[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 9

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 15 23:16:39 EST 2017

 (Continued from previous post)
Ubhaya Bharati put a garland of flowers on the neck of the two contestants, declaring that the person whose garland
withers will be considered defeated. The debate went on for several days. Ubhaya Bharati accepted that the cogent
arguments of Shankara had overcome the contentions of Mandana and gave her verdict subjecting Mandana to defeat.
The flower wreath on Mandana’s neck also faded. Mandana adopted Sanyasa in accordance with the wager. Ubhaya Bharati
gave Bhiksha to both Sri Shankara and Mandana, indicating that her husband was now a Sanyasin.
Mandana, however, still had some questions regarding the aphorisms of Jaimini and their relation to the Absolute Truth,
as propounded by Sri Shankara. When Sri Shankara clarified, Mandana prostrated and said, ‘You are the nature of pure
consciousness, yet for the sake of ignorant men you have assumed this human body. You have saved all with the single
statement – Tat tvam asi, and explained the great soul indicated in the Upanishads, the crest-jewel of the Vedas,
as indestructible and one without a second.’ Praising thus, Mandana then surrendered himself at the feet of Sri Shankara.
आत्माम्बा इदमेक अग्रआसीत् ।
ब्रह्मवा इदं अग्र आसीत् एकमेव ।
सदेव सौम्य इदं अग्र आसीत् ।
एकमेव अद्वितीयं ब्रह्मय्च ।
The debate with Ubhaya Bharati
Ubhaya Bharati too praised Sri Shankara but then added ‘You cannot claim complete success over my husband until I,
his better half, have been defeated by you. Though you are an embodiment of divinity, I have a desire to debate with you.’
Ubhaya Bharati convinced Sri Shankara to agree to a debate. For seventeen days a protracted debate continued.
Finding Sri Shankara invincible in Vedic lore, philosophies and other Sastras, Ubhaya Bharati struck on the idea of
questioning him on Kama Sastra, the science and art of love between the sexes, knowing that Sri Shankara was a celibate
from boyhood. Sri Shankara accepted the challenge but requested a month’s time to resume the discussions.
Sri Shankara and his disciples, all masters of Yogic powers, traveled along the skies, and located a dead body,
that of king Amaruka. Sri Shankara discussed with his disciples about the prospect of entering the King’s body,
study the effects of the forces of love by remaining a witness, and then re-enter his body which would have to be
safeguarded by his disciples. Padmapada gave his full consent but quoted a precedent of a Yogi Matsyendra as a
possible pit fall. Sri Shankara met his arguments in his own superb manner: ‘In the case of one who has realised
even here that the self is without all contacts, and is the relationless eternally pure spirit, the commandments
and prohibitions of the Sastras have no application. All fruits are non-existent for one who has realised the world
as a mere appearance. A true knower is free from any sense of good and evil. So even if I indulge in the
enjoyment of sex love, no evil will result from it. However in order that the world may not be misled by the action
of a Sanyasin like me, I will gain the experience of sex life through the body of this dead Amaruka, which I am going
to enliven by temporarily identifying myself with that body.’
Shankara then entered the body of Amaruka by yogic powers, and lived in the palace effecting able and just administration.
He also gathered the knowledge of love. Meanwhile, the ministers of Amaruka concluding from the remarkably superior gait
of the king apprehended that some noble soul had entered the King’s body and ordered that all uncared for dead bodies
in the kingdom be burnt. The expiry of the stipulated period was reminded by his disciples who came as musicians to the
palace. Sri Shankara withdrew his subtle body from the body of the King. Even as Sri Shankara re-entered his body,
the king’s emissaries having found it unguarded had already set it on fire.
Sri Shankara immediately recited a hymn addressed to Lakshmi Narasimha (Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalamba Stotram).
By the grace of Narasimha, the fire got extinguished and Sri Shankara emerged from the cave. He traveled to
Mandana’s house through the skies, was received reverentially by Mandana and Ubhaya Bharati with ecstasy and was
offered a throne like seat. Ubhaya Bharati addressed him thus, ‘You are that Sadashiva who is the lord of Brahma
and of all the Devas and other beings, and also the master of all Vidyas. You took all the trouble to master the
science of sex love just to conform to the ways of the world. That we have met with defeat at your hands is not a
matter of shame for us, just like moon and stars do not go into disrepute when the sun suppresses their light.
I must now go to my heavenly abode. Permit me.’ Sri Shankara replied, ‘I know you are Saraswati, the consort of
Brahma and the sister of Shiva and you are of the nature of pure consciousness. I shall in future be instituting
temples of worship for you in Rishyasringagiri (Sringeri) and other places. I beseech you, to manifest yourself
in all those temples, receiving the adoration of devotees and bestowing boons on them.’ Agreeing to do so she
disappeared from the physical world.
Mandana became a follower of Shankara having extinguished all worldly desires and ambitions. Shankara imparted to him
the Mahavakya ‘Tat tvam asi’ and gave him the name Sureshwara. Shankara having thus brought the celebrated Mandana
into his own fold started again on his mission.
(To be Continued)

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list