[Advaita-l] TK Balasubrahmanya Iyer’s Preface to the Memorial Edition of Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s Works

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jan 29 00:57:28 EST 2018

TK Balasubrahmanya Iyer’s Preface to the Memorial Edition of Sri Adi
Shankaracharya’s Works in four verses  - Translated to English by:
AIYAR <https://www.facebook.com/gokula.krishna.75>·MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 2018


It is a great joy to me to translate into English, the preface written by
TK Balasubrahmanya Iyer to the first ever compilation of the complete works
of Sri Adi Shankaracharya -- Sri Shaankara Granthavali. The transcendental
works of Adi Shankaracharya Bhagavatpada are available to us in modern
times by bhagavat-sankalpa and guru-kataaksha. Bhagavan graced the world in
the form of Sri Ratnagarbha Ganapati who was invoked by the 33rd Jagadguru
Shankaracharya of Srngeri Sarada Peetham, Paramahamsaparivrajakacharya Sri
Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrsihma Bharati Swamigal, to bless Sri TK.
Balasubrahmanya Iyer, an exalted brahmana from Srirangam, who is celebrated
as the sincerest of all the disciples of the Acharya, through the “
Ratnagarbhaherambastava”. Growing in the grace of Bhagavan and the Guru,
Iyer was taken up with the ‘public interest of the astikas’ by getting all
the works of Bhagavatpada published. In the introductory note to the
collection of all the Stotra-granthas composed by the Acharya under the
heading “Bhakti Sudha Tarangini”, Iyer mentions the reason why the Acharya
composed “Ratnagarbhaherambastava” as follows- “Of the several stotras
composed by his Holiness praying for the welfare of His disciples the
Ratnagarbhaherambhastava was to blessed the undersigned when at the command
of His Holiness he commenced the Memorial Edition of the works of Sri
By the orders of the Shankaracharya Sri Vani Vilas Press was established in
Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli District, Tamil Nadu, over a century ago. TK.
Balasubrahmanya Iyer published the works of Shankara Bhagavatpada, Srimad
Appayya Dikshitendra, Sri Sadasivendra Saraswati and the other acharyas of
our sampradaya with the prayer and hope that through it the works of all
our purvacharyas might reach all the astikas. All the works of the
Bhagavatpada were published for the first time in 20 volumes under the
heading "The Works of Sri Sankaracharya". Besides this a series of other
Sastric books, Itihasa-purana-granthas, and various Sanskrit kavyas were
published by the press. The books published by Sri Vani Vilas Press were
highly prized by the astikas of those days, but have been forgotten in the
later years by the future generations of astikas today.
The greatest need of a follower of Sanatana Dharma is to cultivate a
personal knowledge of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada and especially of his works
and siddhanta. Those who desire stronger faith in varnashrama,
karmanushthana, bhagavadbhakti and nirvisesha jnana must read the Acharya’s
works with bhakti and shraddha. It is by studying his works that we are
spiritually edified and built up in this world, for as we study his
granthas, the life and power of karma, bhakti, and jnana grow stronger and
stronger. The following verses deserve the attention of all who read the
works of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada. Iyer’s preface will encourage us to
consecrate ourselves to the Bhagavatpada’s service and direct our thoughts
concerning the works of Bhagavatpada in such a way that we behold Him and
His works with admiration, adoration and thanksgiving. Let us now
contemplate; by studying the following verses, which speak about the advent
of ‘Shaankara-granthaavali’ that is an ocean whose depths we cannot fathom.
साधयतु कार्यजालं तावकमाशु प्रणम्रजनवरदः।
रत्नव्रजलसदुदरो गणनाथो हेतुशून्यकरुणाब्धिः॥१॥
ANVAYA: प्रणम्रजनवरदः रत्नव्रजलसदुदरः हेतुशून्यकरुणाब्धिः गणनाथः तावकं
कार्यजालम् आशु साधयतु।
Let the Lord Sri Gananatha (Ratnagarbhaganapati), who bestows benedictions
upon those who bow down to Him, whose abdomen shines with the lustre of
various jewels bedecked on it, and who is an ocean of causeless mercy,
accomplish very quickly your arduous task of getting Srimadacharya’s works
नानाजन्मसु संचितेन तपसा पूतेन चित्तात्मना
मित्रेण प्रतिबोधितेन कुतुकात् सर्वाः कृतीः शाङ्करीः।
संमुद्र्य प्रथमं जगुद्गुरुपदे भक्त्या मयाद्यार्पिताः
स्वीकृत्योपहृतिं करोतु गुरुराड्धन्यं तथेमं जनम्॥१॥
नानाजन्मसु संचितेन तपसा, पूतेन चित्तात्मना (केनचित्) मित्रेण प्रतिबोधितेन,
मया कुतुकात् सर्वाः शाङ्करीः कृतीः संमुद्र्य, अद्य प्रथमं जगुद्गुरुपदे
भक्त्या अर्पिताः। (सः) गुरुराट् (मत्प्रणीतामिमाम्) उपहृतिं स्वीकृत्य, तथा
इमं जनं धन्यं करोतु॥
TRANSLATION: Inspired by a friend whose mind and intellect have been
purified by the austerity accumulated in many lifetimes, I have embarked
with glee on the publication of all the works of Sri Shankara
Bhagavatpujyapada. These works are first being offered at the Lotus Feet of
Paramahamsaparivrajakacharya Sri Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsihma Bharati
Swamigal with devotion. I pray upon that King of Spiritual Masters to
accept the tribute and make this disciple feel blessed.
COMMENT: The following words of Iyer commemorating the offering made at the
Lotus Feet of the Acharya could be found in every volume of Shankara
Granthavali in English as follows: “To His Holiness Sri Jagadguru Sri
Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsihma Bharati Swami Who adorns the Throne of
the Sringeri Mutt as the worthy representative of the Great Shankaracharya
and than Whom it is impossible to come across a holier personage, a truer
mahatma, a nobler saint and a more rigorous ascetic, this edition is most
respectfully inscribed as a token of unbounded admiration by the humblest
of all His disciples TK Balasubrahmanyam”.
श्रीमच्छङ्करदेशिकेन्द्ररचितान् सर्वान् प्रबन्धान् मुदा
तत्प्रीत्यै परिशोध्य पुस्तकचयैः संमुद्र्य साकं बुधैः।
तच्छात्रप्रवरालिमध्यविलसच्छ्रीदेशिकेन्द्रेषु तान्
कृत्वाऽद्योपहृतिं सभक्तिविनयो नूनं कृतार्थोऽस्म्यहम्॥२॥
तत्प्रीत्यै सर्वान् तान् श्रीमच्छङ्करदेशिकेन्द्ररचितान् प्रबन्धान् मुदा
परिशोध्य, बुधैः साकं पुस्तकचयैः संमुद्र्य, (अद्य प्रथमं जगुद्गुरुपदे
भक्त्या अर्पिताः)। अद्य उपहृतिं कृत्वा
तच्छात्रप्रवरालिमध्यविलसच्छ्रीदेशिकेन्द्रेषु सभक्तिविनयः अहं नूनं कृतार्थः
TRANSLATION: For the sake of pleasing that Holy Personage, all the
aforementioned works of Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya has been edited with
joy, printed in many volumes with the help of the scholars of the sastras,
and are first being offered at the Lotus Feet of
Paramahamsaparivrajakacharya Sri Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsihma Bharati
Swamigal with devotion. After offering the tribute today with devotion and
humility, unto that Acharyavarya who shines as one among the genuine
representatives in the disciples’ succession of the Bhagavatpada, I have
indeed attained the highest bliss of human life.
He gave himself exclusively with a passion, to the work of getting all the
sacred texts published and in so doing not only proved himself an exemplary
guru-bhakta and a man of perfection, but has left to posterity works of
lasting value. Merging his publishing expertise with sastric acumen of
various vidwans he got to the notable position of being awarded the title
“Shaastra-prasaara-bhushana” by the Jagadguru of Sringeri. No shastric
publisher could have a more illustrious history than Srirangam Sri Vani
Vilas Press.
श्रीशङ्करार्यप्रतिमाप्रतिष्ठाकाले मयैषोपहृतिर्व्यधायि॥३॥
एषा उपहृतिः मया सौम्याब्दमाघार्जुनपक्षराजत्सूर्याङ्कतथ्याश्रितसोमवारे
श्रीशङ्करार्यप्रतिमाप्रतिष्ठाकाले व्यधायि॥
This tribute is being paid by me on the year Saumya, Maagha-maasa,
Shukla-paksha, Somavaara which falls on the Dwadashi tithi, on the day of
the consecration of the Murti of Sri Shankaracharya.
COMMENT: On 21st February 1910, two significant incidents took place
simultaneously in the history of our sampradaya. First, the Jagadguru
Shankaracharya of Sringeri Sri Sacchidananda Sivabhinava Nrsihma Bharati
Swamigal consecrated the deity of Bhagavatpada in Kalady after discovering
His birthplace. Second, TK Balasubrahmanya Iyer placed 10 volumes of
Srimadacharya’s works in the presence of the Acharya on the same day.
Sri Vani Vilas Press was the premier publisher of Advaita Vedanta and other
branches of Sanskrit literature. Through the press Iyer offered trusted
contents of a grantha after the acquisition of as many manuscripts as
possible of the same and getting it edited by expert scholars. In this way
he has saved the works of many saints and scholars from being lost to the
world once and for all.
श्रीशङ्करकृतिमाला गुरुवरतुष्ट्यै समर्पिता मोदात्।
बालादिमपदभाजा सुब्रह्मण्येन भक्तिनम्रेण॥४॥
भक्तिनम्रेण बालादिमपदभाजा सुब्रह्मण्येन (एषा) श्रीशङ्करकृतिमाला
गुरुवरतुष्ट्यै मोदात् समर्पिता॥
This series of Sri Shankaracharya’s writings in multiple volumes is being
offered delightfully by the humble devotee Balasubrahmanya with the
intention of pleasing that Guruvara.

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