[Advaita-l] Re: Madhusudana Saraswati

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri Jan 20 01:20:31 CST 2006

namo nArAyaNAya!

dear list members,

there is an interesting story about MS that i came
across in a work known as 'shrI vaiShNava saMhitA'
composed by a mahAn known as kR^iShNa premi. i didn't
find this story anywhere else and so i thought of
sharing it. below, i give a free translation from the
original text:

after taking up sannyAsa, MS lived at kAshi. he had a
large number of disciples (all sannyAsi-s) and every
day, he used to do vedAnta pravachanam to those yati-s
on the bank of gangA. he was widely know for his
j~nAna and vairAgya and everyone in that congregation
of yati-s revered him greatly. but there was one old
man who used to come everyday during MS's discourses
and make fun of him and his discourses. MS thought
that the old man was some lunatic and ignored him. but
the old man kept teasing MS for quite some time and
so, one day, MS went to the old man and aksed him why
he was poking fun at him. 

MS : why do you come everyday and tease me when i'm
doing vedAnta nirnaya in front of these yati-s?

old man : O great yati! when vedAnta emphatically
declares that brahman cannot be reached by reasoning
('nAyamAtmA pravachanena labhyaH...'), why do you
waste your time in doing vedAnta *nirnaya*?

MS : since shravaNa and manana of brahma svarUpa is
recommended by the upaniShad-s, i don't see anything
wrong in teaching these yati-s the siddhAnta of the

old man : how is it possible to 'teach' that which is
beyond the reach of mind and words ('yato vAcho
nivartante. aprApya manasA saha.')? one who has had
brahmAnubhava can only be silent. 

(MS realized his mistake in thinking that the old man
was a lunatic and with great reverence, said)

MS : i have not had any anubhUti so far. so, i do
vedAnta vichAra based on my buddhi balam only. 

old man : the goal of the shAstra-s cannot be realized
without anubhUti. for one who has anubhUti, what is
the use of the shAstra-s?

MS : if that is so, why did mahAtmA-s like sha~Nkara
do elaborate bhaShya-s on brahma sUtra-s and other
vedAntic texts?

old man : sha~Nkara wrote those detailed bhAShya-s
only to refute the false doctrines of avaidika
darshana-s like bauddham. for a person like you, who
is filled with vairAgya, brahmAnubhUti alone is to be
sought after.

MS : O great sage! you roam about like a madman, but i
deem you to be the greatest of j~nAni-s. please tell
me who you are and teach me the upAya for

old man : some, having conquered kAma, are engaged in
yogAbhyAsa. some do karma yoga with samabuddhi. some
yati-s do AtmAnAtma vichAra. some others roam about
this earth as parivrAjaka-s with dR^iDha vairAgya.
some do praNava dhyAna with a vow of celibacy. some
paramahaMsa-s roam about as digambara-s. so many are
the ways, but this is what i consider fit for *you*  -
leave all the sAdhana-s prescribed by the shAstra-s
and follow me. i'll show you who i am.

after this, the old man started running and MS
followed him. when he reached the banks of yamunA, the
old man disappeared and in his place, kR^iShNa
appeared in his most enchanting form. MS immediately
composed the famous shloka depicting the beautiful
form of kR^iShNa (which kR^iShNa bhakta will not be
moved by it?):

vamshIvibhUShitakarAn navaniradAbhAt
pItAmbarAd aruNabimbaphalAdharoShThAt.
pUrNendusundaramukhAd aravindanetrAt
kR^iShNAtparaM kimapi tattvamahaM na jAne..

MS became completely immersed in the paramAnanda that
resulted from kR^iShNa sAkShAtkAra and consequently
had brahmAnubhUti. he lived on the banks of yamunA for
some time and everyday, he used see kR^iShNa running
and playing on the banks of yamuNa. so mysterious are
the ways of kR^iShNa that even a great
nirguNabrahmaniShTha like MS fell in love with Him!! 


vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.

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