[Advaita-l] Was shrI shankarAcArya an ekadandin or tridandin or one who did vidhivat daNDa-visarjanaM

श्रीमल्ललितालालितः lalitaalaalitah at lalitaalaalitah.com
Tue May 12 14:09:33 CDT 2015

It is difficult to say anything about presence of ekadaNDa or it's absence.
But, we can easily say that he was not a tridaNDI.
Why ?
Because, tridaNDa relates to kuTIchaka and bahUdaka type of sannyAsa which
can only be taken by tIvra-vairAgyavAn, i.e. a person who doesn't desire
son, wife, etc. in this life. Considering that bhagavatpAda was
parivrAjaka, chances of him being kuTIchaka is eliminated. Only those
tIvra-vairAgyavAn persons can take kuTIchaka sannyAsa who are unable to
Now, considering that kuTIchaka and bahUdaka sannyAsI-s have to keep shikhA
and yaGYopavIta, which are sAdhana of karma, and abide to detailed rituals
as mentioned in smR^iti-s and nibandha-s, one can easily deduce that
sha~NkarAchArya was not one of them.
Why ?
Because, he supports that type of sannyAsa which is opposed to any
vaidika-smArta-karma and any laukika-karma other than that which is needed
for deharaxA. sannyAsa as a~Nga of shravaNa, etc. is supported by
vArttikakAra, sarvaGYAtmA, madhusUdana, etc.

Now, two types of sannyAsa-s, haMsa and paramahaMsa, which are taken as vow
by tIvratara-vairAgyavAn persons. Considering that both sannyAsI-s don't
want any loka which causes return to other loka-s, both appear same. But,
there is a big difference in sannyAsa-dharma here. While haMsa-s don't
practice shravaNa, etc., which are direct means of knowledge, as their
Ashrama-dharma and rely on praNava-japa and ahaMgrahopAsanA; paramahaMsa-s
practice shravaNa, etc. as their main sAdhana.
It should be noted that tyAga and aparigraha is mandatory for all types of
sannyAsI-s. Though, the degree of tyAga and aprigraha is determined by the
same of vairAgya and the resulting sannyAsa. So, paramahaMsa-s are barely
allowed to do any parigraha.

As bhAShyakAra appears to much devoted to GYAna and it's direct means, i.e.
shravaNa, etc., so we can easily conclude that he was a paramahaMsa.
Again, puShpikA-s of his works mention him as paramahaMsa.
Both, daNDI-s and paramahaMsa-s(daNDa-tyAgI-paramahaMsa-s) accept him as

Now, the problem actually arises when we see that paramahaMsopaniShad first
says that paramahaMsa-s have 'daNDa ekaH parigrahaH'(one daNDa as
belonging) and then says that 'tacca na mukhyo.asti, ...na daNDaH...carati
paramahaMsaH). Here we could see that the upaniShad says that daNDa, etc.
are not primary signs of pAramahaMsya(paramahaMsa-hood), but being without
any sign is.
So, paramahaMsa-s get divided as daNDI-s and daNDa-tyAgI-s.

So, if you consider him possessed of marks of sannyAsa, you will draw him
as daNDI; while if you think of him possessed of greater degree of tyAga
and brahma-niShThA you may consider him as daNDa-tyAgI. In both cases, his
pAramahaMsya is intact.

Now, as I'm closely related to daNDa-tyAgI, but have also tried to
understand the import of daNDa, I know what is the cause of inquiry.

On Tue, 12 May 2015 at 11:44 Raghav Kumar via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Namaste
> Are there any references to the question of shrI shankara being an
> ekadaNDin or was he a paramahamsa who had done vidhivat-daNDa visarjanaM ?

It appears that you don't consider ekadaNDin-s paramahaMsa. This is not
correct. ekadaNDin-s can be either haMsa or paramahaMsa.

> Do the installed images of shrI shankara always have the daNda ?

No. sha~Nkara-maTha-s print his image and install his statue with daNDa,
while daNDa-tyAgI-paramahaMsa do same without daNDa.
It is another story that sha~Nkara maTha-s have made their version reach
everywhere as images, even to Ashrama-s of daNDa-tyAgI-s.

> What is
> the Sringeri Math's tradition w.r.t to images of shrI shankara?

They print him with daNDa.

> I was told that some others regard him as one who had done daNDa
> visarjanam.

Yes, there are many. You may count daxiNAmUrti-maTha, kailAsa-Ashrama, and
everyone related to them through guru-paramparA, as following this version.
However, you may also find pictures with daNDa in these Ashrama-s, as
sha~Nkara-maTHa-s have printed and sent those to them. They don't hate that
version, so they have that picture hanging in their maTha-s.

> Even if  there are no direct references to this question in the digvijaya
> literature, if we can still draw inferences based on other smritis related
> to this question, please share the same.

This part will reveal conflict of views, so beware.
daNDa-tyAgI-s don't accept the daNDa with parashu-mudrA, etc. as vaidika,
just because they could not find any pramANa for that. These mudra-s are
more related to tantra-s/Agama-s. The often quoted vishveshvara-smR^iti, is
just a collection by a sannyAsI and is often silent on it's sources. A
tAntrika work, yatidaNDaishvaryavidhAnam, has many details about
shrividyopAsanA through daNDa.
daNDin-s use the daNDa for all types of karma-s which are for adR^iShTa,
i.e. tarpaNa, praNAma, archana, etc.
vidyAraNya while explaining paramahaMsopaniShad says that daNDa is accepted
to keep cow, snake, etc. away; i.e. daNDa is for dR^iShTa-praayojana, same
as kaupIna, jalapAtra, etc.
So, although daNDa-tyAgI-s accept optional acceptance of daNDa, they say
that it's not the same which daNDin-s practice now.
That's why they like to remember bhagavatpAda as either daNDa without
mudra-s or without daNDa.

daNDin-s consider that such daNDa has come to them through
shiShTa-paramparA and hence is adhered to.
daNDin-s hold that daNDa is not optional, and could not be separated(for
great time-distance). If they separate it for more than what is allowed,
iShuxepatraya, they will accure pratyavAya, is what they say.
daNDin-s say that one can't just leave daNDa without leaving other
parigraha-s, i.e. kaupIna, etc. because that would just mean that it is
selective tyAga.

The counter argument to this by daNDa-tyAgI-s is that being a paramahaMsa,
daNDin-s too can't do bAhya-pUjA, collect large number of pUjA-pAtra-s, and
sit on golden chair, etc.(gold is cause of mahApAtaka to sannyAsin-s).

In short, both are doing it wrong and blaming each other.

However, when blamed about parigraha, daNDin-s choose to say that they are
rAja-sannyAsin-s, which is unique in peculiar ways and allows parigraha of
suvarNA, etc.

Others say that rAjatva and sannyAsitva, both are viruddha and can't stay

This goes on.
And, this type of presence of different AchAra-s and different pramANa-s
and yukti-s caused confusion about daNDa, sannyAsa and everything else.

If this post gave you some more matter to think on, I need not beg pardon
for such a long post.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list