[Advaita-l] On the parakAyapraveSa legend about Sankara
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 20 21:31:52 CDT 2007
>Seeing the entire story,on the whole looks ridiculous and devoid of
>truth.what do the protagonists of this story want to establish?They are
>doing more discredit to Sankara than glorifying him.
Not necessarily. For one thing, the legend is indeed found in all the major
Sankaravijaya texts. Till the advent of Western education with Victorian
English ideas being introduced to India, nobody has seen fit to criticize
this legend. It does not seem to have offended any traditional sensibility,
or else, the authors and/or transmitters of the Sankaravijaya texts would
have edited it out centuries ago.
Another point is that the story points to various central Indian modes of
thinking. The married male is considered incomplete without his wife. The
important role of the woman is highlighted in the story that bhAratI asked
Sankara additional questions after conceding that her husband's position had
lost. It also points to the fact that all saMskAra-s, from birth to death,
including formal sannyAsa, pertain to the physical body only, not to the
Atman. Finally, it brings a sense of occasion to credit Sankara with the
extraordinary yogic power to enliven another body.
Please note that in brahmasUtra bhAshya 1.3.33, Sankara himself states that
mere forceful denial cannot refute that many powers are attainable through
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