Shiva’s Hymn of Protection
caritaṁ devadevasya mahādevasya pāvanam |
apāraṁ paramodāraṁ caturvargasya sādhanam ||1||
The exploits of the great Lord, the Lord of Gods, are most sacred, boundless, of utmost beauty, and the means to attainment of the four aims of man (dharma, artha, kama, moksha).
gaurīvināyakopetaṁ pañcavaktraṁ trinetrakam |
śivaṁ dhyātvā daśabhujaṁ śivarakṣāṁ paṭhennaraḥ ||2||
Having mediated on the five-faced, three-eyed, ten-armed Shiva along with Gauri (Shakti) and Vinayaka (Ganesha), one should recite Shiva’s Hymn of Protection.
gaṅgādharaḥ śiraḥ pātu bhālaṁ ardhenduśekharaḥ |
nayane madanadhvaṁsī karṇo sarpavibhūṣaṇa ||3||
May He protect the head– He who bears the Ganga
May He protect the forehead – He who holds the cresent-moon;
May He protect the eyes – He, the Destroyer of Kama;
May He protect the ears – He who is adorned with serpents.
ghrāṇaṁ pātu purārātiḥ mukhaṁ pātu jagatpatiḥ |
jihvāṁ vāgīśvaraḥ pātu kandharāṁ śitikandharaḥ ||4||
May He protect the nose – He, the Destroyer of Tripura;
May He protect the mouth – He, the Lord of the world;
May He protect the tongue – He, the Lord of speech;
May He protect the neck – He, the One with a blue neck.
śrīkaṇṭhaḥ pātu me kaṇṭhaṁ skandhau viśvadhurandharaḥ |
bhujau bhūbhārasaṁhartā karau pātu pinākadhṛk ||5||
May He protect my throat – He of the shining throat;
May He protect the shoulders – He who takes on the world’s burdens;
May He protect the arms – He who ameliorates the world’s burdens;
May He protect the hands – He who holds the trident.
hṛdayaṁ śaṅkaraḥ pātu jaṭharaṁ girijāpatiḥ |
nābhiṁ mṛtyuñjayaḥ pātu kaṭī vyāghrājināmbaraḥ ||6||
May He protect the heart – He, the Causer of all good;
May He protect the stomach – He, the Lord of Girija (Shakti);
May He protect the navel – He, the Conquerer of death;
May He protect the waist – He who is clad in tiger skins.
sakthinī pātu dīnārthaśaraṇāgatavatsalaḥ |
urū maheśvaraḥ pātu jānunī jagadīśvaraḥ ||7||
May He protect the hips – He, the affectionate Refuge of the distressed;
May He protect the thighs – He, the great Lord;
May He protect the knees – He, the Lord of the world.
jaṅghe pātu jagatkartā gulphau pātu gaṇādhipaḥ |
caraṇau karuṇāsindhuḥ sarvāṅgāni sadāśivaḥ ||8||
May He protect the legs – He, the Creator of the world;
May He protect the ankles – He, the Lord of hosts of beings;
May He protect the feet – He, the Ocean of compassion;
May He protect all limbs – He, Sadashiva, the Ever-Auspicious One.
Among the hundreds of hymns that have come into existence over the last several centuries, certain ones are to be chanted for protection from (impending) harm or bodily injury. Raksha Stotras (hymns of protection) and Kavachas (armor hymns) fall in this category. Although the overt idea of these stotras is to ask the Lord for protection while glorifying His exploits and epithets, the subtle idea is to shield one’s mind with the mantras therein. A mantra, it is said, is that which protects him who chants it (mananat trayate iti mantra). Therefore, the chanting of these stotras is a way to strengthen one’s spiritual character by being absorbed in God-consciousness. The Shiva Raksha Stotra rendered poetically into English above is written in Sanskrit meters called Anushtup Chhandas which contain thirty-two syllables per couplet. The sage and author of this stotra is said to be Yajnavalkya, and it is directed toward the Lord in His Sadashiva form. The full text of this stotra actually contains twelve verses, but only the first eight are given above, as only those are generally recited; the rest being the phala-shruti, an explanation of the use and benefit of reciting this hymn.Aum Namah Shivaya.
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