WarangalBody


Warangal: JANUARY 3-5, 2013

Sacred Bond Between Warangal & Sringeri: Jagadguru Sri Vidyaranya Mahaswamiji

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Warangal to a rousing reception on the evening of January 3. Devotees welcomed the Jagadguru, performed the Dhuli Pada Puja and traditionally welcomed the Jagadguru by reading the Swagata Patrika.

In His Anugraha Bhashanam, the Jagadguru said that the relationship between Sringeri Sharada Peetham and Warangal dates back to several centuries. Jagadguru Sri Vidyaranya Swami, who was the Acharya of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham six hundred years ago, and was the founder of the Vijayanagara empire, was a native of this region. This region was then known then as Ekashilaanagaram. This created a strong bond between Sringeri Sharada Peetham and Warangal. This is the reason why people of Warangal display an exceptional devotion and respect for the Jagadgurus of Sringeri.

The Jagadguru remembered that about 23 years ago, with the grace of Goddess Sharada, a Sringeri Shankara Math had been constructed at Warangal and the Vigrahas of Goddess Sharada and Adi Shankara were installed. This is something people of Warangal remember even today. The Jagadguru remembered people like (late) Sri G.S. Madhava Rao, (late) Sri Siddhamsetty Ramanatham, Sri Ramakrishna Rao, Dr. Pattabhi and his elder brother who contributed in great measure in this endeavour. I pray to the Almighty for the welfare of these souls.

Jagadguru Sri Vidyaranya Swami, who hailed from this region, authored a number of works, including the Veda Bhashyas. He thus acquired immortal fame. If not for His writings, we would not have had any opportunity to understand the Vedas. If today, we are able to see at least a few scholars who are well-versed in Veda Bhashyam, it is a result of Sri Vidyaranya Swami’s works.

Among the works of Sri Vidyaranya Swami, the work on Adi Shankara’s biography is among the most significant. If not for His ‘Shankara Vijayam’, we would not know about Shankaracharya’s life-history at all. Our great predecessors had many great accomplishments, however, they did not possess the habit, desire or nature of talking about themselves. Sri Adi Shankaracharya was among the foremost of great philosophers born in this country. He had penned numerous works, but no where did He write about Himself. This was the hallmark of our predecessors.

SHANKARA DIGVIJAYAM & OTHER WORKS

Then how does one learn about Sri Shankara? It is for this reason that Sri Vidyaranya penned Shankara Bhagavatpada’s biography in the form of ‘Shankara-Digvijayam’, a splendid poetic work spanning 16 cantos and comprising a total of 1846 verses.

This work is comparable to the works of great poets such as Kalidasa. We hold in high esteem the works of Kalidasa, Bharavi, Maagha and Naishadha. Sri Shankara Digvijayam stands on par with these works. Beginning from the conditions prevalent prior to Sri Adi Shankara’s incarnation, the work narrates everything up to the completion of His incarnation. This work has thus become the authority on Shankara Bhagavatpada’s life-history.

Likewise, Vidyaranya Swami has penned a work in Vyakarana, titled ‘Maadhaveeya Dhaatuvrttih’. His work in Meemaamsa is titled ‘Jaimineeya Nyaayamaalaa’. He has authored several works on Vedanta, namely, ‘Vaiyaasika Nyaayamaalaa’, ‘Brihadaaranyaka Vaartika Saara’, ‘Vivarana Prameya Sangraha’ and so forth. His work in Jyotisha is titled ‘Kaalamaadhaveeyam’. It is further needless to talk about His VedaBhaashyam! Thus, His works span all the schools of Darshanas (philosophy). These works have stood the test of time. Thus, Sri Vidyaranya is celebrated as the reincarnation of Shankara Bhagavatpada.

What should we learn from the works of such great people? How should we lead our life? We find a number of teachings in the works of Bhagavatpada Shankara and Sri Vidyaranya. We must practice their teachings and correct our lives. We have to purify our lives.

SHANKARA’S TEACHINGS IN QUESTION-ANSWER FORMAT

The Jagadguru pointed out that Sri Adi Shankaracharya has given us some teachings in a question-answer format. In that work (titled Prashnottara Ratna Malika), He raises three questions that are of interest, in the present occasion. The first is: “Who is blind in this world?” The second is: “Who is deaf?” The third is: “Who is dumb? We know the answers to these questions. A person who does not have sight is blind. One who cannot hear is deaf. One who cannot speak is dumb. We think these are the answers. But Shankara has said that these are not the actual answers to those questions. He has urged us to understand the correct answers and lead our lives accordingly. Otherwise, He has stated that we will be the ones who will be considered blind, deaf and dumb!

What then are the actual answers? A person who commits mistakes knowingly, is to be considered blind. For instance, we all know it is wrong to lie. But in our daily lives, we do lie. We know it is wrong to covet another’s wealth. Yet, we think of ways to usurp another’s wealth. We know it is wrong to trouble others. But what are we doing? We trouble others out of selfishness. Keeping these in mind, Sri Shankaracharya has stated that a person who commits mistakes knowingly, is to be considered blind. You can ask your own conscience, without asking others, as to whether what you are doing is right.

Our scriptures say:

प्रत्यहं प्रत्यवेक्षेत नरश्चरितम् आत्मनः ।
किं नु मे पशुभिस्तुल्यं किं नु सत्पुरुषैरिव ॥

“Man has to consult his conscience every day, as to how his day went. He has to examine himself thus, “Did I live like a noble person that day or did I spend it like an animal?”

Thus, you need to ask yourself this. You need not be answerable to anybody else. No man can lie to his conscience. Be it a robber or a murderer, he may cheat the police and the courts, but not his conscience. Therefore, we need to ask our conscience about our behaviour that day. If your conscience tells that you have not faulted that day, it is a holy day for you. Hence, if a person errs knowingly, he is deemed blind. A person who does not commit such an error, is said to possess real eyes. This is how Sri Shankara has answered the first question.

The second question pertains to deafness. It is not that a person who cannot hear is deaf. A person who does not pay heed to sound advice, is in fact, deaf! People listen to a lot of good lectures and discourses by seers, but nobody follows them. Instead, they certify the seer as a good speaker!! However, who is prepared to act according to the seer’s words? Nobody is prepared to even make an attempt, saying it is impractical. Then by whom can it be practised? By animals? Thus, a person is considered deaf, if he turns a deaf ear to good advice.

Sri Shankara has dealt with the third question thus: A person who maintains silence even when he is in a situation where he has to give another person some good advice, is indeed dumb! Suppose a traveller has come to our town and is walking along a road which has a pit. If we keep quiet without warning him, thinking he will come to know of the pit after falling in it, we are indeed dumb. One has to be aware of the situation and need not give advice in every opportunity. There is a saying regarding this – नापृष्टः कस्यचित् ब्रूयात् न चान्यायेन पृच्छतः – You need not answer if unasked, or if you are questioned unjustly.

But when there arises a circumstance where you have to speak, do not keep silence. Suppose a student is committing a mistake, it is but the teacher’s duty to correct him. If the teacher lets the student just carry on, happy that he (the teacher) is getting his salary, it is indeed wrong. The salary is given for the teacher’s duty of educating the student. So letting the student just do things as he likes, is wrong. Similarly, in the house, it is the duty of the parents to correct their children. If they don’t, it is a lapse of duty. This is a major problem plaguing modern day’s living. Parents tend to give too much liberty to children during their childhood and regret later. This is something we are seeing everyday. After the children digress, parents come to us saying their son is wayward. They say “We have brought-up our son with a lot of affection, leaving him to do what he likes.” But had you guided him during childhood, would he have digressed? Why repent now? This aspect of telling the right things at the right time is a situation that we all face. Keeping this is mind, Bhagavatpada has said:

कः मूकः? यः काले हितानि वक्तुं न जानाति ।
One who does not come forward to give sound advice when the time arises, is indeed dumb.

Notice how marvellously Sri Adi Shankaracharya has encapsulated such a lofty thought in simple words! It is because of such wonderful teachings that Sri Shankaracharya is revered and worshipped by the entire world. He had absolutely nothing to gain. Neither our good behaviour nor bad behaviour will give Him anything. As the Lord has said in the Bhagavad Gita,

न मे पार्थास्ति कर्तव्यं त्रिषु लोकेषु किञ्चन ।
नानवाप्तमवाप्तव्यं वर्त एव च कर्मणि ॥

O Partha! There is nothing that I have to do or obtain in all the three worlds. Yet, I engage in work (to guide others)

If not, the followers will tread the wrong path. It is the nature of the world.

“यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठः तत्तदेवेतरो जनः”

We follow the path of those whom we respect.

Many perform the sacred-thread ceremony (Upanayanam) of their children, spending a lot for this purpose. This is fine. But after the Upanayanam, the children do not perform the Sandhyavandanam. When questioned about this, the child says “My father (too) does not do it..!” I am reminded of an enjoyable story narrated by My school-teacher. A father had conducted the Upanayanam for his son. Four years later, a friend visited him. Upon enquiring about his well-being, the friend asked if the boy had had his Upanayanam. The father replied in the positive, that it was conducted 4 years ago. So the friend asked the boy to tell his Pravara (recital of lineage, starting from the Rishi of his Gotra). The boy kept blinking and looked questioningly at his father. The friend asked the father to prompt his son. But the father replied: “You are causing me great embarrassment. My son has had his Upanayanam 4 years ago and is blinking. Whereas, how do you expect me to remember it, considering I had my Upanayanam 40 years ago??!”

This is our state! If this has to change, we have to guide our children onto the right path. This translates to our being on the right path. We cannot expect our children to be tread the right path, when we ourselves don’t tread the path. The son will naturally follow his father’s ways. If you are on the wrong path, you cannot expect the child to not question you and traverse only the noble path. Therefore, if we remain silent when the situation demands that we give good advice, we stand to be considered dumb.

Thus, wrongdoing while being knowledgeable (of the right thing), not paying heed to good advice and remaining silent when an opportunity arises to give good advice, are all wrong. Keeping these in mind, we have to lead our lives with care. This is Sri Adi Shankara’s message to us.

Hence, Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada who has taught us thus so wonderfully, is always worthy of worship. It is for this reason that we have consecrated his divine form and are worshipping him.

The Jagadguru then said that this city of Warangal, the birthplace of Vidyaranyaswami, who shone as the 12th Acharya of the Dakshinamnaya Sringeri Sharada Peetham established by the great Shankara Bhagavatpada, and who was also responsible for the founding of the Vijayanagara empire, is very dear to us.

The Jagadguru expressed joy at being in Warangal and stated that He had decided to camp in Warangal for 2 days, and in that context, Goddess Bhadrakali, the presiding-deity of this city had divinely planned Kumbhaabhishekam for Herself by the Jagadguru Himself! If the Goddess Herself has ordained thus, no one can swerve from it. The Jagadguru ended the Bhashanam blessing the devotees, making special mention of dignitaries including a Minister of Andhra.

 

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Kumbhabisheka of Goddess Bhadrakali Temple

On January 4, the Jagadguru had Darshan of Goddess Sharada and Adi Shankara in the Sringeri Shankara Math at Warangal. Immediately afterwards, the Jagadguru proceeded towards the famous temple of Goddess Bhadrakali in Warangal. The Jagadguru worshipped the gigantic idol of Goddess Bhadrakali and performed the Kumbhabhisheka. The Jagadguru also consecrated a new shrine for Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada in the temple premises. Following this, the Jagadguru performed the Shikhara Kalashabhisheka atop the Rajagopuram of Goddess Bhadrakali, and blessed the devotees with an Anugraha Bhashanam.

ANUGRAHA BHASHANAM: DIVINE MOTHER

The Jagadguru said that Parameshwara creates the world only along with the Divine Mother. She is the Shakti or power behind Lord Parameshwara. However the inclination to remember, to praise and to offer prostrations to the Divine Mother arises in the mind only if the person has performed a lot of Punya. The Divine Mother has put an end many evil forces such as Mahishasura, Shumbha-Nishumba, Bhandasura and brought about the welfare of the world.

The most compassionate person in this world is the mother. Sri Adi Shankara Bhagavatpada says:

कुपुत्रो जायेत क्वचिदपि कुमाता न भवति
We can find sons who have gone into wrong ways, but we will never find a mother who detests her child.

That is why our Shastras state that any woman must be looked upon as a mother. We too as part of our culture address a woman, whoever she may be, as “Amma” – mother. Even when we wish to chide a woman who committed a mistake, we only say “Amma, why did you do so?” Even here, we refer to her only as a mother. This is the culture and tradition of Bharata. That is why it is said – मातृवत् परदारेषु. When this is our attitude towards every woman, who is an embodiment of compassion, what must be the state of the Divine Mother, who is the mother of all and is the ocean of compassion. That is why we pray to Her with complete devotion in times of difficulty.

This is why we remember Her for success in our endeavours. For She, the Most Compassionate, grants our earnest prayers. The Jagadguru opined that it is the Same Goddess who shines forth as Bhadrakali in Warangal, Sharada in Sringeri, Meenakshi in Madurai, Annapoorna in Kashi and Parvata Vardhini in Rameshwaram. The Jagadguru then blessed the gathering of devotees, by invoking the grace of Goddess Bhadrakali.

The Jagadguru then proceeded to the Bhadrakali Saanga Veda Aagama Samskrita Vidyalaya, of the Bhadrakali temple, and inaugurated a Sabha bhavam named “Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Sabha Bhavan”. The Jagadguru interacted with the students and blessed them.

 

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1000-Pillar Shiva Temple, Sri Vidyaranyaswami Statue & Other Visits

In the evening, the Jagadguru visited the 1000-pillar Shiva temple and had Darshan.

On 5th January morning, the Jagadguru graced the Bhagawan Sri Murali Krishna Mandiram, had Darshan of Sri Krishna and blessed the devotees.

The Jagadguru proceeded to the Sundara Satsangha and visited the Goshala first. After feeding the cows amidst Vedic chants, the Jagadguru had Darshan of Sri Chakra Sameta Vasavi Mata, Mahakameshwara and Lakshmi Narayana.

In the afternoon, the Jagadguru laid the foundation for a statue of Sri Vidyaranya at the entrance arch of Bhadrakali Temple and then proceeded from Warangal.

 

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