guru kripA vilAsam (On the Greatness of the Guru)
Disclaimer for my Translated Materials
These selective English translations done by me from the Tamil book Sri GurukrupA VilAsam (3 volumes), published by the Devotees of Shringeri Sri ShAradA PITham are posted here with the sole intention of carrying the divine messages of the AchAryALs of the Sankara MaThams established by Sri Adi Sankara BhagavadpAda, so that we the members of this Forum can understand and practice the directions contained in the messages.
As a translator, I have no commercial interests or financial considerations in spreading the messages of our Gurus, and have no claims of copyright for the translations.
I have duly quoted the source of these translations, and I hereby acknowledge the credits to the publications, authors, devotees and any other people concerned.
If anyone involved with these publications has any reservations on the implicit consents and permissions assumed in these translations for the spiritual benefit of mankind, the same may be brought to the notice of the Forum Administrator, for necessary changes or removal of the material presented.
'saidevo', as translator of the materials presented.
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From the Publisher's Preface
This book is about the greatness of our AchAryAL Sri Chandrasekhara BharatI MahAsvAmigaL who as the 34th Jagadguru of DakShiNAmya Shringagiri Sri ShAradA PITham, held the post of the adhipati of the first MaTham established by Sri Sankara, with prasiddhi (great success and attainment) and was adored and respected by everyone as a sarvajna (all-knowing) and a jnAni who had reached the stage of a jIvan mukta (liberated while living).
The speciality of the essays in this book is that some of them contain the saMbhAShaNas (conversations) done by Sri AchAryAL in vistAram (elaboration) with some pandits who were faithful to the ShAstras. In a few others are described in great svArasyam (interest), the saMsargas (association) that happened with Sri AchAryAL in svAdhInam (with freedom) to Sri AbhinavavidyAtIrtha, who as a BrahmachAri by name SrinivAsan was doing gurukulavAsam (residential studentship), and whom Sri AchAryAL chose as his pratama shiShya (primary disciple) and later as the successor to the PiTham. The medhAvilAsam (shine of intelligence) of the ShiShya who remained the bAlasUrya (young sun), and the kRupA vilAsam (shine of compassion) of the GurunAthar who was a karuNAmUrti (embodiment of compassion), are clearly understood by us when we read these essays. We also get the Anandam (happiness) of having been there in that GururAjA's sannidhi (presence) when we read them now.
The lekhaka (writer, scribe) of these essays was Sri SachchidAnanda TIrtha, who was respectfully known as Sri BhAShya SvAmigaL. His name in his pUrva, brahmacharya Ashram was Sri VaidhyanAtha SAstri. When Sri Chandrasekhara BharatI MahAsvAmigaL was PIThAdhipati, Sri VaidhyanAtha SAstri worked as the adhyApaka (teacher) of the MaTham's 'Sri SatvidyA SanjIvinI' pAThashAlA (school). By his lofty traits, AchAram, niyamam, jnAbaka shakti (religious rigour, discipline, memory power), the sAmarthyam (capability) of composing SamskRuta verses, and connoisseurship he endeared himself to Sri AchAryAL and was blessed with the bhAygam (fortune) of always staying near the guru. In addition, he was the teacher who taught the kAvyas (epics), and was a caretaker during the time of pUrvAshrama vidyAbhyAsam (earlier stage education) of Sri AbhinavavidyAtIrtha who dazzled in mahonnatam (very high) as the thirty-fifth Jagadguru, soon after he was admitted as a young vidyArthi (student) under his earlier name SrinivAsan. For the writer too, direct sannyAsam (stage of being an ascetic) from brahmachAryam (stage of bachelorhood) became prAptam (possible). Later the writer travelled to places like MahAdAnapuram and KAshi kShetram and attained siddhi (liberation) with brahma sAkShAtkAram (Self-Realization).
The epic titled 'Sri Jagadguru CharitAmRutam' written by him has been published in four volumes. People who have those volumes today are bhAgyashAlIs. He has also composed several stotras (hymns) and individual shlokas (verses).
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(The 'Writer' starts the first chapter with some verses of his own; the first verse is presented here--sd).
चमत्कृतसुचीचेताः चन्द्रचूडालसद्गुरुः ।
सच्चिदानन्दतीर्थेऽस्मिन् समुदञ्चयतां धृशौ ॥
sachchidAnandatIrthe&smin samuda~jchayatAM dhRushau ||
"Sri Chandrasekhara BharatI Sadguru who attracts the minds of buddhimAns (the intelligentsia) may direct his glances towards this SachchidAnanda TIrtha."
All the jIvanmukta lakShaNas that were with Sri SadAsiva Brahmam were also with this GurumUrti, right from his bAlyam (boyhood)--this lekaka (writer) had gone into paravasham (self-obliterating happiness) during his stay in Shringeri, listening to the narrative descriptions of the elders of those days about those traits.
When he was a boy, Sri AchAryAL one day went to the Shringeri bazaar to buy something, reciting the MUkaPanchasati shlokas which was his habit, and totally forgot the kAryam (task) he came there for in the first place, and went a long way past the town. An elderly gentleman who passed by saw the boy and asked, "Why did you come this far, past the town?". The boy replied, "I have now come to MUkaPanchasati's 50th shloka." The older man laughed and took the boy home after buying the required article. Not one or two are the stories when he remained in complete absence of deha-smaraNa (body sense). All the lIlAs until his jalasamAdhi would thus remain as the life story of a JaTabharata. Such mahAns, like Sri SadAsiva Brahmam would appear only rarely. These mUrtis would seem mad and dumb to prAkRuta janas (ordinary people). This is what BrahmendrAL describes as the jIvan mukta lIlA in his AtmavidyAvilAsam:
तिष्ठन् परतरधाम्नि स्वीयसुखास्वादपरवशः कश्चित् ।
क्वापि ध्यायति कुहचिद्गायति कुत्रापि नृत्यति स्वैरम् ॥
tiShThan parataradhAmni svIyasukhAsvAdaparavashaH kashchit |
kvApi dhyAyati kuhachidgAyati kutrApi nRutyati svairam ||
"A person in the state of being in brahmam and experiencing AtmAnandam, meditates in one place, sings in another place, and dances in a third."
Everything about the book AtmavidyAvilAsam that BrahmendrAL experienced and recorded is mukhastam (known by heart) to our GurucharaNAL. Whenever he was in ekAntam (solitude) he would only be doing gAnam (singing) of this book. In Shringeri on the other bank of the Tungabhadra river inside the Narasimha Vanam if one climbs up the hill, the KAla Bhairava temple could be seen at the summit. It is the custom of our GurucharaNAL during the times of sAyaMkAlam (evening) to go there for vishrAnti (rest) daily, walking pAdachAri (on foot). While waking in this manner, he would take with him on some days, a few mukhya yatIshvaras (accomplished ascetic) and only the virakta shiShyas (dispassionate disciples) who were antarangam (in proximity) to him and walk along, reciting antAdi shlokas. We, his disciples too were in the habit of reciting some antAdi shlokas for him. At those times if some vairAgyapara shlokas (verses highlighting dispassion) are recited, he would be in paramAnandam. Among the reasons for his becoming compassionate towards this lekaka, this habit of (the lekaka's) recital of the antAdi shlokas was the chief one. When vairAgyapara shlokas were recited from the works chittAnushAsanam, shAntitarangiNI, vairAgyatarangiNI which were composed by him, and from the works vairAgyashatakam, and shAntivilAsam, he would do abhinandanam (applaud) with paramasantoSham (supreme happiness) and kindle the utsAham (effort) of the reciter. After the antAdi was over, he would sit inside the Alayam, have the disciples seated too and would ask them to individually recite the whole of AtmavidyAvilAsam and listen to it. In the same way he would also ask for and listen to the lalitakara (charming), AchArya-prakaraNa (sages-created) grantha-shlokas such as the svAtma-nirUpaNam. One should have done koTi puNyaM (one crore meritorious things) to witness him seated as the jnAnachchuDar (flame of knowledge) forgetting his physical self with AnandabAShpam (tears of joy) flowing, doing anusaMdhAnam (inquiry, investigation) into the meanings of those shlokas. This wouldn't be had by everyone. Apart from the viraktas and sannyAsis like us, for others at that time prevesham (entry) was not allowed. Thus, if we say that like the GopAlas mingled with KrishNaParamAtma and felt happy, we his antaranga shiShyas in those days floated in the flood of happiness, it would not be an adhishayokti (techinique of exaggeration). te hi no divasA gatAH | Those days are gone, never to come back.
रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥
To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.