The Madhurastakam (Sanskrit: मधुराष्टकम्, madhurāṣṭakam) is a beautiful Sanskrit composition in devotion of Lord Krishna, composed by the Hindu Bhakti philosopher-poet Sripad Vallabha Acharya. Sripad Vallabhacharya flourished under the patronage of the Vijayanagar King Sri Krishnadevarya in the late fifteenth century Andhra State and created many other literary pieces including the Vyasa Sutra Bhashya, Jaimini Sutra Bhasya, Bhagavata Tika Subodhini, Pushti Pravala Maryada and Siddhanta Rahasya in Sanskrit.
The devotional hymn "Madhurastakam" of Sri Vallabhacarya was created to lead the devotee in Pustimarg, the Path of Grace, which involves a constant love-filled devotion to Krishna by various acts of homage, such as singing (kirtana), remembering (smarana), conceptualizing and beholding (darshana) a beatific image of the deity upon singing of the Madhurastakam, and offering of services (seva). These acts enable the devotee to enter into the divine presence of Sri Krishna and to experience the Lord’s real essence (svarupa) which are in fact, succinctly laid down by the Madhurastakam. Hence, Madhurastakam plays an instrumental role in the realization of the Lord.
Astakam as a Form and a Genre
The term "Astakam" is derived from the Sanskrit word aṣṭan, meaning "eight". An astakam is made up of eight stanzas.
An Astakam belong to the genre of lyric poetry, which tends to be short, extremely melodic, and contemplative. It reflects and portrays the poet's own feelings, states of mind, and perceptions about the theme or character in the Astakam.
The thought behind the composition in ‘Bhakti mixed with Love’, being a typical frame of devotion and dedication in the Bhakti movement. In the loved bhakti frame, the devotee falls in love with the almighty and to the devotee, all the attributes and actions of the Lord God appears sweet, as those appear to a lover.
The Madhurastakam deals with the qualities and deeds of Lord Krishna, all of which have been conceptualized as been dipped in madhu, meaning honey or nectar. In the eyes of the devotee, everything that pertains to Lord is sweet and graceful, he being the adhipati (Lord and Godhead) of all sweetness.
The body of the Madhurastakam includes many qualities, attributes and motifs associated with Krishna, including the venu flute, cows, the Yamuna river, gopis, and Krishna's lila. These symbols and motifs related to the life and deeds of Lord Sri Krishna have been labeled as ‘sweet’ in the astakam.
See Sanskrit for details of pronunciation.
|॥ मधुराष्टकम् ॥||.. madhurāṣṭakam ..||Eight Stanzas on Sweetness|
|वल्लभ आचार्य||vallabha ācārya||Vallabha Acharya|
|अधरं मधुरं||adharaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) lips are sweet|
|वदनं मधुरं||vadanaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) face is sweet|
|नयनं मधुरं||nayanaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) eyes are sweet|
|हसितं मधुरम् ।||hasitaṁ madhuram .||(His) smile is sweet|
|हृदयं मधुरं||hṛdayaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) heart is sweet|
|गमनं मधुरं||gamanaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) gait (walk) is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ १ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 1 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|वचनं मधुरं||vacanaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) words are sweet|
|चरितं मधुरं||caritaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) character and deeds are sweet|
|वसनं मधुरं||vasanaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) dress (garment) is sweet|
|वलितं मधुरम् ।||valitaṁ madhuram .||(His) posture is sweet|
|चलितं मधुरं||calitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) movements are sweet|
|भ्रमितं मधुरं||bhramitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) wandering is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ २ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 2 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|वेणुर्मधुरो||veṇurmadhuro||(His) flute-playing is sweet|
|रेणुर्मधुरः||reṇurmadhuraḥ||(His) foot-dust is sweet|
|पाणिर्मधुरः||pāṇirmadhuraḥ||(His) hands are sweet|
|पादौ मधुरौ ।||pādau madhurau .||(His) feet are sweet|
|नृत्यं मधुरं||nṛtyaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) dancing is sweet|
|सख्यं मधुरं||sakhyaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) friendship (company) is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ३ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 3 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|गीतं मधुरं||gītaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) song is sweet|
|पीतं मधुरं||pītaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) drinking is sweet|
|भुक्तं मधुरं||bhuktaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) eating is sweet|
|सुप्तं मधुरम् ।||suptaṁ madhuram .||(His) sleeping is sweet|
|रूपं मधुरं||rūpaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) beautiful form is sweet|
|तिलकं मधुरं||tilakaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) Tilaka (Sandalwood paste mark on the forehead) is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ४ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 4 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|करणं मधुरं||karaṇaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) deeds are sweet|
|तरणं मधुरं||taraṇaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) conquest (liberating) is sweet|
|हरणं मधुरं||haraṇaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) stealing is sweet|
|रमणं मधुरम् ।||ramaṇaṁ madhuram .||(His) love-sports are sweet|
|वमितं मधुरं||vamitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) oblations (offerings) are sweet|
|शमितं मधुरं||śamitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) countenance is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ५ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 5 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|गुञ्जा मधुरा||guñjā madhurā||(His) gunja-berry necklace is sweet|
|माला मधुरा||mālā madhurā||(His) flower garland is sweet|
|यमुना मधुरा||yamunā madhurā||Yamuna river is sweet|
|वीची मधुरा ।||vīcī madhurā .||and sweet are Yamuna’s rippling waves|
|सलिलं मधुरं||salilaṁ madhuraṁ||Her water is sweet|
|कमलं मधुरं||kamalaṁ madhuraṁ||and sweet are the lotus flowers also|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ६ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 6 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|गोपी मधुरा||gopī madhurā||(His) gopis (cowherd girl of Gopa) are sweet|
|लीला मधुरा||līlā madhurā||(His) frolickings are sweet|
|युक्तं मधुरं||yuktaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) union (meeting) is sweet|
|मुक्तं मधुरम् ।||muktaṁ madhuram .||(His) deliverance is sweet|
|दृष्टं मधुरं||dṛṣṭaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) sidelong glances are sweet|
|शिष्टं मधुरं||śiṣṭaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) etiquette is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ७ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 7 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
|गोपा मधुरा||gopā madhurā||(His) gopas (cowherd friends) are sweet|
|गावो मधुरा||gāvo madhurā||(His) cows are sweet|
|यष्टिर्मधुरा||yaṣṭirmadhurā||(His) cane (herding-stick) is sweet|
|सृष्टिर्मधुरा ।||sṛṣṭirmadhurā .||(His) creation is sweet|
|दलितं मधुरं||dalitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) victory is sweet|
|फलितं मधुरं||phalitaṁ madhuraṁ||(His) accomplishment (fruition) is sweet|
|मधुराधिपतेरखिलं मधुरम् ॥ ८ ॥||madhurādhipaterakhilaṁ madhuram .. 8 ..||Everything is sweet about the Lord of Sweetness|
In popular culture
Madhurastakam has been a very popular devotional song. Renowned singers, including the classical legend M. S. Subbulakshmi and semi-classical singer K. J. Yesudas have given classical and semi-classical renditions of the song. In the Odissi dance tradition, the Madhurastakam comprises an elegant and intoxicating theme for dance drama.