Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Literature
Shankaraachaarya-3 (Events of His Life)
(1) Maneesh Panchakam, (2) Aatm Shatakam or Nirvaan Shatakam, (3) Kanakdhaaraa Stotra, (4) Kaupeen Panchakam,
(5) Saundarya Laharee, (6) Bhaj Govindam
This was the first test for Aadi Shankar. When he was in search of his Guru leaving behind his mother Aaryambaa at Kalaadee, Kerala. He came to the banks of river Narmadaa, which was inundated with floods. Bowing to it, he took all the water of the river in his Kamandal, and then the river was barren without a drop of water. When he was about to cross the river bed, he was stopped by another sage who was looking all the happenings. He was none other than his sought after Guru Shree Govinda Bhagavetpada whose Guru was Goudapada - Kanchi Shankaraachaarya Chandrasekarendira Saraswathi in his Deyvethin Kural says Gaudaa means Tiger and hence Gaudaapaad originated from Bangaal - he was the one to write Kaarikaa for Maandookya Upanishad - the smallest of the 108 Upanishad which reveals A-Dwait - The maker is the made. He asked who are you? The answer for his Guru's question is known as Nirvaan Shatak.
Nir means "no or without", and Vaan means cover and hence Nirvaan means without cover. This shows that when you remove all the covers you have on you - I Sushma is a cover, I am a female is a cover and so on. When I remove all the covers, I find that I am birthless and deathless Brahm - Shiv.
Rain of Golden Gooseberry (Aamalaa)
: Kanakdhaaraa Stotra
They look majestic even while seeking alms. Highly lustrous, the young Shankar stood at each door and asked for alms. At each door he was offered something. In one of the homes, a woman, hearing the melodious voice of Shankar rushed out. The young Shankar shone with the luster of the Sun. With eyes like the lotus and holding the Palaash Dand in one hand and the Bhikshaa Paatra (pot seeking alms) in the other he came to the door of this woman. Looking at this extraordinary child the woman felt that it was verily Shiv, the Lord of Kailaash, who had come to her door with a Bhikshaa Paatra, seeking alms.
She desired to offer him something but there was not a grain in her house. All pots were empty. She came to the door again and wished that the child would move to the next door. But Shankar did not move. He stood rooted to the ground. Why? Was it due to hunger? Or, did he desire to grab something from her? No. It was verily the desire to bless her in someway that he stood there. When Mahaan accept something from us, they verily accept our sins and not some article from us.
The woman holding on to the pillar peeped out to see if he was still there. It pained her to see him still there. "Oh, the child is still here. What do I do? I have nothing to offer to him." At last she told him, "Please go to the next door. There is not a grain at home." But Shankar did not move. He had decided to bless her that day. Shankar said to her, "Mother! I do not need rice. I have already got enough rice from other houses. Just give me something to go with it."Would Shankar have food only with side dishes? No, it was not so. He had decided to receive something, a bit of something from her, and use it as an excuse to bless her bountifully. The woman ran into the house and searched her whole house. She succeeded in getting a piece of dried gooseberry. With deep pain and feeling ashamed she came to the door. With tears flowing down her cheek she dropped it into Shankar's pot. Shankaraachaarya realized the woman's devotion irrespective of being poor. He immediately started singing twenty one Shlok praising Goddess Mahaa Lakshmee , praying her to bless the poor woman by driving her poverty and grant her riches. As you sow, so you reap. Mahaa Lakshmee replied that the lady has not done any good deeds (helping others in charity) in her previous birth, so she doesn't deserve riches and is destined to suffer in poverty. Aadi Shankar accepted it but said though the poor woman didn't do any good deeds in previous birth, but in this birth, she has such a kind heart that irrespective of being poor, she gave this little Aamalaa fruit to him and this good deed alone is enough to bless her with all prosperity. Shankar looked up at the woman and lifting the Palaash Dand high, he started chanting :---
"Angam hare pulak bhooshanamasrayanti, bhringanga neva mukul bharanam tamaalam,
Listening to Shankar's beautiful Stotra and his argument that the poor women must be blessed for her good deed in this birth (offering of little Aamalaa fruit), Mahaa Lakshmee was moved. She really is for devotion and purity of heart. If we always involve in good deeds, always chant God's name, we will surely be blessed by Mahaa Lakshmee. As Shanakar was singing Kanakdhaaraa Stotra, Mahaa Lakshmee showered Golden Aamalaa fruit like rain in front of the poor woman's hut. Imagine, rain of golden fruit showering from sky. How beautiful must have been the scene? How beautiful is the devotion of the poor woman and how great is the saint Aadi Shankar who sang in praise of Mahaa Lakshmee and beyond all this how graceful is this Goddess Mahaa Lakshmee.
Look at the wonderful Stotra coming out of Aadi Shankar. It is a wonderful Stotra. The tree known as "Tamaalam" is found only along the seashore. It is a rare tree. This is the most widely spread tree. It has countless branches. Shankar moved away after singing the Stotra; the woman continued to stand at the door, lost as she was in the beauty of the young Shankar's gait. She suddenly heard the sound of something falling down. She rushed inside only to find the heavy rain of golden gooseberry in her courtyard! Do you realize the glory of the grace of the Guru? The grace of the Guru had bestowed wealth.
Aadi Shankar has sung this "Kanakdhaaraa Stotra" for welfare of everyone who is suffering their past Karm and suffering in poverty. One may sing Kanakdhaaraa Stotra everyday or at least listen to it with pure devotion on Goddess Mahaa Lakshmee offering flowers, milk or water in a glass and after prayers having it as Prasaad. It can be downloaded from www.prapatti.com. They have a list of mp3s .Go to mp3 section and download the Stotra you like to hear. Search for Kanakdhaaraa Stotram.
How Much Knowledge Do We Have?
On hearing this, Shankaraachaarya dipped the staff held in his hand in the water. After a few moments, he took it out of the water and showed to the disciple and said - "Just see the quantity of the water that has clung to my staff. Only one drop." Shankaraachaarya smiled and said further - "What do I say about my knowledge? Only one small drop of water from this vast river has clung onto my staff. My knowledge is just like this small drop when compared to the vast ocean of knowledge present in the universe."
[If such a learned person like Shankaraachaarya says so about his knowledge, how can we boast about our virtues?]
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 03/21/13