દૂષણં મહેન્દ્ર-રત્ન-ભૂષણં
મહા-વૃષેન્દ્ર-વાહનં હ્યહીન્દ્ર-ભૂષણાન્વિતમ્ ।
મૃકણ્ડુસૂનુ સંસ્તુતં હ્યભીતિદં નમામિ તમ્ ॥ ૭॥
નમામિ તં મહામતિં નતેષ્ટદાન-ચક્ષણં
નતાર્તિ-ભઞ્જનોદ્યતં નગેન્દ્ર-વાસિનં વિભુમ્ ।
અગેન્દ્રજા સમન્વિતં મૃગેન્દ્ર વિક્રમાન્વિતં
ખગેન્દ્ર-વાહન-પ્રિયં સુખસ્વરૂપમવ્યયમ્ ॥ ૮॥
સુગૂડકાઞ્ચિરામકૃષ્ણ યોગિશિષ્ય સંસ્તુતમ્ ।
મહાપ્રદોષ પુણ્યકાલ કીર્તનાત્શુભપ્રદં
ભજામહે સદામુદા કપાલિ મઙ્ગળાષ્ટકમ્ ॥ ૯॥
કપાલિ તુષ્ટિદાયકં મહાપદિ પ્રપાલકં
ત્વભીષ્ટ-સિદ્ધિ-દાયકં વિશિષ્ટ-મઙ્ગલાષ્ટકમ્ ।
પઠેત્સુભક્તિતઃ કપાલિ સન્નિધૌ ક્રમાત્
અવાપ્ય સર્વમાયુરાદિ મોદતે સુમઙ્ગલમ્ ॥ ૧૦॥
ઇતિ ગૂડલૂર્ શ્રીરામકૃષ્ણાનન્દ યતીન્દ્ર શિષ્ય
શ્રી રામચન્દ્રેણ વિરચિતં
॥ શ્રી કપાલીશ્વરાષ્ટકં સમ્પૂર્ણમ્ ॥