[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 12
sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 17 13:48:11 EST 2017
(Continued from previous post)
Shankara’s boon to Aryamba
During this time the Acharya had an intuition that his mother was passing through her last days and informed his disciples.
The great Siddha that Sri Shankara was, he transported himself to Kaladi in no time. On seeing the worn out condition of
his mother he prostrated before her. Aryamba was freed from all distress on seeing him. In spite of his being a Sanyasin,
known for non-attachment, he became tender in his heart on seeing his mother. On Aryamba’s request about the knowledge of
the Supreme, Sri Shankara began to instruct her on the Impersonal Brahman which however she could not absorb. Then he
recited a hymn on Shiva, which brought in the emissaries of Shiva with tridents and the rest. The mother appeared
frightened. Then he recited a hymn on Vishnu on hearing which she saw the radiant form of Pure Consciousness within.
Aryamba left her mortal coil with her mind absorbed in the Lord. When the Acharya called his neighbours and former
relatives for help in cremation, they scorned at him thus, ‘O Sanyasin, what rights do you have to perform such rites?’
They stood adamant and refused even to give fire to cremate the body. Unperturbed by their stand, the Acharya himself
generated fire out of his own right hand and completed the cremation. Then he cursed the people of the place,
‘May you become incompetent to study the Vedas! May no Sanyasin visit your place for bhiksha! May you cremate your
dead bodies in your own house compounds!’
After the Acharya had conferred the eternal state of Vaikunta on his mother he traveled through several places spreading
his doctrine of oneness.
Padmapada’s Panchapadika and his devotion
Padmapada who had completed the exegesis as commanded by the Acharya went on a long pilgrimage in the North and the South.
At Srirangam, he left his manuscripts with his uncle. Returning from Rameshwaram, he was shocked to be told by his uncle
that his manuscripts were lost in a fire. Downhearted, he headed towards the Acharya who was in Kerala and narrated his
tale of woe. The Acharya comforted his disciple with sweet and enlightening words, ‘None can overcome the effects of Karma.
I had foreseen these things and spoken to Sureshwara. While we were in Sringeri you had read out to me five chapters of
your work. I remember it and I shall now dictate it and you may take it down.’ Padmapada took down the whole book as
dictated and on completing it danced in joy. Thus Padmapada’s work on the Brahma Sutra Bhashyas of Sri Shankara came
to be known as Panchapadika.
The Acharya continued his travels winning in argument over various scholars including Jains, Madhyamikas, Lingayats and
followers of Bhatta Bhaskara. Some of them took to violent physical means, to put down which King Sudhanva with his army
fought them. In his further triumphant tours he went to Karmapura where he won victories over Navagupta, a leading thinker
of the Shakta School. But cunningly he followed Sri Shankara pretending to be a disciple and then used black magic to cause
injury to the Acharya. The Acharya suffered physically but warded off all medical remedies insisted upon by his disciples.
At last, by the grace of Lord Shiva, the Ashwini devas appeared and declared that the disease has been caused by
black magic and will not respond to treatment. Padmapada was terribly angry on knowing this and by his mantra Shakti
transferred the disease to Navagupta himself, thus displaying his devotion yet again.
(To be Continued)
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