[Advaita-l] Teachings on the Vijaya Yatra - The Glory of Sri Shankaracharya and Importance of a Guru

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 4 20:00:37 CDT 2015

(Around the beginning of the month, a nugget of Wisdom from the Jagadguru may be posted on the advaita-l list,
as on the Chaturamnaya list: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/chaturamnaya )


Ongole: NOVEMBER 9-10, 2012

The Jagaddguru at Ongole

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Ongole on the evening of
November 9th. After Dhuli Pada Puja, the Jagadguru began His Anugraha Bhashanam expressing happiness
over the Shraddha and Bhakti of the devotees at Ongole. The Jagadguru remembered that His earlier
visits to Ongole, along with His Guru, and by Himself, and it was because of the respect and devotion
of the citizens of Ongole that He had decided to grace Ongole on the route from Tirupati to Srisailam.

The Glory of Sri Shankaracharya and Importance of a Guru

The Jagadguru explained that Guru is given a high pedestal in our Sanatana Dharma. Everyone chants
the shloka:

“गुरुर्ब्रह्मा गुरुर्विष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः । गुरुः साक्षात्परं ब्रह्म तस्मै श्री गुरवे नमः ॥ ”

The Guru is given such a high pedestal because He removes our ignorance and blesses us with Jnana or
knowledge. Bhagavan Himself says that there is no equivalent to Jnana: न हि ज्ञानेन सदृशं पवित्रमिह विद्यते.
Jnana or Knowledge is of paramount importance to us because we it is Jnana that leads to Mukti:
ज्ञानादेव तु कैवल्यं प्राप्यते येन मुच्यते. This Jnana can be obtained from us only from the Guru.
Bhagavan says in the Bhagavad Gita that the Guru who has realized the Truth will teach a disciple
engaged in Guru Seva: 

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः ॥

Who can be termed a Guru? These days, many call themselves a Guru. The Gurus seem to be more in
number than Shishyas! However, Sri Adi Shankaracharya says:

को गुरुः ? अधिगततत्त्वः शिष्यहितायोद्यततः सततम् । 

Only he can be called a Guru who has imbibed the Tattva expounded in the Shastras, is capable of
clarifying the doubts of a disciple and is ever intent on uplifting the disciple. The knowledge and
compassion of Sri Adi Shankaracharya Himself, are boundless. Even if we study the Bhashyas of the
Acharya today, there are new aspects to learn. He completed writing these Bhashyas at the age of 16.
He had a debate with Bhagavan Veda Vyasa Himself who had come come to the Acharya in the guise of an
elderly Brahmana.

The Brahmana said to the Acharya, “I hear that you have written a Bhashya on the Brahma Sutras,
Will you provide an answer to a question and explain a Sutra?” Acharya replied:

सूत्रज्ञताऽहंकृतिरस्ति नो मे सूत्रार्थविद्भ्योऽस्तु नमो गुरुभ्यः, तथापि यत्पृच्छसि तद्ब्रवीमि ।
There are many who know the meaning of Bhagavan Veda Vyasa’s Brahma Sutras, and I salute them all.
Hence, I do not claim to be the sole person to know the meaning of the Sutras of Veda Vyasa. Yet I
shall answer whatever be your question.

Such was the humility exhibited by Sri Bhagavatpada. The Brahmana asked a question from the
3rd Adhyaya of the Brahma Sutras and the debate raged over for seven days. It was Padmapada, the
disciple of the Acharya who realized that the elderly Brahmana was Bhagavan Veda Vyasa Himself:

शङ्करः शङ्करः साक्षात् व्यासो नारायणो हरिः ।
तयोर्विवादे संप्राप्ते किंकरः किं करोम्यहम् ॥
Sri Adi Shankara is Lord Shankara Himself while Veda Vyasa is Sriman Narayana Himself. What can be
done if these two get engaged in a debate?

Bhagavan Veda Vyasa revealed Himself and praising the Acharya for His commentary on the Brahma Sutras, said:

गोविन्दशिष्यस्य कथं दुरुक्तम्
“How can the Shishya of Govinda Bhagavatpada misinterpret?”

Thus, Sri Adi Shankaracharya Himself was the exemplary for the first characteristic of the Guru –
अधिगततत्त्वः – one who has imbibed the Tattva. All His works, Dharma Prachara, and the establishment
of the Chaturamnaya Peethams demonstrate His consideration for the welfare of disciples across
generations. Thus Sri Adi Shankaracharya has to be revered with great Shraddha and Bhakti. That is why
our Parameshti Guru, Jagadguru Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamiji
rediscovered Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s birthplace at Kalady and directed everyone to observe
Shankara Jayanti. 

The Upanishads say: आचार्यदेवो भव Be one who reveres Acharya as God. Apastamba Maharshi
echoed this statement when he said: देवमिव आचार्यमुपासीत – Revere your Acharya as God.
An Acharya is defined thus:

आचिनोति च शास्त्रार्थम् आचारे स्थापयित्यपि ।
स्वयमाचरते यस्मात् तस्मादाचार्य उच्यते ॥
One who knows the import of the Shastras, adheres to the Shastras Himself and also inspires others
to follow the Shastras can be termed an Acharya. 

We belong to the Parampara of our Acharya, Sri Adi Shankaracharya. It is our duty to follow in His
footsteps and make our lives fruitful. 

The Jagadguru remembered the past visits to Ongole of His Guru, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji
and His own visits as well. The Jagadguru ended the Anugraha Bhashanam blessing the residents of Ongole. 

On November 10th, the Jagadguru graced Sri Aalooru Seetharamamma Rama Kotishwara Rao Veda Pathashala
and blessed the Adhyapakas and Vidyarthis. The Jagadguru gave Darshan to the devotees, many of whom
offered Pada Puja and Bhiksha Vandanam.

The Jagadguru started from Ongole towards Markapuram the same evening.

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