[Advaita-l] An incident from the life of the 33rd Pontiff of Sringeri Peetham

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Thu Mar 1 21:25:36 EST 2018

Shri shri shri jagadguru sacchidananda shivabhinava narasimha bharathi

>From time immemorial. Goddess Rajarajeshwari was worshipped in the palace
of the Sethupathis of Ramnad. During the Dasara festival, special worship
and processions were conducted by the Sethupathi Bhaskara Raja, with much
splendor. On one of the days during Dasara, under the name of ‘
Sahasra-Puja', there was a custom which had descended from very early
times, of sacrificing one thousand living creatures to the Goddess. When
the Mahaswamiji heard of this, it occurred to him that he should put a stop
to this cruel practice. It was not the habit of the Mahaswamiji to speak
out at once of what he thought about on any matter. One day, however, the
Raja Bhaskara Sethupathi, came to see the Mahaswamiji and, of his own
accord, mooted the subject and said that though he very much desired to put
a stop to this practice he had not the courage to interfere with such a
long standing custom and that, in case the Mahaswamiji gave him his
support, he would stop the cruel custom at once.

When Sethupathi Raja himself mooted the subject, the Mahaswamiji rejoiced
greatly but as he was not in the habit of making any pronouncement off-hand
in any matter, particularly with regard to established customs, he promised
to give his answer the next day. That night, he worshipped Sri Sharada and
prayed to her for an indication in his dreams as to whether he should or
should not stop the custom involving cruelty.

The Mahaswamiji had a dream that night. A woman wearing a soiled garment
and holding in one of her hands a drinking vessel and in the other, a
broomstick, came before the Mahaswamiji and told him that she was going
away. Sometime after, a married lady, wearing beautiful clothes and jewels
announced herself as having come to stay. The dream gave great satisfaction
to the Mahaswamiji and he determined that he should stop the cruel practice
of sacrificing a thousand living creatures and substitute for it, a more
humane form of worship. When the Sethupathi Raja came with great eagerness
on the next day to know the Mahaswamiji s decision, the Mahaswamiji
narrated to him his dream of the night and said that he had resolved to
stop the cruel practice and had been strengthened in that determination by
the Sethupati's own wishes in this matter. The Mahaswamiji also instructed
the Setupati regarding the different fruits of the Vama and Dakshina
methods of worship and gave it as his decision that though the Vama method
had descended from very early times, that method, which gave inferior
results, ought to be abandoned and the Dakshina method, which gave far
superior results, ought to be substituted for it.

He then established a Srichakra at the shrine concentrating therein the
divine power and installed Goddess Rajarajeshwari. The Mahaswamiji himself
performed the worship of Goddess Rajarajeshwari and had the temple
separated from the palace precincts and enclosed. He persuaded the Setupati
to give a grant of land yielding about twelve thousand Rupees every year
for the maintenance of the temple and nominated two priests from the
Sringeri Math to conduct the worship. By these means, he established the
Vedic method of worship at the temple and blessed the Raja and his subjects.

Om Tat Sat

ps:  There is also a Chandogya Upanishad statement that 'when a person
involved in a karma sees a sumangali in dream, it is a 'soochakam' for the
success of his endeavor.' Bhagavatpada has cited this in the Brahma sutra
bhashyam on 'sandhyadhikaranam', a section dealing with dreams.

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