Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA (Regd.)
Publication No. 37
April 29, 1949
Sri Sankara Jayanthi falls on Vaisakha Suddha (Sukla Paksha) Panchami day every year. (In this Virodhi year it falls on Tuesday, 21st Chitra, 3.5.1949.)
The term ‘Sankara’ means one who bestows prosperity and auspiciousness on all people and all beings. We are duty bound to celebrate the Jayanthi of and contemplate on Srimad Bhagavatpada, who has done great help to all beings, true to his name ‘Sankara’. We are giving here for readers’ use ‘Sri Sankara Avatara’ ghatta (occasion) from ‘Sankara Vijayam’ in original and translation.
Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada is verily the incarnation of Lord Siva, whose abode is Kailasa. He is Gnani, who mastered all Sastras with absolute clarity. He is omniscient. He carried his mortal frame only for 32 years. His body of fame will last for ever. He adopted Sanyasa asrama, wandered extensively from Sethu to Himalayas, debated with and conquered scholars of other religious persuasions, re-established the traditional Advaita Vedanta, established Mathas in Kanchi and many other places, organised succession of disciples to head those Mathas, set up new temples, removed deficiencies in old temples, set up untainted Pooja practices, extinguished wrong religious principles born of ignorance, set up Vaidika dharma on strong foundation, taught wholesome Gnana marga, showed the way as to how his mathas could be useful in spreading love of God, love of religion and Vedanta, wrote many books for emancipation of the multitude of disciples, showed his Advaita Vedanta in practice and helped the world by many such superhuman acts.
Avatara ghatta of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada
“Mudakaraattamodakam Sada Vimuktisaadhakam
“Gururbrahma Gururvishnuh Gururdevo Maheswarah|
“Narayanam Padmabhuvam Vasishtham Saktim cha tatputra Parasaram cha|
“Sri Sankaracharyamathaasya Padmapadam cha Hastamalakam cha sishyam|
At the time Aryamba gained the grace of Sri Vrishaachaleswara through austerity, she had completely devoted her mind to Lord Siva. Sivaguru, who performed yagnas, notived that his wife Aryamba was pregnant, contemplated on Vrishaachaleswara continuously with a firm mind, praised the compassion of Iswara with no distinction between the high and the low and was ebullient like the sea on seeing the full moon.
In the tenth month of pregnancy in the spring season when five planets were at their peak positions, in Ardra star, in midday, in the best time of Abhijit muhurtha in auspicious circumstances, that chaste Aryamba delivered a resplendent male baby, like the brilliant Sun rising in the eastern mountain, like Parvati Devi having produced Subrahmanya (Shanmukha), Indrani having delivered Jayantha and Satyavati, Vyasa Muni. Aryamba was surprised at that time to notice in front of her a form that had four arms, three eyes, having crescent moon on head and radiating blinding brilliant light in all ten directions, of white rays, slightly mixed with red. She was overcome by mixed feelings of fear and tiredness after delivery and thought: ‘I wished for something; but what has appeared now is different; what a wonder!’ and tried getting up in order to pay her obeisance to that form. As she raised her head, she saw Devas showering flowers from the sky.
At that time the wind was carrying the scent of red lotus. The sky was bright in all directions. The earth was fertile everywhere. The fires in Yagas shone with flames circling in the right. The minds of virtuous men, miserable from the oppression of evil religions, became clear. That chaste Aryamba, though surprised at the unexpected form that appeared, determined that it was none other than Sri Vrishaachaleswara and paid obeisance quickly and with humility. She prayed to Sri Parameswara again and again: ‘O Swami, please bestow your grace on me and show your childhood sports’.
Lord Siva, who had appeared in His real form, now turned in no time into a small baby, who moved his limbs and lips and cried. Aryamba then completely forgot all that she had seen so far owing to the Maya of Maheswara, which deludes the entire world. The women, who were there, were not aware of the earlier appearance of Iswara in his true form and subsequent change into a small baby. They thought that a baby, resembling the growing crescent, was born. The older women did well all that was necessary to be done at that time.
Sankara’s father Sivaguru was very happy to hear of the child’s birth. The parents were extremely joyous as a poor man would be on hitting a treasure. As they were blessed with the fortune of a son, they did not care for even Kubera, endowed with all fortunes. Though Aryamba was aware that the baby was none other than Siva, she did not tell this to anyone.
Sivaguru, the crest jewel among Dikshitas, then took bath and invited brahmanas and superior women from many places. In every house in that place there was a great rush of people at that time. Sivaguru gave away heaps of foodgrains to learned Dikshitas; unlimited materials including superior clothes and fruits fit for Devas, to brahmanas versed in Vedas; many materials continuously to superior women. He also gave away innumerable cows with pot like udders, nicely decorated, along with dakshina. All these gifts were given with no trace of selfishness and only for the constant pleasure of Sri Vrishaachaleswara. The learned Sivaguru pleased brahmanas very much in this manner and lived happily with his relatives.
The beautiful Aryamba was happy beyond measure to keep looking at the baby, who had long arms, wide chest, arms hanging down to knees, wide handsome forehead, sidelong glance of slightly reddish eyes whose beauty defeated lotus, the radiance of face similar to the full moon, white brilliant light radiating in all four directions like rising sun, lines in lotus feet, of forms of conch, discus and flag and lightning-like form having all 32 signs of handsomeness, instilling joy at mere sight in those who see him. She was rapturous like Yasoda on seeing Krishna and chataka bird on seeing the moon, being unwilling to part even for a second from the baby; she enjoyed caressing him continuously.
Thus the Acharya incarnated, did many lilas in childhood, was initiated into upanayanam in fifth year and studied Vedas in Gurukulam. During his stay in Gurukulam, he asked for alms on a dvadashi day from an indigent household; the lady of the house felt miserable on not having anything to give; she then gave one aamalaka (gooseberry), which was the only thing available in the house. Sri Acharya was greatly moved and prayed to Mahalakshmi with the stotra known as ‘Kalyana vrishti sthavam’ or ‘Kanakadharasthavam’. The highly pleased Mahalakshmi showered golden aamalakas in that house.
Translated from Tamil by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai