पार्थाय प्रतिबोधितां भगवता नारायणेन स्वयं
व्यासेन ग्रथितां पुराणमुनिना मध्ये महाभारतम्
अद्वैतामृतवर्षिणीं भगवतीम् अष्टादशाध्यायिनीम्
अम्ब त्वामनुसन्दधामि भगवद्गीते भवद्वेषिणीम्
I meditate on You, Divine Mother Gita, who showers the nectar of Advaita (non-dualistic Truth) in 18 chapters; You who are the destroyer of the cycle of life and death. Lord Narayana himself taught this knowledge to Arjuna. The sage who gave us the Puranas, sage Vyasa, strung this into the middle of the Mahabharata.
नमोऽस्तु ते व्यास विशालबुद्धे
येन त्वया भारततैलपूर्णः
प्रज्वलितो ज्ञानमयः प्रदीपः
Salutations to Vyasa, the one with an expansive intellect, whose eyes are like a lotus in full bloom, who lit the lamp of wisdom with the scented oil of the Mahabharata!
I surrender to Sri Krishna who wields a whip in one hand (as Arjuna's charioteer) and displays the chin-mudra in his other hand.
(Note: Chin-mudra expresses the surrender of the jiva atma (the limited individual soul, represented by the index finger that is used to point to others) to the Parama atma (the thumb, without which none of the other fingers can function). The individual soul is limited by the other three fingers which represent either the three gunas -- sattva, rajas, tamas -- or the three bodies -- gross, subtle, and causal. Please see Vocabulary Notes for details.)
दोग्धा गोपाल नन्दनः
पार्थो वत्सः सुधीर्भोक्ता
दुग्धं गीतामृतं महत्
All the Upanishads are like cows, whose essence is milked by Sri Krishna, the cowherd son of Gopala. Partha (Arjuna) is like the calf (whose proximity to the cow encourages the production of milk). The milk that is enjoyed is the great nectar of the Gita.
कृष्णं वन्दे जगद्गुरुम् ५
To Sri Krishna I offer my praise as the scion of an illustrious family -- son of Vasudeva and the greatest joy of (his mother) Devaki; as the upholder of good in society -- the killer of Kamsa and Chanura; and for posterity -- the Guru of the world.
भीष्मद्रोणतटा जयद्रथजला गान्धारीनीलोत्पला
शल्यग्राहवती कृपेण वहिनी कर्णेन वेलाकुल
सोत्तीर्णा खलु पाण्डवार्णवनदी कैवर्तकः केश्वः
The Mahabharata is compared to a river in which the boatman, Sri Krishna, navigates the Pandavas through the treacherous warring waters of their own people. The two banks of the river are Bhishma and Drona, controlling the flow. The waters of the river are Jayadratha, the Sindhu king and the brother-in-law of the Kauravas. The Gandharas (Subala and Shakuni -- blind King Dhritarashtra's father-in-law and brother-in-law) are like the blue lotus which grows in marshy waters and traps you when you approach it. Shalya (a calm and formidable fighter; the maternal uncle of the Pandavas, Nakula and Sahadeva who Duryodhana tricked to his side) is compared to a multitude of marine animals. The undercurrent in the waters is Krpacharya (a great archer and teacher of the Pandavas). The turbulent waves in the waters are Karna. Ashvattama (Krpacharya's son) and Vikarna (one of the 100 Kauravas) are like violent crocodiles and Duryodhana is the whirlpool that churns the river.
पाराशर्यवचः सरोजममलं गीतार्थगन्धोत्कटं
नानाख्यानककेसरं हरिकथा सम्बोधनाबोधितम्
लोके सज्जनषट्पदैरहरहः पेपीयमानं मुदा
भूयाद्भारतपङ्कजं कलिमल प्रध्वंसिनः श्रेयसे
The Mahabharata is like a lotus born in the pond of Parashara's mouth (Parashara is Vyasa's father). It is pure, with the fragrance of the Gita. Its strands are the stories of Hari (Sri Krishna) that weave the great knowledge.
मूकं करोति वाचालं
पङ्गुं लङ्घयते गिरिम्
यत्कृपा तमहं वन्दे
I bow down to Madhava [the consort (Dhava) of Ma (Sri Lakshmi)], the source of all happiness, that compassionate One who grace can make the dumb speak and the lame climb mountains.
यं ब्रह्मा वरुणेन्द्ररुद्रमरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यैः स्तवैः
वेदैः साङ्गपदक्रमोपनिषदैः गायन्ति यं सामगाः
ध्यानावस्थिततद्गतेन मनसा पश्यन्ति यं योगिनः
यस्यान्तं न विदुः सुरासुरगणाः देवाय तस्मै नमः
Glorified with divine hymns by Brahma, Varuna, Indra, Maruta sung in musical form of the Vedas and the ancillary scriptures; the great meditators see with their single-pointed concentration that unlimited Being which even the Devas and Asuras do not comprehend. To that Being, I offer myself.