Monday, December 11, 2006

Brief account of Gaudapadacharya and Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya - 04

Hare Krishna Dear Friends,

We will see the last part of the story today.

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Chandra Sharma on waking up from sleep looked around at first to see if the bundle of leaves was safe. He took the bundle and started reading. Thereupon, the house holder vaishya stopped him saying: “My daughter took great effort to save your life. She wants to marry you. It is because of this that she took tender care of you.” Chandra Sharma thought within himself: “Was it for this that I received instruction in grammar?” He told the householder that he had no intention of marrying. The house holder insisted that they should go to the court of the king of the place in order to settle their dispute. Both of them went to the palace of the king.

The king saw Chandra Sharma. Even before the Vaishya could represent the cause, he got an idea in his mind “This young man seems to be a brilliant person. I am searching for a proper match for my daughter. I would give her in marriage to this young man.” Thinking thus, he said to the stranger without listening to anything else: “Are you married? Will you marry my daughter?” Then he wanted to ascertain whether there was support for such a marriage in the dharma-shastra and sent for his minister. The minister came. He thought within himself: “Oh! The king knows that I am in search of a match for my daughter. Now the time has come for giving my daughter in marriage to this young man. Thus all the three, the vaishya, the king and the minister, wanted Chandra Sharma to marry their respective daughters. What was he to do? He married all the three and lived with them till he begot a son by each of them.

Only the first born son is Dharmaja (born of Dharma). For the purpose of following the way of Dharma from generation to generation, one son is enough. The rest are all Kamajas i.e. born of desire. It is only the eldest son that has the eligibility to perform karma. The family property also goes to him alone. Property is intended for the performance of Dharma. The fitness for performing Dharma belongs to the eldest son alone; therefore the family property goes only to him. If other sons are born, they need only to be protected and enabled to live. Is it not the case that a kingdom is inherited by the eldest son of a king? The other sons have no share in it. Similarly, the family property also goes to that son who is eligible to perform Dharma. Therefore, only one son does the parent require.

After begetting one son from each of his wives Chandra Sharma left his house. Then he went in search of him who had taught him grammar (Gaudapada). After visiting various places he met him at Badarikashrama. He came to know that his teacher had become a sanyasi. He too took sanyasa from him. Thence he came to be known as Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya. The teachers from Shuka onwards are known as Parivrajakas (wandering monks).

While Govinda Bhagavatpada was staying at Badarikashrama, Vyasa the preceptor and father of Shuka came there once. Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya met him and offered obeisance. Vyasa addressed him thus: “For the purpose of writing a commentary on the Brahma-sutra composed by me, Ishvara himself is going to be born as an Avatara. He will take sanyasa. In conformity with the tradition of the world, there should be a teacher to initiate him. You go to the banks of Narmada River and stay at the foot of the fig tree (Ashvattha) there. As soon as he meets you, you will initiate him.” Thus it was decided when the four teachers met at Badarikashrama, namely Vyasa, Shuka, Gaudapada and Govinda Bhagavatpada. Govinda Bhagavatpada came down from Badarikashrama and reached the banks of Narmada.

The teacher who had taught grammar to Govinda Bhagavatpada in his previous ashrama had himself become the Vedantic teacher initiating him into sanyasa. The tree sitting on which he had learnt grammar in his purvashrama now gave the region of its foot as his dwelling place. Govinda Bhagavatpada sat there in meditation awaiting the arrival of his disciple.

The work Patanjali-vijaya relates in great detail all the above incidents. Thereafter this work relates in brief the story of Sri Sankara.

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With this, we come to an end of this narration. In the next few emails, we will see some incidents from the Paramacharya’s life.



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