Saturday, March 24, 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 148 (Vol # 5) Dated 24 Mar 2012

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 148 (Vol # 5) Dated 24 Mar 2012

(These e-mails are translations of talks given by PeriyavaaL of Kanchi Kaamakoti Peetam, over a period of some 60 years while he was the pontiff in the earlier part of the last century. These have been published by Vanadi Padippagam, Chennai, in seven volumes of a thousand pages each as Deivathin Kural. Today we are proceeding from the middle of page No 919 of Vol 5 of the Tamil original. The readers may note that herein 'man/he' includes 'woman/she' too mostly. These e-mails are all available at updated constantly)

960. There are a number of books on the subject of Sankara Vijayam and there are different versions on where he met his Guru and took Upadesa, such as the banks of the Narmada River, Badrikashram, Kaasi and Chidambaram. Let me tell you the names of the books written by many great scholars, who have written his autobiography. They are Sankara Vijayam pre-fixed with Bruhat / Praacheena / Aananda Gireeyam/ Maadhaveeya / Chidvilaaseeya / Keraleeya / Govinda Naadeeya and finally Sankara Dig Vijaya Saaram. The last one has been written by one Sadaananda. There is one more Brhmaanandeeya Sankara Vijayam mentioned by S.V. Radhakrishna Saastry in Sri Sankara Vijaya Makarandam, which is something like a compendium of all the earlier writings.

961. ‘Bruhat’ in that title Bruhat Sankara Vijayam stands for big and detailed life history. It is not available in total. We know about that only from its being quoted in other books. It was probably written almost in our AachaaryaaL’s time itself. Similarly the ‘Praacheena Sankara Vijayam’ is also one of the oldest on the subject and is not available except being quoted in other such books. ‘Aananda Gireeyam’ and ‘Govinda Naadeeyam’ derive their names from the author’s names. Aananda Giri’s full name is Anantananda Giri. ‘Chidvilaaseeyam’ is in the form of a conversation between Chidvilaasa and Vignaana Kanda. ‘Keraleeyam’ was written in Kerala, very slightly varying from ‘Govinda Naadeeyam’ as Govinda Naada was a Keralite. The one book that is widely read and well known is ‘Maadhaveeya Sankara Vijayam’.

962. Other than these books named as Sankara Vijayam, there are certain other books also about the life of our AachaaryaaL. I told you earlier on, about one Raja ChudaamaNi Deekshidar who had said that before Gayatri Devi entered his mind Saraswathi had done so, isn’t it? He has written a book named ‘Sankara Abhyudayam’ in which he has covered AachaaryaaL’s life in eight Sargas (chapters) in the poetical form. He was there in the 16th/17th Century A.D. I had also mentioned that in the end of 17th Century A.D., one Rama Bhadra Deekshidar had written a book named ‘Patanjali Charitam’ in which, having covered the life history of AachaaryaaL’s Parama Guru’s and Guru’s in detail, in the last chapter, he has given a resume of our AachaaryaaL’s life in short. If Raja ChudaamaNi was the wife’s brother of Appayya Deekshidar, this Rama Bhadra Deekshidar was the disciple of Appayya Deekshidar’s younger brother’s grandson Neela Kanta Deekshidar. Then there is one Valleesahaya Kavi, who has written, ‘Sri Sankara Aachaarya Sambhoo’. This word ‘Sambhoo’ stands for the sort of writing in which poetry and prose are both used alternately.

963. You all know about T.S.Venkata Rama Aiyar, who is an expert in both Music and present day Law. His father was one Sri Lakshmana Soori. Not only in name, but also in brain and brilliance he was like the Sun aka Surya! Those who live forever in Vaikundam with Vishnu Bhagawan are supposed to be ‘Nitya Soori’ (eternal Suns). This man Lakshmana Soori has written Kaarikai (explanatory notes) closely following AachaaryaaL’s Bhashyam on Easawasya and Maandookya Upanishads. He has also written a poem known as ‘George Deva Sadakam’ on the British King of his time, who was also the Indian Emperor. Thus in various ways he has displayed his literary capabilities. Those days the Mysore Diwan Sir K.Seshadri Aiyar has given him the title Soori in addition to which he has also been given the title of ‘Maha Mahopaadhyaaya’ for his excellence in Sanskrit. He has written a life history of our AachaaryaaL called ‘Bhagawat Paadaabhyudayam’ as a small literary piece, towards the end of his life.

964. There are also two books named, ‘Bhagawatpaada Saptadi’ containing 70 poems, one written by Jagannaatha Kavi and another by Umamaheswara Saastry. This Jagannaatha Kavi is different from the one of the same name who was one of the courtiers of Shah Jahan. These two books are similar to the one written by Vedanta Desikar on Ramanuja AachaaryaaL known as ‘Yatiraja Saptadi’. Umamaheswara Saastry’s Saptadi is not available in full whereas, the one by Jagannaatha Kavi is available in full. Some 250 years back, on the orders of the then Sringeri Mataadipathy Sri Satchitaananda Bharathi Swami, the then Aasthaana Kavi Kaasi Lakshmana Saastry has authored a poem known as ‘Guru Vamsa Kavyam’ of seven chapters. The first three chapters contain our AachaaryaaL’s life history. In each of the Matams of our AachaaryaaL, in their books on Guru Parampara, his life history is available in full or in parts. Similarly in this Kanchi Matam too there are ‘PuNya Sloka Manjari’, ‘Guru Ratna Mala’ and its ‘Sushama’ which contain the life history of our AachaaryaaL. I told you already as to how our AachaaryaaL’s Avatara is Easwara Avatara of DakshiNa Murthy Swami. In them pointedly ‘Siva Rahasyam’ and ‘Markandeya Samhita’ cover our AachaaryaaL’s life in detail. They can be considered as basic texts on the subject.

965. Variations. Starting from Bruhat Sankara Vijayam, I have given you all a number of reference books for our AachaaryaaL’s life history. When there are so many authoritative references, it is natural that there are likely to be some variations. In Ramayana itself there are some differences between what is given in the books written by Valmeeki, Kambar, Tulasidasa and Vemana for example. There may not be totally different versions, but some minor disparities may be there. So are there some variations in the life story of our AachaaryaaL too. Whatever is uniformly similar we can take them as it is, as the truth. If without any major deviations, if one version is more elaborate, that can be taken as acceptable. One book may mention a place name not given in the others and that may be acceptable. When it comes to his actions, unless it is contrary to his very nature, we can accept them all. We may leave those things blatantly improbable, like for example if a place name like Neiveli Township or New Jersey, happen to be mentioned as having been visited by him, (PeriyavaaL is laughing while saying this), we may not accept that anyhow! Similarly, if somewhere it is mentioned that he had a debate with say, Bernard Shaw or William Shakespeare obviously we have to ignore that sort of a thing! But more than that, the greater risk is missing out on something that he has actually done! Every one of his actions and words has so much value, that it should not happen that we end up ignoring any of them by chance or design!

966. About our attitude to the subject of our AachaaryaaL’s life, Saastra Ratnakaram Bolakam Brhma Sri Rama SaastrigaL has written that, we could all endeavour to follow in his footsteps, exactly as he has done! What has he done? Let me explain. The route taken by a Yogi’s Jeevan till it reaches Brhma Loka, is known as ‘Archiraadi Marga’. In it there are 13 Parva or transit points. We get to know about these 13 points from the Upanishads. But, none of the Upanishads have listed all of them. Each Upanishad has left some and elaborated some. Neither have they covered them in order. Our AachaaryaaL has compiled information about each one of them and put them in order, in his Brhma Sutra Bhashyam (IV.3.1 – 3). Bolakam Saastry has said that similarly, we should serialise all the events in our AachaaryaaL’s life, from all these reference books, not leaving any detail while putting them in order.

967. Our AachaaryaaL has been there some 2,500 years before. He has not written his autobiography. So, in what has been written about his life later on, the differences and variations are but inevitable! Within his short period of 32 years he has gone crisscrossing around the whole country, not once but thrice! So, in every nook and corner of this country, there is some memorable event of his life affecting that part of India! Who could have written about them all exhaustively? If this task is difficult even today with all the availability of roads, rail and air travel facilities, in olden times, such a project would have been well neigh impossible. Moreover, after our AachaaryaaL’s time in each of his Matams there have been great Mahatmas as the heads of those institutions with names as Sankara AachaaryaaL, who would have been thought of as Aadi Sankara himself. This might have given rise to further possibilities of confusion! I had told you as to how Abhinava Sankara, who visited some of the Arab countries in the west and went as far as Cambodia in the East, was considered as Aadi Sankara! For example there are two versions about where our AachaaryaaL had ascended the Sarvagna Peetam (the Throne of Omniscience). In some books it is Kanchipuram and in some it is Kashmir. Three types of replies can be extended for this question of where he ascended the Sarvagna Peetam. One is that the general area of Kanchipuram has had a name as Kashmir. In Govinda Naadeeya Sankara Vijayam, this has been so maintained, in so many words. Second answer is that, ‘in Kashmir, what was similar to Sarvagna Peetam is the Sarada Peetam and in Kanchipuram it is Sarvagna Peetam. Aachaaryaal ascended both. The third explanation is that, Aadi Sankara Bhagawat PaadaaL ascended the Sarvagna Peetam in Kanchi and Abhinava Sankara ascended the Sarvagna Peetam in Kashmir! Here there is a clear variation!

968. Not only that there have been many who carried his name; but in his story, there have been some who have had more than one name. This has also given rise to some confusion. Normally, even in a class in which there are only 40 students, we note that sometimes there are two students with the same names as well as initials. So, what we do is to add an extra initial for the place name of his birth. Similarly, we are told by scholars that there are more than one person, with names such as Aananda Giri and Mandana Mishra. There was one Aananda Giri who was our AachaaryaaL’s direct disciple and later in the Sishya Parampara there has been one different Aananda Giri who wrote Sankara Vijayam. Mandana Mishra who wrote three Meemaamsa Saastra Granthas and later wrote the Adwaita Grantha known as ‘Brhma Siddhi’, is considered as different from another Mandana Mishra who was a Meemaamsaka earlier and then became our AachaaryaaL’s disciple as Sureshwara and wrote ‘Naishkarmya Siddhi’ and Vaartikam-s on AachaaryaaL’s Bhashyams! There is yet another Mandana Mishra, who spoke on Adwaitam only but, slightly differently; who is said to be of a time somewhat prior to our AachaaryaaL’s time!

(To be continued.)




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