Category Archives: Ashwini Bhide Deshpande

Madhurashtakam

Govardhana GiridharVallabhacharya (1479-1531) was born in Champaran near Raipur.  His family was Telugu speaking and came from Andhra Pradesh. He was a scholar, philosopher and a great devotee of Lord Krishna and wrote stotras and commentaries on Bhagawata Purana. There is a good article on Vallabhacharya here.

One of his most beautiful poetry is Madhurashtakam, the sweetest of prayers for the sweetest of Gods. I have always loved this prayer, in fact I associate the word Madhura (sweet) with Lord Krishna because of this stotra. Of all the Hindu Gods, Krishna is perhaps the most captivating, especially to a woman. From time immemorial, he has been depicted with his Gopis (cowherdesses), enchanting one and all with his amorous play. If one needs a reason for worshipping a Saguna Brahman (The Absolute with qualities, the definable Absolute), surely this prayer gives you one? How can one say nay to a so irresistible Lord of Sweetness?

I have poured over many translations and dictionaries. I am quite convinced that the translations are watered-down, taking away the sheer erotic imagery of the poet. I can understand that; Hinduism, which once did not hesitate to associate eroticism with divinity, has put on a mantle of Victorian morality for a long time now. We still sing Jayadeva’s verses but not the most explicit ones. We look blankly past erotic sculptures on hallowed grounds. And this, Vallabhacharya’s Madhurastkam has developed a cloak of middle-class ‘respectability’. Pouring over the words, it seems to me that the poet describes not only the sweetness of Krishna but also the sweetness of his love-making. I give the first verse below, for the whole stotra and translation see footnote.

अधरं मधुरं वदनं मधुरं
नयनं मधुरं हसितं मधुरं |
हृदयं मधुरं गमनं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||१||

His lower lips are sweet, His face is sweet,
His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet,
His heart is sweet, His gait is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

Listen to this beautiful stotra sung by Ashiwini Bhide in her inimitable style.


Footnote (Lyrics and Translation):

अधरं मधुरं वदनं मधुरं
नयनं मधुरं हसितं मधुरं |
हृदयं मधुरं गमनं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||१||

His lower lips are sweet, His face is sweet,
His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet,
His heart is sweet, His gait is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

वचनं मधुरं चरितं मधुरं
वसनं मधुरं वलितं मधुरं |
चलितं मधुरं भ्रमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||२||

His words are sweet, His character is sweet,
His clothing is sweet, His posture is sweet,
His movements are sweet, His wandering is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

वेणुर्मधुरो रेणुर्मधुरः
पाणिर्मधुरः पादौ मधुरौ ||
नृत्यं मधुरं सख्यं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||३||

His flute-playing is sweet, His foot-dust is sweet,
His hands are sweet, His feet are sweet,
His dancing is sweet, His friendship is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

गीतं मधुरं पीतं मधुरं
भुक्तं मधुरं सुप्तं मधुरं |
रूपं मधुरं तिलकं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||४||

His song is sweet, His drinking is sweet,
His eating is sweet, His sleeping is sweet,
His form is sweet, His Tilakam is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

करणं मधुरं तरणं मधुरं
हरणं मधुरं रमणं मधुरं |
वमितं मधुरं शमितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||५||

His deeds are sweet, His conquest is sweet,
His seizing  is sweet, His loving is sweet,
His ejecting is sweet, His appeasement is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness

गुञ्जा मधुरा माला मधुरा
यमुना मधुरा वीचि मधुरा |
सलिलं मधुरं कमलं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||६||

His posy is sweet, His garland is sweet,
The river is sweet, the ripples are sweet,
the surge is sweet, the desire is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

गोपी मधुरा लीला मधुरा
युक्तं मधुरं मुक्तं मधुरं |
दृष्टं मधुरं शिष्टं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||७||

His gopis (cowherd girls) are sweet, His play is sweet,
His union is sweet, His release is sweet,
To be seen by him is sweet, His courtesy is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

गोपा मधुरा गावो मधुरा
यष्टिर्मधुरा सृष्टिर्मधुरा |
दलितं मधुरं फलितं मधुरं
मधुराधिपते अखिलं मधुरं ||८||

His herdsmen are sweet, His cows are sweet,
His staff is sweet, His creation is sweet,
His crushing  is sweet, To be fruitful is sweet,
All is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness.

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