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The Legend of Shankara – 13: Shiva summons Shankara

Ever since his ‘chance’ encounter with the chandala in Kashi, Shankara had become increasingly restless. He knew not what ailed him, but his peace of mind had been disturbed. No more could he enjoy the tranquil placidity of the atman, or the peace of the deep meditative states whereby he used to unravel the mysteries of the Vedanta. A sense of urgency pervaded his very being. There…

The Legend of Shankara – 12: A small diversion, and a word of caution

Before we continue our story of Adi Shankara, we must necessarily make a small diversion. This blog was supposed to be about the Bhaja Govindam, and I offer my apologies to those readers who would have been expecting this. However, several issues need to be clarified, some pertinent points need elaboration, before we can rejoin the mainstream of the story of Shankara.  I…

The Legend of Shankara – 9: Shankara tames the Narmada

The time of the evening sandhya was approaching, and Shankara accompanied his guru Govindapadatowards the cave for his evening meditation. Shankara was now a disciple of Govindapada and had endeared himself to his guru by his diligence, his loyalty, and his steadfastness. His service, and his devotion towards his guru was absolute.  Pleased with his service, Govindapada had lovingly taught the tenets of Advaita to Shankara, had guided him, encouraged him to read esoteric volumes, and had explained arcane…

The Legend of Shankara – 8: Shankara the disciple

Listening to the Atma Shatakam, Sri Govindapada was pleased. He extended one of his feet outside the cave in a symbolic gesture. The young Shankara understood the symbolism, and bent down and touched the feet of his master; thus he was accepted into the tutelage of Sri Govindapada, son of the illustrious Gaudapada. Shankara would spend the next two to three years learning the tenets of advaita or non-dualism from his guru in his…

The Legend of Shankara – 7: Atma Shatakam/Nirvana Shatakam

मनो बुद्ध्यहंकारचित्तानि नाहम्न च श्रोत्र जिह्वे न च घ्राण नेत्रेन च व्योम भूमिर् न तेजो न वायु:चिदानन्द रूप: शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥ I am not the mind (manah), the intellect (budhhi), the ego (ahamkara) or the memory (chitta),I am not my ears (shrotra), my tongue (jihva), my nose (ghrana) or my eyes (netra),I am not this body composed of space (vyom), or earth…

The Legend of Shankara – 6: Who are you?

The afternoon sun had slipped down in the sky, turning the sky saffron, by the time Shankara exited the Omkareshwar temple. He paused near the entrance, looked back, and then looked up at the sky which was growing crimson by the minute. The mighty river Narmada flowed nearby, the sound of her rushing waters loud in the pervasive silence which was slowly descending on the island.…

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – IV

‘Spicy Tomato’, the pack of chips read, as I extracted a couple from the bag, put them in my mouth, and closed my eyes, enjoying the spicy crunchiness. The laptop lay open in front of me, the cursor blipped expectantly, the keyboard lighted, waiting…. I warmed my hands with the cup of tea which Vaishali had just handed to me;…

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – III

The Naukuchiatal is a lake of nine corners nestled high up in the mountains. Our destination was further up from the lake, near the Club Mahindra Resort property of that area. The road is narrow, and paved with stones, and can be used by only one vehicle at a time. So, if one finds another vehicle coming from the opposite…

‘Raabta’ with Naukuchiataal – II

I inhaled deeply after a long time, as I saw that familiar sight, had my first glimpse of my friends – the mountains. There was a constricting feeling in my chest, a pang of emotion, a physical pain of happiness at the reunion, as I looked at them. Happiness can be painful, sometimes! The mountains stood in the distance, covered…