Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri (study)

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

This page relates ‘Greatness of Guru and Manisha Panchakam’ 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.

The Greatness of Guru and Manisha Panchakam

Śrī Śaṅkara reached Kāśi and preached the Advaita philosophy to everybody there. He also wrote commentary on the Brahmasūtra. One day, a young Brahman boy Sanandana came there with the purpose of learning Advaita philosophy from him. But Śaṅkara was sitting on the other side of the river and called Sanandana to come forward. He had to cross the river and Ganges was overflowing with floods. But Sanandana without any hesitation started crossing the river obeying the orders of his master. Because of such greatness of faith on his Guru when each step Sanandana took, a lotus sprouted at each foot creating a bridge of flowers for him to walk across the river. After this incident he came to be known as Padmapāda or lotus footed. He was one of the foremost disciples of Śrī Śaṅkara and travelled with him throughout the country. This story shows the strong bond between the Guru and Śiṣya in the Advaita system.

Once on the banks of river Gaṅga a candāla with four dogs appeared before him. Śrī Śaṅkara asked him to clear away from the path. To this Candāla replied:

annamayādannamayamathavā caitanyameva caitanyāt
dvijavara dūrīkartuṃ vāñchasi kiṃ brūhi gaccha gaccheti
[1]

Meaning: you are asking something to get away. What should get away from what? Is it your intention that the body made of flesh and bones etc. Which is a product of food should get away? What is your view, Oh, the best among Brahmins, please give me a reply.

Śrī Śaṅkara was dumb struck at this question. He immeditaely realised the Lord himself had come in this form to question whether he had realised in himself what he was preaching others. Śaṅkara uttered a śloka in five verse called ‘Manīṣāpañcakamwhereby he declares that whoever teaches him the oneness of Brahman, he who teaches him the concept of self realisation is fit to be his Guru irrespective of whether he is a Brahmin or a Candāla.

Manīṣāpañcaka (Manisha-panchakam)

jāgratsvapnasuṣuptiṣu sphuṭatarā yā saṃvidujjṛmbhate yā brahmādipipīlikāntatanuṣu protā jagatsākṣiṇī |
saivāhaṃ na ca dṛśyavastviti dṛḍhaprajñā'pi yasyāsti ceccaṇḍālo'stu sa tu dvijo'stugururityeṣā manīṣā mama |
brahmaivāhamidaṃ jagacca sakalaṃ cinmātravistāritaṃ sarve caitadavidyayā triguṇayā śeṣaṃ mayā kalpitam |
itthaṃ yasya dṛḍhā matiḥ sukhatare nitye pare nirmale caṇḍālo'stu sa tu dvijo'stu gururityeṣā manīṣā mama ||
śaśvannaśvarameva viśvamakhilaṃ niścitya vācā gurornityaṃ brahma nirantaraṃ vimṛśata nircyājaśāntātmanā |
bhūtaṃ bhāvi ca duṣkṛtaṃ pradahatā saṃvinmaye pāvake prārabdhāya samarpitaṃ svavapurityeṣā manīṣā mama ||
yā tiryaṅnaradevatābhirahamityantaḥ saphuṭā gṛhyate yadbhāsā hṛdayākṣadehaviṣayā bhānti svato'cetanāḥ |
tāṃ bhāsyaiḥ pihitārkamaṇḍalanibhāṃ sphūtiṃ sadā bhāvayan yogī nirvṛtamānaso hi gururityeṣā manīṣā mama ||
yatsaukhyāmbudhileśaleśataṃ ime śakrādayo nirvṛtā yaccitte nitarāṃ praśāntakalane labdhvā munirnirvṛtaḥ |
yasminnityasukhāmbudhau galitadhīrbrahmaiva na brahmavidyaḥ kaścitsa surendravanditapado nūnaṃ manīṣā mama ||
[2]

1. In the waking state, dream and sleep the consciousness clearly shines. This Chaitanya as a witness dwells in beings from an ant upto the Brahma. I am this consciousness not an objective of perception. One who knows this perception, he is my Guru irresepecive of whether he is a Caṇḍāla or a Brahmana. This is my firm conviction.

2. I am Brahman (consciousness). The world is a form of the consciousness. It is made of nescience. This world is an imagined one constituted by three qualities. One who deeply believes in Brahman, whether he was of Caṇḍālakula or Brahmanakula, no doubt He is my Guru. This is my firm conviction.

3. Hearing the advice of Guru, one who believe the world is temporary and one who burns past and future deeds in the fire of knowledge that person definitely gives his body to ‘prārabhda karmās’, He is my Guru. This is my firm conviction.

4. Which Ahamboda is situated in birds, animals, humans, Devas, which is the cause of Acetana like mind, Indriya, body, Viṣaya etc, and like Surya covered by cloud which consciousness is covered by ‘Pratyakṣa padārthās’ like mind senses and body. One who imagine these matters carefully and meditation on that pure consciousness no doubt He is my Guru. That is my firm conviction.

5. By a little portion of the eternal bliss of Brahman Gods like Indra are blessed. By meditating on the self a calm sage gets fulfilment. The person identified with self is not a mere knower of Brahma but he in the Brahman itself. Which a person, who ever he may be, is one whose feet are worshipped by God Indra etc. This is my firm conviction.

Śaṅkara’s Six schools of devotion

Śaṅkara defeated scholars who argued against the Advaita philosophy and established the identity of Brahman and soul.

But he also cared for the less intelligent people who lived as devotees of God.

nirviśeśaṃ paraṃ tattvaṃ gocarīkartumakṣamāḥ || 4 ||
ye bhaktimantaḥ śraddhāḍhyā mandāsteṣvanukampayā |
ṣaṇmatasthapanaṃ kṛtvā sarvānanvagrahīdvibhuḥ || 5 ||
śivaviṣṇavambikābhānugaṇādhipakapāliṣu |
yatra yasya bhavetprītirdevatāyāmupāsitum || 6 ||
sa devatāṃ tāṃ bhajatāṃ śraddhābhaktipuraḥsaram |
śrutiprasiddhāḥ ṣaḍimā devatāḥ kāmitapradāḥ || 7 ||
phalābhisandhimucchinnā bhajatāṃ mokṣadāśca tāḥ |
śrutismṛtisadācāraviruddhānyatra yāni vā || 8 ||
liṅgacakrāṅkamāṃsāsṛgucchiṣṭāsthimukhāni tu |
varjanīyānyavadyāni tāni tantroditānyapi || 9 ||
tāni pāṣaṇḍamohārthamūcurhariharādayaḥ |
śrutighaṇṭhāpathe mokṣamābhiniṣkrāmati sthite || 10 ||
kimarthaṃ vā'tidurgeṇa cañcūryadhve kadadhvanā |
anuśiṣṭāḥ ṣaḍapyevaṃ bhajantaḥ sveṣṭadevatām || 11 |
tameva paramācāryamamanyanta pṛthak pṛthak |
tataḥ śrīśaṃkarācāryo jagadgururitīryate || 12 ||
[3]

The statements contradictory to Veda thought and other contradictory statements in the field of Advaita philosophy Śaṅkara rectified by his Advaita thought. He condemned the arguments of the Dvaitins. Later he spread his divine thoughts to every nuke and corner. The Advaita thoughts could not be grasped by common people. In order to spread these thoughts to ordinary people Śaṅkara made ‘Ṣaṇmatas’ or six schools of devotion. They are Śaivism, Vaiṣnavism, Śākta (Śāktam), Saura (Sauram), Gāṇapatya (Gāṇapatyam), Vināyaka (Vināyakam) etc. Those who worshipped these favourite Gods with purity, detachment to results and full attention will satisfy theirdesire for liberation. Śaṅkara abandoned the erroneous worship of evil forces, black magic, Liṅgadharam, Cakradhāranam, Māṃsa-Rudira-Ucciṣṭa-Asthi-Mugha etc and always promoted the purity of mind by devotion to God. This he thought, will lead eventually to the final release of the soul.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, Bhagavatpādabhyudaya, IV, p.52.

[2]:

H.R Bhagavat, Minor Works of Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, p.364.

[3]:

Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, Bhagavatpādabhyudaya, IX, 4-12.

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