[Advaita-l] Teachings on the Vijaya Yatra - Sankara and National Integration

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Jan 3 20:58:15 EST 2018

 (Reposting due to a formatting problem - probably because I used the Chrome browser?)
(Around the beginning of the month, a nugget of Wisdom from the Jagadguru may be posted
on the Chaturamnaya list : http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/chaturamnaya )
Nellore: NOVEMBER 6-7, 2012
Jagadguru Visits Nellore
Arriving at Nellore to a grand reception, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji first had Darshan at the Sri Moolasthaneshwara Temple. The devotees then took the Jagadguru in a procession, which was followed by the Dhuli Pada Puja and the offering of Swagata Patrika.
The Jagadguru Speaks About the Glory of Sri Adi Shankaracharya
In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that our holy land of Bharata has given birth to many Mahapurushas. Many philosophers, saints, kings, and noble men have walked the lands of Bharata Desha. Owing to their innumerable achievements and their contribution to the masses, they attained fame. Among such Mahapurushas, Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada is foremost. He lived only for 32 years, however His achievements in that short span are so immense that it seems impossible to achieve them even over a 100-year life span. This gives us an idea of His amazing life. 
While He took birth in Kerala, He established His Peethams in Karnataka, Gujarat, Odissa and in the far north of Bharata. Even so many centuries ago, He envisioned national integration and acted accordingly. He directed Maharashtrians to offer worship at Rameswaram, the Namboodiris of Kerala to worship at Badari and the priests of Karnataka to offer worship at Pashupathinath in Nepal. He installed Sureshwaracharya from the North to head the Peetham in the south (at Sringeri). He made Padmapadacharya from the South as the Peethadhipati in the West (at Dwaraka), and Totakacharya from Karnataka as the Peethadhipati in the North (at Badari).
If we remember Sri Adi Shankaracharya with such respect to this day, it is due to His personality, learning, compassion and his ability to bring about the welfare of the masses. Many great people came after Him, but no one reached His heights. That is why we revere Him as verily the incarnation of Lord Parameshwara. We do not revere Him as the incarnation of Lord Parameshwara because of blind faith or because we belong to His Parampara. If we revere Sri Krishna as the incarnation of God, we do not do so out of blind faith. If we look at His actions in His life, we cannot but accept that He is the incarnation of God. When still a child, He had lifted the Govardhana mountain on his little finger for seven days. Is it possible for an ordinary human to even consider such a feat? Every Lila of Sri Krishna points to His divinity. So too is the case with Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada. His broad-mindedness, tolerance, compassion and scholarship are beyond compare. It is impossible for the common man to understand his scholarship. The extent of his scholarship can be understood only by those who have studied His Bhashyas. Many who came after the time of Sri Bhagavatpada tried to criticize his works, but have only failed to do so. 
How has did he produce such great works? He Himself has answered this question. If you merely use your logic, you cannot determine the Truth. For, each one’s logic and intellect is different and can be used to put forward different perspectives. Hence the Shruti or the Vedas must be taken as the final authority by us who are Astikas. 
The Acharya established the Advaita Siddhanta that is the essence of the Vedas. He taught the path of welfare for everyone. Even for those who wonder how they could become a recipient of God’s Grace, chanting the Stotras of the Acharya is a definitive way to Shreyas. God is impartial. To say that God does not grace one is foolishness. It is like complaining against a river stating that it does not give you water, while you take no efforts to go near it. Does the river fail to give water to anyone who comes to it? Such is the nature of God, who graces anyone who approaches Him. 
The Jagadguru remembered the the devotee, Kannappa, the ordinary hunter and quoted from Shivananda Lahari illustrating his Bhakti and describing the greatness of Bhakti. 
मार्गावर्तितपादुका पशुपतेरङ्गस्य कूर्चायते
 गण्डूषांबुनिषेचनं पुररिपोर्दिव्याभिषेकायते ।
 किंचिद्भक्षितमांसशेषकबलं नव्योपहारायते
 भक्तिः किं न करोत्यहो वनचरो भक्तावतंसायते ॥
Does God accept what we offer? Will God come when we call out to Him? If you offer like Shabari offered, God accepts. If you call out to Him like Draupadi did, He comes. Such is the importance of faith and devotion. One may remember that Sri Krishna refused the welcome and royal hospitality offered by the haughty Duryodhana and instead went to the humble residence of devout Vidura.
The Jagadguru also said that Sri Adi Shankaracharya pointed out the nature of temporal pleasures that make one stray from the path of Dharma. Many today question: Are not Dharma, Nyaya and Satya tenets of the past? Do they apply in the 21st century? The Shastras answer this question and state that one who resorts to Adharma, Anyaya and Asatya might temporarily prosper but will meet with imminent downfall. 
अधर्मेणैधते पूर्वं ततो भद्राणि पश्यन्ति ।
 ततः सपत्नान् जयति समूलं हि विनश्यति ॥
We all inherently know this. That is why we name our children after Sri Rama and Dharmaraja (Yudhishthira). 
Should we stick to the path of Dharma and bear the sufferings that may ensue when adhering to the Dharmic Path? Or should we give up Dharma, escape suffering and enjoy pleasures? It is clear that the Sri Rama and Dharmaraja chose to bear the suffering and stick to Dharma.
Even the Shruti says – सत्यमेव जयते नानृतं सत्येन पन्था विततो देवयानः “Truth alone triumphs, and not, untruth. Through truth alone, the way to gods (Devayana) is traversed.”
Hence, we must realize that it is Dharma that ultimately leads us to happiness. Hence Sri Adi Shankaracharya has stressed that if seek our own good, we must never swerve from Dharma. Many are the teachings that Sri Adi Shankaracharya has conveyed through His works. The Jagadguru blessed that everyone strive to understand His teachings. 
The Jagadguru remembered the visits to Nellore of His Guru, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji, and also His earlier visits with His Guru and by Himself. 
The Jagadguru then blessed the gathering and later performed the Sharada Chandramoulishwara Puja.

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