[Advaita-l] The position of Shankaracharya in the Guru parampara.

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Tue Apr 5 07:47:15 CDT 2011

There are no historical facts about who exactly was Gaudapada.  Similar to that of Sankara, the identity of Gaudapada too is ambigiuous.  
When i saw the photos of Gaudapada caves, that reminded me of the words of 
my guruji.  I don't know from where, guruji collected this information, but here is 
some info.  I picked up from my guruji's personal diary.  
The original name of Gaudapada is Sukhadatta. Father's name is
Vishnudeva and Mother's name is Gunavathi. Born at Bhupalagrama
village near sukadeva ashrama. Mastered all the vidyas at the age of
5 years. Went to the Gauda Desa and performed penance in the cave. This
same cave is now known as "Gaudapada Guha". Met Jishnudeva
in the cave and got initiated in the secrets of Yoga and Srividya. 
Performed penance and got mantra siddhi in the same cave. 
Hence, the caves are known to be Gaudapadaguha.
So, probably, there were 2 gaudapadas.  One gets this benefit of 
doubt after observing his work called "Subhagodaya Stuti".  
Moreover, the idol of Gaudapada seems to be the product of imagination 
of the sculptor.
I saw an old sketch of Gaudapada who had a long beard with just kaupina 
(a loin cloth) on His body.  No danda, no kamandala and other 
paraphernalia related to sanyasa. He looked like an avadhuta 
almost resembling Sadasiva Brahmendra Saraswati.  
So, probably, the strict order of sanyasa like performing the devatarchana,
adherence to the ritual of holding daNDa, kamaNDala, undergoing sirOmuNDana
and other muThAmnAya anushAsanAs have cropped up with Sankara Bhagavatpada
after setting up of 4 mutts at Sringeri, Puri, Dwaraka & Badari.  

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