Sri Appannacharya one of the great devotee of Sri Guru Raghavendra has composed this priceless poem. This Raghavendra Mangalashtakam poem is of eight verses with an additional ninth verse that describes the benefits of reciting/chanting of the ashtakam.
Sri Raghavendra Mangala Ashtakam Text in English:
saccisyoduganodupah sritajagadgirvanasatpadapah ।
atyartham manasa krtacyutajapah papandhakaratapah
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 1॥
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 2॥
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 3॥
pratyaksthadvijapungavalaya lasanmantralayakhye pure ।
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 4॥
ragaghaughahapadukadvayacarah padmaksamaladharah ।
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 5॥
dhyanaradhanamrdvilepanamukhanekopacaran sada ।
karam karamabhiprayanti caturo lokah pumarthan sada
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 6॥
jñatva’dvaitamatam halahalasamam tyaktva samakhyaptaye ।
sankhyavatsukhadam dasopanisadam vyakhyam samakhyanmuda
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 7॥
sastre devaguruh sritamarataruh pratyuhagotrasvaruh ।
srimatsadgururaghavendrayatirat kuryaddhruvam mangalam ॥ 8॥
yassandhyasvanisam guroryatipateh sanmangalasyastakam
sadyah papaharam svasevi vidusam bhaktyaitadabhasitam ।
bhaktya vakti susampadam subhapadam dirghayurarogyakam
kirtim putrakalatrabandhavasuhrnmurtih prayati dhruvam ॥
iti srimadappanacaryakrtam raghavendramangalastakam sampurnam ।
Shri Raghavendra Mangalashtakam Meaning:
The First Verse:
Sri Appannacharya describes the traits of the great rayaru and his profound devotion towards the Lord Sriman Narayana and the eternal guru Vayudevaru.
Rayaru is like a honeybee, which buzzes around the lotus feet of the almighty Prabhu Ram. By doing so, he draws auspicious energy and absorbs great spiritual knowledge, eternal bliss, and he spreads it to the welfare of the society that is under his shelter.
Rayaru is a true follower of Guru Mukhya Prana (Madhwacharya) and he is a king amongst the saints. He is like a moon in a group of twinkling stars (innumerable great saints) of the Madhwa lineage.
He is an epitome of karunya for those who seek sanctuary under his lotus feet, and he fulfills all the righteous wishes made by his devotees like the celestial tree Kalpavruksha. Forever, his mind is riveted on supreme lord Achyuta and he never stops meditating him. His tejas (aura) is as powerful as the sun and destroys all sins and darkness created by ones’ ignorance and indolence.
May the king of gurus protects us and make every moment auspicious forever.
Sri Appannacharya begins with the very auspicious “shrikara” in order to bless devotees and shower them with auspiciousness.
In this verse, the word ‘shrImad’ also means, the Lord of Shri Devi or the one who is inseparable from Lakshmi.
Also, Sri Appannacharya begins his description of Rayaru as a very great devotee of Rama. Like the Ramayana, Hanuman introduces himself as “dAsoham kausalendrasya’ (“I am the humble servant of Lord Rama, the son of Kausalya”). Here, the first adjective Sri Appannacharya uses for Rayaru is “Srimat Rama pada aravinda madhupah”.
In the galaxy of Vishnu-bhaktas, Sri Appannacharya fits Rayaru with his second adjective as “Sri madhva vamshAdhipah”, i.e., he is a great saint in the lineage of Acharya Madhva!!
Sri Appannacharya is not interested in short term benefits like riches, job, health, etc. That is why he uses the words dhruvam Mangalam – basically meaning anything that leads to the Lord – devotion, detachment, gyana etc.
‘Sat’ one of the many names used in the upanishads for Vayu is ‘sat’. Hence ‘sadguru’ means a respected teacher in the tradition of Vayu.
‘yatirat’ makes it clear that Rayaru is no ordinary yati – he is the king of ascetics, he has the ability and power to grant us wishes that normal yatis would not be able to.
The auspiciousness associated with the name Raghavendra:
The ‘guru charite’ states that the name ‘Raghavendra’ was chosen by Moola Rama devaru and indicated to Sri Sudhindra tirtha in a dream.
it denotes Lord Rama since he is the Indra of the Raghu kula.
It indicates Hanumanta since Raghav is his Indra or Lord.
it means ‘one who destroys sins and bestows desired things’
it means one who destroys sins and provides all desires
as Sri Gopala dasaru describes – “Ra” destroys mountains of sins, “gha” provides deep-rooted devotion, “Ven” gives speedy liberation from the cycle of life and death and “dra” blesses one with vision of the Lord who is celebrated in all shrutis.
The second verse
Due to his penance and immense Hari bhakti, Sri Sudheendra teertharu, venerable amongst ascetics – who conquered his senses, by means of a profuse amount of dhyAna (meditation), trained and educated Rayaru, and subsequently ordained him to the world of sainthood.
Sri Rayaru is fascinated, charmed, and enthralled by the greatness, splendor, and marvelous glory of Lord Madhava, the lord of Siri Lakshmi, one who pervades the entire universe. Rayaru meditates such an “omnipotent lord Sriman Narayana” always with immense devotion and respect.
Guru Raghavendra is like a lion who destroys the rogue elephants like egos of all critics who find fault and criticize the true shastras and teachings of Madhwacharya.
Let the great guru protect us and make every second of our users, right, and auspicious forever.
In the Raghavendra stotra Sri Appannacharya uses the phrase “aparoxita shrIshah” to describe Rayaru. In this verse, he expands on and explains why Rayaru got this status through the words “prajya dhyana vashikr^ita akhila jagad vastavya laxmIdhavaH”. This is a key step in the process of obtaining aparoxa gyana – one needs to meditate on one’s bimba or antaryAmi (inner controller) as the Lord who pervades the entire universe and then obtain darshan of this bimba. This darshan leads to aparoxa gyana.
The Third Verse:
Sri Guru Sarvabowma is multi-skilled and multi-talented. He is well versed in Alankara Shastra, Poetry, Playwright (drama), Music, fine arts, Philosophy and religious subjects such as Nyaya, Vaishesika, Yoga, Vedas, Upanishads, History (Puranas), Vedanta, Brahma Sutras, Mimamsa, and many more subjects. He is a maestro with a string instrument (Veena) and he used his fine art skills to sing and spread the glory of Lord and express gratitude to the lotus feet of Sri Rama.
He is synonymous to the word humility, and he uses the powers bestowed by the lord on him to uplift society. Everyone idealizes and worships him with reverence. He is in the hearts of his devotees, irrespective of their Varnas: Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, Shudras, and responds to their kind affection. For him, the entire universe is his one big family.
May the great sadguru Sri Raghavendra, the king among ascetics, make every moment promising, fortunate, and bright.
Most ascetics limit their area of expertise to shastraic aspects and matters associated with religion and philosophy. There are a few ascetics who transcend this and have command over areas like poetry, music, drama etc. Few Ascetics who come to our mind are Sri SripAdarAja, Sri Vyasa tIrtha, Sri vAdirAja tIrtha, Sri VijayIndra tIrtha, and Sri SudhIndra tIrtha. Sri Raghavendra Tirtha followed in their footsteps.
Rayara Bhatta Sangraha a work on Bhatta Mimamsa made Neelakanta Dikshita the prime minister of Madurai very thrilled and happy. He was all praise on RAyaru’s depth of knowledge in other doctrines. He had the work placed on the royal elephant and taken around the town on a ceremonial procession.
The Fourth Verse:
Mantralaya puri situated on the banks of the river Tungabhadra is full of positive and divine vibrations; the waves of Tungabhadra reflect countless colors of nature adorned with greenery and rocks.
Mantralaya puri is home for several great scholars and pundits who chant Vedas and mantras constantly. Thus, making this town as a Shree Kshetra that has the power to purify everyone.
In this town of Mantralaya resides Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu in a brindravana that appears to be made of Indira neelamani. Although, Sri Rayaru chose a black stone for his brindravana, due to his presence, halo, and spiritual effulgence, the brindravana looks blue in color. In addition, one should remember that Rayaru chose this stone because Prabhu Rama sat on it during his van vasa.
The greatness of Mantralaya where Rayara Brindavana is built:
Sri Prahalada rajaru (Mularoopa of Rayaru) performed yaagas in Satya Yuga, thus sanctifying it forever.
Prabhu Rama, Mate Seeta, and Lakshmana stayed here during their van vasa.
In the dvapara yuga, when arjuna was following the horse used in the ashvamedha yaga being conducted by dharmaraja he had to fight with a king called Anusalva in Manchale. By accident, Anusalva’s chariot was positioned over the yaaga kunda used by Prahlada, making him invincible. Perplexed by this, Arjuna prayed to Krishna for guidance. Krishna told him to move his chariot back a little. Anusalva thought arjuna was losing and so advanced to chase him. By doing so, he moved his chariot away from the auspicious spot, losing his invincibility. Arjuna was able to defeat him easily. Such was the power of the spot on which prahlada had performed his yaga.
The Fifth Verse
Vidwans and Kings seek Sri Rayaru’s lotus feet, when they prostrate before him to get his blessings and guidance, it reflects the glitter of gems studded in the crown of kings.
Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu wears a pair of wooden sandals on his feet while walking. Blessed is one who receives and performs service to the padukas of rayaru, as it destroys all ill desires (raagas: kama — lust, krodha — anger, lobh — greed, moha — delusory emotional attachment or temptation, mada or ahankara — pride, matsarya — envy/jealousy) and sins (papa and dosha) due to those desires. He is wearing a rosary (a string of 108 beads) made of lotus seed.
Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu has a brilliant radiance due to his tapashakti. He carries a danda (Stick) and kamandala (pot) of water, in his hands, that is bright and glows with spiritual luster. He wears red robes (Hindu saints wear saffron color robes). Shree Appannacharya while composing this Mangalashtakam had a vision of swamiji wearing red robes. Although, he wears simple clothes and leads austere life, he appears grandeur.
The Sixth Verse
The people, who visit Sri Guru Raghavendra teertha’s Brindavan should circumambulate, prostrate, perform or watch abhishekam, chant vedas, mantras, hymns, bhajans, religious discourse on Sri Hari and Rayaru. In addition, they should meditate and perform daily aradhana seva, apply Mrithika (Mud from brindavanam) with reverence — the mrithika has tremendous curative and healing powers.
Rayara annual aradhana is celebrated on Shravana month, Krishna Paksha (Second half) Pratipada, Dwiteeya, and Triteeya.
Those who perform the aforementioned services daily or whenever possible with great devotion and reverence to Sri Guru Raghavendra teertha’s brindavan, will earn the grace of Rayaru and attain the four purushaarthas (the 4 major wants – dharma or righteousness, artha or wealth, kama or lust, moksha or liberation) during their lifetime. Thus, they are content forever.
The greatness of Rayara brindavana:
Sri Vijaya dAsaru one of the greatest haridasas who is respected and adored, visited Mantralaya several times and is supposed to have seen and conversed with Rayaru personally several times. Some of the devaranamas composed by him reveal insights that ordinary people would never get. In one song (“noDide gurugaLa noDide ..”), he talks of seeing Lord Narasimha, Rama, Vedavyasa and Krishna on the four sides of the Brindavan, all the gurus from Acharya Madhva down to his own guru present within the brindavana, and Lord Lakshmi Narayana in the form of a discus (chakra) granting the desires of devotees.
The Seventh Verse:
Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu, comprehended the nectar (teachings) of Vedavyasa muni — the incarnation of Lord Narayana (God of Gods) and the lord of all ascetics, Acharya Madhwacharya — the proponent of Dwaita-Tatvavada philosophy, the foremost saint among the followers, Teekarayaru — the saint who wrote commentaries, notes and explanations to Acharya Madhwa’s treatise, works, and doctrines.
He understood Acharya Madhwa’s doctrine and knew that Adwaita doctrine of Acharya Sankara is like Halahala (poison) to the people who are seeking true knowledge and salvation (Mukti). Irrespective of the boundaries of caste, sect, and religion, Sri Rayaru responds and uplifts the true devotees’ wishes.
Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu has written commentaries on Sankhyas, Dasha Upanishads, which is enriching the lives of scholars of past, present, and future. These commentaries are well explained in every aspect and leaving no room for doubts in the mind of readers.
The words ‘muni’ used in the verse have a special significance. As Acharya Madhwa in his Mandukya upanishad bhashya defines Muni as one who knows the meaning and significance of the Omkara. Hence, ‘munisha’ means:
one who is the Isha (greatest) amongst all those who know the Omkara
one who is regarded as Isha (or the Supreme Lord) by those who meditate on the Omkara
the Isha who incarnated as a muni or ascetic.
one on whom even the Ishas meditate (here ‘Isha’ refers to any celestial being who is fairly high in the hierarchy and worshipped by humans i.e., Brahma, Vayu, Rudra, Indra etc. This meaning is similar to the phrase ‘varadesha-varapradam’ used by Acharya Madhva in the dvAdasha stotra)
The Eighth Verse:
If one has to attain Srimath Vaishnavaloka, which is splendid, auspicious, and glorious due to the presence of Sri Hari, one should lead a pious and righteous life on earth, and Rayaru rules the group of lords devotee’s hearts and minds. Rayaru is the king of wandering monks who spread out to preach lords message.
As Acharya Brihaspati the guru of devatas is the master of all shastras, Sri Guru Raghavendra teertharu is also mastered all shastras. Rayaru is similar to the most sought after Kalpavriksha, the boon fulfilling tree, for those who surrender themselves to Rayaru as he fulfills all their desires (Manoabhista).
Rayaru his like a thunderbolt (vajraayudha) for all the mountains of dangers, difficulties, and hurdles. Due to his grace, all miseries become negligent and all sorrows are wiped out completely from his devotees’ lives.
Sri Rayaru has the power of eternal conscious and therefore aware of every single event that takes place in the universe. He has surpassed the past and future, his greatness is abysmal by even the greatest among scholars and pundits. He has conquered the senses and safeguards the wellbeing of his devotes who are satvik (pure in thought, word, and deed).
The Ninth and final Verse”
Those who chant this Mangalashtakam during the Prathah Sandhya and Saayam Sandhya time constantly and with devotion fixing their minds on Rayaru are freed instantly from their sins.
The sins of the scholars, pundits, and even the puny beings is destroyed upon the chanting of this Mangalashtakam with devotion. In addition, they are benefited in leaps and bounds. They will be blessed with prosperity, a higher career position, and status in their profession, long life with good health, and fame. Even their family lives will be peaceful with mutual understandings and respect. They will be blessed with good progeny. Their relationships with relatives and friends will be of great harmony and unity. Due to the mercy of Sri Guru Raghavendra teertha’s blessings, all of the above said fruits (results) and rewards will be on a permanent basis.
Thus, the Yathaa Shakthi English translation of Shree Raghavendra Mangalashtakam is completed. Shree Krishnarpanamastu.