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Sri Adi Sankara's Life
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:52 am    Post subject: Sri Adi Sankara's Life Reply with quote

HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal gave His divine orders to make the cyber devotees aware of Shri Adi Sankara’s life. He has asked me to study Shri A. Kupuswami’s book on Adi Sankara and compile anecdotes from the book and elsewhere, publish on the ‘web’ for easier reading and understanding of Shri Adi Sankara’s life.

This is my sincere attempt, with the blessings of Our Guru. I will attempt to post one episode a day.

Om Vighneshvaraya Namah:
Om Sri Gurubhyo Namah:
Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.

1. Sankarodaya

Vidyadhiraja, a learned Brahmin lived in Kaipilli house at Kaladi in Kerala. The ancestral home of Vidyadhiraja was Sivapuram.

Sivapuram is a village about 3 miles southeast of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu. There is a Siva temple in this village. This was where Vishnu, in the form of white boar (Varaha) worshipped Siva. The name of the presiding deity – the Siva Lingam – is “Siva-guru-natha”.

Vidyadhiraja’s son was “Sivaguru”, named after the Lord of Sivapuram. Vidyadhiraja got Sivaguru married to Aryamba, who belonged to Melpazhur, twenty miles southeast of Ernakulam in Kerala. (Note: Melpazhur Mana, the birth house of Aryamba, now houses the International Centre for Spiritual Studies under the Chinmaya International Foundation).

Sivaguru, and his wife, Aryambal, spent their life in pooja and in giving alms to poor and in other good deeds. This childless couple went to Trichur and performed puja for 48 days to Lord Vadakkunathan (Lord Shiva) at Vrishabhachaleswara temple and prayed for a son.

Lord Shiva melted in their devotion and appeared in their dreams and told them "I am extremely happy with your devotion and you will get what you want. But tell me whether you want a number of dull children or a son who is extremely intelligent, who will live for a short period only." The couple replied the decision could not be theirs as the Lord knows what is good for them.

Lord Dakshinamurthy, pleased with the reply, was born to Aryambal in the Vasanta Ritu or the spring season at noon under the star "Thiruvathirai" (Arudhra). As the Lord had already promised that he will be born to do good to this world, the child was named Sankara. All the visitors stood in awe at the divinity of the child and said "This is not an ordinary child".

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.
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Sridhar Kalyanasundaram
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shri Krishnan-ji


What a lovely wonder our Acharya Maha swamigal chose you....

we now have four 'must read' sections - SKji's prayers, Thaila-ji's amruthams, SCji's [kamba] rasam and now Krishnan-ji's nectar.

Is it possible to annotate events with the relevant year[s], for eg. the year of birth of Adi Sankara, and if possible those of Sivaguru, Aryambal, etc. if these are available in the source material[s]?



Jaya Jaya Sankara
Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sridharji

Periyava had specifically asked me to leave out controversial matters. There is controversy in the Dates...BC, AD etc.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Shri Krishnanji,

Excellent beginning.

Guruji's mandate makes it all the more divine.

My namaskArams to you.

Hara Hara Sankara, Jaya Jaya Sankara

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sriman Krishnan,

Great begining at the right time. With Acharyas' blessings there is no doubt that this'll be Sankaramrutam.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radhe Krishna and namaskaarams Sri Krishnan Ji,

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: 2. Infant prodigy Reply with quote

Gurur – Brahma Gurur – Vishnuh
Gurur - devo Maheswarah
Gurur - sakshat Param Brahma
Tasmai Sri Gurave namah

The Preceptor is Brahma; He is Vishnu; He is the God Maheswara. And, He is verily Brahma Himself. Salutation to such a Preceptor.

2. Infant prodigy

Every Avatar who has come down to earth as a Religious Teacher for the fulfillment of a divine mission has been born in a manner that is supernatural and mysterious.

The few Supermen who were born in historical times for the resuscitation of religion all made their advent in ways which were extraordinary. Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Christ are well-known illustrations. Sankara too was born partaking of the nature of Lord Shiva. That he came to earth especially for fulfilling a divine mission will become clear as we learn the story of his life.

Sivaguru was delighted to find that the dream in which he had a boon from Shiva had indeed come true. He saw that his son was of a divine lineage and bore the marks of an incarnation.

The mark of wheel on the baby Sankara's head, the impress of the third eye on the forehead and the sign of the Trishul on the shoulders made wise men decide that he was an incarnation of Shiva.

Sankara was an infant prodigy. The superior genius and the extraordinary intelligence were clearly sprouting in him even when he was a child. This wonder of a child had even by his third year finished reading many books, and by only listening to the readings and chanting of the Vedas, the Vedanta, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas learnt them by heart. The most surprising thing about the boy was that he was a Sruthidhara (a person who can repeat in full, all that he hears just once). Whatever he read or heard got indelibly impressed in his memory.

Once Aryamba was shocked to find a large cobra coiled around the neck of Sankara. However, while she was watching, it turned to a garland.

Sivaguru was extremely happy to find his son endowed with super natural powers. He wanted to perform the boy's Upanayanam (initiation into bachelorhood) in his fifth year, and then to send him to the preceptor's house for study. But, Sivaguru died before he could have the Upanayanam done.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 6:32 am    Post subject: 3. Gurukulam Reply with quote

Sruti Smriti PuraNanamm Aalayam KaruNalayam
Namami Bhagavadpaadaam Sankaram Loka Sankaram

We salute the sacred feet of Sri Sankara, the abode of Srutis (The Vedas), Smritis (The laws), Puranas (Hindu mythology), and of compassion, and who ever accomplishes the good of the world !

3. Gurukulam

After the bereavement in the family, Aryamba moved to her father's house for some days. But she did not forget the last wish of her departed husband. As soon as Sankara reached his fifth year, she returned back to her own home and performed Sankara’s Upanayanam as per the Holy Scriptures. Thereafter, she sent Sankara to the Teacher’s (Guru) house to study (Gurukulam).

Sankara’s Guru was charmed by his devotion to learning. The correctness of Sankara’s pronounciation of words and the sharpness of his intellect fascinated everyone.

In a short span of two years, Sankara was proficient in the Upanishads, Puranas, Itihas and Vedas. He also mastered the various philosophical systems like Nyaya, Sankhya, Patanjala and Vaisesika. Indeed he was as well versed as Bruhaspati, the teacher of the Universe.

Once some pupils were arguing about the number of seeds inside a melon. Young Sankara said that the number of seeds inside that melon would correspond to the number of gods who created the universe. When the children cut open the melon, they found only one seed !

In accordance with the Gurukulam rules, Brahmachari Sankara used to go out for alms every day. One day he went to the house of a poor Brahmin for alms. That day they did not even have a handful of rice. The housewife, not knowing what to do, gave Sankara an Amla fruit (Indian Gooseberry). With tears, she told him of their very poor condition. The woman's terrible poverty deeply moved Sankara. Standing there, he composed and sang a hymn to goddess Mahalakshmi, the great mother who removes poverty and misery.

The hymn, consisting of eighteen verses, known as “Kanakadhaara Stotram” ( kanaka – gold; dhaaraa –shower ) moved Goddess Mahalakshmi. She appeared before him and said, "My dear child, the members of this poor family, in their past lives, did not perform any meritorious acts. How will I bestow on them, wealth and riches?" Sankara then replied to the Mother, " Dear Mother, this lady just now gave me an Amla fruit, when she had nothing else.That, by itself is a meritorious act. If you wish to favour me, please free this family from poverty."

The full verses of Kanakadhaara Stotram can be viewed at ... class="postbody">
Sankara’s request brought joy to the Goddess and she said, "I shall give this family lots of Amlas of gold." And, Lo and behold- golden amlas rained upon the house. Overwhelmed with joy, the lady and her husband told everyone that it was the Boy-Brahmachari Sankara's blessing that had helped them to so much wealth.

It is interesting to note here, HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal’s speech on Guru bhakthi:

“ The Preceptor can intercede on behalf of the disciple and recommend to God to pardon the sinner. God will never disregard this recommendation. If, on the contrary, the preceptor is sinned against, there could be none to protect the sinner. There is a verse which tells us this.

"Gurur-pitaa, gurur-maataa, guru-daivam, guru-gatih,
Sive-rysgte gurustraataa, gurur rushte na kascana.”

While even very intelligent students took at least twenty years to acquire mastery of all scriptures, Sankara was able to acquire that mastery in just two years with the blessings of his Guru.

Hence, Sankara was permitted to return home long before the expiry of the prescribed term at the Gurukulam.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 7:07 am    Post subject: 4. Boyhood Reply with quote

Dhyaana moolam Gurur Moorthi:
Poojamoolam Gurur Padam
Mantramoolam Gurur Vaakyam
Moksha Moolam Gurur Krupa.

The Guru's form is the best to meditate upon; the Guru's feet are the best for worship; the Guru's word is the mantra; the Guru's Grace is the root of liberation.

4. Boyhood

Sankara as a Brahmachari, now lived at home and devoted himself to learning and teaching. He continued to study various philosophical systems existed at that time.

But it was the serving of his mother that was for him his all-important duty and his greatest discipline. He ensured his mother's comfort and happiness by attending on her and serving her.

Sankara’s measureless proficiency in studies and uncommon skill in instructing brought him much renown, and within a few days his fame spread on all corners. Even aged scholars in large numbers began to come to him for a deeper study of the scriptures.

Sankara’s early life was marked by several miraculous exploits that single him out for a divine role.

The devout Aryamba used to go for a bath to the river Purna everyday. And on her way back home, she offered worship at the shrine of Kesava who was her family deity.

River Purna was adored as a sacred river. The river was far off from Sankara's house. Yet, his mother, with great steadfastness, went to the river every day for the holy bath. Once on a hot summer day, Aryamba went to the river as usual, but even after a long time, she did not return home. Sankara went in search of her. As he was walking along the riverbank, he saw her lying unconscious due to exhaustion. In deep misery, he wept profusely and started nursing his mother back to her senses and then slowly led her way back home.

Sankara was ardently devoted to his mother, and no words can portray his feelings on seeing the condition of his mother. All in tears, he sent forth a prayer to God saying, " Lord, You are indeed omnipotent. If You only wish, anything is possible. I cannot bear to see this suffering of my mother. Be gracious and bring the river closer to our house. Then, there will be no more suffering for my mother." Day and night he was immersed in this one appeal to the Lord.

The All-merciful Lord responded to the prayers of Sankara. During the night, it rained so heavily that the river changed its course. Breaking through its north bank, the Purna River began to flow by the side of Sankara’s house.

Even today one can see the river has taken an uncharacteristic turn towards the Math shrine in Kaladi.

This miraculous incident was a big news and spread within a few days to all corners of the area. People came in groups to have a sight of this wonder boy.

Rajashekhara, the ruler of Kerala came to hear of Sankara's divine powers. He himself was a very well read man, including the scriptures. Coming to know of the unprecedented depth of scholarship and the abundance of divine power in a Brahmin boy of seven, the ruler desired to meet him. He sent his chief minister to Sankara, with the gift of an elephant and extended an invitation to meet him at the Palace.

When the minister in all humility told Sankara of the king's desire, Sankara said, "Dear Sir, of what use is an elephant to me? I live only on alms, my clothing is very simple, and my daily round of duties consist of prayers, study of Vedas, teaching, and the service to the Guru. O minister, please carry this reply of mine to the King. Also, please inform him that a Ruler’s primary duty is to ensure that all the Citizens duly perform their duties and lead righteous lives.” With these words he declined the invitation to meet the King.

What did Rajashekhara do?

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:28 am    Post subject: 5. Sankara and the King Reply with quote

Gurave Sarva Lokaanaam
Bhishaje Bhava Roginaam
Nidhaye Sarva Vidyaanaam
Dakshina Moorthaye Namaha

I salute the Lord Dakshina Moorthy (Lord Shiva as Guru) - who is the Teacher to the entire Universe, who cures the disease of worldly existence and who is the abode of all the knowledge.

5. Sankara and the King

Sankara’s turning down the invitation of the Ruler did not make him angry. On the other hand, being a learned King, Rajashekhara became even more drawn towards the Wonder boy.

Accompanied by the ministers, the ruler himself arrived at Kaladi one day to meet Sankara in his own place. He saw Sankara, and all round him were seated Brahmin scholars engaged in scriptural study. Sankara cordially welcomed the king showing him the respects due to royalty. In years he was but a boy, in demeanor and conduct he was one of the eminent and wise.

The monarch's object in coming to Kaladi was to test and measure Sankara's scholarship. After a brief discussion with Sankara on the scriptures, the ruler realized that the boy was a prodigy, distinguished by intellectual sharpness and extraordinary skill. The king had no doubt that Sankara was endowed with divine powers. Both king and the boy merged into a discussion of scriptural themes for a long while, much to their delight of the scholars around.

The monarch then paid obeisance and laid gold coins at the feet of Sankara, He requested Sankara to accept the gift. But Sankara told the royal King: " Noble King, I am a Brahmana and a Brahmachari. These gold coins are of no use to me. The income from our property is quite sufficient to meet my and my mother's expenses. There is no want in our home."

Sankara's spirit of renunciation and disinclination to receive gifts greatly astonished the king. Holding together his palms in reverence he said, " I salute you; such sentiments are indeed becoming of you and you only. I consider myself blessed indeed. But how can I take back the gift I have intended and set apart for you? Please distribute the money yourself to worthy recipients”.

Without a moment's delay, Sankara replied smiling, " You indeed are the monarch of the land. You should be able to know the deserving and the undeserving than a Brahmachari devoted to scriptural studies. While learning and teaching is the duty of a Brahmin, ruler’s duty is to handle wealth and feed the needy. It is for you to distribute this wealth to the deserving."

The monarch saluted Sankara's genius and bent his head in reverence. He ordered the distribution of the gold coins among the Brahmins assembled there.

This incident of Sankara's refusing to accept the preferred money made a deep impression on the ruler's mind. He understood that Sankara was not merely a scholar well versed in all the scriptures, but the boy was superhuman, possessed of powers that were of divine nature. And he was so much drawn to this boy-marvel that from then on, he visited Sankara's house regularly to benefit from his holy company.

Rajashekhara was the author of books like Balabharatha and Balaramayana. He read out these dramas in Sanskrit to Sankara and had the corrections made according to his suggestions.

Sankara's divine quality soon spread all round. And many people came to see him even from far off places. Many scholars wanted to hear an exposition of the scripture from Sankara.

One day a few astrologers arrived at Sankara's home. After discussing the contents of the scriptures in various ways, the astrologers expressed a desire to look into the horoscope of Sankara. On examining the horoscope, they said that death might overtake him in his eighth or sixteenth or thirty second year.

On hearing this, Aryamba was deeply distressed.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 7:44 am    Post subject: 6. Overtures to Sanyasa Reply with quote

Vidita khila sastra sudha jaladhe
Mahito panishat kathi tartha nidhe
Hrudaye kalaye vimalam Saranam
Bhava Sankara de Sikame Saranam

You know of all the Scriptures (they are huge, like ocean)! You explained in detail, all of the great Upanisads! On Your faultless feet, I meditate from my heart. You are my refuge, O Master, Sankara!

6. Overtures to Sanyasa

Aryamba was so sad after hearing the astrologers and informed Sankara about it. Sankara had just then entered on his eighth year. It may not be time to leave the world, but Sankara realised that it was time to leave his mother. He knew that there was no possibility of attaining the knowledge of Truth without resorting to monk hood. And in the absence of knowledge of Truth, there was no possibility of achieving liberation from the bondage of life.

Sankara sensed an opportunity now, to talk to his mother.

“The Lord had told you, before I was born, that I would live only for a short period. So why do you worry? You cannot change the Divine Order. So, be brave”.

“In your earlier births, you gave birth to so many children. What is your connection with them now?”

Sankara continued: “After rains, one sees a lot of bubbles on the surface of water. Some bubbles are attached to each other for sometime. Afterwards, they vanish one by one, and merge with the water….We are also like those bubbles. We have to leave one day”.

Aryamba was amazed with her son’s speech! But she did not want to understand anything Sankara said. “ Is this the way to talk to your Mother? Your father is no more; you will go away; then what will I do? Please pray that I should die. If you do, I am sure it will happen. I will go to your father……though I cannot see you married and enjoy my grand children….” She was sobbing.

Sankara did not continue further. But his desire to embrace Sanyasa became stronger and stronger. He was quite determined. One day he found a suitable opportunity to speak to his mother about it and told her of his intention of becoming a monk.

Aryamba started weeping and wailing. Embracing him, she said, " My dear child, is it right for you to speak such a thing? You are such a tender sapling now. If you become a monk and walk out of home, who is there to look after me? Who will take me to places of pilgrimage? Who will perform my funeral rites when I die? No, no, my dear, as long I am alive, I shall not let you become a Sanyasin."

Sankara remained quiet. Here was a command from the mother not to embrace Sanyasa. There seemed to be no way out of the situation.

Sankara prayed with an earnest heart to the Lord requesting him to make it possible for him to take Sanyasa. He was confidant that the petty desires of men and women including his Mother, cannot stand against the divine will.

But who will bell the cat? How does he make his mother agree? Or, does he walk out without her permission?

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 6:28 am    Post subject: 7. The Nominal Sanyasin Reply with quote


Meaning: Refer : ...
Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:35 am

Correction to the sloka of yesterday, in pronunciation (Thank you, Thailaji)

Vidita-akhila sastra sudha jaladhe
Mahita upanishat kathita artha nidhe
Hrudaye kalaye vimalam Saranam
Bhava Sankara deSika me Saranam

7. The Nominal Sanyasin

Sankara was very clear that he would embrace Sanyasa only with the permission of his mother. And, he was biding his time.

One day, early in the morning, Sankara asked his mother to accompany him to the Purna river for a bath, now that the river was very close to their house.

While Sankara was having bath, all of a sudden, everyone heard a loud shout: “ Ahhhhhh……………Help! “. It was Sankara who was shouting. Aryamba turned to him and shouted back: “ What happened, Sankara? “

“ Ahhhhh…. My leg…… Somebody is pulling it…… Ahhhhhhh………Help me!”

Aryamba saw a crocodile, which was pulling her son’s leg. She also shouted for help. But the crocodile continued to pull him down to deeper waters. Between the pull-up and pull-down, Sankara said, " Mother, saving me is only in your hands now”.

All mothers would do anything, including giving their life, at a situation like this, to save their child. Aryamba was no exception. “Tell me son, what can I do? How do I save you?”

“Give me permission for my rebirth, I will be saved” – Sankara.

"The crocodile will any way eat my son, why does he need my permission to die and be born again?” thought Aryamba. “ Son, I don’t understand what you are saying. I will do anything to save you”.

“Amma, rebirth or Punar janma need not happen only after death. If I totally change the path of my life…… I mean, I change over to the life of a Sanyasin, that also means rebirth. So, I will be saved from death. If you give me permission to become a Sanyasin, then I will change over my life. Then there is a chance that I will survive…… Amma, why don’t we test? In any case, I am going to be swallowed by this crocodile.”

The crocodile had pulled him further. Was there any option for Aryamba? “I gave birth to this child after a lot of prayers. Is this the way to lose my child? Is this the time to think? Is there any hope of saving my child? “, she went through these thoughts.

And finally, she said: “My son, so be it. You become a monk, or whoever you want. As long as you are safe and living anywhere in this world, I give you permission." She said the above words with great difficulty, sobbing with tears rolling down her eyes, and then fainted.

Sankara chanted the mantras to become a Sanyasin. He thus took Apath-sanyasa (the adoption of Sanyasa when death is near) at once.

Immediately, the crocodile let him go unharmed. Sankara came out of the water as a “nominal” Sanyasin. Why nominal? Because one could be formally initiated into the sacred order of Sanyasa only through a Guru. Till then, Sankara would be only a “nominal” Sanyasin.

Immediately after Sankara came out of the water, a Gandharvan (the inhabitants of the Gandharva planet) appeared from the water where the crocodile was, and spoke to Sankara: “ Years ago, I was into bad habits and was enjoying(?) in a riverbed when Maharishi Durvasa passed by. I ignored him totally and he became very angry and cursed me to be a crocodile. He also said that the only way for me to get back to be a Gandharvan was to hold the Lotus feet of Lord Shiva when he visited this river sometime in future. Because of this act today, I am free of my curse and you, from the mundane life.” After saying this, the Gandharvan disappeared.

By then, Aryamba got back her consciousness. With her motherly affection, she told Sankara: “Come, my son, let us go home”.

An interesting conversation ensued.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sri Krishnan Ji,

Hope you are having one soft copy in word doc. or PDF of these wonderful narrations.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:28 am    Post subject: 8. The Great Mother Reply with quote

vyasaaya vishNu roopaya
vyasa roopaya vishNavey |
namo vai brahma nidhaye
vaasishtaaya namo nama: ||

I Salute You, Vyasa, again and again; You are Lord Vishnu in human form; You are the descendant of Vasistha’s race. It is from You that all knowledge originates and develops.

8. The Great Mother

When Aryamba asked Sankara to go with her back home, Sankara said:
“ Home? Just a few minutes ago you told me that I can embrace Sanyasa……. You know that Sanyasins have no home. How can I go with you?”

Till then, Aryamba thought that she only had a bad dream. But was this for real? She felt as if the weight of the sky had descended on her head. Weeping and sobbing, she said, " What is this that you say my boy! You are but a child, how indeed can you renounce home now? How can I renounce my own son born out of so much of prayers?”

Sankara did not loosen his resolve. He quietly said:

" Who do you think saved me from becoming a prey to the crocodile? That very God will look after everything”.

" I am the one born of your womb. I know how much you sacrificed to have me as your son. I will never forget that you opted for ONE intelligent son rather than many children. I know you have nobody except me to love you in this world. “

“What have you achieved other than sadness and sorrow in your life? Before I was born, you were sad for a long time because you had no children. Then you suffered for 9 months, bearing me inside you. Then you were sad because your son was going to live only for a short while. Later, you were very sad losing your husband. Leaving me in Gurukulam, you suffered because you were all alone. For how long do you want to continue this suffering?”

“Like how I have to perform my duties to my mother, I have my duties to the World at large. I cannot postpone it to a period ‘after you’. I did not ask for Sanyas only for me. If you renounce me rather than worry about me, you will also find peace. The sadness and sorrow will not be there any longer for you. The peace and fulfillment you will get in this sacrifice cannot be obtained through any other means, including having me with you, or by accumulating more wealth.”

“Please do not grieve. The whole world will be my home hereafter. All those who will initiate me into the sacred lore will be my fathers. All women who give me bhiksha (alms) will be my mothers. By realizing the Atman, I will gain peace and that peace will be my spouse. All my disciples will be my sons”.

Disappointed and depressed, Aryamba said: “ You are my only son. You have a duty to perform the rites of your father and forefathers. Who will do my final rites?”

Sankara said: “As per the sastras, if one lives the life of the Sanyasin as specified without violation, it is said that his forefathers to twenty one generations would get Moksha.”

“ However, I promise you that during your last moments, when you think of me, I shall, wherever I may be at that time, know of it. And I shall reach you. Before life ebbs out of you, I shall help you to have a vision of your chosen deity. That indeed will be the essence of all pilgrimages for you."

The circumstances which attended Sankara's birth now came to Aryamba's memory and she saw that all these happenings were but inevitable. In a voice choked with emotion, she said, " So be it my son, I bless you by heart and soul that you attain your desired goal."

It was now clear that Sankara's earnest prayers had reached the Lord. By the grace of the Lord, Aryamba's entire being was filled with an ineffable joy. She would no longer hinder her son's ascending to the absolute Brahman. Sankara then prostrated at the feet of his mother. It is said in the Sastras that even a Sanyasin shall prostrate before his mother.

After receiving her blessings on his head, Sankara walked out to have a view of the family deity Sri Keshava. And the sun just rose to view on the eastern horizon.

A look into Arya’s mind:

“Why are these tears obstructing my sight to have a view of my son? I wonder where all he is going to walk? Who is going to take care of him? At the age of 8, a child, who has to play with toys, is going out to help the world to be a better place! That too, with compassion and a brave heart. He is walking out to achieve greatness…. “

“Oh, he is going…. Going….. I am unable to see him….Sankara..... He is gone…. Oh, my eyes, please fill them with tears……Since the birth of the universe, who has sacrificed something more valuable than my son?”

“For an unenlightened person like me, renouncing him is not something big. He gave me the honour of sacrificing him for the good of the world. At least for this, my eyes have no business other than to shed more and more tears in emotion and cheer!”

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara

While typing the above, I could not see….my eyes were full of tears. How about you, while reading?
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sriman Krishnan,

I've read about Sankara many times and every time I think/read of his compassion for his mother, suddenly my eyes swell with tears. Valmiki Ramayana says that one's mother is 10 times more venerable than the father.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radhe Krishna
Being a mom myself, what else would happen? PraNaams to Adi Sankara, the Divine mother and the narrator.
Radhe Krihsna
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since childhood, I have read and heard of Sri Adi Sankara's life story numerous times. But never have they been so beautifully written. Everyday, I can't wait for the next chapter to come...
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 7:28 am    Post subject: 9. Guru in search of Guru Reply with quote

Varalakshmee……… raa ve maa inti ki
Sri Raja Putree……..Varalakshmee….. raa ve maa intiki

Sri Varalaksmi, welcome home.

Guror aadi Anaadischa
Guruh Paramaa Daivatam
Guroh Parataram Naasti
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

The Guru has neither beginning nor end; the Guru is the ultimate, visible God. There is nothing beyond this Guru principle. And I salute such a Guru.

9. Guru in search of Guru

Legend has it that Aadi Seshan, the serpent (couch) of Vishnu, heard Vishnu's exhilarating description of Shiva's 'Dance of Bliss'. Filled with a great desire to witness this dance in person at Chidambaram, Seshan descended to the earth. . He was born to Athri maharishi as Patanjali and went to Chidambaram. He prayed to the Lord.

Nandi, Shiva's carrier would not allow Patanjali to have Darshan of the Lord. In order to reach the Lord. Patanjali, with his mastery over grammatical forms, spontaneously composed a prayer in praise of the Lord without using any extended syllable, to tease Nandi. Shiva was quickly pleased, gave darshan to the devotee, and danced to the lilting tune of that song . Patanjali also witnessed the Ananda Tandavam ( Dance of Bliss) of Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva, pleased with the grammatical skills of Patanjali, requested him to compose “Maha Bhashyam”, the lessons on grammar and spread the same through his disciples.

But due to his own curses, only one of his disciples survived, and that too became a Rakshasa. Patanjali was born again as Chandra Sarma, to learn the Mahabhashyam from the Rakshasa. With great difficulty he learnt all the lessons. To his surprise, the curses on the Rakshasa vanished after the final lesson, and the Rakshasa turned to be Gauda Paada Achaarya.

Chandra Sarma took Sanyasin from Gauda Paada Achaarya and became Govinda Bagavatpada, a great yogi who had realized the ultimate Truth and had his mind firmly established in the knowledge of Advaita Brahman. He went to River Narmada and waited for a specific disciple to spread the Advaita to the Universe.

Sankara, during his Gurukulam days, had learnt the lessons on grammar which was originated from Patanjali. On hearing from his teacher of Govinda Bagavatpada, Sankara had mentally selected him as his Guru and had been waiting impatiently for the blessed moment when he could sit at his feet and attain the knowledge of Advaita.

Where lay the Narmada? Who would give him the direction of the way to it? Sankara had only heard that Narmada lay somewhere in the north, but did not exactly know the path leading to it.

An eight year old boy full of dispassion towards worldly pleasures and having cast off mother's affectionate shelter now went about in the eternal quest of the human soul, the search for the ultimate truth.

Those who saw this shaven-headed boy clad in a Sanyasi's robe with staff and water bowl ( kamandala ) in hand, could not take their eyes off from him but gazed on in speechless wonder. Loving mothers, who saw him, shed silent tears thinking of his mother.

Sankara was not affected by anything he heard or saw. Inquisitive glances, compassionate sighs, eager queries, nothing affected him. He was indifferent to everything except the Spirit and Reality.

Meditating with a one-pointed mind on the All-pervading Supreme Energy, the soul behind all creation, he walked on. He would cover long distances on foot, ask for Biksha (alms) and accept the food, take rest, and walk on.

Thus, in the quest of the Unknown, he passed through many villages and populated human habitations, towns and cities, crossed many fields and meadows, wild animal infested forests, hills, rivers and rivulets and trod along many unknown paths.

Sankara finally reached Omkarnath by the river Narmada. There he learnt that a great Yogi had been living in an ecstatic trance for many years in a cave. Sankara's heart was filled with indescribable ecstasy.

Advancing a short distance, Sankara met a few old monks who lived near the caves at Omkarnath and he enquired them of Govinda Bagavatpada.

This boy at an age, when others of his years were still playing with toys and battling with the alphabets, had come alone and on foot, all the way from home in far off South, in search of a Guru!

An old monk told Sankara, " Child, The holy Yogi Govinda Bagavatpada lives in that cave. He has been in trance for a long time. We have been waiting here, and have grown old in waiting. Blessed indeed are you child! Commendable is your Guru Bhakti. "

" May I get the Darshan of the great sage? " Sankara asked.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is by far the best work on the life of Adi Sankara and amongst the nicest threads I have read. I am going to save this in a word file and tell this story to my children using the same language. Sri Periyaval has indeed blessed you.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 6:24 am    Post subject: 10. Who are you? Reply with quote

Om Bhoor bhuwah: Suvaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo nah: Prachodayat.

Gayatri Mantra not only inspires wisdom, but also creates specific power through the utterance of the Mantra. It means: "May the Almighty God illuminate our intellect to lead us along the righteous path".

Inference: “All the problems of a person are solved if he/she is endowed with the gift of righteous wisdom. With a far-sighted wisdom, a person is neither entangled in calamity nor does he/she tread the wrong path”.

10. Who are you?

The unspoken first Guru of Advaita Vedanta was Lord Dakshinamurthy. The next Guru was Dattacharya. Lord Narayana who followed him was the first Guru who spoke about it. The following is the Advaita guru-parampara (lineage):

- Brahma
- Vasishta (Brahma’s mind born son)
- Sakti (Vasishta’s son)
- Parasara (Sakti’s son)
- Vyasa (Parasara’s son)
- Sukha (Vyasa’s son)
- Gaudapada (Sukha ‘s disciple)
- Govinda Bhagavatpada (Gaudapada's disciple)

Once upon a time, Vyasa, Sukha, Gaudapada and Govinda Bhagavatpada met at Badri when Vyasa said: “ In order to bring back Santana Dharma in Bharat, Lord Shiva Himself is going to take birth. Govinda has to give him Diksha (the ritual of initiation into a monastic order).” Vysa also told him how to identify his future disciple.

At Narmada, Sankara got a positive response from the old monk when he asked if he could have a Dharshan of the Sage inside the cave. Immediately, Sankara prostrated before the caves. He was waiting for instructions to enter the caves.

With tears welling up from within and flowing down his tender cheeks, he stood with folded hands and started praying.

All of a sudden, he heard a voice, loud and clear, from inside the cave, “ Who is there?”

Sankara’s heart was flooded with an inexpressible sublime bliss driven by a powerful urge of devotional emotion. He started answering:

“The person who has come here is neither earth, nor water, nor fire, nor air, nor ether, nor a sense-organ, nor the aggregate of all these( meaning, ‘I am not a human being’ ) because all these are transient, variable by nature.

The existence of the Self is proved by the experience of sublation in deep meditation. I am that One, Auspicious and Pure, which alone remains.”

Sankara introduced himself in ten verses, known as Dasa Sloki, each ending with the words “Siva: kevaloham” (I am of the form of Pure Auspiciousness).

They sparkle with subtle meditative thoughts. Dasa Sloki is now chanted by Vedantic students to lift themselves into high moods of meditation.

Sankara also gave out these very verses to His disciples before leaving this world, when they asked Him to instruct them on the ideas to be contemplated and meditated upon.

These verses can be referred at ...

Before reading the life of Sankara, I knew of only one person who gave a perfect reply to ‘Who are you?’. That was Kannagi, the karpukkarasi ( queen of chastity), in Silappadhikaram. But spiritually and philosophically, Sankara’s answer was quite inspiring.

After hearing Sankara’s answer, the Sage inside the cave understood who had come to meet him. Spiritually elated, the Sage, Govinda Bagavatpada came out to meet the young Sankara.

Just one look at Sankara was enough for Govinda Bagavatpada to realize that this was the boy he had been waiting for. He immediately knew that he had been waiting in ecstasy for so many years only to instruct this boy in the discipline of Advaita Sadhana.

Kamban would have said: "annalum nokkinar, avarum nokkinar; arindavar koodinal pesavum vendumo?" ( Guru and Sishya saw each other; If the separated Gnanis meet, is there a need to talk ? )

It was a meeting similar to the one between Bala Periyava and Periyava in a court room, after a traumatic 5 month period, recently. ( Did you watch that?)

Govinda Bhagavatpada thought: “This child had become a Sanyasin at heart long time ago. Do I have to still give him Diksha?”

Just then, Narmada was flooding. Sankara found the river gushing forth at the banks, By using his powers, he encapsulated the river in his Kamandal (a vessel sannyasins carry).

Govinda Bagavatpada, who was watching, remembered Vyas’s words as to how to identify Sankara, the Shiva incarnate. “When he, as Shiva, encapsulated the great, big, Ganges in his Kamandal, Narmada is nothing for Him”, he thought.

Now that he had identified his disciple for sure, he was more relaxed.

I wish Sankara was in Bombay on 26/7.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:12 am    Post subject: 11. Guru and Sishya Reply with quote

Guruleka etuvanti guniki teliyaga bOdu.

Without a guru, no matter how virtuous a person may be, it is impossible to know.

11. Guru and Sishya

The place where Sankara tamed Narmada is still known as Sankara Ganga.

Sankara prostrated before the great Sage, Govinda Bagavatpada, and said:

”You are verily the sage Patanjali, the personification of Yoga Shastra. You are born of the great serpent king, Adi Seshan. Like the drums of Mahadeva, you sound and resound supreme wisdom. Your glory is infinite. You have perfection, having imbibed the total knowledge from Sri Gaudapada, the disciple of ShukaDeva, the son of VedaVyasa. I beseech you to accept me as your pupil and bestow on me the knowledge of Brahman. Please grant the prayer of this humble seeker by showing him how to find the Final Truth."

Govinda Bagavatpada was protecting the wealth of Gnana and had been waiting to hand it over to the owner. And he knew the time had come for the handing over.

At an auspicious moment, Sankara was formally accepted as a disciple by Govinda Bagavatpada, who initiated him into the Paramahamsa order of Sanyasa (sam.nyAsa), the highest kind of renunciation.

Sankara now becomes Sri Sankara.

Govinda Bagavatpada started to instruct the discipline of Yoga to Sri Sankara. The course of studies started with Hatha Yoga in the first year. Hatha yoga prepares the body for the spiritual path via physical and breathing exercises, and asceticism. Hatha yoga is the most superficial component of yoga. It prepares and conditions the body so that the mind can practice meditation more or less without obstacles.

Sri Sankara easily mastered the techniques of Hatha Yoga before the year was out.

Govinda Bagavatpada then taught Raja Yoga, the science of disciplining the mind.

Raja Yoga is the king of all Yogas. It concerns directly with the mind. In this Yoga there is no struggling with Prana or physical body. The Yogi sits at ease, watches his mind and silences the bubbling thoughts. He stills the mind and restrains the thought-waves and enters into the thoughtless state.

Sri Sankara mastered this discipline in the second year. As a result, he became gifted with psychic powers like telepathy, clairvoyance, movement in space unseen and above all, death at will.

In the third year, Govinda Bagavatpada initiated his disciple into the high discipline of Gnana Yoga, the Realization of Ultimate Reality through Knowledge.

Gnana Yoga is the road to perfection since it helps the Yogi perceive Truth in its entirety without any trappings or maskings. It consists of :
1. Developing correct awareness of the mind, the body and the Atman or Self.
2. Purification of the body and the mind through self-discipline
3. Acquiring true awareness of the world around and beyond. Knowledge of Sat (Truth) and Asat (Falsehood)
4. Practicing elimination of thought process.

These various aspects of Gnana yoga are also discussed in the Gita:

1. The Yoga of Self-discipline (Chapter VI)
2. The Yoga of Science (Chapter VII)
3. The Yoga of Imperishable Brahman (Chapter VIII)
4. The Yoga of Royal Knowledge (Chapter IX)
5. The Yoga of Divine Perfection (Chapter X )
6. The Yoga of the Vision of Cosmic Form (Chapter XI)
7. The Yoga of Kshetra and Kshetragna (Chapter XIII)
8. The Yoga of the Division of the Gunas (Chapter XIV)
9. The Yoga of Divine and Undivine Qualities (Chapter XVI)
10. Renunciation of Action with Knowledge (Chapter IV)

By practicing Gnana Yoga, Sri Sankara
- became free from all illusions and delusions;
- was remarkably clear-minded and fearless;
- was not stained by any longings, high or low;
- was qualified to make the bold leap into the Impersonal ‘beyond’;
- lost all sense of individuality in the ocean of Infinity.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 6:53 am    Post subject: 12. Eleven Eleven (11/11) Reply with quote

Akhanda Mandalaa-kaaram
Vyaaptam Yenam charaa-charam
Tatpadam Darshitam Yena
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

I salute the Guru who guides us to the supreme knowledge which pervades all the living and non-living beings in the entire Universe (It is Brahman).

12. Eleven Eleven (11/11)

Govinda Bagavatpada made Sri Sankara undergo the duly regulated scheme of Sravana-Manana-Nidhidh-yasana. This consists of:

- Hearing the spiritual truths and secrets from the mouth of the Guru;
- Investigating and discussing it ;
- Constant contemplation on it.

The Guru established Sri Sankara firmly in the higher planes of spiritual striving and truth-experiencing.

As the popular saying goes, Sri Sankara became oil as soon as a suggestion of mustard was given. For most others, a lot of squeezing of mustard was needed before a drop of oil could me made.

Govinda Bagavatpada found that Sri Sankara's spiritual practice and education completed and he had reached the last rung of the ladder. He needed no more training and no further instruction. He had become firmly established in Self-Knowledge. And the Upanishads found a new and fresh verification of their statement : " When that Supreme Brahman is realized, the heart's knots get snapped, all doubts are resolved and one's actions become dissipated."

Sri Sankara was now a living illustration of the great utterance, "The knower of the Supreme attains the Highest and of the declaration, The Knower of the Supreme verily becomes the Supreme."

But Sri Sankara, the man of true illumination, never gave a thought to these acquired powers. He would, if at all, make use of them only for doing good to humanity. The so-called miracles emanated from a sense of passion on his part.

Govinda Bagavatpada felt that his part in the training of Sri Sankara to function as an Acharya had been completed and that it was time for his departure from the world. He addressed Sri Sankara in a calm and collected voice:

" My son, you are born with a divine mandate to re-establish the Vedic religion. There is a purpose in your birth. Your task is not to merely swim safely across the turbulent waters of life and death. You have already done that as naturally as a fish swimming in water. Now, you have to help others to do the swimming across. See reflections of Rama, Krishna and Vyasa in yourself. Now my task is done. I have passed on to you, the treasure of Gnana which I inherited from my Guru. You are destined to accomplish much more.

“You are not just an individual, but a whole institution in yourself; not just an isolated star but an entire Solar System. "

Sri Sankara acknowledged His Guru’s orders with silent consent.

On an auspicious day selected for the purpose, Govinda Bagavatpada smilingly cast off his aged body in Samadhi. The disciples performed the last rites on the banks of Narmada in devotion befitting the prince of Yogis.

The several instances of Sri Sankara's uncommon spiritual powers have been narrated in his life sketch.

It is indeed lucky that in the case of Sri Sankara we have a fairly full record of all his doings from birth. This record is the account of a continuous opening out of amazingly extraordinary faculties.

It is interesting to note that neither in the case of Rama nor of Krishna, is there any systematically and chronologically recorded evidence of schooling and discipleship. We have to be satisfied with brief accounts and suggestive points.

Vasishta, gave Sri Rama instructions in scripture. But we find Sri Rama there already as the Ideal Man and knower of Paramatman-Supreme Self.

In Sri Krishna's case, after his sacred thread ceremony, he studied the scriptures under sage Sandipini. The Bhagavata says that Sri Krishna stayed at Sandipini's hermitage for sixty-four days mastering one art each day and becoming proficient in all the traditional sixty-four arts in record time.

The spiritual depth, the supreme knowledge and the supernormal faculties expressed in the lives of supermen are certainly not because of any instruction, training or practice. They are inborn and possessed from very birth. So too is their realization of God. It is not by any penance or striving, it is already theirs when they were born. The exercises they undergo are for setting an example to men, for doing good to the world, for restoring life and vigor to the religion.

That is why we do not find an identical preparatory stage in all the Avatars. We do not find a uniform course of discipline in all of them.

The mode of life, the stages of development, the ways of equipping themselves, the manner of working out the life mission, all these differ from Avatar to Avatar, according to the needs and demands of the times.

This was the case with Sri Sankara. He was just eleven when He acquired all the yogic powers. At eleven, He was also commanded to restore life and vigor of the Hindu religion by His Guru. At eleven, He became complete and set out to change the world.

Eleven, thus assumes significance. In modern times, for Hindu religion, the happenings of eleven eleven (11/11) would be another turning point.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 7:02 am    Post subject: 13. MOKSHAPURI KASI Reply with quote

Agnaana Timiraan-dhasya
Gnaana Anjana Shalaa-kayaa
Chakshuhu Unmee-litam Yenam
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

I salute the Guru who can save us from the pangs of ignorance by applying the balm of knowledge or awareness of the Supreme.


Sri Sankara, along with a few other Sanyasins proceeded to Varanasi as his Guru had ordained.

Varanasi lies between two holy rivers, Varana to the North and Asi River which joins the Ganga in the south. It is also known as Kasi because it is beleived that Supreme brilliance shines here, and lights the way to Heaven (Kaas - to shine).

Even from pre-historic times, Varanasi has been one of the chief centers of Sanatana Vedic Dharma. It has been the abode of the Lord Vishwanatha and Mother Annapurana Visalakshi. Countless generations of spiritual aspirants of diverse schools and renowned scholars of varied interests have realized the fulfillment of their mission in the holy city of Kashi.

With the holy Ganga on one side, Sri Sankara was having the Darshan of Lord Vishwanatha and Mother Visalakshi every day.

Soon, He got easily `discovered'. Earnest seekers and scholars flocked to Him in increasing numbers. He began teaching them of the Ultimate Truth. Within a very short time, his vast learning, unusual gifts of exposition, astounding intellectual keenness and charming personality became the talk of the town. Scholars and monks belonging to diverse philosophical sects and owing allegiance to various systems of thought like Jaina and Buddha approached Sri Sankara and had their doubts cleared on the Ultimate Truth.

Thus, His life task of re- establishing the pure Vedic faith in the whole of India had its auspicious beginning in Varanasi.

Many scholars, to establish the superiority of their view points, would enter into debate with Sri Sankara. He lent them patient hearing and with comfortable ease disarmed them all by his irrefutable reasoning.

In the presence of the genius of the boy-Sanyasin, others aspiring for victory were humbled and they felt blessed realising the Truth.

One day, a brahmin youth named Sanandana from South India arrived at Varanasi. For many years, he had been in search of a Guru who would put him on the sure path to Ultimate Knowledge. He heard of Sri Sankara's supernatural power and uncommon genius and developed a high regard for Him and courageously requested him to be his Guru. Sankara surveyed the youth, and after putting a few queries, gave him permission to stay with him.

After sometime, Sanandana begged Sri Sankara to initiate him into Sanyasa, which, Sri Sankara obliged. Thus, Sanandana became the first Sanyasi disciple to Sri Sankara.

Sri Sankara thus became Guru Sri Sankaracharya.

Sanandana, as a boy, had developed a religious turn of mind, and went to a hill called Ahobala in the south to realise God. He had engaged himself in the worship of Lord Narasimha, the lion headed and human bodied incarnation of Lord Narayana.

One day, a hunter came to him and asked him, "Why are you living alone in this uninhabited forest? " He told the hunter that he was looking for a creature with a lion's face and a human body. He asked the hunter to help him find it. The hunter returned after a while with an image of Narasimha wrapped in green leaves.

Sanandana prostrated before this image and prayed. Lord Narasimha appeared before Sanandana, asking him, "Dear child, ask for a boon." Sanandana asked for ‘Abhaya’, (fearlessness) and "It is also my wish that whenever I remember you, you shall appear and help me out of my difficulty." " Be it so, " said the Lord and disappeared.

Sanandana was highly devoted to his Guru. He constantly stayed by the side of Sankaracharya, serving his Guru. Endowed with a superior intelligence and a deep knowledge of the scriptures, he was able to win the complete confidence of his Guru and soon became his favourite. He was to Sankara what Hanuman was to Sri Rama.

The other disciples, human as they were, looked on Sanandana with a jealousy. This did not escape Acharya's eye. And in a strange manner he made everyone understand and concede the superiority of Sanandana.

One day Sanandana had reached the other side of the river on some errand. He had crossed the river by means of a bridge close by. Desiring to give to all, an exhibition of his unequalled Guru Bhakti, Acharya cried out in a loud voice, " O Sanandana, come to me at once !"

This fright-filled call of his Guru disturbed Sanandana a great deal. He felt for sure that his master was in some danger and was in need of immediate help. But he saw that getting to the opposite bank of the river by walking over the bridge would mean wastage of time. The call of his Guru was a distress signal and had to be responded to, immediately. He was in no mood to calculate and count the pros and cons of his action. And so he answered his Guru’s call by simply getting into the river and walked.

The water was cold and the current was strong enough to sweep away even an elephant. But in Sanandana's mind, there was no river to be crossed, no cold to be borne, no danger to be faced. Only the call of the Guru sounded in his ears and only the need to be near his Guru, as quickly as possible, was in his mind. He was utterly oblivious of every other consideration.

The onlookers were sure that he would sink in the water and perish. They raised shouts of alarm and waved at him, warning him. Sanandana was deaf and blind to everything.

And then, a miracle happened. He did not sink. At every step of his foot, bloomed a lotus and supported him, and he crossed the river walking on the bed of lotuses. Sanandana ran breathless and stood before Acharya for his commands.

The other disciples stood amazed at this supernatural happening and were dumbfounded. Then, pointing to Sanandana, Acharya addressed his other disciples, " You have now witnessed what immense grace the Goddess Bhagavati has on Sanandana. Henceforth we will call him Padmapada, the lotus-footed ".

Padmapada, with a sense of humility and a spirit of dedication, bowed again and again at the holy feet of Sri Sankaracharya.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2005 4:24 pm    Post subject: Thanks a ton Reply with quote


I highly thank your service and one small request:
If you could inline some sanskrit verses (dialogues which originally transpired) at proper situations, it would still make it very interesting.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sri Suresh

Thank you for your suggestion. Typing samskrit is quite laborious and one can make a lot of mistakes. Hence I prefer to avoid as much as I can. Sorry about it.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 6:12 am    Post subject: 14. Jivatma and Paramatma Reply with quote

Saastram saareera meemaamsaa
Devastu paramesvarah
Achaaryaah Sankaraachaaryaah
Santu janmani janmani

It does not matter how many times I take birth, if the sheet anchor of my faith and understanding is the Saarera Meemaamsa, my God be Parameswara and my Guru be Sankaracharya.

14. Jivatma and Paramatma

Advaita literally means ‘non-dualism’, “only one’. Advaita bases itself upon the Upanishads, the Brahma-sutras and the Bhagavad-gita. Advaita asserts that the real, essential identity of the individual self (Jivatma), is nothing other than brahman Himself (Paramatma). The teaching follows from upanishadic statements like tat tvam asi and aham brahmAsmi.

Brahman alone is Truth, the universe is an illusion, and the seemingly bound soul, Jivatma, is none but the Brahman.

In essence, Jivatma and Paramatma are one and the same, `One, and there is NO Second'.

This knowledge non-duality of the individual soul and the Brahman, the Supreme soul, is experienced in the deepest state of super-consciousness. The attainment of this state of experience is extremely difficult and is a very rare privilege for ordinary mortals like us.

However, in our practical day to day work and behavior, it is possible in a partial way, to understand that ‘Brahman is all’, as a result of prolonged and steady practice.

Sri Sankaracharya taught the above Advida principles to all his followers and non-followers with examples:

“In darkness, a rope is mistaken for a snake. But when examined with a light, we will find that the supposed snake is only a rope. The ‘superimposed’ snake disappears when light (knowledge) is thrown on it. Even for an illusion, there must be a basis in reality. The basis in this example is the rope. All illusions are superimposed on truth; and conversely, what remains after the illusion is removed, is the truth.”

“When a person wakes up from a dream, everything seen and felt in the dream disappears. What remains is only the dreamer. It means that we project ourselves into the objects of our dream. When we get up and the dream goes away, we realise that there is nothing outside us.”

“The reflection in a mirror has no substance; it is only an appearance of what already exists.“

“When we realise, with the aid of gnana, that God is the only ultimate Truth and everything else is illusion, then, other emotions like anger, desire, hatred, pain, grief etc. will not affect us. “

One day, Sri Sankaracharya, accompanied by his disciples was proceeding to the Ganga for a bath. On the way, He saw a pathetic sight. A young woman, who was the picture of total grief, was crying loudly and soliciting help. A dead body, possibly of her husband, lay on the ground, its head resting on her lap. She wanted proper performance of the funeral rites of her departed husband. She had been sitting with a corpse in such a way that the narrow path leading to the river was totally blocked.

Sri Sankaracharya requested the woman to move the corpse to one side of the pathway, so that He could proceed to the river.

The women could not pay attention to Sri Sankaracharya’s words. On being repeatedly requested by Him to move the body to one side of the pathway, the woman responded by telling him, " Why, Great Soul, why do you not yourself ask the corpse to move aside?"

The Guru responded to her in a voice choked with compassion, " Mother, I understand your grief. However, can a corpse ever move of its own accord? "

The woman then fixed her gaze on Sri Sankaracharya and spoke, " You best of Monks, you say that it is the one and only Brahman who is the sole authority of the universe and Shakti is indifferent. Is this not so? When Brahman is present everywhere, why should not the corpse move? Brahman is present there too."

The Guru stood astounded and began to think over what she said. And, all of a sudden, both the women and the corpse disappeard!

He experienced the sportive play of the Great goddess, Mahamaya, who is Shakti or the ‘Prime Energy’. It was because of her glance that earth and heaven throbbed. Prostrating, The Guru began to sing in praise of the Goddess Tiripurasundari, the sole refuge of the universe:

"Oh Goddess Supreme! Mother Bhavani! I have surrendered myself to You. In debate and in danger, in error and in alien lands, in water and in fire, on hills, among foes and in forests, please protect me everywhere. You alone are my only security”….. (Bhavani ashtakam)

Sri Sankaracharya understood that the Goddess Supreme, who was worshipped by the Lord Himself, had made him realise her magnanimous glory and grace. She was the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer of this universe and it was She again who bestowed material abundance.

He had already experienced that the individual Soul (Jiva ) and the Infinite Soul (Brahman) were identical. He now understood that the Brahman was just a witness, a mere spectator and no more. The authorship of the universe was that of Shakti, The Prime Energy.

Acharya’s thought process underwent a revolutionary change.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radhe Krishna,
Thanks a million Sri Krishnan Ji. Just divine.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Namaste! krishnan ji
your katha is very juicy to read. You reminded my old memories of my late grandpa who used to tell stories daytime and bedtime .His voice was so audible that he used to chant vishnu sahasranama byheart.There 's no need of tape recorders at that time. You are now doing replica of my pitAmahah.We are greatly influenced by him and now by you .I just can't keep my patience every morning for next posting...
A perfect hymn for tomorrow night is expected from you.Yes !you are right person to tell.
Congrats for your divine writing .
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 7:36 am    Post subject: 15. If Bhavani comes, can Mahadeva be far behind? Reply with quote

Ko gurur adhigata-tattvah
Sishyah-itaayod-yatah satatam

Who is a Guru? He who has realised the Truth, and who is always intent on the good of disciples.

If Bhavani comes, can Mahadeva be far behind?
The Acharya realised the importance of Goddess Tiripurasundari in the scheme of things. ‘Sakthi Illayel Sivam Illai’ ( Without Sakthi, there is no Sivam. )

Before reading further, please visit Sk ji’s today’s prayer: ...

Sri Sankaracharya understood that by remaining immersed in deep meditation would not help him to accomplish his life's purpose.

He would have to work out a practical application to life and labour on earth, of his experience of the Absolute Reality. Only then, would he become the meaningful living embodiment.

When Mother Bhavani played Her leela in the life of Sankara, would Mahadeva, the consort of Bhavani, be left behind?

On another day, when Sri Sankaracharya with his disciples was going to bath in the holy Ganga, saw a Chandala (an untouchable and worker at the cremation ground, at the very bottom of the social scale and devoid of any culture, a very primitive of men, extremely ugly and terrifying in appearance). He had four fat dogs held in leash, and was approaching in a drunken manner from the opposite direction.

Finding no other way of avoiding a confrontation with him, Sri Sankaracharya addressed him and said, "Oh, you Chandala, step aside with your dogs, and let us go".

The Chandala did not appear to have listened to his words and did not bother, but continued to advance. Sri Sankaracharya in a somewhat excited voice cried out again, "Stop, fellow, stop. Leave a passage free for us".

The terrible looking Chandala burst out: "Whom are you asking to move aside, Sir? Are you demanding the self to do so or the body to do so? The Self is omnipresent, non-active, ever pure by nature. Instead, if you ask the physical body to move aside, you know that the body is inert matter, how can it move aside at all?

“Moreover, in what respect is your body distinct and different from any other body? You say that you are firmly established and rooted in the Supreme Truth and there is One, non-dual entity, `One without a Second'."

“I see that your claim is false, you are indulging in plain talk. Is there any difference between a Chandala and a Brahmin from the viewpoint of the knower of the Truth? Is the sun reflected in the water of Ganga any different from the sun reflected in a dirty water pool? Is this your knowledge of the all-ness and the Absolute Reality? "

Hearing these words of the Chandala, charged with wisdom, Sri Sankaracharya was both amazed and ashamed. He clearly perceived that this was the play of the Divine. He remembered what Krishna had said in Gita (Chapter 5):

Vidya vignaya sampanne
brahmane gavi hastini
suni chaiva sva-pake cha
panditah sama darsinah

Wise men, by virtue of their true knowledge, see with equal vision, a learned and gentle Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (untouchable).

Immediately, Sri Sankaracharya folded his palms in adoration and spoke prayerfully, "He who perceives all beings with an awareness of “sameness” and acts with that perception of sameness in all, he indeed is my Guru. You Chandala are my Guru. I bow down at your holy feet a million times".

All of a sudden the Chandala and his dogs disappeared. But Sri Sankaracharya saw the Divine form of the Lord and Father of the Universe, Sri Mahadeva, radiant and shining. The Lord stood before him in all glory holding in His hands the four Vedas. These eternal scriptures were what Sri Sankaracharya had seen as dogs before. He bowed down at the feet of the Great Lord and burst into a hymn of praise :

"I reflect on the One Great God, who is the enemy of passion, the Lord of all beings, the annihilator of sin, the great lord, springing from whose matted locks the waters of the Ganga flow.

”I take refuge in Him who is without birth, the eternal, cause of all causes, the all auspicious one, from whom the universe gets expression, the Being beyond the three Gunas (qualities), who is beyond all darkness, the One without beginning and end, the Supreme, the Purifier in whom there is no duality.

“Salutation to You, O Lord, salutation to You, who is of the form of the Universe; Salutations to You again and again, who is of the form of knowledge and Bliss; Salutations to You over and over again, who is reachable by the Vedic Knowledge; Salutations to You again and again." …… (Manisha panchakam)

The essence of Manisha panchakam is that atman shines forth equally in a Brahmin and an untouchable.

It contains five slokas. In the first four, the non-duality as specified in the four Vedas is glorified. The fifth sloka glorifies the Pranava Mantra, OM, which includes the four Vedas. It is said that in order to further describe the five slokas, Sri Sankaracharya, at a later stage established the Mutts at Puri Jagannath, Sringeri, Dwaraka, Badari and Kanchi.

Pleased by this hymn, Lord Mahadeva placed his hand on Sankara's head and said: "Child, I am pleased and gratified. I wish that you work towards the re-establishment of Vaidika Dharma on earth, the Spiritual Discipline described in the Vedas. You must give out a flawless meaning of Vedanta and blow up the other theories that lead men to duality and darkness. You must write out a commentary on the Brahma Sutra of Vyasa and firmly establish that knowledge of Brahman. You have to preach the Vedic faith in such a way as to make it available to all". Mahadeva then disappeared from view.

Soon after, as per the wishes of Mahadeva, Acharya was explaining to his disciples, the commentary on the Brahma Sutras when an aged Brahmin entered the place. The lesson was stopped as the venerable old man stepped in and everyone there got up and with great reverence, requested him to take a seat.

Without taking the offered seat, the old man queried: " I hear that a certain Sanyasi here gives detailed explanation on the Brahma sutras. Can you tell me where he is? "

The disciples answered: " This is our Guru Sankaracharya, who has all the scriptures stored in his memory and they are all at his finger tips. He has written a commentary on the Brahma sutras which has silenced all critics. He is now teaching us that valuable treasure".

Then the old man took a seat and made a request to the Acharya: " They call you the commentator on the Brahma sutra composed by Veda Vyasa. Well, I want to see if your commentary agrees with my interpretation. Please tell me the meaning of the first section of the third chapter".

Everyone out there was stunned by the authority with which the old man posed the question. The disciples were looking at each other and silently asked among themselves: “Who is this old man?”

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vasudeva Sutam Devam Kamsa Chanoora Mardhanam
Devaki Paramaanandam Krishnam Vande Jagatgurum

I salute Lord Krishna, the Divine and the Jagath Guru (Teacher of the world), son of Vasudeva, destroyer of Kamsa, Chanoora et al., and the greatest joy of Devaki.

16. Sweet Sixteen

Everyone was stunned by the authority of the old man’s poser of the question.

With great humility, Acharya said: " To all masters who know the meaning of the sutras, I offer my salutations. I have no such egoistic feeling that I am a great Comprehensor of the sutras. I shall try to answer all your questions".

With these words, Acharya started giving out a correct explanation of the sutra that the old man had asked. Acharya found in the old man a very powerful contestant. Hardly had the Acharya put forth a point with his unmatched brilliance, the old man cut short with what struck everyone as an unassailable objection.

With great steadiness Acharya met the old man’s objections with replies, strikingly sensible and impressively rational. But the old man would not be silenced. He would put forth another argument, only to draw out a more powerful counter-argument from Sri Sankaracharya.

Indeed this battle of wits went on and on. In this volley of dialogue, the whole of the Brahma sutras, the four Vedas, many scriptures, various philosophies, all came in for analysis, elucidation, research and summing up.

The combatants were far removed in age from each other, but so alike in wisdom and learning. The astoundingly deep scholarship, the astonishing power of memory, the limitless sweep of intellect, the rare depths of introspection, and the powerful skill in debate made the disciples dazed and dumbfounded as the entertaining warfare went on.

The Himalayan debate raged for several days. Padmapada, who had followed this clash of high talent with keen understanding, approached the Acharya in private and asked him, " Master, who other than VedaVyasa can possibly possess all this superior scholarship, this sharp intellect and this great skill of debate? Is it possible that he is Vedavyasa in the disguise of an old man and we stand outwitted as to his real identity? "

The next day, Acharya addressed the old man: "Great soul, we have been eager to know who you are. All of us believe that you are indeed Vedavyasa. If our feeling is right, please accept our salutations”.

The spontaneity and sincerity of Acharya's words touched the Brahmin deeply and he told the Acharya that his inference was correct and that he was indeed Vedavyasa.

Acharya and all the disciples prostrated before Sri Vedavyasa. Placing his hand on Acharya's bowed head, the greatest of the sages blessed the young Sanyasin.

The poet in Acharya immediately came into play and took shape as a beautiful hymn. He said:

"O Great Sage Krishna-dvaipayana, my life has become blessed by the sight of your holy feet. You have performed mighty deeds for the benefit of the mankind. Your services, like your name, will live for all times to come. You are the compiler of the eighteen Puranas. You have classified the Vedas into four parts. You know the past, the present and the future. There is nothing on earth that you do not know. You are the milky ocean, and out of it has come the Mahabharata, like the moon. You have done infinite good to the world. I salute you as the foremost of the Gurus".

The eighteen Puranas which are the works of Vedavyasa are:

1. Brahmapurana
2. Padmapurana
3. Vishnupurana
4. Bhagavatapurana
5. Markandeyapurana
6. Varahapurana
7. Agnipurana
8. Bhavishyapurana
9. Brahmavaivartapurana
10. Skandapurana
11. Lingapurana
12. Vamanapurana
13. Shivapurana
14. Naradiyapurana
15. Matsyapurana
16. Kurmapurana
17. Garudapurana and
18. Brahmandapurana.

Sri Vedavyasa felt delighted about Acharya's discovery of his identity and Acharya's understanding of him(Sri Vedavyasa). Taking the seat offered by Acharya, he said: "Wise boy, your erudition has quite charmed me. You are divinely gifted, with attributes unequalled on earth or in heaven. There is no one on earth who could have answered even one of my queries. You answered them all to my complete satisfaction. Among the spiritual teachers, you are a class apart."

"Hearing that you have written a commentary on my sutras, I came to see you. I am convinced that you are indeed worthy of the big task of commenting on my sutra. Like the Sun in its dazzling glory of brilliance, you too will remove the darkness of ignorance in the world by spreading the glory of Advaita."

"I now request you to continue your noble work. You have to write commentaries on Sruti and the Smriti".

"I have already accomplished that work as well”, said Sri Sankaracharya and produced the other parts of his works to Sri Vedavyasa. He was quite amazed to see the works of the young Acharya, and went through all his commentaries on Sruti and Smriti with absorbing interest, and then said: " All this is very well done indeed! It is all as it should be. I am very delighted".

At this time, when everyone’s mood was ecstatic, Acharya threw a bombshell. He made a submission to Sri Vedavyasa Bhagavan: " Sir, I have completed all the work that you expected of me. Kindly give me the permission to terminate my physical existence in your very presence here and now".

Sri Vedavyasa was astonished. Padmapada and other disciples were bewildered. There was silence all around. Just nearing sixteen, was it all over for Sri Sankaracharya?

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a coincidence!!! Vedavyasa revealing his identity on this day of Krishnashtami. Vedavyasa is Hari himself. Vyasaya Vishnu Roopaya!! Vyasa Roopaya Vishnave!!!

When Hara and Hari are debating, what else can others do other than just drinking the MadhurAmrtam through their ears.

Krishna jayanthi greetings to all from the Kanchi forum team.

hare Krishna hare Rama jaya jaya Sankara hara hara Sankara

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:47 am    Post subject: 17. Are you suffering from IF syndrome? Reply with quote

Namostutey Vyaasa Vishaala Buddhe
Phullaa-ravinda Yata-patra Netra
Yena Twaya Bhaarata Taila-poorna
Prajwaalito Gyaana Mayah Pradeepaha

Salutations to You, O! Vyasa. You have a broad intellect and your eyes are large like petals of full blown lotuses. You lit the lamp of knowledge filled with the oil of Mahabharata. Salutations to You!

17. Are you suffering from IF syndrome?

This episode has a very special significance and a special request. I am typing and editing this episode sitting in front of our Guru HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Swamigal at Thirupathi. Jaya Jaya Sankara, Hara Hara Sankara.

When Sri Sankaracharya wanted to terminate his life in front of Sri Vyasa, Vyasa Bhagavan said: " No Sankara, contrary to what you think, your task is not yet finished. Much remains to be done yet. You have to meet and vanquish in debate all the renowned scholars in the land of Bharata and bring them round to your point of view of scriptural truth. You alone can do it. I have come here to grant you a boon of extended life-span. My dear boy, destiny had fixed your span of life at eight years first. But you took Sanyasa and by the grace of Lord Shiva, your life was extended by eight more years. It is the gracious dispensation of the Supreme lord that you live for another sixteen years in this body.”

“Your first task now is to vanquish Kumarila Bhatta. Then, you have to travel across the vast Bharata, traversing the holy land from end to end, in order to confront, conceive and convert all those who contradict your views. Your foremost work will be to harmonize the different schools of thought. You will also have to hoist aloft the flag of Advaita, establish Vedanta on a sound basis and proclaim the glory of the Brahman to all. On your shoulders rests not the destiny of an individual, but a whole nation's spiritual welfare ".

Acharya bowed down in approval, and Sri Vedavyasa left that place. The minds of all the disciples were freed from the dark. There was no fear of their Acharya's quitting the world early. They were overjoyed and happy at the extension of his life-span.

Acharya became very eager to carry out the instructions of Sri Vyasa. His first task was to conquer Kumarila. Acharya came to know that Kumarila was a holy soul, who had vanquished in debate various philosophers and propagandists of anti-Vedic schools. Acharya also came to know that the aged scholar, Kumarila Bhatta now lived in Prayaga.

Kumarila was born in the Chola country in South India in a Brahmin family. Since the boyhood, he was devoted to the Vedas. He belonged to the Meemamsa school of thoughts.

Mimamsa means "investigation, inquiry, discussion." In this philosophy, Vedas are ultimate and God does not exist. So, there is no ‘aham brahma asmi’ .

Kumarila believed that In order to refute any school of thought, one should master that philosophy to have a thorough knowledge of its theory and practice. In order to combat Buddhism, he had to master its philosophy and know all the intricacies of its workings and beliefs. So he entered a Buddhist school as a disciple, concealing his identity, and became a Buddhist pupil to learn Buddhist doctrines.

One day, the Buddhist teacher started abusing and ridiculing the Vedas. Kumarila felt extremely agonized to hear this condemnation of the Vedas. He did not let the tirade against the Vedas go unchallenged. He entered into an argument with his teacher. Then began a long debate, a philosophical duel and a battle of keen wits, between the teacher and pupil.

Kumarila effectively smashed the successive positions and attitudes of his teacher. The Teacher found himself more and more powerless to contend against his own pupil, who overwhelmed and confounded him with unanswerable refutations and forthright arguments. Kumarila was easily able to establish the Supreme authority and the unbeaten superiority of the Vedas.

Then, Kumarila made a strong and severe remark against his teacher’s philosophy. The Teacher became very angry and as atonement for the sin committed by Kumarila, he ordered Kumarila to be thrown down the roof of building and lose his life.

The disciples, who were waiting for an opportunity to pounce on Kumarila, outran the teacher and pushed Kumarila down from the top. Kumarila quickly composed himself into Yogic steadiness, and uttered: "If the Vedas are true, may my life be protected".

Ultimately, Kumarila did not lose his life, but lost an eye. Why? While his strong belief in Vedas saved his life, his slight doubt, ‘if’, caused the damage. He should have said: “Vedas are true; may my life be protected".

In the current scene, many of the fellow Kanchi devotees suffer from this ‘If’ Syndrome - slight doubt. May I request all those suffering from the ‘if’ syndrome to get out of it and be awakened, or, go the Kumarila way!

I make this request profusely in the august presence of HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject: Sri Adi Sankara's Life Reply with quote

Respected Krishnaji,

We are indeed blessed to read your postings on Sri Adi Sankara's Life. The last posting 'Are you suffering from IF syndrome?' is really very very touching and should touch the souls of all true devotees of Shankaracharya. Let us remove the doubt from our minds, let us banish the 'If' and see the Truth. Your narrations bring tears to our eyes and lifts us above the mundane world. You are indeed blessed and all the more since you have wriiten it in the presence of our Pujya Guru Shri Jayendra Saraswati.

Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's very true, Mr. Krishnan!
Either go the 'Kumar' way or 'kumar-ila[without Kumar!]' way!

Just provoked to write this on seeing yours!
...a word-play... again!

Om vighnaharAya nama:
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one, SKji. You should have typed it in Tamil though.

On behalf of all the devotees of Kanchi Forum, I offered my prayers at the lotus feet of our Gurus, HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and HH Sri Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal at Tirupathi.

Printed copies of Adi Sankara's life as appeared here so far, have been given to the Gurus. Our Gurus have blessed for the successful writing (may be, 200 or 300 spisodes!). I am sure They have granted me extra time every day to achieve this!

I am sorry I could not post the episode on Sunday due to 'technical difficulties'. It will resume today.

Jaya Jaya Sankara

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jnana-anjana Salakaya;
Chakshur-unmilitam Yena
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah.

Prostrations to that Guru who, by the collyrium-rod (an instrument used by doctors to cleanse the inner part of the eye) of Knowledge, cures the eyes of those who are rendered blind by the darkness of ignorance.

18.Atonement for Guru-Droh

Kumarila realised that absolute Faith would have saved him absolutely and that a very miniscule, subconscious doubt caused him dearly.

Kumarila avenged his folly by spreading Vedic faith vigourously. He was victorious in his campaign of resuscitating the Vedic faith. Wherever he went, he demonstrated by argument, how the Vedas contained the true faith and how they were not man-made, but trans-human.

Kumarila Bhatta conquered the Jains as much as he conquered the Buddhists. He was a man of great initiative and power and proved much more than a match to many well-known religionists of that day. He was also a noted writer and wrote with authority on the Meemamsa philosophy.

Sri Sankaracharya set out to meet this Kumarila Bhatta, at Prayaga. rayaga is now Triveni in Alahabad where the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the subterranean Saraswathi merge.

He desired to visit and worship at the many holy spots on the banks of the sacred Yamuna, and so moved along the Yamuna towards the direction of Prayaga. On the way he touched Kurukshetra, the site of the epic Mahabharata battle where the Gita was born.

He reached Brindavan, the playground of Sri Krishna's boyhood. Acharya went to see many spots associated with Krishna's boyhood and visited the famous temples in the region. At the shrine of Lord Krishna, he was moved by his divine love for the Supreme Guru of Gita, and reverentially offered a sweet hymn at the feet of Krishna:

“May he, who is
1. ever held in embrace by Sri Lakshmi, the Goddess of abundance,
2. all-pervading,
3. the theme of the Vedas,
4. the unattached and impartial witness of the actions of the human intellect,
5. ever pure,
6. the remover of the ills of the devotees,
7. the destroyer of the dark forces,
8. lotus-eyed,
9. the holder of the club, the conch, and the Sudarshana Chakra,
10. that worthy refuge of all and
11. the Lord of the Universe - Sri Krishna,
……………… visible to me.”……………………….( Sri Krishnashtakam)

When Acharya reached Prayaga, a shocking news reached his ears. Kumarila Bhatta had entered the husk-fire for the purpose of burning himself to slow death. This was an act of atonement for the sin he committed, for Guru Droh - cheating his Guru. Many years ago, in order to learn Buddhist philosophy, he cheated on his Buddhist Teacher disguising as his disciple and learnt the Buddhist philosophy.

Acharya's chief objective in coming to Prayaga was to have a discussion with Kumarila. When he heard of Kumarila's resolve to pay for his sin with slow burning, the Acharya went to the place where Kumarila was already in the husk-fire.

Even while Kumarila was burning slowly, Sri Sankaracharya explained to him, the Advaidic philosophy as against Meemamsa.

Advaita believes in Vedic Karma, which cleanses the soul. Then through Bhakthi, one realises god and becomes one with Brahman. Upanishads teach how to reach that state through Gnana. Karma, Bhakthi, Yoga, Gnana - is the sequence, as per Advaita.

Meemamsa does not accept Upanishads. According the Meemamsa, Karma takes one straight to Moksha. No God and No Bhakthi required.

When Acharya finished his explanations on Advata, Kumarila was getting burnt severely. However, he said: “O greatest of the monks, I am convinced about Advaita. I am willing to propagate Advaita now. But as you see, I am nearing death and so I cannot do that. But, there is a disciple of mine, named Mandanamishra who lives in Mahishmati town. He is the right person to be conquered.”

Kumarila’s end came soon after. With a heavy heart, Acharya and his disciples left Prayaga to meet Mandanamishra.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sankaram Sankaracharyam Kesavam Badarayanam
Sutra-Bhashya-Kritau Vande Bhagavantau Punah Punah

I adore Lord Siva, Lord Vishnu, Bhagavan Vyasa and Sri Sankaracharya. I again and again salute Sri Vyasa who wrote the Vedanta Sutras, and to Sri Sankaracharya who wrote the commentaries thereon.

19.Mandana, the great Scholar

Acharya and his disciples reached Mahishmati town, at the banks of Narmada, near Omkarnath. This was the home town of Mandanamishra.

The atmosphere of Mahishmati seemed impregnated with high philosophy. Even the ladies, who never got involved in worldly-affairs (esp. those days), were talking philosophy.

Acharya saw a few maid-servants going to the river to fetch water. He enquired them about Mandana's house and they told him: " O noble one, as you go along, you will hear the male and the female parrots discussing thus: ` Is the Veda the Truth? Is action itself the dispenser of fruits or is God such a dispenser? Is this universe eternal or transient?' - that is the place where Mandana lives".

These words pleasantly interested Acharya and the disciples. Not only the ladies there, but even parrots discussed philosophy!

Soon Acharya and his disciples arrived at the easily recognizable house of the great scholar, whose learning filled the air of the entire locality. The door of the house was shut and bolted from within. The doorkeeper gave information that his master Mandanamishra was engaged in performing Sraddha ceremony of his departed father and that it would not be possible for anyone to meet him that day.

Acharya resolved to confront Mandanamishra immediately. Acharya had learnt the trick of climbing a tree sometime ago, and the wanted to test that. He uttered some mantra standing in front of a cocoanut tree. Immediately, the tree bent towards him slowly and he climbed on it. Then it straightened out and bent towards the opposite side, towards the inside of Mandana’s house. Acharya got down quietly while the tree straightened out.

Mandana was engaged in serving and honoring the two sages, Jaimini and Krishnadvaipayana, who were revered invitees to the Sraddha ceremony. He was amazed to see a stranger monk descending from sky on his courtyard.

Acharya was happy to see the two sages there and promptly made obeisance at their feet. He was always the embodiment of courtesy and decorum. But Mandana was terribly infuriated by the unceremonious descent of an unwanted monk into an environment where he had no place. His first angry query was, "Kuto Mundee” - whence is this shaven head – meaning, “where are you from, you bald head?”

Acharya easily noted the insult in the tone of the query. But being in a mood to play around with words with the great scholar, chose to engage himself in a clever play of pun with Mandana. So he gave his reply without any hesitation, "From neck up", saying that he was shaven from neck up.

Some ‘kadi’ followed:

Mandana: “I asked the way” – meaning, lineage.
Acharya: “I thought you asked me, but what did the way tell you since you asked the way?”
Mandana got enraged further: “ It said your mother is a widow”.
Acharya: “I did not know your mother is still alive?”

The two visiting sages were distressed at Mandana's conduct. They said, " Mandana, Be cool. The newcomer is a monk, as such, he is the image of Vishnu. Besides he is a guest. It is but proper that you show him the courtesies due to him".

Mandana felt ashamed of his conduct. He begged forgiveness of Acharya and welcomed him with due ceremony, washing his feet with water. Then, with much earnestness, he solicited him to accept the food from his hands.

Acharya replied, " O worthy Brahmin, I have not come to you seeking food. I have come to confront you in debate. I went to Prayaga to meet Kumarila Bhatta and to debate with him. But, he let himself be consumed in husk-fire as atonement for the sin of his Guru-Droh.”

Hearing about his Guru, Mandana felt sorely grieved. He remained silent for a minute. Acharya continued: “ He told me about you and was in all praise for your genius. It was indeed he who sent me to you. He even said that your defeat in a debate would practically mean his defeat too.”

"My objective is to debate with you and make you accept Advaita philosophy.”

Mandana said: “Well, I accept your challenge to a debate. I shall first complete the Sraddha ceremony. We shall start the debate tomorrow morning".

Then, Acharya requested Mandana to suggest someone as the judge. And, Mandana suggested his own wife!

Was Mandana a P Chidambaram of those days?

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Radhe Krishna and namaskaarams Sri Krishnan Ji for the absolute faith written in divine presence.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:21 am    Post subject: 20. The great debates and a taboo question Reply with quote

Brahmaanandham Parama Sukhadam
Kevalam gnaana Murthim
Dhvandhvaa Theetham Gagana Sadhrisham
Tathvam Asyaadi Lakshyam
Ekam Nithyam Vimalam Achalam
Sarvadhee Saakshi Bhutham
Bhavaatheetham Thriguna Rahitham
Sadhgurum Tham Namaami.

This sloka tries to describe the qualities of a true Guru. A real Guru has the following qualities: He experiences the supreme Bliss of Brahmaananda (transcendental divine bliss). He enjoys and confers changeless supreme happiness. He is beyond space and time (there is nothing higher than him). He is the embodiment of wisdom, the basis for all types of knowledge. He transcends the pair of opposites (such as happiness and sorrow, gain and loss). He is more Omnipresent than space itself. He is the very embodiment of the Divine principle, which is the inner meaning of the four great pronouncements: Prajnaanam Brahma, Aham Brahmasmi, Thath Thvam Asi and Ayam Aathma Brahma. He is One without a second (ekam). He never changes under any circumstances (nithyam). He is pure (vimalam). He is steady and motionless (achalam). He is the witness of everything. He transcends mental comprehension and verbal explanation. He is beyond the three gunas (sathva, rajas and thamas). I offer my humble salutations to such a Guru who possesses all these qualities.

20. The great debates and a taboo question

Mandana's wife Ubhayabharati, was the sister of Kumarila Bhatta. She was also known as Saarasavaani. She had mastered a number of philosophical systems. Though gifted beyond measure and united in wedlock to a person very well to do in life, Ubhayabharati considered the performance of her household tasks the foremost duty. She was an ideal Wife to a perfect Husband.

The service to husband, with the knowledge that he is God in person, is one of the finest gifts to the world civilization by Indian culture. Equally, placing the wife on the pedestal of unshakable glory is the Indian tradition. The number of Goddesses outnumbering the (male) Gods is proof enough for this fact.

Mandana and Ubhayabharati were a couple ‘made for each other’. Ubhayabharati was the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of learning.

When Mandana suggested Ubhayabharati to be the judge of the debate, Acharya agreed immediately.

Ubhayabharati came forward to do her duty without any fear or favor. With no pride and with no airs of any kind, but with modesty and bashfulness, she occupied the judge's seat.

The condition of the debate was made known to all: If Mandana got defeated, he would take Sanyas from the Acharya. If Mandana won, Acharya would forego Sanyas and get into worldly life. Not just that, the vanquished would accept the Victor's views and propagate his faith.

Ubhayabharati knew that announcing a winner from two great scholars was not going to be easy. She then put garlands of flowers on the necks of both and then declared, "He whose garland fades first will be the vanquished in the debate. Please proceed with the debate comfortably".

The arguments became keener and complex, and the refutations and denials also became correspondingly stronger and bolder. Both the contestants raised more and more intricate questions. There was a downpour of assertions and objections from either side. Quotations from the scriptures were marshaled with marvelous skill by both, and exploited to lend support to their case.

The debate was carried on for seventeen days. On the eighteenth day however, Mandana appeared to be shaken and agitated. The brilliant scholar perspired all over. The garland round his neck was gradually losing its freshness and began to wither, while Acharya's garland shone with added luster. Ubhayabharati noted this and felt much distressed as a loving wife she was. Setting aside sentiments, she stood on the needle-point of honesty and in concluding the debate, publicly announced, " My husband has lost the debate". The crowd was dumbfounded.

Ubhayabharati's moral courage was of unequalled excellence and all were thrilled by her utter impartiality and unqualified objectivity.

Mandana gracefully owned his defeat. He had no more of mental conflict, no more of any intellectual strain or emotional stress. He then bowed down to the feet of the Acharya and said: " Venerable monk, I have no more doubts, no misgivings, no mental reservations any longer. With a full heart and a clean conscience I implore you to bestow on me the privilege of being your disciple. If you graciously consider me worthy of manhood, competent to enter a life of total renunciation, do kindly initiate me into the monastic order".

Ubhayabharati had remained a witness for sometime. Her sentiments and emotion now overtook everything else. Not wanting to part ways with her Husband, she addressed the Acharya and told him: " Sir, my husband's defeat is not yet complete. In the scriptures, it is said, that the wife is a half of the man's soul. I agree that you have defeated him. You must however defeat me, the other half of my husband, and then you may make him your disciple. I have a strong urge to debate with you".

Here was a situation for which Acharya was totally unprepared. Ubhayabharati's offer to debate with him took him by surprise. He thought for a while and said: " Mother, scholars of standing never desire to debate with the ladies".

She replied rather sharply: " Why do you entertain a belittling attitude towards women? You know that the great sage Yagvavalkya did engage in a debate with Gargi. The royal sage Janaka also entered into a debate with a woman Gnani, Sulabha. Why should you not debate with me, when I solicit you to the debate? If you do not agree to a debate, then you must accept your defeat".

Acharya saw that there was no escaping from this gentle but firm lady. In the interest of his mission, which was not for personal glory, he felt compelled to agree to a debate with the arbiter who had acted as a judge so impartially. No time was lost and the debate between the homeless wanderer and a home-keeping housewife began in full swing.

Ubhayabharati identified herself with her husband's philosophy and argued hotly. Gradually the debate entered the subtle and complex fields. Her mode of debating, the magnitude of her scholarship, her powers of analysis, her deep grasping power and remarkable self- confidence filled Acharya with amazement. Finding her an adversary, with talent as brilliant as his own, Acharya proceeded cautiously on. To the hundreds of questions that Ubhayabharati raised on all aspects of philosophy, Acharya gave highly original and convincing answers. This again went on for seventeen days.

The audience began to think that the debate would never come to an end. It was not long before Ubhayabharati understood quite well that she could never score a victory over the monk in the field of Veda and Advaita.

On the eighteenth day, she sprang a surprise on the Acharya. Her very first question on that day was about passion and sex!

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

any websites where we can read the complete debate between shankara and mandana?

Tat Tvam Asi
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 5:33 am    Post subject: 21. Who should be ashamed? Reply with quote

Aneka Janma Sampraapta
Karma Bandha Vidaahiney
Atma Gnana Pradaaneyna
Tasmai Sri Gurave Namaha.

I salute the Guru who helps us to be free from the chain of karma accumulated over several lives by teaching us the knowledge of the self (Atma Gnana).

21. Who should be ashamed?

Ubhayabharati’s only intention at that moment was not to lose her husband. So, she was prepared to ask and argue on any subject to win the debate. She did not realise that she was asking uncomfortable questions to a Sanyasin, who had never experienced the worldly pleasures, that too in front of her husband. She asked:

"What are the signs and qualities of romantic passion? How many types are there in erotic science? In what parts of the body has erotic passion its centers? By what physical acts does the passion find expression and by what acts does it subside? How does passion rise and fall in man's and woman's body in the bright fortnight when the moon waxes and the dark fortnight when it wanes?"

Acharya was taken aback and remained silent for a while. Then he said: "Mother, please question me in the scriptures. And I shall answer you. How is it that you put such types of questions to a celibate monk?"

Pat came the reply from Ubhayabharati, " Why greatest of the monks, is not the science of erotic also a proper science? You are a monk and may say that you have renounced everything. But you have not yet renounced the desire to be a winner in debates. If you are a perfect monk, you must really be a master of the senses and a conqueror of the passion. Why should a mere discussion on the subject of erotic cause a ruffle in your mind?"

Acharya kept quiet. She continued: "The conquest of passions like lust and anger is the result of knowledge. If a mere discussion on erotic is going to cause undulation to your mind, then you are not established in the knowledge of Reality. Hence you are unworthy to be my husband's Guru".

Strong words were these, coming from Ubhayabharati. She would not part with her husband so easily.

Acharya listened and sat still with downcast eyes for long. He was in an awful predicament. If he answered the questions, people would tag him as a ‘fake sanyasin’. Even the word ‘Sanyasin’ would become corrupted. If he did not answer, he would lose the debate and become a ‘Grihastha’ – to lead the same life about which he could not answer. It was indeed a dilemma. Never before in his life, had he faced such an embarrassing situation.

Mother Sarada was making her divinity evident. This was all her wonderful play, play of Parasakti, without whom even the Shiva, Vishnu and others lose their very existence and meaning. Glory to Sri Sarada, Sri Rajarajeshwari, Sri Kamakshi, Sri Mahalakshmi, Sri TiripuraSundari!

The Acharya got over the feeling of surprise at these inconvenient questions and got ready to meet the challenging situation. With no anger or bitterness, but with a smiling countenance he said: “Mother, I am a celibate, a monk. The primary discipline for a monk, based on the scriptures, is total renunciation of lust and of all lustful inclinations and preoccupations. I am not bound by the desire to score victories in debate as you incorrectly pointed out. I am not here to score points over others. I am just carrying on my mission of Lokasangraha, of which this debate is a small part.”

Those who expect HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal’s reaction to the current situation, please read the above passage again, and again and again. Please inform your friends to read the above passage. Sri Adi Sankaracharya had given a response many, many years ago.

Acharya said: “If I choose to reply to your questions by a word of mouth, I shall be tarnishing the ideal of monasticism. Therefore, I shall enter another physical frame and then shall answer your questions by writing a book for the purpose. Do you agree to this arrangement?"

Ubhayabharati gladly agreed to Acharya’s plan and gave a month's time for him to revert. She postponed the inevitable by a month!

Once upon a time, there lived a medieval woman saint who had renounced everything, including her clothing, for the sake of reaching Shiva. Her mind was only on her perfect devotion to Shiva, who she perceived as her husband. She covered her body with her extremely long hair. At the end of her glorious life, she was transported to Kailasa. There, Shiva enquired as to why she needed to cover her body at all, even with her hair, if she had conquered passion. She replied, " Lord, I cover this physical bundle not because I feel ashamed. I cover it for the good of my less advanced brethren, so that they will not harbour any sinful thinking".

Same was Acharya's stand here.

For the first time since she posed the ‘inconvenient’ questions, Ubhayabharati raised her head and looked at Sri Sankarachrya. The ever peaceful Acharya looked into her eyes. The looks that had created only ‘bhakthi’ everywhere all the while thus far, created a sense of fear in Ubhayabharati.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2005 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I am sorry, I do not know of any web site on the complete debate between shankara and mandana. If you find one, please post it here.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: 22. King Acharya! Reply with quote

bhavataa janata suhita bhavita
nijabodha-vicharana charumate
kalaye-svarajivavi vekavidam
bhava Sankara devika mey Saranam.

You have made the people happy; You have noble intellect and you are skilled in the inquiry of self-knowledge! Enable me to understand the wisdom relating to God and the soul. Be You my refuge, O master, Sankara.

22. King Acharya!

A cardiologist need not ‘experience’ a heart attack to cure heart attack. So also, a True Sanyasin need not experience all aspects of life to understand and suggest cures. He has studied and understood not just philosophy but all aspects of life as well. But a common man does not understand this.

Sri Sankaracharya realised this, just as the woman saint had explained to Lord Shiva.

Acharya left the city of Mahishmati and proceeded towards peace, into a thick forest, with his disciples. All of a sudden, they saw a man sleeping under a tree. “He must be a very brave man, all alone in a forest like this, and sleeping without any worries. Was there no danger?” the thought went through everyone’s mind.

There was no more danger for him since he was already dead. Acharya found out that he was the King Amaraka, who came to the woods on a hunting expedition and had met with a sudden death.

Tragic as the king's death was, Acharya saw in it an opportunity. He took Padmapada into confidence and said: " Look Padmapada, here is a golden chance for me, I shall immediately enter the king's body, live as Amaraka for a while, find the answers to all of Ubhayabharati’s queries and come back. Till then, please keep my body….” - he did not feel good saying “my body” - “Please keep my body in a lonely cave. The Atma does not get affected by this act of mine. My body will also remain pure”.

Padmapada was not sure. Very worried, he tried to dissuade the Acharya. “ Do not worry, Padmapada. You may now think that this role of a married-man would get me a bad name as a Sanyasin. At a later date, I will be playing another role, which will be worse than this. You must be prepared and be brave.”

Achrya continued: “Guard this seemingly dead body of mine inside the cave very carefully. After a month, I shall re-enter this body and be my old self again".

Acharya used his Yogic power of Parakaya Pravesha (entering another's body), and entered into the king's body.

References are also seen in Mahabharata on Parakaya Pravesha. In Saundaryalahari, in the Prayoga section of one of the verses, the fruit of chanting a particular verse is said to be the Siddhi of Parakaya Pravesha. The associated Mantra and Yantra are also detailed in the Tantras.

When the King returned back to his palace, his behaviour was totally different. He attended to the people’s needs; worked on their problems and solved them; he gave alms to the poor; he went to temples; he was very keen in poetry, and so on. He was no longer ‘a bad King’, but became a good ruler.

Acharya, while residing in the king's body, called in scholars versed in the science of erotics and made a thorough study of the writings on sex by sage Vatsyayana and pursued all the commentaries on them to gain complete mastery over the subject. He also perfected in the practicalities of the science of Kamakala. It was then possible for the mastermind of the Acharya to produce an authoritative book on erotics in which all the questions of Ubhayabharati were more than answered. Padmapada came in disguise and had an interview with king Amaraka and obtained the book from him.

In the meantime, the learned ministers became suspicious of the king. How could such a bad personality turn so good overnight? They ultimately found out about the Parakaya Pravesha. Since they were very happy about the way the King ruled, they wanted him to continue without getting back to his original body. They thought that if the original body of the soul was destroyed, then they would be blessed with this King for ever.

They traced the body of Acharya in the caves. The ministers immediately ordered their men to burn the body of the Sanyasin. Padmapada and others went to the king in disguise and informed him through statements, which had two meanings. The Acharya, who was in the body of the king, immediately understood the inner meaning.

Acharya’s soul left the King’s body leaving the King dead and was searching for its original body. In the meanwhile, the body of the Acharya was set to fire by the men of the ministers.

And, the body of the Acharya started burning.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though we have not found a link for the debate we do have a book by swami Chinmayananda which gives shankara's confrontation with manadana misra. If at all any one is interested we can post the details. it is about 8 pages long. you will get goosebumps as you read that and cannot stop but wonder how eloquently shankara attacks each one of mandana's statements.

Tat Tvam Asi
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:32 am    Post subject: 23. Mother Sarada Devi Reply with quote

Karunaa-varunaa-laya paalaya maam
bhavasaa-gara dukhkha vidoona-hridam
bhava sankara deysika mey saranam.

You Ocean of compassion ! My heart is tormented by the misery of birth. Please save me. Make me understand the truth of all schools of philosophy ! You are my refuge, O, Master Sankara !

23. Mother Sarada Devi

When the soul of Acharya reached the body, the right hand was already burnt out. Acharya got up from the pyre. At the request of Padmapadha, Acharya sang out a hymn in praise of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, known as the Lakshmi Narasimha Stotra, consisting of 17 verses. ( ...

Each stanza ends with “mama dehi karAvalambam”, meaning, ‘O Lakshminrsimha, provide me the support of (Your) hands’.

The burning hand was rescued immediately by the grace of the Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, who was quick to shower his blessings on this Prahlada-like devotee. The Acharya then thanked the Lord and returned to the city of Mahishmati to confront Ubhayabharati.

Mandana was eagerly awaiting Acharya's return since mentally he had already taken to the discipleship of the Acharya. Mandana was unique among the Acharya's disciples. Others had approached the Guru in the traditional way, with homage and reverence and had begged for and received his mercy. Mandana alone had fought his way to Guru's grace.

Mandana and Ubhayabharati gave a very warm welcome to Acharya. The Acharya greeted Ubhayabharati and said, " Mother Bharati, here is the promised book, please accept this as the answer to all your queries".

Ubhayabharati went through the book very carefully from beginning to end and was greatly pleased with its excellence. The book was a treatise, also on the branch of astrological science, dealing with the conception, evolution and reproduction of the human species under certain categorical conditions laid down by the ancient Rishis. It also expounded certain principles regarding the structure of the human organism, its mental and moral qualities, aesthetic, physical and psychological tendencies, interrelation of the sexes, and attraction and repulsion of persons born under various stars. The treatise is known as Amarakam.

Ubhayabharati told the Acharya, " Great one, now your victory is complete indeed. My husband will now become your disciple and a monk. And I shall return to my eternal abode of Satyaloka, ending my incarnation as Ubhayabharati".

Acharya bowed before her and praised her glories and said, " Adored mother Bharati, you have descended on earth to impart divine knowledge. I know that you are none other than Devi Saraswati. If you depart from the earth now, all the knowledge will disappear from the world. Therefore please stay on for some time”.

Saraswati offered to grant him a boon. Acharya requested her to go along with him until he consecrated Her divine grace at some congenial place. Saraswati granted his prayers under a condition that he should not look back during the course of the journey to know if she was following. If he turned back, she would stop at that spot itself.

Acharya accepted that condition. He then initiated Mandana into monk-hood in the appropriate manner. He gave up the name Mandana, and took on a new name Sureshvaracharya.

The long travel towards the south bagan. Acharya and his disciples walked along, followed by Saraswati Devi. When they reached a sandy tract very near the confluence of Tunga and Badra rivers, Saraswati’s anklets got stuck in the sand and the tiny bells in the anklets ceased to tinkle. Till then, the Acharya was sure that she was following by hearing the tinkling of the bells.

Since the sound of the bells stopped, Acharya turned back. And LO! She stopped there. Then Acharya consecrated her as Sarada, in that spot, in the standing pose.

Acharya then set out on what was virtually a Digvijaya - a campaign of world conquest in the cultural and spiritual field of India, covering all parts.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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K S Venkataraman
PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: Adi Sankara Reply with quote

Dear Sri Krishnan,


Your presentation of our Bhagavadpada is very good. May I request you kindly to permit us to publish the write-ups in Nitya Kalyan, the spiritual magazine brought out under the auspices of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam for the benefit of more number of readers.

With kind regards,

K S Venkataraman

K.S.Venkataraman, Editor & Publisher, Nitya Kalyan, the magazine brought out under the directions of Sri Kanchi Periyaval, dedicated to spreading knowledge on Vedic Heritage, Devotional Literature, True Values of Life and Principles of Self Developement.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sri Venkataraman

Please take the kind permission of Sri Periyaval and with His blessings, you may publish this in Nitya Kalyan.

Jaya Jaya Sankara
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to respectfully point out, with *unreserved praise and thanks* to Shri Krishnan, that many portions of his writeup have appeared almost verbatim earlier in print or the web. Perhaps all sources should be acknowledged ? I did not bring this up earlier as I saw no need to, and because it is a great delight to read Shri Krishnan's posts, but since now Shri Venkataraman wants to serialize this in a publication, I would like to point this out. ... ...
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 6:58 am    Post subject: 24 Acharya as Human Sacrifice Reply with quote

guru pungava pungava keta-natey
samataa-mayataam nahi kopi sudhi
saranaagata-vatsala tattva-nidhe
bhavasankara desikamey saranam

Oh, Best of Teachers ! Supreme Lord who has the sacred bull as His banner(in the flag) ! None of the wise Ones is equal to You! You are compassionate to those who take refuge in You! You are the treasure chest of Truth! I am Your refuge, Oh, Master Sankara!

24 Acharya as Human Sacrifice

In the life sketch of Sri Sankaracharya, based on Anandagiri's Sankara Vijaya, Madhaveeya Sankara Vijaya and Keraleya Sankara Vijaya, many places of visit by Sri Sankaracharya are same, but the sequences of events vary. However, all these works agree that Acharya went around India from the Himalayas to Kanyakumari three times by the time he was 32 years of age.

We consider the sequence not that important compared to the places of His visit and his messages.

Acharya arrived at Srisailam (in Andra Pradesh). He visited the shrine of Sri Mallikarjuna and Devi Bhramarambika.

He sang a prayer in praise of Mahadeva. Seeing the radiant and loving face of the goddess, Acharya burst out into a hymn in praise of Mother Bhramarambika. Acharya also established a Srichakra in the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Devi.

Many scholars and aspirants belonging to different schools of thought and faith approached the Acharya for a debate to establish the superiority of their own pet beliefs and practices. But, even in their first rounds with Padmapada or Sureshwara, they were shown the hollowness of their position and had to return crest fallen.

Srisailam was the stronghold of the dreaded Kapalikas. The Kapalikas were a sect of fanatics who in excess of their religious zeal, had got into perverted ways far removed from culture or true spirituality. They killed human beings and offered the flesh to the God and also eat it.

The Kapalikas would not subscribe to the basic doctrines of spiritual effort. With their wonted fury and thoroughness, they declared a war on the Acharya and his philosophy.

But the Acharya floored them by the soundness and the force of Advatic philosophy.

Their king Krakacha was exteremy upset with Acharya. He engaged Ugrabhairava, the chief of Kapalikas in Srisailam for the purpose of doing away with the life of the Acharya.

Ugrabhairava was an expert in deceiving others. One day, he approached the Acharya in the guise of a seeker and bowing at his feet asked for discipleship under him. Acharya, though all- knowing, granted his prayer. And thus, Ugrabhairava got into the privileged group of Acharya's disciples. His behavior and devoted service fascinated everyone and he soon became a favorite with all.

One day, when Acharya was meditating,Ugrabhairava approached him and fell at his feet and shed tears. When Acharya asked him what the matter was, he said:

" My lord, I know what really you are. You are a great soul, a being like Shiva, compassionate and helpful. You are the embodiment of endless virtues. I beg you to fulfill just one desire of mine, thereby rendering my human birth useful".

Acharya said: " Good man, speak out your desire. I shall satisfy your wish".

Ugrabhairava said: " I have been, so far in my life practicing several spiritual disciplines to be worthy of inhabiting the abode of Lord Shiva. The Lord became extremely pleased with my penance and granted me a boon. The boon is that my desire will be fulfilled if I do a Homa or a fire sacrifice to Rudra, and the head of a True Sanyasin is to be sacrificed. Since the time the boon was granted, I have been going around from place to place making great efforts to procure the head of such a Sanyasin, but with no purpose. Now you certainly are omniscient. If you agree to favour me, my human birth will be rendered effective".

The senseless pleading of Ugrabhairava made the Acharya give him many a wholesome advice on the philosophy of true knowledge. But the Acharya's words fell on deaf ears.

Ugrabhairava continued weeping and said, " Lord, You know that I am not competent enough to receive the knowledge of Advaita and contain it. I am aged and have not many more days to live. It is now on you to take pity on me. It is said that Dadhichi, a great sage attained undying glory by making a gift of his body to Indra. You too, by throwing away this ephemeral frame of yours for my good, will achieve lasting fame".

Acharya came to feel that it was quite in the fitness of things that his ephemeral frame went to the fulfillment of a meritorious act. Moreover, everything depended on the will of the Lord and wisdom lay in letting things happen according to divine dispensation and direction. He at once spoke out of his readiness to Ugrabhairava.

Ugrabhairava said, " Master, I shall have the sacrifice done in such a way that your disciples will not come to know of it. In the forest nearby, there is an uninhabited shrine of Bhairava. I shall have all the arrangements made there. At midnight, on the coming Amavasya, ( darkest night of the New Moon), you may come there. No one will be able to know anything of this".

Acharya approved of the plan. On the appointed day, The Acharya went to the place of sacrifice. Ugrabhairava was waiting there. The Acharya asked Ugrabhairava if he was ready and then sat in Padmasana position, closed his eyes and started meditating thus allowing him to cut his head off with a sword.

A very happy Ugrabhairava took his sword out, thinking “ I am going to remove the greatest enemy of my religion from this world. I will get all the benefits for doing this service to my religion” and threw the sword on Acharya.

“Ah………………………ah……..” A thunderous roar, breaking the stillness of the night, roused everyone from sleep. It was a roaring sound of a person getting killed in a very crude manner and was heard and echoed all over Srisailam.

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Mr Sridhar:

Please read the begining of this thread:

HH Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal gave His divine orders to make the cyber devotees aware of Shri Adi Sankara’s life. He has asked me to study Shri A. Kupuswami’s book on Adi Sankara and compile anecdotes from the book and elsewhere, publish on the ‘web’ for easier reading and understanding of Shri Adi Sankara’s life.

Jaya Jaya Sankara
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