[Advaita-l] Teachings on the Vijaya Yatra - Three Simple Teachings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya
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Sat May 2 21:01:57 CDT 2015
(Around the beginning of the month, a nugget of Wisdom from the Jagadguru may be posted on the advaita-l list,
as on the Chaturamnaya list: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/chaturamnaya )
Mancherial: DECEMBER 30-31, 2012
Three Simple Teachings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya
On 30th December, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Mancherial.
The Jagadguru was received with great devotion and devotees were blessed with an Anugraha Bhashanam
after the performance of Dhuli Pada Puja to the holy Padukas of the Jagadguru.
In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru stated that many great people have taken birth in this
country and have performed many noble deeds. Sri Adi Shankaracharya is among the foremost of such
great personages. He was verily the incarnation of Lord Shiva. Our country has a timeless tradition
of following Sanatana Dharma. Although it is referred to as Hindu Dharma in the present times,
Sanatana Dharma is its original name. This has been in practice since creation began. The Holy Veda
has described Dharma thus:
धर्मो विश्वस्य जगतः प्रतिष्ठा लोके धर्मिष्ठं प्रजा उपसर्पन्ति धर्मेण पापमपनुदति धर्मे सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितम् तस्माद्धर्मं परमं वदन्ति ।
Thus have the Vedas described the greatness of Dharma. As it is expounded in the Vedas, this Dharma
is called Vaidika Dharma. As this Dharma has been in practice since time immemorial, it is called
Sanatana Dharma. The world will be prosperous as long as this Dharma is practiced. When there is a
break in the practice of this Dharma, it will lead to all kinds of disasters. It is with this view
that our tenets prescribe an uninterrupted practice of Dharma.
However time is a wondrous thing! In a long span of time, conditions do not remain the same.
They change. That is the greatness of time. There will be a time when there will be destruction of
Dharma. Certain people keep destruction of Dharma as their sole aim, causing inconvenience to those
who follow Dharma. During such a time, there will be no practice of Dharma, the country will be in
turmoil. Under such conditions, God Himself will incarnate. He will annihilate those who try to
destroy Dharma, protect those who practice it and thereby protect this Dharma. This happens in every
aeon (Yuga). If one were to look back, during Tretaa Yuga, God reincarnated as Rama and
killed Ravana and others who oppressed Dharma. During Dwaapara Yuga, God incarnated as Krishna
and protected Dharma. Similarly, in the Kali Yuga, God incarnated as Adi Shankaracharya and
There is a unique feature about this incarnation. Unlike in the earlier incarnations of God,
Sri Shankaracharya did not kill anybody to protect Dharma. He removed the misconceptions in the
minds of people. As a result of Buddhist propaganda, people then thought that this Dharma was of
no use, that the Vedas were not the ultimate authority and that there was no need to practice what
was preached in them. However through His endeavors, Sri Adi Shankaracharya strengthened the faith
in the Vedas and made people realize that not adhering to them would result in a crisis. Thus people
took a keen interest in Dharma; peace and prosperity were restored in the country.
Sri Adi Shankaracharya, who had carried on such great endeavors, has also blessed us by writing
several works. They number in the hundreds. Through these works, we can gain knowledge about several
topics. To understand Dharma, Vedanta and other such noble subjects, it is essential that we read
Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s works. He has written to bestow knowledge on a variety of audiences,
including the layman.
TEACHING ONE. OFFER YOUR MIND TO GOD
For instance, we think that to make an offering to God, we need to take fruits, flowers, food, etc.
However Sri Shankaracharya says, “This is fine. But this alone is insufficient. There is one thing
which is of utmost importance, which should be offered. What is that? It is but your mind. Without
first offering your mind, there is no use of offering anything to God.” Therefore, Sri Shankaracharya
समर्प्यैकं चेतः सरसिजमुमानाथ भवते
I should offer my mind as a flower to the Lord’s feet.
In this context, what is meant by offering the mind to the Lord? Is mind a tangible object?
How then, is it possible to offer the mind? Offering your mind means meditating on the Lord always
in your mind. You should think only of the Lord, not of other unnecessary things. Why? Because there
is simply no purpose. There are so many things happening in the world. But do we stand to gain
anything by thinking about them? No. But if we use the same time to meditate upon the Lord, it will
give us great benefit. In our life, time is invaluable. Wasting it is a big mistake. The only way to
not waste it, is to think of God always. If even a small bit of time is spent without thinking about
the Lord, we should be as pained as we would feel if there was a theft in our house.
मुहूर्तमात्रेऽतिक्रान्ते भगवच्चिन्तनं विना ।
दस्युभिर्मुषितेनेव युक्तमाक्रन्दितुं ध्रुवम् ॥
If even a moment is wasted without thinking of the Lord, we should feel guilty about it. We think of
many unnecessary matters. Is it of any use? Certain people come to attend a Puja, but start
discussing about irrelevant matters, when seated in front of the deity. Is that the time to talk
such matters? Where have you come and what are you discussing? Your duty then is to keep thinking of
the Lord and watch the Puja. You have to chant the Lord’s name and meditate upon Him. Instead, if you
let your mind dwell on impertinent matters, there is no bigger mistake than this. Therefore,
Sri Shankaracharya has asked us to offer our mind as a flower to God. In essence, it means: Focus on
the Lord, without letting your mind wander.
TEACHING TWO. KEEP THE COMPANY OF SATPURUSHAS
Similarly, Sri Shankaracharya has given us another teaching: “To always spend your time in the
company of Satpurushas.”
Satpurushas never think badly of others, even in their minds. They only think of helping others,
at all times. Such people see only the good in every person, never their bad qualities. Every person,
in this world has good and bad traits. Nobody is 100% good or 100% bad. Therefore, we have to view
only the good attributes in every person. We must never pay attention to the bad traits, as it will
not be of any use to do so. Noble people are like that. Lord Shiva is cited as an example in this
regard. During the churning of the milk-ocean, the moon and the Haalaahala poison were obtained.
Lord Shiva kept the moon on His head, visible to everybody. He consumed and concealed the poison in
His throat, without releasing it. What is the meaning behind this? We have to prevent the bad from
coming out, while displaying only that which is good.
गुणदोषौ बुधो गृह्णन् इन्दुक्ष्वेडाविवेश्वरः ।
शिरसा श्लाघते पूर्वं परं कण्ठे नियच्छति ॥
We have to view only the good qualities, not the bad. But it is a trait in man to see only the bad
qualities in others. If suppose a person has done ten good deeds, nobody has praise. Instead people
keep pinpointing the one fault that he may have committed. This is man’s nature. But the noble are
not like that; they see only the good. Therefore, if we keep the company of the noble, we will also
imbibe their qualities. It is man’s nature to imbibe the qualities of the company he keeps. If we
subcribe to the company of the ignoble, we tend to become so. On the other hand, we attain nobility
in the company of the noble. Hence, Sri Shankaracharya has advised us to always stay in the company
of good people and avoid association with the bad.
TEACHING THREE. SHED YOUR EGO
Yet another matter that Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada has taught us is to shed ego.
People are proud of their wealth, knowledge, position and strength. Sri Shankaracharya has stated:
“None of these are permanent. Wealth, knowledge, position and strength are ephemeral. Being proud
on account of these is a very big mistake.”
मा कुरु धनजनयौवनगर्वम् ।
हरति निमेषात् कालः सर्वम् ॥
All these will perish in a moment. Why are you proud of these? Due to ego, we tend to commit
mistakes. When a person is egoistic, he tends to think that nobody can do anything to him and that
he can do whatever he pleases. But we need to tell such people that nobody may question them here
in this world, but there is surely somebody who will question upon leaving one’s mortal coil.
You cannot escape from Him (God) by stating that you own wealth, knowledge or authority! You will
have to face the consequences. Hence, bear this in mind and do not err. Therefore, Sri Shankaracharya
has asked us to always remember that we are answerable after death and has asked us to be cautious
in our actions. The wealth you have obtained is due to God. So use it for His service. Use it to
alleviate the sufferings of those in need. Do not use your wealth to do misdeeds. Similarly, use
your authority, which you have obtained as a result of merit acquired in your previous birth, to do
good to the society, not to cause harm.
In this manner, Sri Adi Shankaracharya has given a number of teachings on how even a common man
should lead his life. It is due to this that His fame has become immortal. If, even after 12
centuries of His incarnation, we still utter Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s name with utmost devotion
and respect, one can imagine the yeoman service He has rendered to us. Thus, we have to journey in
the noble path prescribed by Him and make our lives worthy and pure. Only then will this great human
birth be made meaningful and worthy.
The Jagadguru wished that everyone should keep this in mind and lead one’s life accordingly.
The Jagadguru mentioned His two previous visits to Mancherial. He noted that the people here have
welcomed and served the Sringeri Jagadguru and have become worthy of Their blessings. The Jagadguru
expressed happiness at the devotion of the people of Mancherial.
The Jagadguru invoked the following prayer to conclude His Anugraha Bhashanam, “May God always let
you have this devotion and sincerity. May He always grant you keenness in matters pertaining to
Dharma. May your minds always dwell on God. May you attain all-round welfare.”
Temple & Pathashala Visits
On 31st December 2012, the Jagadguru had Darshan at Vishwanatha Swamy Temple and then gave Darshan
to the devotees. In the afternoon, the Jagadguru started from Mancherial and visited Acchalapuram.
The Jagadguru first went to the Nandini Nilayam (Goshala) of Sri Mahadeva Veda Pathashala and then
graced the precincts of the Pathashala which is being run with the support of the
Sringeri Sharada Peetham. The Jagadguru blessed the trustees of the Pathashala, and had special
words of encouragement and blessings for the Adhyapakas and Vidyarthis of the Pathashala.
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