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All of you think of me as a saint and perform namaskara to me. I have also a great yearning to perform namaskara to persons who are known to be real saints. But my position as Jagatguru and Peetadhipathi, and the title of Bhagavatpada, which have come and stuck to me at a young age, without any merit on my part for deserving them, have deprived me from that young age itself, of the good fortune of doing namaskara to saints, the great ones, moving about before our very eyes. My receiving all your namaskaras, without my performing namaskaras to any person, makes me think of my janma as empty and in vain.
Our Acharya (Adi Sankara) has done a great good in this regard. What is that? He has reminded that: "Sannyasis, like us, to whom you perform namaskaras, regarding them as saints, should never think that the namaskara belongs to us. It belongs only to the one Paramatma and Parasakthi which conducts and controls all the affairs of the jagat". Not stopping with that, he has also made a rule for us to follow, in order that we make sure of conveying your namaskara to the Paramatma and do not accept the namaskara ourselves in the thought that it belongs to us. The rule will look very easy to follow, at first sight.
The Acharya (Adi Sankara) has, in his bhashyas, referred to the one primordial principle and power (Paramatma and Parasakthi) conducting and controlling the Jagat as NARAYANA. There are many reasons for this. I will not go into a discussion on this. I will just take up one point.
Our country is a country where threadbare analysis of and enquiry into the facts of life (tatva vichara) has been taken to their end and documented in Sastras which include Vedanta, Mimamsa, Sankhya, Nyaya, etc. The Acharya wrote bashyas mainly to help those involved in the devoted study of sastras.
Even though this country is well known for "tatwa vichara", it is even more well known (good name and bad name both) for giving us a large number of Gods (deities). Instead of the Absolute being considered as a "dry" abstract principle, the deities which are no different from the Absolute, have form, and appear as the Absolute come to life. The Acharya, in his bhashyas, could have dealt with the Paramatma as the prapancha karana sakthi, the Absolute, as a dry abstract principle. Instead of doing so, and in order that the treatment may be appealing to the community which is used to relating itself to God with Form, he had thought it necessary to refer to the Absolute at several places by a Name. The question arises about which Name to choose.
Continued in Namo Namah part 2 of 4