Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri (study)

by Lathika M. P. | 2018 | 67,386 words

This page relates ‘Canto II—Depicting of Adolescence’ of the study on the Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri: a renowned Sanskrit Scholar from the 19th century. The Bhagavatpada-abhyudaya is a Mahakavya (epic poem) narrating the life of Shankara-Acharya, a prominent teacher of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. This essay investigates the socio-spiritual conditions of 8th century AD in ancient India as reflected in Lakshmanasuri’s work.

Canto II—Depicting of Adolescence

The mother regarded her son Śaṅkara as the idol of Divyamaṅgala. He looked like the rising the sun and the moon’s glory radiated in his eyes.[1] The child Śaṅkara was a luck to the beholder’s eyes and a place of refuge to the pious people. The presence of Śaṅkara brought out solace to the minds of sad people. He had gentle and wide eyes, beautiful lips and cute nose. Milk teeth appeared in his mouth. His father Śivaguru took him to temple of Vṛṣācala to pray. Thereafter one day a storm roared in the village. But it didn’t hurt little Śaṅkara. At that time the villagers brought Śaṅkara to home.

The boy Śaṅkara recited Stotras of Mahātmās by sitting on his father’s lap. While worshiping the temples, others looked at him with wonder. Śaṅkara never went out to play with other children. He did not have childish thoughts and interests. Whether it is good or bad the character is formed as a result of one’s interaction with society. The smell of water is made up of flowers like Jasmine. If one among ‘twin parrots is brought up in a Brahmin’s house, it behaves differently than the other one which is brought up in a hunter’s house. Situation constitutes a person and the situations must influence a person.

Upanayana of Śaṅkara

Within his first year, this child who was God Śiva embodied as the son of Brahmana parents, showed himself proficient in languages. By the second year, he could recite all the texts he heard and showed an untaught mastery over the Kāvyās and Purāṇās. Both the scholars and pupils began to respect the genius of Śaṅkara. What more to say, before completing the age of three he acquired the knowledge of Itihāsa, Purāṇa and other branches of studies.[2] As Śaṅkara had not performed his Upanayana so he didn’t practice the holy Veda. Though he became a scholar, he used to listen carefully his father’s words. Śivaguru was very anxious about his son’s Upanayana. But before the Upanayana Śivaguru died with great sorrow. His mother Āryāmba became very sad. But she concealed her sorrows from her son. Āryāmba completed Śivaguru’s funeral ceremonies with the help of her relatives. She spent a whole year in observance of vows and ceremonies connected with his obsequies. After that she began to think alone conducting the Upanayana of her son. In the fifth year she conducted the Upanayana of the boy. All the relatives supported that ceremony.[3] Very quickly he learnt the four Vedas and six Śāstrās from the Guru. His progress in study was so rapid that within two or three months. He was equal to Guru in knowledge. In the knowledge of Veda he was like Brahma, of its auxiliaries like Gārgya, like Jaimini, and of philosophy, like Badarāyaṇa. The depth of his learning was too great that he looked like the very embodiment of Vyāsa. Gradually he learnt logic, Yoga philosophy, Saṅkya philosophy of Kapila, and Mīmāṃsa doctrines as expounded by Bhāṭṭa. But Śaṅkara’s interest and joy was in the Advaita non-dualistic doctrine of the Upaniṣads.

Kanakadhāra Stotra

When residing in Guru’s house, the boy Śaṅkara went with a fellow student to the house of a poor Brahmana for Bhikṣā. At that time the lady of the house said with utmost humility to the Brahmacāriṃs ‘Fourtunate indeed, is the person who gets an opportunity to offer hospitality to Brahmacāriṃs like you. But we are accursed beings whom poverty has deprived of the resources for the same. Vain is our birth as human beings’. After that the lady presented a mere gooseberry to them with a heart writhing in pain born of the thought of her utter poverty. Śaṅkara, touched by the poverty of the family, instantaneously composed a great hymn (Kanakadhāra-stotra) on Lakṣmī, goddess of wealth and good fortune and prayed for the relief of the family. Soon the Goddess herself appeared before him. The boy prostrated before her and stood in humility. The Goddess said, ‘I have understood what you want of me. But how can the couples become the object of my attention when they are devoid of any good acts that would make them eligible for the same? Hearing these words the child Śaṅkara said: ‘O mother! they have made a gift of a gooseberry fruit to me. If Thou art pleased with me, though shouldst bestow on them the reward for this gift of theirs’[4] Hearing these pleasing words, the Goddess immediately filled the house of the Brahmana with pellets of Gold resembling gooseberry, to the utter astonishment of all onlookers. After that incident they all began to praise the boy saying ‘Śaṅkara, you are like a Kalpataru, has brought prosperity to this place. He has endeared himself to the Brahmanas and the Devas by bringing wealth with which Vedic sacrifices could be performed’. In this manner the old people of Kaladi, who know traditions and fables of the village, venerate a house in the village as that fortunate one blessed by Śrī Śaṅkara. They call it ‘Svarnathumana’, ‘a house of gold’. It is also known that the house remained very rich, all these centuries. Having gained the blessings of the Brahmanas and the Devās, Śaṅkara continued his study under his teacher.

Footnotes and references:


Vide Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, Bhaghavatpādābhyudaya, p.16, The summary of the Section is based on chapter II.


Ibid., p.19




Ibid., p.23

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: