Adi Shankaracharya was possibly one of the greatest saints of his time. He became a monk at very young age.  One day he went for begging food, as it was the custom, and arrived at the hut of a very poor Brahmin woman. The woman had no food at home except an Amla fruit (gooseberry). She gave this fruit to Adi Shankara without any hesitation. Sri Shankara was deeply touched at the plight of the woman and her generosity. He was so much moved by her poverty that he extemporaneously composed and sang the Kanakadhara Stotram in front of the woman’s hut. He prayed Goddess Mahalakshmi to bless the poor women by driving her poverty and grant her riches. This prayer instantly invoked the Mahalakshmi. She told him that the lady had not done any good deeds in her previous birth. So she doesn’t deserve riches and is destined to suffer in poverty. Shankara accepted that the poor lady didn’t do any good deeds in previous birth.  He told Mahalakshmi that she has such a kind heart in this birth that in spite of being poor, she gave this little amla fruit to him. He further requested the Goddess that this good deed alone is enough to bless her with all prosperity. The Goddess was very much impressed by Shankaracharya’s beautiful stotra and his pleading. Then Goddess Mahalakshmi rained down a shower of gold for the benefit of the woman. Each piece of gold was shaped like a gooseberry.  

Reciting this prayer is said to eliminate poverty, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I think the key factor in this miracle was the kindness of that woman. She didn’t have the heart to send away a hungry person empty handed, so she gave him the only food she had. Such a simple thing to do, but how many of us could do it? Apparently, the woman’s descendants still live in the place where this miracle took place, in the town of Kaladi, Kerala which is also Adi Shankara’s birthplace.

Adi Shankara has sung this “Kanakadhara Stotra” for the welfare of everyone who is suffering from past karma . Praying Mahalakshmi with unflinching devotion and listening and reciting  the stotram would definitely alleviate us of all worries and grant boons.

1
Angam hare pulaka bhooshanamasrayanthi,
Bhringanga neva mukulabharanam thamalam,
Angikrithakhila vibhuthirapanga leela,
Mangalyadasthu mama mangala devathaya.
2
Mugdha muhurvidhadhadathi vadhane Murare,
Premathrapapranihithani gathagathani,
Mala dhrishotmadhukareeva maheth pale ya,
Sa ne sriyam dhisathu sagarasambhavaya.
3
Ameelithaksha madhigamya mudha Mukundam
Anandakandamanimeshamananga thanthram,
Akekara stiththa kaninika pashma nethram,
Bhoothyai bhavenmama bhjangasayananganaya.
4
Bahwanthare madhujitha srithakausthube ya,
Haravaleeva nari neela mayi vibhathi,
Kamapradha bhagavatho api kadaksha mala,
Kalyanamavahathu me kamalalayaya
5
Kalambudhaalithorasi kaida bhare,
Dharaadhare sphurathi yaa thadinganeva,
Mathu samastha jagatham mahaneeya murthy,
Badrani me dhisathu bhargava nandanaya
6
Praptham padam pradhamatha khalu yat prabhavath,
Mangalyabhaji madhu madhini manamathena,
Mayyapadetha mathara meekshanardham,
Manthalasam cha makaralaya kanyakaya.
7
Viswamarendra padhavee bramadhana dhaksham,
Ananda hethu radhikam madhu vishwoapi,
Eshanna sheedhathu mayi kshanameekshanartham,
Indhivarodhara sahodharamidhiraya
8
Ishta visishtamathayopi yaya dhayardhra,
Dhrishtya thravishta papadam sulabham labhanthe,
Hrishtim prahrushta kamlodhara deepthirishtam,
Pushtim krishishta mama pushkravishtaraya.
9
Dhadyaddhayanupavanopi dravinambhudaraam,
Asminna kinchina vihanga sisou vishanne,
Dhushkaramagarmmapaneeya chiraya dhooram,
Narayana pranayinee nayanambhuvaha.
10
Gheerdhevathethi garuda dwaja sundarithi,
Sakambhareethi sasi shekara vallebhethi,
Srishti sthithi pralaya kelishu samsthitha ya,
Thasyai namas thribhvanai ka guros tharunyai.
11
Sruthyai namosthu shubha karma phala prasoothyai,
Rathyai namosthu ramaneeya gunarnavayai,
Shakthyai namosthu satha pathra nikethanayai,
Pushtayi namosthu purushotthama vallabhayai.
12
Namosthu naleekha nibhananai,
Namosthu dhugdhogdhadhi janma bhoomayai,
Namosthu somamrutha sodharayai,
Namosthu narayana vallabhayai.
13
Namosthu hemambhuja peetikayai,
Namosthu bhoo mandala nayikayai,
Namosthu devathi dhaya prayai,
Namosthu Sarngayudha vallabhayai.
14
Namosthu devyai bhrugu nandanayai,
Namosthu vishnorurasi sthithayai,
Namosthu lakshmyai kamalalayai,
Namosthu dhamodhra vallabhayai.
15
Namosthu Kanthyai kamalekshanayai,
Namosthu bhoothyai bhuvanaprasoothyai,
Namosthu devadhibhir archithayai,
Namosthu nandhathmaja vallabhayai.
16
Sampath karaani sakalendriya nandanani,
Samrajya dhana vibhavani saroruhakshi,
Twad vandanani dhuritha haranodhythani,
Mamev matharanisam kalayanthu manye.
17
Yath Kadaksha samupasana vidhi,
Sevakasya sakalartha sapadha,
Santhanodhi vachananga manasai,
Twaam murari hridayeswareem bhaje
18
Sarasija nilaye saroja hasthe,
Dhavalathamamsuka gandha maya shobhe,
Bhagavathi hari vallabhe manogne,
Tribhuvana bhoothikari praseeda mahyam
19
Dhiggasthibhi kanaka kumbha mukha vasrushta,
Sarvahini vimala charu jalaapluthangim,
Prathar namami jagathaam janani masesha,
Lokadhinatha grahini mamrithabhi puthreem.
20
Kamale Kamalaksha vallabhe twam,
Karuna poora tharingithaira pangai,
Avalokaya mamakinchananam,
Prathamam pathamakrithrimam dhyaya
21
Sthuvanthi ye sthuthibhirameeranwaham,
Thrayeemayim thribhuvanamatharam ramam,
Gunadhika guruthara bhagya bhagina,
Bhavanthi the bhuvi budha bhavithasayo.

These 21 mellifluous hymns melodiouslyrendered with great Bhakthi Bhava by Bharat Rathna  Shrimati Ms. Subbu Lakshmi.