Shivananda Lahari is a treatise of one hundred verses, composed by Adi Shankaracharya. It literally means the "Wave of Auspicious Bliss". Adi Shankaracharya sings marvelously in praise of the Shiva which is immensely helpful to invoke bhakti in sadhakas. It was composed by Adi Shankara while staying in Srisailam, a pilgrimage town, in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. It begins with an ode to Mallikarjuna and Bhramarambika, the deities at Srisailam.
Unlike Soundrya Lahari, this stotra does not seem to have tantric implications. It is simpler and enriched with several alankaras . Any one reading this and understanding it would definitely become a richer man-rich because of the peace, steadfast mind and knowledge of God and Philosophy he gains.
These verses are very potent in invoking the Grace of Lord Shiva. They also contain spiritual ideas which are revealing, inspiring and insightful. One of the verses asks “Kim Durlabham” meaning what is impossible for one who worships Lord Shiva. The verses also caution readers against fruitless worship of superficial gods.
With myriad aspects to look at the Shivananda Lahari, Shri Ramana Maharshi presents the text as a magna dicta of Bhakti . By quoting the definition of bhakti in the text itself we see -
अङ्कोलं निजबीजसन्ततिरयस्कान्तोपलं सूचिका
साध्वी नैजविभुं लता क्षितिरुहं सिन्धुः सरिद्वल्लभम् ।
प्राप्नोतीह यथा तथा पशुपतेः पादारविन्दद्वयं
चेतोवृत्तिरुपेत्य तिष्ठति सदा सा भक्तिरित्युच्यते ।। 61।।
"Like the real seed progeny reaches for the mother ankola tree,
Like the iron needle reaches for the load stone.
Like the chaste woman reaches for her lord,
Like the tender creeper reaches for near by trees,
Like the river reaches for the sea,
If the spirit of the mind,
Reaches for the lotus feet of Pasupathi,
And stays there always,
Then that state is called devotion."
With utmost respect to Adi Shankaracharya and the Guru-parampara , let us dive into this "Wave of Auspicious Bliss".