Adi Sankaracharya was one of the greatest Hindu philosophers of our country. Sankara at a tender age of eight took up Sanyas.
Everyday Sankara used to go out seeking bhiksha. One fine day he reached the house of a poor brahmin lady and sought bhiksha from her: “bhavati bhiksham dehi”. Seeing the young sanyasi whose face was glowing with divine aura at her doorstep, she went in and searched the entire house, but could not find anything to give him. Finally she found one dried amla (gooseberry) in the house. She was in dilemma. How could she offer a single amla, and that too a dried one for bhiksha? But to send away a brahmin boy, that too a sanyasi empty-handed is not right. Very hesitantly she came out and offered the boy the only food she had in her home – one dried amla (goose-berry)!
Sankara was overwhelmed by the love and affection, the kindness and selflessness of this poor lady. He spontaneously burst forth into poetry and sang twenty one verses in praise of Goddess Lakshmi – the Bestower of Wealth. Captivated by the sheer beauty of these devotional out-pourings, Goddess Lakshmi appeared before Sankara and asked him why he had invoked Her.
Sankara sought the grace and blessings of Sri Lakshmi upon the poor lady and asked the Mother of the Universe to bestow wealth upon her. Devi replied that she was suffering poverty due to her past karmas and it was her destiny to live in poverty in this life. Sankara requested Mother who had all the power to erase the ill-effects of her past karma to annul them and shower Her compassion upon this lady for her devotion and selflessness. In response to the prayers of Sankara, Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of Compassion showered Her choicest blessings on the poor lady. There was a shower of golden goose-berries from the heavens!
This bouquet of twenty-one verses are known as “Kanakadhara Stotra” (Showers of Gold Stotra!). It is chanted to invoke the grace and blessings of Goddess Lakshmi for not only material wealth, but also for one’s spiritual well-being .
In the 9th sloka of this stotra, Sankara very beautifully invokes the “breeze of compassion in the Mother to send down showers of wealth!”
दद्याद् दयानुपवनो द्रविणाम्बुधाराम्
अस्मिन्नकिञ्चनविहङ्गशिशौ विषण्णे ।
दुष्कर्मघर्ममपनीय चिराय दूरं
“O! Beloved consort of Narayana, with the breeze of your infinite compassion, shower your grace in the form of wealth upon me, and quench the thirst of this utterly helpless, parched Chataka bird who is looking up to you. Also be gracious and cast your loving glance upon me and remove once forever the burden of my past evil deeds which has been tormenting me.”
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]