[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 6

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 18 22:41:54 EDT 2017

 (Continued from previous post)
In contrast to Veda-anta or “Uttara Mimamsa”, as it’s technically called, there is another system of philosophy called
the “Purva-Mimamsa”, propounded by sage Jaimini and expanded by his followers like Shabara, based on the Veda poorva bhaga,
which claims that the mere utterance of mantras and performance of the Vedic rituals given in the Veda poorva bhaga are
adequate to produce all the desired results for us and there is neither a need to recognize the existence of an entity
called Ishvara nor there is a need to offer these karmas to Him. The karmas when strictly performed according to
scriptural injunctions are inherently capable of producing the desired results. Now let us examine Acharya’s interactions
with the Purva Mimamsakas of his time and what they teach us.
Shankara Bhagavatpada’s encounters: There were two eminent and renowned scholars, Kumarila Bhatta and his disciple
Mandana Mishra, who belonged to the Purva Mimamsa school of thought in Bhagavatpada’s time. Acharya had made a sankalpa
to establish the Advaita Siddhanta in its rightfully superior place and encountered the most distinguished scholars of
about 72 schools of thought prevalent at that time, defeated them in scholarly debates, ascended the Sarvajna Peetha
and Vyakhyana Simhasana and successfully restored the glory of Advaita. As part of this, he visited Kumarila Bhatta
for a debate and found out that he was about to sacrifice himself with the most painful punishment of slowly burning
in a heap of paddy husk to expiate for the twin sins of “Guru droham” and “Ishvara droham”.
1st sin of Kumarila Bhatta : Kumarila Bhatta was born as an incarnation of Lord Subrahmanya, to defeat the detractors
of the Vedas like the Buddhists and to restore the scriptures from being lost to the society. In that process, he joined
a Buddhist monastery in disguise as a student to learn their philosophy to eventually defeat them in debate. Since he
learnt from their Guru by deception, he considered it the greatest sin worthy of the most painful punishment.
Respect towards the Guru : Our scriptures teach that one who teaches us even a single letter must be respected as a teacher.
Then, what to speak of the one who teaches an entire branch of learning? Any disrespect, deception or treachery towards
one’s Guru is strictly condemned by our scriptures and results in the greatest sin. In the modern times when respect
towards a Guru is dwindling and Guru is seen merely as giving us “information” rather than leading us to “transformation”,
this episode of Kumarila Bhatta’s expiation is certainly an eye-opener for us.
Our scriptures are replete with examples of dire consequences suffered by those who disrespected their Gurus and good
fortunes enjoyed by those who revered them. The story of King Trishanku tells us how the King ended up being suspended
upside down between earth and heaven for eternity by sage Vishvamitra, for disobeying his Guru sage Vashishtha due to
a difference of opinion. On the other hand, King Dasharatha, while initially differing with his Guru, eventually relented
and sent Rama to the forest with Vishvamitra, bringing peace, prosperity and eternal glory to his clan.
The two sages involved in these stories, Vashishtha and Vishvamitra themselves had differences of opinion and Vishvamitra
had to undergo very long and very painful expiation for disrespecting a Brahma Jnani like Vashishtha. Hence the declaration
of our scriptures:
शिवे रुष्टे गुरुस्त्राता गुरौ रुष्टे न कश्चन |
(To be Continued)

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