[Advaita-l] Excerpts from Sri Sankara Digvijaya - 14

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 14 00:18:41 EST 2018

 (Continued from previous post)
Shankara Digvijayam Part 5
Vision of Gaudapada
Back to Kashi and sitting on the banks of the Ganga, the Acharya had a vision of Gaudapada. The Acharya prostrated before
him in great excitement. Gaudapada spoke to the Acharya appreciating his attainments, in words and smiles that excelled
the soothing influence of even moonlight. Shankara replied with great humility and emotion and read out his commentaries
on Mandukya Upanishad and Karika on the same. Highly pleased, the deathless and desire-less sage Gaudapada disappeared
after blessing the Acharya.
Ascending the Sarvajna Peetham at Kashmir
The Acharya came to know about a temple with four gates for Goddess Sharada in the Kashmir region. The temple was famous
for its ‘Throne of Omniscience (Sarvajna Peetham)’, signifying that only an omniscient one can sit on that throne.
Scholars from the Western, Eastern and Northern directions had in the past opened the three respective entrances,
but till then there had been no learned men from the South. Sri Shankara who hailed from the South felt that he was
divinely ordained to attempt to ascend the Sarvajna Peetham. So, the Acharya left for Sharada Temple in Kashmir.
The people greeted Sri Shankara enthusiastically and hailed his advent as a lion ruling over the forest of Advaita.
The Acharya approached the Southern entrance when at once a group of controversialists stopped him. Adherents of
Kanada’s Nyaya School, Sankhyas, Buddhists, Digambara Jains, and the followers of Jaimini put the Acharya to severe test
in their own systems. The Acharya’s replies convinced every one of them that the Acharya was proficient in all
philosophies and they opened the Southern entrance. Holding the hand of Padmapada, the Acharya was about to ascend
the Throne of Omniscience when he heard the voice of Goddess Sharada. The Goddess challenged him that it is not enough
if a person is omniscient but he should also be pure. Shankara cannot be said to be pure because of his stay at the
palace of the king Amaruka.
To this challenge, the Acharya answered that from his birth he had done no sin with this body of his, and what was done
with another body will not affect this body. Sharada’s voice became silent accepting the explanation and the Acharya
ascended the Throne of Omniscience, to the ovation of the people there. The heavenly conch Shells blew, kettledrums
sounded like roaring of the oceans, and flowers rained down in praise of Sri Shankara.
(To be Continued)

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