[Advaita-l] Shankara Vijayam - Chandala Episode

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 4 01:45:58 CST 2016

On Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 10:16 AM, Venkateswaran N E via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> namaste
> I have a question related to the chaNDALA episode in Shankara Vijayam and
> request the list members to clarify.
> When AchArya and his shiSyAs ask the chaNDALA to move away, the chaNDALA
> expounds the vedanta tattva, and finally chides AchArya :
> acintyamavyaktamantmAdyaM vismR^itya rUpaM vimalaM vimohAt |
> kalevare.asminkarikarNalolAkR^itinyaha.ntA kathamAvirAste ||
> vidyAmavApyApi vimuktipadyAM jAgarti tucChA janasa~NgrahecChA |
> aho mAnto.api mahendrajAle majjanti mAyAvivarasya tasya ||
> Canto 6.31-32.
> Swami Tapasyananda’s translation :
> “Forgetting out of infatuation one’s own true nature as the Spirit -
> beyond thought and words, unmanifest, beginningless, endless and pure - how
> have you come to identify yourself with the body which is unsteady like the
> ears of an elephant ?
> If you say that your conduct is meant only for the guidance of the world,
> even then how can you explain such conduct in the light of the
> non-dualistic doctrine ?
> Wonderful, indeed, is the magic of the great Magician which infatuates the
> ignorant and the learned alike !!”
> Dhanapati Suri’s commentary on the 6.32  is given below for reference :
> nanu yadyapyevaM tathA.api lokasa~NgrahecChayedaM mayoktimiti
> cettatrA.a.aha .
> vimuktipadyAM vimuktimArgabhUtAM vidyAM prApyapi tucChA janasa~NgrahecChA
> kiM jAgarti |
> aho atyAshcaryam . mAyAvinAM varasya shreSThasya tasya paramAtmano
> mahatIndrajAle bhavadAdayou mahAnto.api majjantItyarthaH ||  ## 6.32 ##
> My understanding is that the AcArya though being a jIvanmukta, ensured he
> followed the niyamas of the dharmashastras as an example for others,
> whereas in the above shlokas the chaNDALA chides AchArya on this very same
> lokasamgraha approach.
> It is also significant that AchArya does not contest or justify his action
> to the chaNDALA but says -
> All that you have said is true.  You are, indeed, one of the noblest of
> men.. . . . .  “I am the same Pure Consciousness which shies alike in
> Mahavishnu as also in the flies.  All objective phenomena are false” - he
> who is ever established in this Consciousness is my Guru worthy of respect,
> be he an outcaste by birth.
> Based on this episode, some say that AchArya had only book knowledge of
> vedanta and was not self realised (just a shrotriya),  till he met the
> chaNDALA and only this episode lead him to AtmAnubhava.
> What is the traditional view of shAnkrAdvaitins on this ?

The words of the 'chandāla' are only statement of fact. As long as a person
is alive, the life is within the realm of māyā.  The adherence to the rules
of conduct in society, even by the advaita jnāni, is also part of the māyā.

However, in the same work, from 6.45 to 51 Shiva addresses the Acharya.  In
6.45, the Lord says: शोधिता तव तपोधननिष्ठा .[I have tested your
establishment in austerity].

And, at the end, 6.51, the Lord says: ...मामुपैष्यसि ततः कृतकृत्यः...  you,
the enlightened, liberated, will attain me.

So, the Lord has no doubt about the aparoksha jnanam of Shankaracharya. It
is only a 'test', as the Lord himself says.  The enthusiasm for loka
sangraha is a complement rather than a defect.  The BG 3rd ch. enjoins on
the jnani to engage in lokasangraha, by following the rules of the world.

This is from a gist of the Shankara vijaya from the Sringeri website's pdf:

Scarcely had he finished speaking when the outcaste vanished from the site
and in his place Lord Shiva and four Vedas appeared. Moved by joy, awe and
devotion, Shankara said in praise of Lord Shiva, the Ashtamurti.
‘I am the servant when I am conscious of myself as the body. I am thy part
when awareness of Jiva dawns on me and when Atman consciousness becomes
established, I recognise myself as one with thee. Such is the teachings of
the scriptures. By realising which all the dullness of
ignorance within and without is eradicated; to contain which there is no
receptacle; to burnish which there is no grinder; to dig which there is no
mind; to attain which all the renouncing monks make strenuous efforts in
solitude ‘ to that Being, the essence of all the Sastras, my salutations!
The Sastras are of no avail unless accompanied by Guru’s Grace; Grace is
unless it generates awakening; and awakening is purposeless unless it gives
the knowledge of the Supreme Truth. To that Supreme Truth who is not
different from myself and who fills the understanding with wondrous
rapture, my salutations! ’

To that great Sanyasin who saluted thus with tears of devotion in his eyes,
God Shiva said, ‘You have realized My true being. My blessings rest on you
and Vyasa alike. Vyasa edited the Vedas. He composed Brahma Sutras
(aphorisms on the subject of Brahman). You have got a real understanding of
the purport of the Vedas and should write a commentary on the Brahma
Sutras, by which the false theories have to be refuted, both through reason
and through scriptures. The commentary that you are going to produce will
receive praise from exalted beings like Indra. You spread the Knowledge of
Truth in the world and appoint competent disciples as guardians of the
Vedic path in different parts of the country. Having accomplished all
these, you return to My state with the satisfaction of having fulfilled
your mission.’ After
commissioning Shankara thus, Lord Shiva disappeared.


> Warm Regards
> Venkateswaran
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