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by Poonthanam
Poonthanam was a great devotee of Lord Guruvaayoorappan who lived during 1547-1640. Poonthanam was the family name; his personal name is not known. Poonthanam's illam - the traditional house, was located in the district of Malappuram near Perinthalmanna in Kerala. The Njanappaana, which means song of wisdom, written in simple Malayalam is Poonthanam's greatest work. His popular poems are Bhasha Karnamritam, Kumaraharanam or Santanagopalam Pana and Njanappaana. Primarily these are devotional work in Malayalam intended to create Krishna bhakti in readers. The touching narrative in very simple and straight-forward language with fast moving verses makes it very attractive to common devotees. Krishna's infinite love for his devotees is the central theme, but the poem makes its appeal because of its down-to-earth realism and unmistakable touch of authenticity..
While Unnikrishnan is playing in my mind, do I need another baby as my own?
This line of Njanappaana will simply make anybody feel deep from their heart…there is a sad story behind it.
Poonthanam married an heiress at 20, but for long time, they had no children. He began to propitiate Lord Guruvaayoorappan. Finally his prayers were granted, a son was born in 1586. He did the Initial samskaras for his son like jathakarma - done soon after the baby is born; nama karana - naming of the child etc. When the baby was six months old, Poonthanam decided to celebrate the child's Annaprasanam - first feeding of cooked rice. He fixed an auspicious date for that and invited friends and relatives. The preparations were all done well. On the day of the ceremony everybody in the house were busy, Poonthanam's wife gave bath to the baby and dressed him up. She put him to sleep on a mat on the floor and tucked with a nice white sheet. The invitees from the neighborhood started coming in; those days Nampoothiri women practiced ghosha system - they used to cover their body with a white cloth and keep a palm leaf umbrella when they went out. The lady of the house greeted the guests and guided to baby's room to put their covering cloths. The lady who went in first put her cloth on the baby by mistake. The others, who followed her, did the same. In their celebration mood nobody noticed that the cloths are on the baby, they joined the hostess in preparation for the ceremony. It went unnoticed till the time of ceremony where they need the child's presence. The mother, who went to the room to pick up the baby, saw a heap of cloths on him. She removed all the clothes and found the baby underneath the heap dead by suffocation.
This incident made Poonthanam divert all his attention towards Guruvaayoorappan, his devotion became more intense he decided to consider Unnikrishnan (baby Krishnan) who is playing always in his mind, as his own baby. Poonthanam spent the rest of his life of 90 odd years reading the Bhagavatham and singing the Lord's glories in simple Malayalam. Lord Guruvaayoorappan has appreciated Poonthanam's bhakthi various times directly and it is believed that he himself came down to earth and taken Poonthanam personally to Vaikuntam.
Poonthanam Nambudiri was contemporary of Melpathur Bhattatiri - author of Narayaneeyam. Melpathur was the most knowledgeable and scholarly personality of that time. He was suffering from severe arthritis and was pleading to Guruvayoorappan for a remedy when he started his composition of Narayaneeyam. By the time he finished Narayaneeyam he was completely out of his sickness and became renowned for his devotion. Those days Malayalam was not considered equal to Sanskrit and was not well accepted in the learned circle, Melpathur also had contempt for Malayalam. Poonthanam had submitted the draft of Njanappaana to Melpathur, he refused to see this work but told him blatantly to go and learn Sanskrit before writing. This act of Melpathur hurt Poonthanam very much. Melpathur was composing Narayaneeyam those days, the next day, as usual when he came to offer dasaka or ten slokas to the Lord, he could not utter a single word. A small boy in his teens, never seen before presented himself and pointed out mistakes after mistakes in all slokas composed by Melpathur. After ten mistakes in ten slokas Melpathur realised the divinity of the boy. He fell at the feet of the boy but the boy disappeared and there was an asareeri - celestial voice saying, "Poonthanam's Bhakthi - devotion is more pleasing to me than Melpathur's Vibhakthi - learning or knowledge in Sanskrit grammar." Melpathur realised his mistake and asked Poonthanam to pardon him and amended his arrogance by reading the works of Poonthanam. It is also said that within a few days after this occurrence of refusing Poonthanam's composition; Bhattathiri's arthritis started acting up again. In his meditation, he heard the Lord Guruvayoorappan telling him that Poonthanam's composition with humble devotion is more precious to him than Bhattathiri's high knowledge with arrogance. Bhattathiri realize his mistake and he understood the magnificence of Njanappaana and gave due respect to Poonthanam and his famous composition. He got well with in a short period.
Though Poonthanam and Melpathur were great devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan, Poonthanam, a great poet, who wrote his verses in the vernacular, was famous for his bhakthi - devotion where as Melpathur, an erudite scholar and great poet in Sanskrit was known for his vibhakthi - knowledge. It looks like Guruvayurappan was partial towards Poonthanam than Melpathur. Melpathur used to be arrogant and laugh at Poonthanam's Sanskrit reading and recitation. One day Poonthanam was wrongly reciting "Padmanabho Maraprabhu," which means Lord of trees in Malayalam. Melpathur openly laughed at Poonthanam and corrected saying, Padmanabha is not Maraprabhu - Lord of trees but Amaraprabhu - Lord of immortals. Immediately, there was an asareeri - celestial voice from the inner shrine, " I am also Maraprabhu". There is a statue of "Maraprabhu" in the Sreevalsam Guest house compound fully made of clay. This is the biggest idol made of clay in Asia.
There are many stories about Poonthanam's bhakthi and his bond with the sacred Bhagavatham. The temple of Kottiyoor in North Kerala is very popular; it is believed that Daksha Yaga was performed there. The significant deity in this temple is Lord Siva. The temple was kept open only for a few days during a year. There were no human activities in that place for the rest of the year. Once Poonthanam reached at the Kottiyoor temple, had a bath in the Holly River; he worshiped compassionate God Siva, felt happy, and stayed there for a few days. He recited Bhagavatham everyday in front of the deity. There is a famous part in the tenth chapter of Bhagavatham named "Karhichith". This part contained a story of Lord Krishna asking his wife Rukmini "Why did you get married with me who is just a shepherd? You would have had much better life if you had married the King Sisupala. Hearing this Rukmini faints and Lord consoles her. This part is described very well in Bhagavatham with inner meanings. Poonthanam finished reading this part of the chapter and kept the bookmark on that page. Next day he found the bookmark at beginning of the same chapter. So Poonthanam read the same part for the second time. This was repeated for the rest of the days. It was the last day to close the temple for the year. Poonthanam returning from the temple with the other devotees. Then he remembered about his Bhagavatham, which he left at the temple. He hurried back; crossed the river and reach the entrance to the temple, which was closed. He was all alone. He could hear somebody reciting the same part of the chapter from Bhagavatham inside the temple. As he looked through the keyhole he saw Lord Siva himself reading from Poonthanam's Bhagavatham. Goddess Parvathi and his other Bhaoothaganas were listening. Their eyes were filled with tears out of devotion. Poonthanam stood there motionless and heard the whole recitation. At the end Paramasiva asked Parvathi "was my reading as good as Poonthanam's"? Parvathi replied it was not good as Poonthanam's. Hearing this Poonthanam who stood outside was shaken up and uttered the name Narayana loudly. When he watched again the Gods had disappeared. It was God Siva who put the Bookmark at the beginning of the chapter every time when Poonthanam recited at the temple. This story shows that God places true devotees much higher than himself.
Poonthanam used to walk about 100 kilometers to take darshan of Guruvayurappan every month. The route to the temple was very desolate; it was very unsafe to walk through that way even in the day light. Once on his way, in the forest he was attacked by some robbers. He gave them everything he had the money and his ring, still they were at him. They were after the small packet he was clinging to. It was his whole treasure the Bhagavatham book, which he did not want to part with. When Poonthanam said it was only a book, the thieves were not convinced. Sensing the danger of getting killed, he closed his eyes and cried out for Lord's help. That lonely place was filled with the roars of the robbers and the loud Narayana chartings of Poonthanam. Hearing the noise a man came on the horseback. Who put down those deceits and got the money and the ring back for Poonthanam. It was Mangattachan - the Minister of the Zamorin Raja who happened to be passing by. Poonthanam was very happy, he thanked the young man and offered him his ring as a gift. Mangattachan accepted the gift and guided him up to the temple and disappeared. The same night, Melsanthi of the Guruvayur temple had a dream of an Unni Namboodiri telling him "You will find a ring on the idol, give it to Poonthanam, who will come tomorrow." Quite miraculously, next morning when the Melsanthi went to the temple to do Nirmalya pooja he saw a ring on Deity's finger. Poonthanam was promptly there at Guruvayoor temple for Nirmalya Darshnam and vaka charthu around 2.30 morning. Melsanthi came out from Sreekovil and gave Poonthanam the ring and told him what happened. Poonthanam was flabbergasted to see that the ring was his own, which he had presented to Mangattachan, the day before!. Poonthanam couldn't believe that it was Lord Guruvayurappan himself, who came to the rescue as Mangattachan.
It is well-known that Poonthanam was personally taken to Vaikuntam by Lord Guruvaayoorappan himself. While Poonthanam was getting old, he couldn't travel much, so remained at home spending most of his time reading Bhagavatham and meditation. He used to get visions of God very often, but others couldn't understand what he was talking about, so they thought he become senile. One day Poonthanam said, " Guruvaayoorappan is coming to visit us tomorrow. So the whole house needs to be decorated and so on." He got himself busy with preparations. The family thought he was going crazy. Still they helped him with all the arrangements. Next morning while he was resting after meditation he could see a plane coming. He behaved weird and acted as if he is welcoming and offering services to Guruvaayoorappan. By the time the Lord was leaving, he called his wife and asked her to get ready to go to Vaikuntam with him. She didn't take it serious and said she had to do a few more things in the kitchen. A maid who was listening to all this conversation asked for his permission to go with him. Poonthanam gladly agreed. After a few minutes Poonthanam's wife finished her chores and came out to find that Poonthanam is missing and the maid dead.
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by Melputhoor Narayana Bhattapathar
The Narayaneeyam, a great Sanskrit epic, is a brilliant condensation in 1036 shlokams (stanzas) of the great epic Bhaagavatham composed by Sage Vyaasa. The Bhaagavatham describes the entire Hindu beliefs and philosophy of the origin of the Universe and the purpose of human existence. It also describes the various incarnations of the Supreme Being to re-establish righteousness and order in the Universe from time to time. According to Hindu thought, all beings are subject to continual cycles of birth-life-death-rebirth. Bhaagavatham contains advice and instructions for human beings to achieve Moksha (Salvation) to break out of this eternal cycle and attain Union with the Supreme Being at His Lotus-Feet .
The central theme of Narayaneeyam is Bhakti (devotion). In literary merit, the Narayaneeyam holds pride of place in Sanskrit poetry, at par with the works of Kalidasa and other eminent poets. It is divided into 100 Dasakams, most of which comprise ten shlokams each. It was written by Melputhoor Narayana Bhattapathar and gives a summary of 14,000 verses of the Bhagavata Purana. Narayaneeyam was written during 1586. Melputhoor Narayana Bhattapathar was born in 1560 at Melputhoor Illam, located 3.5 km from Thirunavaya, on the northern banks of Nila River, (Bharathapuzha River). He was born into a family of Namboodari Brahmins. By the age of 16, he had mastered Sanskrit grammar, traditional Indian logic, and the Rig Veda. When his Guru became sick, Bhattapathar, by invoking his yogic powers is believed to have taken the ailment on himself.
Melputhoor Narayana Bhattapathar is believed to have proceeded to Guruvayoor Temple, on 19th Chingam of circa 761 Malayalam Era, Malayalam calendar. There, he had written these verses and submitted before Guruvayoorappan. These verses were submitted to get his chronic rheumatic disease cured as advised by his well wishers. He had completed the work in 100 days by submitting one cantos of 10 verses, called "Dasakam" before Guruvayoorappan on each day. Each set of 10 poems ends with a prayer for early cure. The last poem ending with "Ayurarogya Sowghyam" was written on 28th Vrischikam, circa 762 ME, corresponding to 27 November 1586.
During these hundred days of his prayers at Guruvayoor temple, he summarized the entire Bhagavata Purana in 1034 verses, composing one cantos, consisting generally of ten verses everyday. Each cantos ended with a prayer to the Lord of Guruvayoor to cure him of his illness. On the hundredth day, he had a vision of the Lord in the form of Venugopalan. The 100th canto composed on that day gives a graphic description of this form of the Lord from the head to the foot. On 27th november, 1587 when he finished the last dashakam he was completely cured of his disease. He was 27 then. He lived 106 years He was a propounder of purva mimamsa, uttara mimamsa and vyakarana.
One of the most popular shloka of Sri Narayaneeyam is The First shloka itself with its deep meaning a powerful and brief description of the Brahman:
SAndrAnandAvabhOdAtmakam Anupamitham kAladEshAvadibhyAm nirmuktam
nithyamuktam nigamashathasahasrEnha nirbhAsyamAnam
aspashtam drustamAthrE punaruru purushArthAthmakam
bhrahmathatvam tthathAvadbhAthi sAkshAd gurupavanapurE hantha bhAgyam janAnam
Brahman is explained as the form of complete knowledge, happiness, incomparable, beyond time and space, detached, ever unattached, although praised by thousands of verses in the Vedas not clear and still beyond description the universal truth - this brahman, on seeing which one attains the whole purpose of life - the four purushArthas of dharma, artha, kama and mOksha, is HERE shining, in front of us at Guruvayoor, for humble people to see as their own bagyam - fruit of vows - a blessing!
Another most popular shloka is the KESHADIPADANTHA VARNANA, which is explained in such a way that it will make you feel real presence of Guruvaayoorappan right in front of your eyes and experience the Anandam - the great pleasure of his presence, if you listen to it in the right state of your mind.
agrE pashyAmi thEjO nibidathara klAyAvale lObhaneeyam
piyushAplAvithOham thadanu thadudarE divyakAishOravEsham
thArunyA rambharamyam paramasukha rasAsvAda rOmAnchithAngai rAveetham
nAradhAdhyair vilasat upanishath sundaree mandalaishcha
I see before my eyes a glowing light like the KAyambu pushpam. Because of that I am filled with great amruthAnandam. In the midst of that light I see a beautiful lad whose childhood has just finished and youth begun. This lad is surrounded by Naradar who is enjoying paramAnandam and is rOmAnjitham, other sages. The Upanisads which have taken the form of beautiful damsels surround the lad in a circle.
Finally the last shloka, where he ends it with a very emotional deep prayer for an end to the suffering and the joy of moksha….
yOgindrAnAm thvadangEshvadhikasumadhuram mukthi bhAjam nivAsO
bhakthAnam kAmavarshadyutharukisalayam nAtha thE pAdamulam
nithyam chithasthithammE PavanapurapathE KrishnA kArunya sindhO
hruthvA nishshEshathApAn pradishathu paramAnanda sandOha lakshmim
Guruvayoorappa, O compassionate ocean Krishna, of your parts, your feet that is very sweet to the yogis, that is the abode of those who have attained mOksha, that is like the Karpaka tree that grants all the wishes of your devotees should always rest in my mind and should dispel all sufferings and grant the greatest wealth and joy of mOksha.
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Rasakreedavarnanam & Kesadhipaadavarnanam
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Sree Guruvayupuresa Suprabhatham
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Narayaneeyam Dasakam 1
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Recitation in Sanskrit, Explanation in English

001 Narayaneyaam Introduction - 13.90MB

002 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 1



003 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 2

004 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 3

005 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 4

006 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 5

007 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 6

008 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 7

009 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 8

010 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 9

011 Narayaneyaam Dasakam 10

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