[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 11

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 5 10:42:45 EST 2017

 (Continued from previous post)
Shankara Digvijayam Part 4
The coming of Hastamalaka
The Acharya continued his travels and visited holy places like Gokarna, Hari-Shankara (present-day Harihar where he sang
eleven verses in praise of the combined form of Shiva and Vishnu), as well as Mookambika, the temple of great spiritual
power where he stayed for several days adoring the Devi. One day he went to a village by name Sri Bali that was full of
observers of Dharma. There, a Brahmin by name Prabhakara came to the Acharya with a young son. Prostrating before the
Acharya he submitted how his young son seven years old was behaving like an idiot, as though his mind is undeveloped.
He does not play with other boys, even if others beat him he does not get annoyed, he cares not for food sometimes.
He has not even learnt the alphabets. The early period of his life has gone in vain ‘ he lamented.
The Brahmana made the boy who was shining in appearance like a firebrand covered with ashes, to prostrate before
Shankara but the boy continued to be in the prostrate position. The Acharya lifted him up and addressed the boy thus,
‘Who are you? Why are you thus behaving like an inert being’? To this the boy replied in twelve verses expounding the
doctrine of the spiritual self. These verses comprise what is famous as Hastamalakiyam, the truth having become as
natural to him as an amla fruit (gooseberry) in the palm of one’s palm. Shankara told the Brahmin that the boy knows
the truth of the Atman by virtue of his practices in his past life, has no attachment to material objects, has no sense of
‘I’ ness with regard to the body, and it is best he does not stay with the Brahmana but follow him as his disciple.
Shankara took him along as Hastamalaka, the third important disciple.
Sri Shankara at Sringagiri (Sringeri)
The great sage traveled to Sringagiri (Sringeri) where the sage Rishyasringa had for a long time meditated on the
Supreme self. The place was inhabited by a large number of virtuous people who were hospitable and regular in
performing Vedic Yagas. There, the Acharya expounded to the learned and receptive scholars his commentaries,
the doctrine of unity of the self with Brahman and rid the people of their superstitions. At Sringeri he had a temple
built as graceful as Indraloka, and installed therein an image of the Divine mother and instituted her forms of worship.
Recalling Her assurance in Mandana’s mansion the Acharya invoked the Divine mother to reside in Sringeri as Sharada.
There she resides even to this day granting devotees their prayers.
या शारदाम्बेत्यभिधां वहन्ती कृतां प्रतिज्ञा प्रतिपालयन्ती ।
अद्यापि श्रृङ्गेरिपुरे वसन्ती प्रद्योततेऽभीष्टवरान् दिशन्ती ॥
At Sringeri a new disciple, Giri joined the Acharya. He was noted for his obedience, industry, righteousness,
devotion to the service of the teacher whose requirements he anticipated and fulfilled; he could never do anything
smacking of disrespect; will not sit listlessly before him, talk too much in his presence, walked always behind the
Acharya never showing his back. The others took him to be a dull uninformed person and were indifferent to him.
The Acharya knew his heart and waited to bring forth his greatness to others. One day, Giri was late in coming to the
morning class. Others were restless and urged the Acharya to commence the class even without Giri. The Acharya out of
his love for Giri awakened in him the knowledge of the Supreme. Giri came to the class dancing and uttering a great hymn
in the metre known as Totaka. The devotion to the Guru is an aid in the ladder that helps a man in ascending to that
high state of spiritual absorption. It was the grace of the Acharya that enabled Giri, one thought to be a fool,
to compose a hymn full of wisdom and poetic skill. As this poem is in the Totaka metre, the Acharya called
him Totakacharya. This poem brief but superbly beautiful and well reasoned is an introduction to the study of Vedanta
and is known as Totakashtakam.
The Acharya continued his work at Sringeri, asked his four principal disciples to write treatises on Vedanta.
Sureshwara wrote Naishkarmya Siddhi, an exegesis on two of Acharya’s commentaries on Brihadaranyaka and
Taittiriya Upanishads (Vartika). Padmapada composed his famous work on the Brahma sutra bhashyas of the Acharya
while Ananda Giri (Totaka) and other disciples produced works full of spiritual fervour.
(To be Continued)

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list