shaMkara - 5 1 2 - 2 1 5 - vaishaaka shukla panchami

Ravisankar S. Mayavaram msr at COMCO.COM
Thu Mar 30 19:11:21 CST 2000

I had the opportunity to listen kaanchi periyava's talk on
shankara jayanti on internet from the kaanchi kamakoTi www page.
This talk is in Tamil and a very interesting one. I was
fascinated by the sweetness of his voice and the humorous style.
In this talk, he gives one of the interesting reason for why the
name shankara was given to our achaarya.

It seems that it is a tradition in kerala that the day in which
the person is born is used to determine the names. This is now
prevalent only among the kings (like chittirai thirunaaL, svaati
thirunaaL, muula thirunaaL, vishaaka thirunaaL), but in the past
was followed by many.

Sanskrit has a tradition of using shloka-s to convey even things
like vaidya, jyotisha, mathematics, dictionaries. To represent
maths with letters, they had a conventions which is called
kaTapaya rule. That is 9 letters begining from ka are numbered
sequentially, 4 from Ta, 5 from pa and 8 from ya. And the acharya
goes on to quote many things and also give an analysis of a
shloka giving age of shankara as 32.

Coming back to topic, shankara was born on vaishaaka shukla
panchami. vaishaakam is 2 month in chaandramaana system. There
are two pakshams, and shukla is 1st paksham, and panchami tithi
is the 5th one. The number we get is 2-1-5. There is another rule
in using the letters for numbers, that is, one has to use in the
reverse direction while interpreting. Now we have to decode 5 1
2.  starting from ya, 5 will denote shaM; starting from ka 1 will
denote ka; and starting from ya 2 will be ra. So we get shankara.

I have not done justice to the 20 minute talk. Please listen if
you have access to the site with Real Audio player (mostly I
don't, as I work on a old SGI machine) and if you know Tamil.

Another place I have seen an interesting analysis of numbers and
names is the lalitaasahasrnaama bhashyam of shri bhaaskararaya
(translation). But I do not remember the details now.

jaya jaya shankara


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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