Poem from Soundarya lahari (సౌందర్యలహరి – waves of beauty) by Adi Shankaracharya

My grandmother taught me many sanskrit slokas,  although I took pride in memorizing and chanting the slokas, I never bothered to understand them. But today, may be out of curiosity or may be out of boredom, I was determined to understand this sloka from Soundarya Lahari(సౌందర్యలహరి – waves of beauty). I found a book on Soundary Lahari with pratipadardam(word by word meaning) and tatparyam(gist). Below is an attempt to translate this beautiful sloka into english. I should say that the poem sounds lot better than what the translation may suggest.

This poem is a description of physical appearance of goddess Saraswathi (Shankaracharya is believed to have seen the Goddess).

శరజ్జ్యోత్స్నా శుద్ధాం శశియుతజటాజూటమకుటాం
వరత్రాసత్రాణస్ఫటికఘుటికాపుస్తకకరాం ;
సకృన్నత్వా నత్వా కథమివ సతాం సన్నిదధతే
మధుక్షీరద్రాక్షా మధురిమధురీణాః ఫణితయః .

English transliteration
Sharajjyostna shuddham shasiyutha jataajootamakutaam
varatraasatraana spatikagutikaa pustakakaraam
sakrunnatva natva kadamiva sataam sannidadathe
madhuksheeradraksha madhurimadhureenaha phanithayaha

Hindi transliteration
शरज्ज्योस्त्ना शुद्धां शशियुत जटाज्यूटमकुटाम
वरत्रासत्राण स्पटिकघुटिका पुस्तककराम ;
सकृन्नत्वनत्वा कधमिव सतां सन्निददते
मधुक्षीरद्राक्षा मधुरिमाधुरीणः फणितयः

Oh goddess,
You are pure(white) as the autumn moonlight (శరజ్జ్యోత్స్నా శుద్ధాం)
You wear a crown of hair braided and decorated with crescented moon (శశియుత జటాజూటమకుటాం)
You have the posture of varadaana(blessing) and abhaya(courage) (వరత్రాసత్రాణ)
You hold quartz bead necklace(spatika mala) in one hand(as japa mala) and a book in the other(స్ఫటికఘుటికా పుస్తకకరాం)
Poets who pray you even once(సకృన్నత్వా నత్వా కథమివ సతాం సన్నిదధతే )
Will be blessed with speech as sweet as honey, milk and grapes (మధుక్షీరద్రాక్షా మధురిమధురీణాః ఫణితయః)

I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to write complicated words in Telugu (such as శరజ్జ్యోత్స్నా) using Google transliteration tool. I tried other transliteration websites which came on top in Google search but none came close to Google in terms of ease of use. So, if you are trying to transliterate from English to Telugu you don’t have to look beyond Google.

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About Aditya Marella

Software Engineer, Liberal, Agnostic
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