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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

celebrating the birth of Adhi Shankaracharya

A great day today – ‘Chithiraiyil seyya Thiruvathirai’ – the day of our Acarya Empermanaar thiruvavathirai  thinam. 

I am so impressed and heard this song so many times – a song written by Pulloottupadathu Bhaskaran who was also was the director of the movie – it was sung by  Jesudoss to the music of V Dakshinamurthi.

Of the many divyadesams – Thiruvathari and Salagrammam present difficulties primarily due to their locations. The object in life is to do kainkaryam, have darshan of our Emperuman at various divyadesam and as ordained by Thirumangaimannan – one should travel to Badrinath in their prime of youth, when they are healthy.  From Haridwar, one travels via Rishikesh, can have darshan at Devaprayag, then probably halt at Pipalkot – next day morning proceed to Badrinath via Joshimath.  One will pass through Pauri, Srinagar, Chamoli Gopeshwar.

Adhi Shankara @ Devaprayag / Kandam enum kadinagar

On the way to ‘Jai bolo Badrinath’ is the beautiful Devaprayag.  A mystic place where the holy rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet, merge into one and take the name ‘Ganga’. Lord Rama  and his father Emperor  Dasharatha did penance here. The main temple of here is ‘Raghunath Temple’, dedicated to Lord Rama. (Purushothama).  Devaprayagai is divyadesam ‘Kandam enum Kadinagar’ and next is ‘Thirupiruthi – Thiru pireethi’ – aka Joshimut.  Joshimath, also known as Jyotirmath, is a city and a municipal board in Chamoli District in  the  state of Uttarakhand. Located at a height of 6150 feet (1875 m), it is a gateway to several Himalayan mountain climbing expeditions, trekking trails and the holy  pilgrim centre of Sri Badrinath.

Joshimath, is the first mutt established by Shri Adi Sankara, and is located at a distance of 14 kms from Helang enroute to Badri 6150 feet above sea level. Adi Sankara authored Sri Sankara Bhashyam here.  Today  is also celebrated as ‘Sankara Jayanthi’ – associated with  sage,  greatest philosopher Adi Shankara.  The day is celebrated on the Panchami tithi (fifth day) in the Shukla paksh (waxing moon) in the Vaishakh month of the Hindu calendar.  The 1232nd birth anniversary of  Adi Shankara is being celebrated today. 

The word  ‘Sankara’ means one who bestows prosperity and auspiciousness on all people and all beings. Srimad  Adhi Sankara Bhagavatpada, has done great service to Hinduism.    Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada is verily the incarnation of Lord Siva, whose abode is Kailasa. He is Gnani, who mastered all Sastras with absolute clarity. He carried his mortal frame only for 32 years. At an young age, he embraced sanyasa    asrama, wandered extensively from Sethu to Himalayas, debated with and conquered scholars, re-established the traditional Advaita Vedanta, established Mathas, organised succession of disciples to head those Mathas, set up new temples, removed deficiencies in old temples, set up untainted Pooja practices, set up Vaidika dharma on strong foundation, taught wholesome Gnana marga.

When young Shankara wanted to turn ascetic, his mother was not in favour of this decision. He waited to grow up and take her permission. Once, he was bitten by a crocodile in his leg while taking a bath in a river near his house. While the crocodile was holding his limb, he asked his mother for her approval to let him become a sanyasi. Her mother agreed, and thus began the journey of Adi Shankara.  His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the Ātman and Nirguna Brahman "brahman without attributes".  He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.  His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads.  Shankara travelled widely  across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers.
Adhi Shankara @ Kaladi - birthplace

Shankara was born in the state of Kerala, in a village called Kaladi, located between Angamaly and Perumbavoor, east of the Periyar river.  It is also a village in Aluva Taluk, Ernakulam district of Kerala,  closer to  Cochin International Airport.   His father died while Shankara was very young and Adhi Shankara himself died very young @ 32.  The Shankara Shrine at Kalady, run by the Sringeri Math, is a large, partly open structure situated on the northern bank of the river Periyar. There are two major shrines in the temple; one is dedicated to Shankara and the other to Goddess Saradamba, the main deity of Sringeri. The samadhi (place of death) of Shankara's mother is also located here.

At Kaladi, Sri Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthamba Mandapam is an eight-story memorial built by Kanchi Kamakoti Math. The entrance to the memorial, guarded by two elephant statues, leads to the Paduka Mandapam. Two silver knobs represent the padukas, or wooden sandals of the Teacher. The walls of the memorial feature framed relief paintings that tell the story of Adi Shankaracharya.

Of the large number of disciples who had the rare and inestimable privilege of serving the great Acharya Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada, four stand out prominent. Each one of them was unrivalled in his own way: Padmapada for intense devotion, Totaka for exemplary service, Hastamalaka for supreme self-realisation and Sureshwara for deep learning.
 Adhi Shankara @  holy Badrinath shrine 

The song I mentioned at the start is ‘Shankara Digvijayam’ in the Malayalam movie Jagadguru Adhi Shankara – sung by Jesudoss, written by P Bhaskaran, to the music of V Dakshinamurthy – Muralimohan (as Acharya Shankara) – this song depicts the sojourn of Shankaracharya visiting various temples including Chottanikkara, Thrissur Vadakkunathan, Thirumala, Thirukachi, Puri Jagannath, Haridwar, various Prayags, Badrinath and Kedarnath.  Those of us who have visited Badrinath or Kedarnath will relish this song more
Adhi Shankara journey - from tweet of Sashi tharoor
With reverence – S. Sampathkumar

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