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An ancient prayer by an unknown Vaisnava author

(Reproduced with kind permission from the Sri Gaudiya Giti-Guccha) 

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vraje prasiddham navanita-cauram
gopangananam ca dukula-cauram
cauragraganyam purusam namami


I offer pranama to that foremost of thieves-who is famous in Vraja as the butter-thief and who steals the gopis’ clothes, and who, for those who take shelter of Him, steals the sins which have accrued over many lifetimes.



sri-radhikaya hrdayasya cauram
padasritanam ca samasta-cauram
cauragraganyam purusam namami


I offer pranama to the foremost of thieves-who steals Srimati Radhika’s heart, who steals the dark lustre of a fresh raincloud, and who steals all the sins and sufferings of those who take shelter of His feet.



akincani-krtya padasritam yah
karoti bhiksum pathi geha-hinam
kenapy aho bhisana-caura idrg
drstah-sruto va na jagat-traye ’pi


He turns His surrendered devotees into paupers and wandering, homeless beggars-aho! Such a fearsome thief has never been seen or heard of in all the three worlds.



yadiya namapi haraty-asesam
giri prasaran-api papa-rasin
ascarya-rupo nanu caura idrg
drstah sruto va na maya kadapi


Mere utterance of His name purges one of a mountain of sins-such an astonishingly wonderful thief I have never seen or heard of anywhere!



dhanam ca manam ca tathendriyani
pranamsca hrtva mama sarvam eva
palayase kutra dhrto ’dya caura
tvam bhakti-damnasi maya niruddhah


He Thief! Having stolen my wealth, my honour, my senses, and my very life, where can You run to? I have caught You with the rope of my devotion.



chinatsi ghoram yama-pasa-bandham
bhinatsi bhimam bhava-pasa-bandham
chinatsi sarvasya samasta-bandham
naivatmano bhakta-krtam tu bandham


You cut the terrible noose of Yamaraja (the lord of death), You sever the dreadful noose of material existence, and You slash everyone’s material bondage, but You are unable to cut the knot fastened by Your own loving devotees.



man-manase tamasa-rasi-ghore
karagrhe duhkha-maye nibaddhah
labhasva he caura! hare! ciraya
sva-caurya-dosocitam eva dandam


O stealer of my everything! He Thief! Today I have imprisoned You in the miserable prison-house of my heart which is very fearful due to the darkness of my ignorance, and there for a very long time You will remain, receiving appropriate punishment for Your crimes of thievery!



karagrhe vasa sada hrdaye madiye
mad-bhaktipasa-drdha-bandhana-niscalah san
tvam krsna he! pralaya-koti-satantare ’pi
sarvasva-caura! hrdayan-nahi mocayami


O Krishna, thief of my everything! The noose of my devotion remaining forever tight, You will continue to reside in the prison-house of my heart because I will not release You for millions of aeons. This astaka is recited in the poetic meter known as ‘Upajati’.






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