[Advaita-l] Shuka and Gaudapada

abhishek sm abhishek046 at gmail.com
Tue Feb 28 10:53:53 CST 2012

The portion of the mahabhashya which was lost is the aja bhakshita
bhashya. If so why is it that chandra sharma(govindapada) never asked
his guru Gaudapada for that part of the bhashya on meeting him again
at the time of taking sanyasatva?

On 2/26/12, shyam Subramanian <shyam_md at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Pranams.
> An old message of Shri Chittaji from the advaitin list may be of interest as
> it is relevant to this thread.
> Am reproducing it here.
> Om Sri Gurubhyo Namah
> Om Mata Annapurneshwari
> Om Namah Shivaya
> I had posted two messages in another group related to the Guru Sampradaya of
> Advaita. I thought it might interest some members who may not be aware of
> the
> historical background of the Gurus in the tradition of Advaita. Here is the
> first of the two messages.
> Advaita Vedanta is anadi sampradaya. In this chaturyuga, it was first
> revealed
> by the Rishi Narayana, one of the twin avataras of Lord Vishnu. The Guru
> Sampradaya starting from Narayana and leading up to Shankara is as follows:
> Narayana
> Padmabhuva
> Vashishta
> Sakti
> Parasara
> Vyasa
> Suka
> Gaudapada
> Govindapada
> Shankara
> From Narayana to Suka, the succession was from father to son. Hence it is
> called
> Putra-Parampara. From Suka to Shankara, the succession was from preceptor to
> disciple, and is called Sishya-Parampara.
> The lives of the sages from Narayana to Suka are fairly well-known for they
> have
> been narrated at length in the Puranas. The life of Sri Shankaracharya is
> also
> well-known. But there is very little known about the lives of Gaudapada and
> Govindapada except for the brief glimpses we get of them in the Shankara
> Vijayas. Here we shall try to throw a little more light on the biographies
> of
> these two great personages.
> Grammar came out of the damaru of Lord Shiva when He was dancing the Cosmic
> Dance of Lord Nataraja. Among the gods who watched that dance were Panini
> and
> Adisesha. Out of the fourteen sounds that were produced by Lord Nataraja's
> damaru, came the fourteen sutras that Panini committed to memory and wrote
> as
> the Vyakarana Sutras. Since these sutras were produced by Lord Nataraja's
> damaru, they are called the Maheshwara Sutras. Because the number of
> chapters in
> the book were eight, it also came to be called the Ashtadhyayi.
> It is said that nobody can understand Panini's Grammar without the aid of a
> commentary. In order to give to mankind a bhashya on Panini's Ashtadhyayi,
> Adisesha, who was also witness to that Cosmic Dance, incarnated on earth as
> Patanjali and wrote the Great Commentary, the Maha Bhashya. It is said that
> only
> Adisesha who has a thousand heads with thousand tongues could have produced
> such
> a great bhashya.
> After Patanjali composed the Mahabhashya, the news spread throughout the
> length
> and breadth of Aryavarta. Students flocked to Chidambaram, where Patanjali
> was
> living at that time, to learn the Mahabhashya. A thousand students went to
> him
> seeking instruction. Patanjali taught them in the thousand-pillared hall in
> the
> Tempe of Nataraja at Chidambaram.
> Before starting to teach, Patanjali thought that he could not clear the
> doubts
> raised by all the 1000 students with only one mouth. So, he assumed the form
> of
> Adisesha with a thousand heads and thousand tongues, so that he could teach
> and
> clear the doubts of each of those students. But since it is not possible for
> a
> mortal to face Adisesha's poisonous breath, which can reduce a man to ashes
> if
> he were to inhale even a small part of it, Adisesha sat behind a screen and
> taught the students. Before he began the great teaching, he put forth two
> conditions to the students:
> i) That nobody shall leave the hall without taking permission, and if any
> did
> so, he would become a brahma-rakshasa.
> ii) That nobody shall try to look behind the screen
> Having put these conditions, Adisesha began to teach with one thousand
> mouths
> from behind the screen. After some time, one of the students got a doubt,
> "How
> does the teacher, being one, instruct so many of us at the same time?"
> Slowly,
> he parted the curtain to look in and see the teacher. At once, the sight of
> Adisesha and the poisonous fumes that emanated from his tongues reduced all
> the
> students into a heap of ashes. The number of those who were destroyed was
> nine
> hundred and ninety nine. One student, who was particularly dull-witted and
> couldn't understand the teaching well, had gone out for a while. He was the
> sole
> survivor of the 1000 students.
> Patanjali was sad to see what had happened. While he was mulling over what
> to
> do, the lone student who had gone out, not knowing the disaster that had
> occurred within the hall, walked in. Patanjali was overjoyed to see that at
> least one student was alive. Though he was dull-witted, he bestowed his
> grace
> upon that student and said: "May you get to know all that I know. But
> because
> you went out without permission, you will assume the form of a
> brahma-rakshasa.
> Yet, there is a means of salvation for you from this predicament. When you
> come
> to impart the instruction you have received from me to a student who is fit
> to
> receive it, you will be released from this curse."
> The student to whom Patanjali bestowed his grace was Gaudapada. He is known
> as
> Gaudapada because he is from Gauda land (modern Bengal).
> Gaudapada went to the Vindya region and sat on a tree as a brahma-rakshasa.
> The
> Vindyas are in the middle of Aryavarta dividing the north and the south, and
> travelers from the north to the south or from the south to the north
> normally
> passed through the Vindyas. The region of Aryavarta to the north was known
> as
> Gauda-desha and the region to the south was known as Dravida-desha.
> Gauda-desha
> was divided into five sections known as Sarasvata (Kashmir), Kanyakubja
> (Punjab), Gauda (Bengal), Utkara (Orissa) and Maithila (Bihar & Nepal).
> Dravida
> desha was also divided into five sections known as Andhra, Karnataka,
> Maharashtra or Saurashtra, Gurjara, and Dravida. This was the geography of
> Aryavarta before its history was corrupted by the concocted theory of Aryans
> and
> Dravidians. Be that as it may, let us proceed with the story.
> Gaudapada sat upon the tree and waited for brahmanas, for brahmanas are the
> food
> of brahma-rakshsas. Whenever a brahmin approached the tree, Gaudapada jumped
> down and assumed the form of a brahmin himself and asked the traveler a
> question
> on grammar. Those were days before the Mahabhashya had become known to the
> people, and it was very difficult for anyone to know the correct answer to
> the
> subtle question of grammar that Gaudapada put to them. So, the brahmin
> travelers
> replied with a wrong answer, Immediately Gaudapada, the brahma-rakshasa,
> pounced
> upon the traveler and ate him up. This went on for many years and there was
> not
> a single brahmin who could answer the question put by Gaudapada.
> Then one day, after a great number of years had passed, there arrived a
> comely
> brahmin boy. On seeing him, the brahma-rakshasa felt very happy and thought
> that
> he would be a very delicious meal. Gaudapada asked the usual question on
> grammar, and he was surprised when the boy gave the correct answer. At once
> Gaudapada felt elated and pleased and he said: `All these days I have waited
> for
> a suitable student. You are my proper disciple. Whatever knowledge my
> teacher
> imparted to me, I shall impart to you. Where do you want to go?' The boy
> said:
> "I am on my way to Chidambaram in order to learn grammar from Patanjali." On
> hearing this Gaudapada remarked: "The story of Chidambaram is all over. I
> shall
> teach you here. That Mahabhashya remains with me. Sit down here."
> Gaudapada taught the boy for 9 days, continuously, without food or sleep,
> until
> finally the entire Mahabhashya was transmitted from teacher to student. The
> boy
> had no quill and ink to write, so he made an incision on his thigh and with
> a
> twig that he broke from a branch he wrote using the blood that flowed from
> the
> incision as the ink. For 9 days he wrote, with no break, no sleep, no food.
> Finally, after 9 days, he tied up the leaves on which he had written the
> instructions into a bundle.
> After Gaudapada taught the boy, he was released from the curse. He then went
> northward searching for a guru. Having heard that Sukadeva was identified
> with
> the entire universe, he felt a desire to become his sishya and learn from
> him.
> After a long search he met Suka at Badari and was initiated by him into
> Advaita
> Darshana.
> But who was the boy who received the instruction from Gaudapada? His name
> was
> Chandra Sharma. Who was Chandra Sharma? He was none other than Adisesha
> himself.
> After seeing that no mortal man could answer the question put by Gaudapada,
> he
> incarnated himself on earth in the form of Chandra Sharma in order that the
> Mahabhashya may not be lost to mankind. He it was that answered Gaudapada
> and
> set him free from the curse and preserved the Mahabhashya.
> Chandra Sharma went a little distance and lay down and slept. He was very
> tired
> after 9 days and he went into a deep sleep. Meanwhile a goat came along and
> ate
> a portion of the bundle of leaves that he had left on the ground. Chandra
> Sharma
> got up from his sleep and saw that a portion of the bundle was missing. He
> tied
> up the remaining leaves and went to Ujjayini. What remains of the
> Mahabhashya
> today is the portion that was not eaten up by the goat. The missing portion
> is
> called Aja-bhaksita-bhashya (i.e., the portion of the bhashya that was eaten
> by
> the goat).
> On reaching Ujjayini, Chandra Sharma arrived at the house of a Vaishya.
> Being
> tired, he went to sleep on the veranda. He was in deep sleep for many days.
> The
> Vaishya had a daughter. She tried to wake him up, but on failing to do so,
> she
> realized that he was unconscious. Seeing the brilliance on the face of
> Chandra
> Sharma, she wanted to preserve his life. So she smeared his body with cooked
> rice water crushed in buttermilk which was the equivalent of saline in
> ayurveda
> shastra those days. After repeating this for a few days, Chandra Sharma woke
> up.
> He then collected the bundle of leaves and starting reading them. Thereupon
> the
> householder Vaishya stopped him and asked him to marry his daughter. "My
> daughter took great effort to save your life. She wants to marry you."
> Chandra
> Sharma thought within himself: "Is it for this that I received the
> instruction
> in grammar?" He told the householder that he had no intention of marrying.
> The
> householder then took Chandra Sharma to the court of the king to settle the
> matter.
> When the king saw Chandra Sharma, he too wanted to give his daughter in
> marriage
> to him. He called his minister to ask whether such marriage was in
> accordance
> with the shastras. Unfortunately for the king, the minister too saw the
> brilliance on Chandra Sharma's face and wanted him to marry his own
> daughter.
> Thus all the three, the VaishyA, the king and the minister wanted Chandra
> Sharma
> to marry their respective daughters. What was Chandra Sharma to do? He
> married
> all the three and lived with them until he begot a son by each of them. Then
> he
> renounced the world and went in search of a guru.
> After searching in various places, he finally went to Badari and met his old
> guru who had taught him grammar. He learnt that Gaudapada had become a
> sannyasi.
> He too took sannyasa from him. From then on, he was called Govinda
> Bhagavadpada.
> The teachers in the tradition from Suka onwards are known as parivrajakas,
> or
> wandering monks. While Govinda Bhagavadpada was staying at Badari, Vyasa
> came
> there and addressed his thus: "For the purpose of writing a bhashya on the
> Brahma-Sutra composed by me, Ishwara Himself is going to be born as avatara.
> He
> will take sannyasa. In conformity with the tradition in the world, there
> should
> be a teacher to initiate Him. You go to the banks of the Narmada and stay at
> the
> foot of the Ashwatta tree there. As soon as He comes to you, you will
> initiate
> Him." Thus it was that Govinda Bhagavadpada went to Narmada and initiated
> the
> young sannyasi Shankara when he came there seeking a Guru. And thus it was
> that
> He who gave grammar to the world through Panini and Adisesha now became a
> disciple of Adisesha.
> (Adapted from the book 'Adi Shankara - His life and Times' by Sri
> Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal of Kanchi Math)
> Hari OM
> Shri Gurubhyo namah
> Shyam
> On Feb 26, 2012, at 6:24, abhishek sm <abhishek046 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> In that case, many sages, sanyasins,etc can be regarded as
>> chiranjeevis. Nevertheless, that's not my primary question. My
>> question correlates to how Sri Gaudapada was found and taken up by Sri
>> Shuka. Is there any tale like the ones pertaining to Sri Shankara and
>> his 4 main disciples?
>> On 2/26/12, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 3:15 PM, abhishek sm
>>> <abhishek046 at gmail.com<javascript:_e({}, 'cvml',
>>> 'abhishek046 at gmail.com');>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Sri Shuka is not one of the 7 chiranjivis. Shuka disappeared(attained
>>>> moksha) in a cave at Shukachari. Please correct your facts.
>>>> BhavatyAh,
>>>> Abhishek Madhyastha
>>> The disappearance at Shukachari is only hagiography. I met someone whose
>>> friend recited Bhagavatam near Vyasa cave and Suka Brahma Rishi appeared.
>>> This is again only hagiography - result of subjective experience or
>>> imagination. We have to go by literary reference if we talk facts and
>>> metaphysical logic. There is no record of Suka's disappearance in
>>> Bhagavatam or Mahabharatha. Regarding number of chiranjeevis,in eka jiva
>>> vada, all jiva bhasas which get liberated are chiranjeevis. They can
>>> incarnate with a form at the sankalpa of Ishwara. I am happy to be
>>> corrected.
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
>>> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
>>> To unsubscribe or change your options:
>>> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
>>> For assistance, contact:
>>> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
>> _______________________________________________
>> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
>> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
>> To unsubscribe or change your options:
>> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
>> For assistance, contact:
>> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list