[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 15

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 23 20:08:03 EST 2018

 (Continued from previous post)
The end of the incarnation
Sri Shankara thus ascended the Sarvajna Peetham signifying the triumph of the doctrine of Advaita. Sri Shankara
subsequently left for Badri after deputing the others to Sringeri and other places. At Badri he again preached
his doctrine to followers of the Patanjali school who accepted Advaita as the true import to the Vedas. In this way,
Shankara though Shiva’s Avatara, started his life as a seeker of truth at the hands of Govinda Bhagavatpada,
dived deep into the secrets of the Upanishads, recovered the gold mine of Advaita, wrote the great commentaries and
other Advaita treatises. He also composed hymns on Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Subrahmanya, Sharada, Saraswati, Lakshmi,
Narasimha including Shivananda Lahiri, Soundarya Lahiri and all the time remained a teacher until he reached the
thirty second year of his life.
The Acharya then went to Kedara, the holy land of Shiva. Tradition has it that the Acharya disappeared from sight at
Kedarnath. Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam portrays the same incident in a manner fitting its poetic splendour thus,
‘There came a concourse of Rishis and Devas with Brahma as their head to lead the incarnate aspect of Shiva back to his
pristine state in Shivaloka. The divine bull Nandi came and stood before him. To the chorus of hymns, rain of
Kalpaka flowers, the great Sanyasin mounting the back of Nandi with Brahma supporting him transformed himself into
real form as the great Shiva and attained to his divine abode.’
The Genius of Sri Shankara
Sri Shankara’s versatile genius is highlighted through the several Shankara Vijayams. That Sri Shankara visited many
holy places like Tiruvanaikkaval, Kanchipuram, Tirupati, Tiruchendur, etc. and contributed to the temples is known from
these accounts of Sri Shankara’s life.
It is Sri Shankara’s contribution to the stabilisation of Sanatana Dharma in all its forms that remains today as a mark
of his divine descent. While the followers of Sanatana Dharma regard Sri Shankara as a realised soul descended to
sustain Dharma, Sri Shankara is considered by all as the highest of intellectuals the world has ever produced.
Yet Sri Shankara was not only a philosopher but also a great Bhakta. Sri Shankara instituted the worship of
Ganesha, Shiva, Shakti, Surya, Vishnu and Subrahmanya, all on the same pedestal pointing towards the one God
worshipped in different forms. His compositions on all the deities contain poetic excellence that thrill the common man,
touch the emotions and carries the sadhaka forward step by step. Shankara has emphasised that deliverance cannot be had
except by Atma-Jnana. The paths of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana are steps in the ladder to realise the Atman, the summum bonum
of human life. Total surrender to God as the culmination of Bhakti has been accepted by Sri Shankara as a sure means of
attaining salvation because such surrender embodies Jnana. In a prayer to Vishnu, Sri Shankara says,
तत्यपि भेदापगमे नाथ तवाह न भामकीनत्वम् ।
सामुद्रोहि तरङ्गः क्वचन समुद्रो न तारङ्गः ॥
Oh Lord, even after realising that the Truth that
There is no real difference between Jiva and Brahman,
I beg to state that I am Yours and not that You are mine.
The wave belongs to the ocean, not the ocean to the waves.
(To be Continued)

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