[Advaita-l] Padmapāda's Concern

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jul 18 11:33:58 CDT 2016

Tomorrow is Guru Purnima. We are blessed to hear an Upanyasam in which
Sringeri Jagadguru explains the humility of Adi Shankara when Bhagavan Veda
Vyasa came in disguise:

The Jagadguru talked about the importance of humility. Some turn out to be
very well learned. But they harbor a feeling of superiority. Humility must
be in proportion to the extent of learning. One only needs to understand
the example set by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, when Bhagavan Veda Vyasa came 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?”. The disciples were angered
that their Acharya was being questioned thus, but the 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?”

Bhagavan Veda Vyasa was pleased with the Acharya’s replies and blessed that
His commentary would shine forever and remain unparallleled. That is why
eventhough other commentaries were written on the Brahma Sutras after the
time of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, His commentary stands foremost.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Tzn0OfpcE


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