Composed by Paramacharyal of Kanchi Kama Koti peetam.
Source : http://www.hindudharamaforums.com/showthread.php?t=966 relates a very interesting incident in composition of this great stotra.
An ArAdhanam (homage) day in Tenambakkam — two o’ clock in the afternoon.
PeriyavaaL was sitting on the bank of a pond, keeping one leg in the waters. It was time for me as ArAdhana brAhmaNAL to get inside for the ArAdhanam, wearing the vastram (cloth). PeriyavaaL’s AGYA (order) for me, calling me by his clap of hands, to sit near him with a piece of paper and pen. The pen and paper were brought at once! PeriyavaaL started uttering Sanskrit words one by one. At some points, just telling me the meaning and asking me to produce the Sanskrit padam (word), when the words formed a line, a beautiful stuti called ‘Durga Pancharatnam’ came up. [Svetasvara Upanishad sAram (essence)]. Each shloka (verse) ends with ‘mAM pAhi viSveshvari mokSadAtrI’. (This shloka is written on a marble stone on the left side when one goes to Kamakshi temple).
In the middle of the above stotram (hymn) when the word ‘You are the one who taught the Gita’ (upadiSTa-gItA) came up, looking at my considering it for a kSaNam (moment), he asked, “Why, does it seem incorrect to you to say that Kamakshi did gItopadesham?” I kept quiet with a smile.
Forthwith an AGYA clapping hands to bring the Gita bhASyam (commentary) book. The next moment came the bhASya book in eight volumes! PeriyavaaL turned the page once, and showed me the first page that came up and said, “Read this shloka and its bhASyam.”
This is that shlokam: ‘braHmaNOhi pratiSTAhaM’
“For the changeless, eternal Brahmam, the Maya which is Shakti is the pratiSTA (that through which Brahmam spreads as the many worlds is called pratiSTA). I am That. I am the Brahmam; and I am its pratiSTA will be appropriate; because, there is a bhASyam that ‘shakti shaktimatoH abhedAt’ [both the Shakti and the One who has it are not of different tatvam (nature)].”
As I read up to this line, PeriyavaaL asked, “Is not Kamakshi the Shakti of Brahmam? ‘tatvamasi parabrahma mahiShi’. Is not Shakti the Brahmam, therefore to say that Kamakshi instructed Gita (upadiSTa-gItA) is correct only, right?”
For the states of wonder, happiness and bliss that befell me then, there is indeed no limit.
Meantime, to those who sent word for me the ArAdhana brAhmaNAL, he said, “A big shAstra vichAram (scriptural deliberation) is going on; he will come once it is over.” and then only after getting the ‘pancharatnam’ ready in about an hour, he gave me permission. Even in that he dictated only four shlokas and gave me AGYA, “You write the fifth in the same way, right now, before your meal.” When I said that I was not familiar with writing shlokas, he sent me inside with the words, “ellAm varum pO (you will anyhow get it, go)”.
Later, when the ArAdhana bhojanam (Aradhana meal session) was going on, PeriyavaaL surprisingly came and stood near my leaf-plate. That is, in the old Tenambakkam building we brahmins sat in two rows at 16+16 persons per row. From the other room one should go round the outer walls to come to my room. But then PeriyavaaL used a square hole at the bottom of the central wall, squeezed his head and daNDam (staff) slowly through it, came fully out of it and stood before me; how can I forget that scene!
Forthwith he asked me, “You got the fifth shlokam?” When I spread out an empty hand, he dictated the fifth shloka himself to me twice and said, “Remember to write this along with the other four shlokams and give them to me.” Thus, the avatara of Durga Pancharatnam took place on a Guru Aradhana day!
I saw with my own eyes that he is not only a mahA jnAni, but a mahA yogi too, one who is capable of exercising the aNimAdi siddhi (the eight siddhis beginning with the Anima Siddhi) anAyAsa (effortlessly)!
braHmaNOhi pratisTHAhaM amRUtasyAvyayasyaca |
SASvatasyaca dharmasya sukhasyaikAMtikasyaca ||
— Bhagavat Gita 14.27
“For I am the abode of Brahman, the immortal and the imperishable, of ever-lasting dharma and of absolute bliss.”
— Swami Chinmayananda’s tralslation
anAyAsa – absence of exertion, facility, ease, idleness, neglect
odana – grain mashed and cooked with milk, porridge, boiled rice, any pap or pulpy substance
sava – one who sets in motion or impels, an instigator, stimulator, commander; any sacrifice MBh.;
upadiSTa – specified, particularized; taught, instructed; mentioned, prescribed, commanded, initiated; n. counsel, advice.
Click here for the Sloka – Durga Pancharatnam in Sanskrit, Tamil , Telugu and English with Meaning