Bhagavatpadabhyudaya by Lakshmana Suri (study)

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

This page relates ‘Dispute over Upanayana’ 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.

When the boy Śaṅkara was five year old, he showed his extra ordinary intelligence and discrimination and power of assimilation. The parents decided to celebrate the ‘upanayana’ of the son, even at that age, instead of at the usual age of seven. Some biographers write that the father himself performed the investiture rite of the son and soon afterwards he breathed his last. But another group, however, says that the father planned to perform the rite of the boy at the age of five, but passed away; and that it was the mother Āryāmba who after her husbands obsequies were properly conducted and also after the lapse of the stipulated time, arranged for the investiture of her son duly performed through relatives[1]. At any rate, there is no doubt that when he was young Śri Śaṅkara lost his father and that the entire burden of bringing up and educating this highly gifted son fell on the shoulders of the widowed mother. All biographers write that Āryāmba resolved to live for his sake.

She was a courageous and talented woman she rose to the occasion and ably discharged her great responsibility with devotion end selflessness worthy of a mother of the greatest of the philosophers of India. Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin says:

atha saṃvatsare yāte prāpte varṣe ca pañcame |
sutasya kārayāmāsa mātopanītakiyām ||

Our poet follows Mādhva in his aspect. Mādhava says: In fifth year Āryāmba conducted the Upanayana of Śaṅkara.

All the relatives supported that ceremony.

upanayaṃ kila pañcamavatsare pravarayogayute samuhūrtake |
dvijavadhūrniyatā jananī śiśorcyadhitatuṣṭamanāḥ saha bandhūbhiḥ ||

After the cremation and funeral ceremonies were over with the help of relatives, they all comforted Āryāmba with soothing words. One year was spent in the observance of vows and ceremonies connected with funeral obsequies, after she began to think of the Upanayana of her son. In his fifth year she conducted the Upanayana of the boy and thereby derived that satisfaction which only the proper discharge of a duty can bring.

Śri Śaṅkara Digvijayam of Swami Satyānanda Saraswati 1V-15, follows the same text of Mādhavīya.

prāpte'tha kāle tanayasya vipracūḍādisaṃskāravidhiṃ cakāra |
bālo'nyabālairanugamyamānaḥ krameṇa jātaḥ sa ca pañcamavarṣaḥ |

After the death of Śivaguru, Āryāmba herself conducted the Upanayana of Śaṅkara in the age of five. Vyāsācala also records this:

dīkṣāṃ samāpya vidhivatkila pañcamābde |
saumye muhūrte upanītimacīkaratsā ||

Āryāmba herself conducted Upanaya at apt time.

But according to ‘Cidvilāsa’, Śivaguru, father of Śaṅkara died after upanayana. Govindanātha says that Śivaguru died at the age of five. According to Sushamakara the meaning of ‘upanītasthamāta’ that is in ‘Śivarahasya’ says that after completing Upanayana his mother sent Śaṅkara to Gurukula.

According to Govindanātha:

pañcamābde nijaṃputramupanetumanāḥ dvijaḥ |
pañcatvamagamat sadyaḥ kālohi duratikramaḥ ||
sutenakārayāmāsa saṃskāradikriyāḥ pituḥ |
saṃvatsarānte dīkṣāṃ ca samāpya vidhivat pituḥ ||
pañcamābdeśubhakāle dvijatvaṃ prāpa śaṃkaraḥ |

In this verse clearly says that Śivaguru died before the upanayana of Śaṅkara.

Footnotes and references:


Dr. S Sankaranarayanan, Śri Śaṅkara, His Life, Philosophy and Relevence in Modern Times, p.52.


Lakṣmaṇa Sūrin, Bhagavatpādābhyudaya, II.40.


Mādhava Vidhyāraṇya, Śrimad Śaṅkaradigvijaya, IV-15.


Dandi Swami Nigamabodhatirtha, Śri Śaṅkarācārya Caritam, Delhi:, I.53.


Vyāsācala, Śaṅkaravijaya, Ed., T Chandrasekharan, IV. 38.


Dr. K. Kunjunniraja, Śri Śaṅkaracarya, TVM: Cultural Publication Dept,: 1998, p.34.

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: