[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 4

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 14 00:17:49 EDT 2017

 (Continued from previous post)
But what do our scriptures say about the case where a jnani, a jeevanmukta or an incarnation of the Lord himself who
has nothing to learn, approaches a guru, serves him, gets teaching from him and pays tribute to him ?
There are many examples in our scriptures that support this case like Shri Rama and his brothers serving and learning
from sage Vasishtha and sage Vishwamitra, Shri Krishna and Balarama being taught by sage Sandipani, Shri Hanuman
obtaining knowledge from from Shri Surya Bhagavan etc.
The answer is given by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavadgita. He says :
न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन |
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ||
O partha, there is no work prescribed for Me in the three worlds. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain
anything–and yet I am engaged in work.
यदि ह्यहं न वर्तेयं जातु कर्मण्यतन्द्रितः |
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः ||
If I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly common men would follow My path.
यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जनः |
स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते ||
Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world
In essence, Krishna is saying that great men – the avatara purushas perform certain actions despite having no need to
perform any karma whatsoever, essentially to teach the dharmic path and the vedic way of life to the world and to stand
as noble examples for the rest of humanity to follow and draw inspiration from.
Another reason for these mukta purushas serving a guru to obtain knowledge is to emphasize the fact that Jnana should be
obtained and one’s own moksha sthiti should be realized only by a guru’s scriptural teaching and grace and not by any other
means. One may even have an inborn knowledge of the supreme truth, but it is the dictum of our scriptures that one should
be duly instructed in a guru sampradaya.
This also dispels any misconception that Self-knowledge and liberation can be obtained by any other means such as
meditation, samadhi, yoga, intuition, mysticism etc. other than by serving and learning from a guru.
Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada himself says so in his Mundakopanishad bhashya –
सास्त्रज्ञोपि स्वातन्त्रेण ब्रह्मान्वेशणं न कुर्यात |
Even if one has the knowledge of all Shastras, without a qualified guru’s upadesa, one should not venture into the realm
of Self-Knowledge.
Shri Shankara Bhagavatpada also emphatically declares “He who desires enlightenment should render devoted service to the
guru, with reverence, offer personal homage, speak with humility and seek the guru’s grace.”
This is the approach that has been granted by our Shastras and has been followed in our vedic tradition since time
immemorial and continues to this date as the only valid means of obtaining enlightening self-knowledge.
Let us follow the path shown by our illustrious Acharyas by and realize the everlasting freedom and happiness,
the ultimate goal of human existence.
References :
1. Shankara Digvijaya of Madhava – Vidyaranya by Swami Tapasyananda, Ramakrishna Mutt
2. Shri Shankara Vijayam of Swami Vidyaranya by T. Shivacharanam, Vyasasramam
3. Translation of The Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Sara Sangraha of Acharya Shankara by Swami Tattwananda, Ramakrishna Mutt
(To be Continued)

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