Saturday, May 3, 2014

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti, 4th May 2014

|| bhava SHañkara deSHika me Sharanam ||

Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya

On the auspicious occasion of Shri Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti, lets pray to the Jagadguru of Kali yuga, without whom, our bharat would be lost it's backbone – our vedic sanatan dharma, and our shastras. It was Adi Shankaracharya who revived our vedic dharma, defended against non-vedic sects, removed weeds that had penetrated deep into our vedic dharma, gave clarity and correct understanding of our shastras, encouraged sattvik practices of various sects like Vaishnav, Shaiva, Shakta, and others.

One account of this occasion, let us pay a tribute to a legend, an avatar, who is the very reason of the existence of our identity as a Hindu, as other religions like Buddhism, Jainism and later on Islam were trying to dominate Bharat varsh.

But how can we pay tribute to such a great saint who has boundless compassion and whose depth cannot be repaid? The only way to revere him is to honestly live the life he has asked us to live and reach the pinnacle of truth.

It is said that the first instruction and the last instruction of any saint is considered as very important.

His first composition was Dasasloki, which was spontaneously composed by Adi Shankaracharya when his Guru asked his intro. These explain us who Adi Shankaracharya was.

Dasasloki are 10 verses which describes about Atmasthiti.

Please find link to Dasasloki

Last instructions are called Updesha Panch or Sopan Panchaka.

In five verses of Sopan Panchakam our acharya (Adi Shankaracharya) has guided us step-by-step vedic path leading to Self Realization.

Please find the links to Sopan Panchakam

An Article, which is a personal opinion of author, as to why Adi Shankara is called as Jadaguru was published recently.

Adi Sankara - A Jagadguru

There is also a longer article published by adbhutam's blog as a four part series titled - Greatness of shankara’s life and teachings

Let us conclude this with a hymn by Shri Totakacharya in praise of Adi Shankara

But first, lets understand how was this hymn spontaneously composed from the bottom of heart of a not-so-brilliant but beloved disciple of Adi Shankara.

Totakacarya, one of the chief disciples of Sankara composed an octad of verses in praise of the Master. The metre he has used in this composition is the difficult but beautiful totaka. Every word of this exquisite hymn bespeaks the utter devotion of its author to Sañkara. Sañkara, the Guru, is all to him. There is nothing equal to the Guru; nothing superior to him. The Guru is the dispeller of the darkness of ignorance. There can be no greater good than the removal of ignorance. The spirit of devotion of the disciple is best expressed in the soul-moving burden of this song : Be Thou my refuge, O Master, Ùañkara (bhava Sañkara deùika me ùaraïam)!

There is an interesting history associated with this stotra. Anandagiri was one of the less scholarly disciples living with Shankara at Sringeri. But Giri, as he was called, was extremely devoted to the AchArya. Giri would always engage himself in the service of his Guru. Once it so happened that Shankara was about to begin his usual morning discourse on the upanishads and the other disciples started reciting the shAnti pATha. But Giri was absent because he had gone to the river to wash his Guru's clothes. So Shankara asked the other disciples to wait for Giri's return. But PadmapAda, who was obviously proud of his erudition, said, ``Giri is a dull fellow. He really does not deserve to learn the shAstras. What is the point in waiting for him to join us?'' Shankara decided to humble the pride of PadmapAda and other disciples. Out of sheer compassion for Giri, the AchArya blessed him with the knowledge of the shAstras, making use of supernatural powers to do so. As a result, Giri became a learned scholar instantaneously. Returning from the river, he composed the toTakAShTaka, eight verses in praise of his Guru. The other disciples were struck with wonder to hear him extemporaneously compose the aShTaka in the difficult meter. Giri also composed another work, again in the toTaka meter, called the ShrutisArasamuddharaNa. Due to the grace of the Guru, Giri became a knower of all scriptures, and he earned the respect of PadmapAda and other disciple. He came to be known as toTakAchArya, because he was an adept in composing verses in the toTaka mete. He became one of Shankara's four most important disciples, and was later entrusted with running the JyotirmaTh at Badari. The above story is from the Shankara digvijaya of Madhava-Vidyaranya. 

The toTakAShTaka has been composed in the toTaka meter, in which each pAda (quarter) has four sa-gaNa's.Here a sa-gaNa is made up of two short syllables followed by a long one. The hymn naturally lends itself to be set to music. A suggested RAga is (HindustAni) toDi.

विदिताखिलशास्त्रसुधाजलधे महितोपनिषत् कथितार्थनिधे |
हृदये कलये विमलं चरणं भव शंकर देशिक मे शरणम् || - तोटकाष्टकं -1

O Thou, The Knower Of All The Milk-Ocean Of Scriptures! The Expounder Of The Topics Of Great Upanisadic Treasure-Trove! On Thy Faultless Feet I Meditate In My Heart. Be Thou My Refuge O preceptor, Sankara. I meditate on Your pure lotus feet in my heart | O Preceptor Shankara, be my refuge. - Totakashtakam - 1

Full Totakashtakam


Hymn dedicated to Guru

 || bhava SHañkara deSHika me Sharanam ||

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