[Advaita-l] On the parakAyapraveSa legend about Sankara

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 20 21:31:52 CDT 2007

>Seeing the entire story,on the whole looks ridiculous and devoid of
>truth.what do the protagonists of this story want to establish?They are
>doing more discredit to Sankara than glorifying him.

Not necessarily. For one thing, the legend is indeed found in all the major 
Sankaravijaya texts. Till the advent of Western education with Victorian 
English ideas being introduced to India, nobody has seen fit to criticize 
this legend. It does not seem to have offended any traditional sensibility, 
or else, the authors and/or transmitters of the Sankaravijaya texts would 
have edited it out centuries ago.

Another point is that the story points to various central Indian modes of 
thinking. The married male is considered incomplete without his wife. The 
important role of the woman is highlighted in the story that bhAratI asked 
Sankara additional questions after conceding that her husband's position had 
lost. It also points to the fact that all saMskAra-s, from birth to death, 
including formal sannyAsa, pertain to the physical body only, not to the 
Atman. Finally, it brings a sense of occasion to credit Sankara with the 
extraordinary yogic power to enliven another body.

Please note that in brahmasUtra bhAshya 1.3.33, Sankara himself states that 
mere forceful denial cannot refute that many powers are attainable through 

Best regards,

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