Fascinating legend about Sri Sankara and Guruvayoor

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Tue Dec 10 12:22:04 CST 2002

This post is actually a supplement to my ABCPN – 12, where this matter was
mentioned. The following is taken from ‘Temples of South India’ by N.S.
Ramaswami. The materials within brackets are mine.

“Here is a fascinating legend about the origin of rituals in this temple
(of Guruvayoor). One Ekadasi day, which marks the occasion when Sri
Krishna taught the truths of the Gita to Arjuna, Sri Sankara and Narada
were travelling by air. Narada said that he proposed to alight in
Guruvayoor. Disdainfully, Sri Sankara refused to follow him, thinking that
( ! ) worship of images and recitation of the Lord’s name were meant for
the ignorant and not for him. But within a few minutes he had a fall and
lay prostrate on the earth by the northern side of the temple. He then
realised that he had erred grievously. He besought the Lord to forgive
him. A hole in the ground near the temple is pointed out as the place
where Sri Sankara had fallen down. The Lord told him that ( as if he did
not know!) temple worship, repetition of the Lord’s name, listening to
religious discourses and taking part in the temple festivals were all ways
of expressing devotion. He also asked Sri Sankara to organise the daily
worship in the temple. What Sri Sankara laid down is being followed to
this day.”

Whether you believe in such stories or not, analogousr stories abound in
the folklore of each and every temple. As an advaitin we have to take them
as the lIlA of the Lord to impress upon us the values of devotion as the
sure path to spirituality.

praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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