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Sanatana Goswami

Birth and early years

Sanatana was born in Jessore, now in Bangladesh, in 1488 as the son of Mukunda, the private secretary of the Sultan of Bengal, Jalaluddin Fateh Shah (ruled 1481–1487). Sanatana was the eldest son of Mukunda, and his younger brothers were Rupa and Vallabha (Anupama).

Sanatana and his brothers studied Nyaya (rhetortic) and Vedanta from the famous logician Vasudeva Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. They also studied under Sarvabhauma’s brother, Madhusudana Vidyavacaspati, from whom Sanatana took initiation in his childhood.

On the death of his father, Sanatana was forced to take up the post of Sakara Mallik (treasurer) to the new ruler of Bengal, Alauddin Hussein Shah (ruled 1493–1519), while his brother Rupa was given the post of Dabir-i-khas.

Sanatan Goswami (1488-1558) was the elder brother of Shri Rupa and Shri Anupama. From his earliest years, he was spontaneously attracted to logic, philosophy, rhetoric, and the theistic message of Shrimad Bhagavatam. In order to gain depth in his understanding of these subjects, he accepted instruction from such luminaries as Vidya Vachaspati, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Paramananda Bhatta-charya, and the learned Ramabhadra.

Although Sanatan, along with Rupa and Anupama, was forced to work for the Islamic occupational government in Bengal, he never gave up his studies or his religious way of life. He wrote a book called Sadachar Paddhati, which was based upon ancient scriptural conclusions and contained rules and regulations for the gradual advancement of an aspiring spiritualist. In his own life, he scrupulously followed these instructions, and, as a householder in the Vedic system, he used to donate food to brahmanas (“priests”), destitute people, and lepers on a daily basis. His sense of charity was boundless.

One night, in a dream, a handsome renunciant came to Sanatan and warned him not to become distracted by worldly-mindedness. He ordered Sanatan to go to Vrindavan, unearth the obscured holy places, and preach the scriptural doctrine of divine love. The next morning, Sanatan told his brother, Rupa, about the dream. Smiling, Rupa confessed that he, too, was somehow aware of this instruction, and he informed Sanatan that Shri Krishna had indeed descended as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to give them further direction in regard to their spiritual calling.

With every day that passed, Rupa and Sanatan anxiously awaited a sign. When would they be able to renounce their distasteful political service to the Nawab of Bengal and fully replace it with service to the Lord’s lotus feet? The boys consulted their mother and she suggested that they write a letter to Shri Chaitanya. This they did, and after receiving no reply, they tried writing Him again and again. At last, Shri Chaitanya responded, but His letter merely contained one verse from scripture: “If a woman is involved with a man other than her husband, she may try to be especially diligent in her household duties. In this way she seeks to avoid detection. Within her heart, however, she is always longing to be reunited with her paramour.”

Rupa and Sanatan understood His meaning: They should continue to work responsibly for the Nawab, at least temporarily. Inwardly, they could fully meditate on their inevitable surrender unto the Lord’s mission.

But the Goswamis had to be patient. Shri Chaitanya had just taken sannyasa and gone to Puri. Next, He began a pilgrimage that included a two year tour of South India. So it was some time before He would journey to North Bengal and meet them at Ramakeli. Nonetheless, the meeting, which took place in 1514, was a pivotal point in the annals of Gaudiya Vaishnava history.

Sanatana’s Life Before Meeting Mahaprabhu

According to the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana, Sanatana was born in around 1410 of the Shaka era (1488 AD). Narahari Chakravarti Thakur has described his ancestors in Bhakti-ratnakara (1.541ff) and Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has given a summary of this information in his Anubhashya to Chaitanya Charitamrita (1.10.84), which we have quoted in this book on page 12 in our discussion of the life of Rupa Goswami. Other than this, no reliable information about their antecedents has been found. Perhaps researchers in Indian history will be able to shed more light on this.
   According to the Gaudiya Vaishnava Abhidhana, the following brief account is given of how Sanatana’s grandfather came to be engaged in the Muslim Shah’s service: “During the reign of Barbak Shah (1460-1470 AD), Sanatana’s grandfather Mukunda entered the court at the capital city of Gauda. Barbak Shah engaged many Abyssinian slaves and eunuchs in both his court and harem; they were known as habshi [which is now the common Bengali word for any black African]. After the death of Barbak Shah, his son Yusuf became king, and he was followed by his son Fateh Shah. During the reign of Fateh Shah, the Abyssinians led a coup in which Fateh Shah himself was assassinated. They ruled for five or six years. Hussein Shah was the wazir or prime minister of the last of the Abyssinian rulers and he later became himself ruler of Bengal. Mukunda left this world during the rule of Fateh Shah and Mukunda was engaged in his place. Sanatana managed to survive the Abyssinian period and during Hussein Shah’s reign managed to take a higher position on the strength of his personal talents, eventually becoming prime minister. Rupa Goswami held another ministerial post, possibly as finance minister.” Sanatana’s title was Sakara Mallik and Rupa’s was Dabir Khas.
   
While Shri Sanatana Goswami was still young, he studied under the country’s leading scholar named Vidyavachaspati, learning many scriptures from him. He was especially attached to the study of the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Although he had taken birth in a high class Brahmin family, because he had worked for the Muslim government, he considered himself to be fallen and always behaved in a most humble manner, as is appropriate for a Vaishnava.
Sanatana’s teacher was Vidyavachaspati who would come to stay in Ramakeli from time to time. Sanatana studied all the scriptures from him. No one can achieve the depth of devotion that he had for his guru.

Sanatana Goswami Samadhi

There are several places throughout the Vraja area where Srila Sanatana Goswami performed his bhajana, but the last days of his life he spent at Govardhana Hill. He departed from this world on Guru Purnima, while residing at Govardhana. His body was brought to Vrindavana and placed in samadhi behind the Radha Madan-Mohana Mandira. There is also sweet water well here that Sanatana Goswami used. Good sweet water is rare to found in Vrindavana area since it is mostly too mineralized and taste salty. From many wells it is not even advisable to drink. Just behind his samadhi is grantha-samadhi, which contains some of the original manuscripts of the Goswamis. Some of the books compiled by Sanatan Goswami were Hari-bhakti-vilasa, Brihad-bhagavatamrita, Dasama-tippani and Dasama-carita. Srila Sanatana Gosvami was born into a Sarasvata-brahmana community in Bengal. His father was named Kumara Deva and mother was named Revati. His mother was the daughter of Hari Narayan Visarad of Madhaipur. Jiva Gosvami traces their ancestry to Sarvajna Jagadguru, a king in Karnataka. Sanatana appeared in 1484 (other dates are also given), five years before Rupa Gosvami.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Varanasi

As Sanatana made his way to Vrindavan he learned that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had already left Vrindavan and was then residing in Varanasi. There Sanatana met Chaitanya, who imparted to him instructions pertaining to sambandha-jnana (knowledge of the self and one’s relationship with God). Chaitanya taught that the constitutional identity of each soul is to be an eternal servant of God. Chaitanya explained his teachings to Sanatana by summarizing them in three categories: sambandha (one’s relationship with Godhead), abhidheya (the method for reviving that relationship), and prayojana (the ultimate attainment of the supreme goal of life). After instructing Sanatana in the sambandha aspect of Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, Chaitanya instructed him to go to Vrindavan, where Sanatana visited the sites connected to Krishna’s pastimes.

When Sanatana later went to Puri and met Chaitanya once more, Chaitanya gave him four direct instructions:

  1. To write books teaching Bhakti yoga, the process of devotion to Krishna
  2. To discover and excavate the places in Vrindavan where Krishna had his pastimes
  3. To establish the service of the deity (murthis) of Krishna in Vrindavan
  4. To compile a book establishing the proper behavior for devotees of Krishna in order to create the foundations of a Vaishnava society.

Literary works

Sanatana Goswami wrote four important books in Sanskrit on Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy:

  • Brihat-bhagavtamrita (“The Great Nectar of the Lord’s Devotees”)

This work of 2,500 verses is divided into two parts. The first section explains the ontological hierarchy of the devotees of Krishna. The second section deals with the soul’s journey to the eternal realm of Krishna. Narrated as stories, both sections explain many aspects of Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy. Sanatana also wrote for this book his own commentary, called the Dig-darshini.

  • Hari-bhakti-vilasa (“Performance of Devotion to Hari”)

This book was a joint work between Sanatana Goswami and Gopala Bhatta Goswami. Compiled on the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the book deals with the rituals and conduct of Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Sanatana also wrote an auto-commentary on Hari-bhakti Vilasa.

  • Krishna-lila-stava (“Glorification of the Pastimes of Krishna”)

Krishna-lila-stava consists of 432 verses tracing Krishna’s pastimes as told in the Bhagavata Purana, from the beginning of the 10th Canto up through the vanquishing of Kamsa. Krishna-lila-stava is also sometimes referred to as the Dasama-charita.

  • Brihad Vaishnava Toshani (“That which brings Great Joy to the Devotees of Krishna”)

The Brihad Vaishnava Toshani is Sanatana’s extensive commentary on the Tenth Canto of the Bhagavata Purana. This commentary is also known as the Dasama-tipanni.

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Nityananda Prabhu

Life

Nityananda Prabhu was born to a religious Bengali Brahmin, known as Pandit Hadai and Padmavatiin Ekachakra (a small village in Birbhum district of present West Bengal) around the year 1474. His devotion and great talent for singing Vaishnava hymns (bhajan) were apparent from a very early age. In his youth, he would generally play the part of Lakshman, Rama’s younger brother, in dramatic re-enactments of Lord Rama’s pastimes, along with the other boys of Ekachakra.

At the age of thirteen, Nitai left home with a travelling renunciate (sannyasi) known as Lakshmipati Tirtha. Nitai’s father, Hadai Pandit, had offered the travelling sannyasi anything he wished as a gift. To this Lakshmipati Tirtha replied that he was in need of someone to assist him in his travels to the holy places (he was about to begin a pilgrimage) and that Nitai would be perfect for the job. As he had given his word Hadai Pandit reluctantly agreed and Nitai joined him in his travels. This started Nitai’s long physical and spiritual journey through India which would get him in contact with important Gurus of the Vaishnava tradition. Apart from Lakshmipati Tirtha, who at some point initiated him, he was also associated with Lakshmipati Tirtha’s famous other disciples: Madhavendra Puri, Advaita Acharya, and Ishvara Puri, the spiritual master of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Marriage and descendants

Nitai married two daughters of Suryadasa Sarakhela, Vasudha and Jahnava. After marriage, he settled in Khardaha in 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. He had a son, Virachandra Goswami or Virabhadra, and a daughter, Ganga, by his first wife Vasudha. Virabhadra was later initiated to vaishnava rites by his stepmother Jahnava.

Biography

He was Halayudha in Krishna lila. According to Premavilasa 24, Nityananda was a disciple of Ishvara Puri. Shri Jiva states that Nityananda was a disciple of Shankarshana Puri who was a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. But Bhaktiratnakara states that Nityananda took diksha from Laksmipati who was the guru of Madhavendra Puri. If this were the case then Nityananda would have been the great-guru of Lord Chaitanya and a friendly relationship could not have existed between the two. According to CBh. Madhavendra Puri dealt with Nityananda as a friend, while the latter showed guru-like reverence to the former.

Nityananda Prabhu was born on the thirteenth day of the bright fortnight of Magha (February-March) in the village of Ekachakra in the district of Birbhum in 1395 Saka (1473 AD). His father was Hadai Pandita (Hado Ojha) and his mother was Padmavati. His paternal grandfather, Sundaramalla Nakadi Baduri was a brahmana of the Radha clan.

Maha-Vishnu again enters every universe as the reservoir of all living entities, and becomes Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. From Garbhodakashayi Vishnu comes KshirodakashayiVishnu, who is the expansion of the Supersoul of every living entity. Garbhodakashayi Vishnu also has His own Vaikuntha planet (spiritual residence) in every universe, where He lives as the Supersoul (Kshirodakashayi Vishnu) or supreme controller of the universe. Garbhodakashayi Vishnu reclines in the midst of the watery portion of the universe and generates the first living creature of the universe, Brahma. The imaginary universal form is a partial manifestation of Garbhodakashayi Vishnu.

On the Vaikuntha planet in every universe is an ocean of milk, and within that ocean is an island called Svetadvepa, where Lord Vishnu lives. In this way, there are two Svetadvepas (spiritual abodes of Lord Vishnu)–one in the abode of Krishna on Krishnaloka in the spiritual realm, and the other in the ocean of milk on the Vaikuntha or spiritual planet in every universe. The Svetadvepa in the abode of Krishna is identical with Vrindavana-dhama, which is the sacred place where Krishna Himself appears to display His loving pastimes. In the Svetadvepawithin every universe is a Sesha form of Godhead, which is another aspect of Lord Balarama, who expands in numerous ways to serve as the Lord’s support, and serves Lord Vishnu by assuming the form of His umbrella, slippers, couch, pillows, garments, residence, sacred thread, throne, and so on.

Nityananda Prabhu is an expansion of the same Lord Baladeva in Krishnaloka. Therefore, Nityananda Prabhu is the original Sankarshan, and Maha-sankarshan and His expansions as the purushas in the universes are plenary expansions of Nityananda Prabhu.

Appearance of Sri Nityananda Prabhu

Today is traditionally a fast until noon in observance of the appearance anniversary of Lord Nityananda. Nityananda Prabhu appeared as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s principal associate for spreading the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. He appeared in 1474 in the village of Ekachakra, now in West Bengal. He especially spread the holy name of Krishna throughout Bengal. His beauty was so enchanting and He was so full of ecstatic love for Krishna that, wherever He moved, crowds of people would follow and become lovers of God. He is considered an incarnation of Krishna’s principal expansion, Balarama.

Lord Nityananda is the eternal associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rarely is the name Nimai (Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) taken without that of Nitai (Lord Nityananda). Mahaprabhu cannot be approached or understood without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, who is the cardinal guru of all the universes and serves as an intermediary between Mahaprabhu and His Devotees. He is the Lord’s active principle in both creation and lila. He is the second body of the Lord, manifesting as Balaram to Shri Krishna, Lakshman to Shri Ram and Nityananda Prabhu to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. All other forms and expansions of the Lord emanate from this second body. Nityananda Prabhu is thus the source of Sankarshan, all the Vishu’s, and Ananta Shesha. As Vishnu tattva He and Advaita Acharya are worshipped in the same category as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the manifested earthly lila, Nityananda Prabhu is senior to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by more than a decade. He is statue like His Master, with the whitish complexion of Lord Balarama. His garments resemble a cluster of blue lotus flowers and His effulgence is said to surpass the grandeur of a rising moon at sunset. He has a deep melodious voice, constant singing the glories of Shri Krishna and carries a red stick with benedictions for the Devotees, but feared by the demoniac. He has the carefree mood of a wild avadhuta, so absorbed is He in the love of Godhead, and no one knows what He will do next.

 Nityananda Prabhu met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in 1506, when He was 32 years old and the Lord 20 years. It is said that when Nityananda Prabhu reached the land of Nadia, He hid in the house of Nandanacharya, to heighten the ecstasy of meeting through separation. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu aware of the arrival of His eternal associate dispatched Haridas Thakur and Shrivas Pandit to search out Nitai, but they failed. Finally unable to bear the separation any longer, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself went directly to Nityananda Prabhu and the ecstasy of the meeting was so transcendental that every one witnessing it were awed by the sublime experience. A Temple called Shri Gaura-Nityananda commemorates this meeting place in Nadia.

Nityananda Prabhu in His role as the original spiritual master, was instrumental in spreading the yuga dharma of sankritana all over the Gaudia desh (Bengal, Orrisa). His mercy knew no bounds, and people fortunate to come in contact with Him were inundated with the love of Godhead. It was by His mercy that Raghunatha dasa, one of the six Goswamis started the famous Danda Mahotsava festival of Panihatti, a tradition that continues to this day, and was thus able to serve Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He extended His mercy to even fallen souls like Jagai and Madhai, delivering them from the sinful lives and protecting them from the wrath of even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Indeed His mercy knew no bounds, and fortunate were the people who tasted the nectar of His instructions.

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Anasuya Devī

Early life

Anasuya Devi was an Indian guru from Jillellamudi (now partially known as Arkapuri), Guntur District, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, to a couple late Seethapathi Rao, the village officer of Mannava and his wife Rangamma. Seethapathi and Rangamma after their loss of as many as five children. Rangamma conceived a child, said to be a miraculous conception,and gave birth to Anasuya, born with a vermilion on her forehead per the account of biographer Richard Schiffman.

When Anasuya was completing her second year, she once sat under a pomegranate tree in “padmasana” (Lotus Posture) and attained a transcendental meditation state, with her eyes half closed. Every one mistook it as a fit of epilepsy and not noticing the ‘yogasana’ she had assumed. She returned to her normal consciousness in an hour. On yet another occasion, she was seen sitting in a strange posture with her breath suspended and the eyes turned completely inside. When someone asked her later as to what she was doing, she replied she was in ‘Shambhavi Mudra’.

As a little girl, she never asked for food, just as she never cried for milk as an infant. She accepted food if it was given, only to give to somebody else who was in need of it. She was treated by several doctors to no avail. It is a paradox of Amma’s life that one who was indifferent to eating herself, spent a large portion of her time and energy in feeding others.

On 5th May 1936, Amma’s wedding took place at Bapatla with Brahmandam Nageswara Rao who became later the village officer of Jillellamudi.

Charitable career

At Jillellamudi, as a young housewife, Amma looked after the needs of her family which came to include two sons and a daughter. In addition to performing her household duties, Amma devised and organized a grain bank to help the poor and needy. Amma used to give food to every visitor to the village; thus she came to be known as “Mother of All” (viswajanani in Sanskrit means mother (janani) of all).

She founded the common dining hall Annapurnalayam on 15 August 1958. This place serves simple vegetarian food day and night to all who came. In 1960, the “House of All” was founded to provide lodging to the residents and visitors.

Amma established a Sanskrit school in 1966 (now the Matrusri Oriental College and High School) and within a relatively short time, one could hear the inmates speaking Sanskrit fluently.

Amma saw only good in people and had no concept of “sin”, treating all alike irrespective of faith and religion.

Death

Amma died on 12 June 1985. A temple Anasuyeswaralayam was built, in which a life size statue of Amma was installed in 1987.

Credit – wikipedia

Advaita Acharya

Advaita Acharya – Biography

All over the world the glories of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu are sung. However, without Sri Advaita Acharya Prabhu, also known as Gaur Ana Thakur, He who brought Gaura to this world, there would be no Mahaprabhu.

Sri Advaita Acharya was the first among the associates of Lord Chaitanya and He appeared on our earth some 50 &‐ 60 years before Sri Chaitanya’s own advent. Sri Advaita Acharya is recognized as a combined incarnation or expansion of Sri Maha Vishnu and Sri Sadashiva, Lord Shiva in Golok dham.

In Chaitanya Charitamrita, Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami quotes the following evidence from the diary of Swarupa Damodar to describe the ontological principle of Advaita Acharya:

maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah
tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah
advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-shasanat
bhaktavataram isham tam advaitacaryam ashraye

Maha Vishnu is the master of the universe, which He creates through his power of Maya. Advaita Acharya is the incarnation of this form of the Supreme Lord. He is known as Advaita because he is none other than Hari, as Acharya because he is the preceptor of devotion. I take shelter of the Supreme Lord Advaita Acharya who is the Incarnation of a Devotee.

When Sri Advaita Acharya manifested in this world, Srila Madhavendra Puri, Sri Ishwar Puri, Sri Sachi Mata and Sri Jagannath Mishra also made their appearances.

Sri Advaita Acharya was a disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri and forms one of the main figures amongst the Pancatattva – Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhar pandit and Srivasa.

Life story

In his latter years Advaita Acharya became increasingly saddened by the pursuit of materialistic goals that, he believed, lead to a dysfunctional, unhappy society and concluded that the only solution was to offer prayers, begging his Supreme Lord Krishna to come as an Avatar and attract people back to the joy of the spiritual life. Advaita Acharya is said to have prayed for several months, crying out and worshipping him in the form of his Shaligram Shila with sacred Tulasi leaves and Ganges water. At the end of thirteen months during an eclipse of the full moon, his prayers were answered when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born.

He is known to have been a close friend of both Chaitanya and Nityananda in their mission of spreading the Hare Krishna mantra. Advaita Acharya is said to have told Chaitanya “Wherever you are is Vrindavan.” He is considered a combined incarnation (Avatar) of both Maha Vishnu and SadaShiva (Sadashiva is Vishnu tattva & origin of Lord Shiva) within the Gaudiya tradition.

On the day marking his birth members hold a celebration in his honour and read and discuss stories of his life.

Advaita Acharya – Appearance

Advaita Acharya appeared in fifteenth century Bengal, India, as a teacher of Krishna consciousness. He is frequently mentioned in the biography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Chaitanya Charitamrita, as an intimate associate of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and as an avatar of Krishna.
Chaitanya Charitamrita relates how Advaita Acharya was so pained to see the degraded condition of the people in Kali Yuga, the Age of Quarrel, that He fervently prayed for Krishna Himself to descend and remedy the situation. Sri Advaita worshiped Krishna on the banks of the Ganges with Ganges water and Tulasi leaves, crying out and begging for the Lord to come save the suffering souls. In response to Sri Adwaita Acharya’s devotion and compassion, Krishna decided to appear, in the form of His own devotee—Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Advaita Acharya was the first among Mahaprabhu’s associates to appear within the material world.

Some sixty years prior to Mahaprabhu’s own advent, Advaita Acharya had already begun chanting Krishna’s names in the streets with devotees and discussing scriptures on devotional service to Krishna.

On the seventh day of the bright fortnight of the month of Magh, the great ocean of ecstasy swelled to its limits, being forcibly attracted by the moon of Advaita, Who appeared from the womb of Sri Nabhadevi as the moon appears in the autumn sky. His father, Sri Kuvera, Pandit floated in that ocean of joy. In great happiness gave many gifts in charity to the brahmanas (who voluntarily accept vows of poverty). Very quietly he approached the maternity room to get a glimpse of his newborn son. Then his own face began to shine by the reflected light of that moon-like personage.

The residents of Nabagram came running to see the child. Everyone remarked that they had never seen such a beautiful baby. What a pious activities his father must have been performed to get such a jewel of a son, and that in his old age. Thus Ghanasyama sings about this occasion. The child was named Mangal and his other name was Kamalaksa. 

Advaita Acarya is the combined incarnation of Maha Visnu and Sadaisiva (who resides in Goloka). His two consorts, Sita and Sri are manifestations of Yoga Maya. Once when Advaita performed worship, whatever gods and demigods He used to meditate upon He saw all gathered at Lord Caitanya’s lotus feet, offering prayers. Raising up his two hands, Advaita exclaimed in great ecstasy, “Today all the days of my life have produced a successful result, as all my desires have been fulfilled. My birth and activities have finally born fruit. I have directly perceived Your two lotus feet, which are proclaimed throughout the four Vedas but are unattainable thereby. Now, by Your causeless mercy, You have revealed Yourself to Me.

“Mahaprabhu replied, “Acarya, now you should perform My worship.” First Advaita Acarya washed the Lord’s two lotus feet with water scented by flower petals and then with water scented with sandalwood. Then He placed on His lotus feet Tulasi manjari dipped in sandalwood paste along with arghya – an auspicious offering of rice, durbagrass, yogurt etc.

Advaita Acharya could be considered the efficient cause of both Lord Chaitanya’s appearance and disappearance. Here is a Shrimad Bhagavatam verse quoted in the Chaitanya Charitamrita in explaining the effect of Shri Advaita’s prayers: “O my Lord, You always dwell in the vision and hearing of Your pure devotees. You also live in their lotuslike hearts, which are purified by devotional service. O my Lord, who are glorified by exalted prayers, You show special favor to Your devotees by manifesting Yourself in the eternal forms in which they welcome You.” The Cc explains that verse as follows: “The essence of the meaning of this verse is that Lord Krsna appears in all His innumerable eternal forms because of the desires of His pure devotees.” The devotees are dearer to Krishna than his own heart!

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Adi Shankara

Introduction

Adi Shankara early 8th century CE was a philosopher and theologian from India who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.
His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes“. He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara’s publications criticised the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism. He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Atman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”.
Shankara’s hagiography describe him as someone who was attracted to the life of Sannyasa (hermit) from early childhood. His mother disapproved. A story, found in all hagiographies, describe Shankara at age eight going to a river with his mother, Sivataraka, to bathe, and where he is caught by a crocodile. Shankara called out to his mother to give him permission to become a Sannyasin or else the crocodile will kill him. The mother agrees, Shankara is freed and leaves his home for education. He reaches a Saivite sanctuary along a river in a north-central state of India, and becomes the disciple of a teacher named Govinda Bhagavatpada.

Biography

Sources

There are at least fourteen different known biographies of Adi Shankara’s life.Many of these are called the Śankara Vijaya, while some are called Guruvijaya, Sankarabhyudaya and Shankaracaryacarita. Of these, the Brhat-Sankara-Vijaya by Citsukha is the oldest hagiography but only available in excerpts, while Sankaradigvijaya by Vidyaranya and Sankaravijaya by Anandagiri are the most cited.Other significant biographies are the Mādhavīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of Mādhava, c. 14th century), the Cidvilāsīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of Cidvilāsa, c. between the 15th and 17th centuries), and the Keraļīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of the Kerala region, extant from c. the 17th century).These, as well as other biographical works on Shankara, were written many centuries to a thousand years after Shankara’s death,in Sanskrit and non-Sanskrit languages, and the biographies are filled with legends and fiction, often mutually contradictory.
Adi Shankara died in the thirty third year of his life, and reliable information on his actual life is scanty.

Birth-dates

The Sringeri records state that Shankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of “VikramAditya“, but it is unclear as to which king this name refers. Though some researchers identify the name with Chandragupta II (4th century CE), modern scholarship accepts the VikramAditya as being from the Chalukya dynasty of Badami, most likely Vikramaditya II (733–746 CE),
Several different dates have been proposed for Shankara:
• 509–477 BCE: This dating, is based on records of the heads of the Shankara’s cardinal institutions Maṭhas at Dvaraka Pitha, the Govardhana matha and Badri and the Kanchi Peetham.[24] This conforms to the chronology calculated based off the Hindu Puranas.
• 44–12 BCE: the commentator Anandagiri believed he was born at Chidambaram in 44 BCE and died in 12 BCE.
• 6th century CE: Telang placed him in this century. Sir R. G. Bhandarkar believed he was born in 680 CE.
• 788–820 CE: This was proposed by early 20th scholars and was customarily accepted by scholars such as Max Müller, Macdonnel, Pathok, Deussen and Radhakrishna and others. The date 788–820 is also among those considered acceptable by Swami Tapasyananda, though he raises a number of questions.
• sometime between 700-750 CE: late 20th-century scholarship has questioned the 788-820 CE dates, placing Adi Shankara’s life of 32 years in the first half of the 8th century.
• 805–897 CE: Venkiteswara not only places Shankara later than most, but also had the opinion that it would not have been possible for him to have achieved all the works apportioned to him, and has him live ninety two years.

The popularly accepted dating places Adi Shankara to be a scholar from the first half of the 8th century CE.

Life

Shankara was most likely born in the southern Indian state of Kerala, according to the oldest biographies in a village named Kaladi sometimes spelled as Kalati or Karati, but some texts suggest the birthplace to be Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu. His father died while Shankara was very young. Shankara’s upanayanam, the initiation into student-life, had to be delayed due to the death of his father, and was then performed by his mother.
Shankara’s hagiography describe him as someone who was attracted to the life of Sannyasa (hermit) from early childhood. His mother disapproved. A story, found in all hagiographies, describe Shankara at age eight going to a river with his mother, Sivataraka, to bathe, and where he is caught by a crocodile. Shankara called out to his mother to give him permission to become a Sannyasin or else the crocodile will kill him. The mother agrees, Shankara is freed and leaves his home for education. He reaches a Saivite sanctuary along a river in a north-central state of India, and becomes the disciple of a teacher named Govinda Bhagavatpada.

Philosophical tour and disciples

While the details and chronology vary, most biographies mention Adi Shankara traveling widely within India, Gujarat to Bengal, and participating in public philosophical debates with different orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, as well as heterodox traditions such as Buddhists, Jains, Arhatas, Saugatas, and Carvakas. During his tours, he is credited with starting several Matha (monasteries), however this is uncertain. Ten monastic orders in different parts of India are generally attributed to Shankara’s travel-inspired Sannyasin schools, each with Advaita notions, of which four have continued in his tradition: Bharati (Sringeri), Sarasvati (Kanchi), Tirtha and Asramin (Dvaraka). Other monasteries that record Shankara’s visit include Giri, Puri, Vana, Aranya, Parvata and Sagara – all names traceable to Ashrama system in Hinduism and Vedic literature.
Adi Shankara had a number of disciple scholars during his travels, including Padmapada (also called Sanandana, associated with the text Atma-bodha), Sureshvara, Tothaka, Citsukha, Prthividhara, Cidvilasayati, Bodhendra, Brahmendra, Sadananda and others, who authored their own literature on Shankara and Advaita Vedanta.

Death

Adi Sankara is believed to have died aged 32, at Kedarnath in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, a Hindu pilgrimage site in the Himalayas.Some texts locate his death in alternate locations such as Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) and somewhere in the state of Kerala.

Some events, and an artist’s impression:

Lord Shiva, also known as Dhakshinamurthy, who spreads the Universal Truth not by words but by his silence and by his sign of his hand which is held in the form of “Chin Mudra”.
About 2500 years ago, when the spiritualisation of the people greatly reduced, all the Gods and the Rishis went to Kailash and pleaded with Lord Shiva to revive the world. Lord Shiva agreed with their request and informed that he will be born in this world. Lord Brahma, Indra and others also agreed to be born in this world to help Lord Shiva.

 

In Kaladi, Kerala, a learned brahmin, by the name of Sivaguru, and his wife, Aryambal, spent their life in pooja and in giving alms to poor and in other good deeds. This childless couple went to Trichur and performed puja for 48 days to Lord Vadakkunathan (Lord Shiva) and prayed for a son. Lord Shiva melted in their devotion and appeared before them and told them “I am extremely happy with your devotion and you will get what you want. But tell me whether you want a number of dull children or a son who is extremely intelligent, who will live for a short period only.” The couple replied the decision could not be theirs as the Lord knows what is good for them.

 

One day, the rishis came to him and reminded him of his duty to the land in spreading spiritualism. Sankara agreed it was time to become a Sanyasi and go all over the country to kindle religious ferver.
One day when Sankara was taking bath, a crocodile caught hold of his leg. Sankara called out to his mother. Aryambal came running and to her horror she found her son in the grip of the crocodile and she cried that se did not know how to help her son.

Sri Sankara informed his mother that his life was nearing to an end, but if he became a Sanyasi, he could start a new life as a sannyasi. Thus Sri Sankara obtained permission from his mother to become a sannyasi.

 

As per the original condition, Mandana Mishra became an ascetic and started to leave the house. Unable to bear the separation, Sarasawani stood transfixed and told Sri Sankara that according to our faith, the husband and wife, even though have two bodies, are spiritually one and she would be incomplete without her husband.

Sri Sankara accepted this and started discussion with this lady. Saraswani showered questions like rain and Sri Sankara gave very beautiful answers and Sarasawani acknowledged him, and followed Sri Sankara and her husband’s footsteps.

 

After the death of his mother, he went all over the country and converted the people of other faith to Advaita. He revived a number of temples and using his powers, he established a number of Yentras in these temples to spread the blessings of Parasakthi. During his travels, he arrived at Mukambi, a religious place in Karnataka. A poor brahmin came to Sri Sankara with his deaf and dumb son and prostrated before Sri Sankara. Sri Sankara asked the boy, “who are you?”. The dumb and deaf child, for the first time, opened his mouth and explained, “The body is not me, it is the Paramatma who is my body.” Sri Sankara was pleased with his answer and he gave an amla fruit and named this boy as Hastaaamalakan. (Hastaa means hand and Amalakan means amala). Hastaamalaka became one of the principle disciples of Sri Sankara.

Near Srisailam, there is a forest called Hatakeshwaram, that no man enters. Sri Sankara entered this place and did penance for many days. During this time, a Kabalika, by name Kirakashan appeared before him. Kapalikas are a set of people who live in the burial grounds and pray to God by giving human and animal sacrifice. They were against Advaita which preaches love and affection and shuns violence. He asked Sri Sankara that he should give his body as a human sacrifice to Lord Shiva. Sri Sankara was happy to hear this request and agreed. Kirakashan was about to cut off Sri Sankara’s head when Lord Narasimha appeared in the form of a lion and killed Kirakashan.

Sankara’s Philosophy

Sankara wrote Bhashyas or commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, the Upanishads and the Gita. The Bhashya on the Brahma Sutras is called Sareerik Bhasya. Sankara wrote commentaries on Sanat Sujatiya and Sahasranama Adhyaya. It is usually said, “For learning logic and metaphysics, go to Sankara’s commentaries; for gaining practical knowledge, which unfolds and strengthens devotion, go to his works such as Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Aparoksha Anubhuti, Ananda Lahari, Atma-Anatma Viveka, Drik-Drishya Viveka and Upadesa Sahasri”. Sankara wrote innumerable original works in verses which are matchless in sweetness, melody and thought.
Satyam-Jnanam-Anantam-Anandam are not separate attributes. They form the very essence of Brahman. Brahman cannot be described, because description implies distinction. Brahman cannot be distinguished from any other than He.

The objective world-the world of names and forms-has no independent existence. The Atman alone has real existence. The world is only Vyavaharika or phenomenal.

Sankara was the exponent of the Kevala Advaita philosophy. His teachings can be summed up in the following words:

Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya,
Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Aparah

Brahman alone is real, this world is unreal; the Jiva is identical with Brahman.

 

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Rupa Goswami

Introduction Krsna lila - Rüpa Maïjaré Diksa guru - Sanatana gosvami Birth - 1493 (Christian calendar), 1415 (Sakabda) Hoseholder life: 22 yrs. - Braja: 51 yrs Disapearance: 1564 (Christian calendar), 1486 (Sakabda) 12th day of the bright fortnight of Sravan Age: 73 Srila Rupa Gosvami is known as bhakti-rasacarya, the expert...

Madhvacharya

Introduction

Dvaita, Advaita and Vishishtadvaita are the principal schools of Vedanta, each with its own community of followers, religious institutions and extensive philosophical literature in Sanskrut, and regional languages such as Kannada and Tamil.
Sri Madhvacharya, (1238—1317) also known as Ananda Tirtha and Poorn Pragnya, is the founder of the Dvaita school of philosophy. His doctrine (Tattvavada) asserts that this world is real and there is no need to deny the existence of the world to realize God. Propagating the Bhakti marga or the path of devotion for God realization, Sri Madhvacharya preached dualism—the infinitely perfect God is independent and the world of matter and spirit is dependent on God.
Madhvacharya’s Vaishnavism is called Sad Vaishnavism or Brahm Sampradaya as opposed to Sri Ramanujacharya’s Sri Vaishnavism. He is regarded as the third incarnation of Vayu deva (the wind God) having descended into the mortal world in three successive incarnations—as Hanuman, the follower of Lord Rama in Treta Yug, as Bhim, one of the Pandavas in Dwapar Yug and as Madhvacharya in Kali Yug.
He believed that God was the continuing cause of all activities of man and prescribed Bhakti as the supreme means to attain God. He advocated that one should study the Vedas, learn to control senses, be dispassionate and completely surrender to the Lord.

 

Madhvacharya’s Biography

The most authoritative book which enunciates Acharya’s life is ‘Sumadhva Vijaya’ authored by Narayanapandithacharya, the son of Trivikramapandithacharya who on being humbled in debate by Madhvacharya became his disciple. Therefore he must have written it from what he had seen.

To this day, historians and all those who wish to document Sri Madhvacharya’s life and times refer to this book, a scholarly treatise and a trend setter in its language and poetic meter. Set in 32 chapters (sargas), it is regarded as the most authentic work composed during Acharya’s own lifetime.

 

Childhood and Early life

Madhvacharya was born in 1238 of Tulu speaking Brahmins—Narayana Bhat(also called Madhyageha Bhat) and Vedavati in the village of Pajaka, about 20 kms from Udupi, in South Kanara district of Karnataka. His birth itself was anecdotal.

The parents had worshipped Lord Ananteshvar (Lord Narayan) for 12 long years to beget a worthy son and the Lord pleased with their prayers, took the form of a man and climbing the flag post in the village announced that Vayudev (Hanuman) would soon be born to revive Vedic dharma. There was an auspicious sound of the Dundhubi when Sri Madhva was born and the ecstatic parents named the child as Vasudev.

Even as a child, he was extraordinary in every respect, and repeatedly astounded his teachers, and performed several miracles. As a small child he had digested a basketful of cooked horse gram which his innocent sister had given him, unable to console him in the absence of their mother. While later the parents were worried about an infant being fed these grains, he was all cheerful and playing normally.

On yet another occasion he freed his father from the clutches of a loan shark, by giving him a handful of tamarind seeds which turned into gold when the creditor accepted the seeds.

He also killed the demon Mannimanta, who attacked him in the form of a snake, by crushing the snake’s head under his toe.

Towards the end of his stay in the Gurukul, Vasudev felt that he should become an ascetic and study the scriptures in search of their true meaning. After graduating from the gurukul, Vasudev’s thoughts centered around how he could give the innocent people a sound philosophy which glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayan-Vishnu.

 

Early years of Sanyas

At the age of eight or so, he announced to his parents his intention to take up sanyâs, and on noting their distress at this pronouncement, promised to wait until another son was born to them. Finally, at the age of eleven, upon the birth of a younger brother (who many years later joined his order as Vishnu Tîrtha) he was ordained into sanyâs, and was given the name Poorna Pragnya by his guru Achyutapreksha Tîrtha.

Soon afterwards, when his guru attempted to educate him, young Poorna Pragnya astounded the former by his knowledge and erudition. It is said that when his guru tried to teach him the noted Advaita text Ishhta-Siddhi, he pointed out, to Achyutapreksha Tîrtha’s amazement, that there were 30 errors in the very first line of that work. He reasoned out the errors with such sharp logic that there was no resistance from the guru or other followers.

Once he was asked to repeat the prose-passages of the Fifth Skandha of Bhagavat—a crucial test to find out the depth of his knowledge—and to everyone’s surprise, Poorna Pragnya repeated the text, page after page with perfect accuracy. Achyutapreksha Tîrtha soon gave up trying to educate Poorna Pragnya, and himself became a disciple, under the name Purushottama Tîrtha. Poorna Pragnya was then made the head of the institution of Achyutapreksha and he continued his teachings. Well-trained pundits and laymen alike gathered in large numbers to listen to his interpretations of the scriptures.

 

Panch Bhedas

Five-fold differences
  •  Between God and living things
  •  Between God and non-living things
  •  Between living and non-living things
  •  Amongst living things themselves
  •  Amongst non-living things

Basic tenets of Dvaita Philosophy

The basic tenets of Dvaita philosophy can be enumerated as below:

  1. God (Brahman or Lord Vishnu) is the only independent and supreme being
  2. The Universe which we inhabit is real and not  a myth
  3. Neither is there a beginning nor an end for God and the living beings—both are eternal
  4. The Universe (Jada), living beings (jeeva) and God (Brahman) are real but are mutually different
  5. There exists no two identical objects (Jada) in this universe—all objects are mutually different.
  6. Two living beings (jeevas) are fundamentally different
  7. There is a hierarchy among different living beings
  8. Moksha or salvation is the realization of one’s own true nature and a state of permanent happiness.
  9. It is only through Bhakti or devotion to God can one attain Moksha

His southern tour lasted for about two to three years and he returned to Udupi. Soon after, he began his career as an author and started writing a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita. The Gita Bhashya is the first work of Madhvacharya. He made a dispassionate study of the prevailing conditions and came to the conclusion that it was his duty to redeem the Vedic scriptures from being misinterpreted. For which he needed the blessings from Lord Vedvyas (an incarnation of Vishnu). It was believed that Vedvyas resided in the Himalayan regions in a remote place, unreachable by normal human beings. Madhva decided to undertake a pilgrimage to Badrinath. Seven years after he took to holy orders Poorna Pragnya commenced a pilgrimage to the North where he touched Benares, Allahabad, Dwaraka, Delhi and other places and reached the famous Badrikshetra. After worshipping Lord Badri Narayan in the temple, Madhvacharya nursed a deep desire to go to Upper Badri, the abode of Lord Vedvyas and learn Vedanta from him. To achieve this mission, he undertook severe penance for 48 days without food and water and observed speechless meditation.

Ashta Mutts

Sri Madhvacharya established eight mutts (ashta mutts) in Udupi and nearby

villages to collectively manage the Sri Krushn Temple. He also appointed a disciple to head each mutt. The eight mutts and the disciples are:

 

Palimar Mutt: - Sri Hrishikesha Tirtha

Adamar Mutt: -  Sri Narasimha Tirtha

Krushnpur Mutt: - Sri Janardhana Tirtha

Puthige Mutt: -  Sri Upendra Tirtha

Shiruru Mutt: -  Sri Vamana Tirtha

Sodhe Mutt: - Sri Vishnu Tirtha

Kaniyoor Mutt: - Sri Rama Tirtha

Pejavar Mutt: - Sri Adhokshaja Tirtha

 

Each mutt is named after the village where it was originally located. The mutts have now relocated to Udupi in and around the main temple, but each mutt also maintains its original location. Many of these mutts have branches outside Udupi. Some even have branches outside India.

Works of Madhvacharya

Acharya’s versatility in writing books is inimitable. He got his magnum opus ‘Anuvyakhyana’ written by four of his disciples through an extraordinary act of dictating its four chapters simultaneously. All these books churn out in effect the grand manifestation of Lord Narayan, as envisioned by Acharya.

All of them are in Sanskrut and are not easily accessible to the general public. They have to be studied under the guidance of a guru.

The 37 Granthas composed by him include:

Commentaries on Brahma Sutras

  1. Brahmasutra Bhashya
  2. Anubhasya
  3. Anuvyakhyana
  4. Nyaya Vivarana

Commentaries on Bhagavad Gita

  1. 5.Gita Bhashya
  2. Gita Tatparyanirnaya

Prakrana

  1. 7.Vishnutattva Nirnaya
  2. Tattva Sankhyana
  3. Tattvodyota
  4. Tattva Viveka
  5. Pramana Lakshana
  6. Katha Lakshana
  7. Karma Nirnaya
  8. Upadhi Khandana
  9. Prapancha-Mithyatva Anumana Khandana
  10. Mayavada Khandana

Commentary on Rig Veda

  1. Rig Bhashya

Commentaries on Upanishads

  1. Ishavasya Upanishad Bhashya
  2. Kena Upanishad Bhashya
  3. Kathopanishad Upanishad Bhashya
  4. Mundaka Upanishad Bhashya
  5. Satprashna Upanishad Bhashya
  6. Mandukya Upanishad Bhashya
  7. Aitareya Upanishad Bhashya
  8. Taittireya Upanishad Bhashya
  9. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad Bhashya
  10. Chandogya Upanishad Bhashya

Stotras

  1. Dvadasha Stotra
  2. Narasimha Nakha Stuti

Miscellaneous

  1. Yamaka Bharatha
  2. Mahabharata Tatparyanirnaya
  3. Bhagavata Tatparyanirnaya
  4. Krushnmruta Maharnava
  5. Krushn Jayanti Nirnaya
  6. Sadachara Smriti
  7. Yati Pranava Kalpa
  8. Tantra Saara Sangraha

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SRI MADHVACHARYA

Biography :

The biography of Madhvacharya is unclear. Many sources date him to 1238–1317 period,but some place him about the 1199-1278 period.

Madhvācārya was born in Pajaka near Udupi, a coastal Malabar region of south-west India in the state of Karnataka.Traditionally it is believed that Naddantillaya (Sanskrit: Madhyageha, Madhyamandira) was the name of his father and Vedavati was Madhvācārya’s mother. Born in a Vaishnavite Brahmin household, he was named Vāsudeva. Later he became famous by the names Purnaprajna, Anandatirtha and Madhvacarya (or just Madhva). Pūrnaprajña was the name given to him at the time of his initiation into sannyasa (renunciation), as a teenager. The name conferred on him when he became the head of his monastery was “Ānanda Tīrtha”. All three of his later names are found in his works. Madhvācārya or Madhva are names most commonly found in modern literature on him, or Dvaita Vedanta related literature.

Madhva began his school after his Upanayana at age seven, became a monk or Sannyasi in his teenage. He joined an Advaita Vedanta monastery in Dwarka (Gujarat), accepted his guru to be Achyutrapreksha, who is also referred to as Achyutraprajna in some sources. Madhva studied the Upanishads and the Advaita literature, but was unconvinced by its nondualism philosophy of oneness of human soul and god, had frequent disagreements with his guru, left the monastery, and began his own Dvaita movement based on dualism premises of Dvi – asserting that human soul and god (as Vishnu) are two different things. Madhva never acknowledged Achyutrapreksha as his guru or his monastic lineage in his writings.

According to Dehsen, perhaps there were two individuals named Madhvacharya in 13th century India, with Anandatirtha – the younger Madhva being the most important early disciple of the elder Madhvacharya, and their works and life overlapped in Udupi, Tattvavada being the name adopted for Dvaita Vedanta by Anandatirtha. Madhvacharya established a matha (monastery) dedicated to Dvaita philosophy, and this became the sanctuary for a series of Dvaita scholars such as Jayatirtha, Vyasatirtha, Vadiraja Tirtha and Raghavendra Tirtha who followed in footsteps of Madhva.

A number of semi-fictional hagiographies have been written by Madhva’s disciples and followers. Of these, the most referred to is the sixteen cantos Sanskrit biography Madhvavijaya by Nārāyana Panditācārya – son of Trivikrama Pandita, who himself was a disciple of Madhva.

Self proclamation as being avatar of Wind god

In several of his texts, state Sarma and other scholars, “Madhvacharya proclaims himself to be the third avatar or incarnation of Vayu, wind god, the son of Vishnu”. He, thus, asserted himself to be like Hanuman – the first avatar of Vayu, and Bhima – a Pandava in the Mahabharata and the second avatar of Vayu. In one of his bhasya on the Brahma Sutras, he asserts that the authority of the text is from his personal encounter with Vishnu. Madhva, states Sarma, believed himself to be an intermediary between Vishnu and Dvaita devotees, guiding the latter in their journey towards Vishnu.

Childhood and Early life

Madhvacharya was born in 1238 of Tulu speaking Brahmins—Narayana Bhat(also called Madhyageha Bhat) and Vedavati in the village of Pajaka, about 20 kms from Udupi, in South Kanara district of Karnataka. His birth itself was anecdotal.

The parents had worshipped Lord Ananteshvar (Lord Narayan) for 12 long years to beget a worthy son and the Lord pleased with their prayers, took the form of a man and climbing the flag post in the village announced that Vayudev (Hanuman) would soon be born to revive Vedic dharma. There was an auspicious sound of the Dundhubi when Sri Madhva was born and the ecstatic parents named the child as Vasudev.

Even as a child, he was extraordinary in every respect, and repeatedly astounded his teachers, and performed several miracles. As a small child he had digested a basketful of cooked horse gram which his innocent sister had given him, unable to console him in the absence of their mother. While later the parents were worried about an infant being fed these grains, he was all cheerful and playing normally.

On yet another occasion he freed his father from the clutches of a loan shark, by giving him a handful of tamarind seeds which turned into gold when the creditor accepted the seeds.

He also killed the demon Mannimanta, who attacked him in the form of a snake, by crushing the snake’s head under his toe.

Even as a young boy of four years, Vasudev demonstrated his knowledge when he politely interrupted a Puranic discourse by correcting the narrator and offering his version which stunned listeners. His father discovered that anything taught to him was easily grasped and he had to teach him new concepts every day.

Soon it was time for Vasudev to begin his formal education. He was initiated into the sacred thread ceremony (upanayan) and sent to the gurukul of Totantillaya.

He was not only good at Vedic studies but also excelled in sports like swimming, wrestling, running race, and other physical activities. Although he was playful and not concentrating, he would flawlessly recite the hymns and lessons, including portions that the guru had not covered until then.

Towards the end of his stay in the Gurukul, Vasudev felt that he should become an ascetic and study the scriptures in search of their true meaning. After graduating from the gurukul, Vasudev’s thoughts centered around how he could give the innocent people a sound philosophy which glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayan-Vishnu.

 

Early years of Sanyas

At the age of eight or so, he announced to his parents his intention to take up sanyâs, and on noting their distress at this pronouncement, promised to wait until another son was born to them. Finally, at the age of eleven, upon the birth of a younger brother (who many years later joined his order as Vishnu Tîrtha) he was ordained into sanyâs, and was given the name Poorna Pragnya by his guru Achyutapreksha Tîrtha.

Soon afterwards, when his guru attempted to educate him, young Poorna Pragnya astounded the former by his knowledge and erudition. It is said that when his guru tried to teach him the noted Advaita text Ishhta-Siddhi, he pointed out, to Achyutapreksha Tîrtha’s amazement, that there were 30 errors in the very first line of that work. He reasoned out the errors with such sharp logic that there was no resistance from the guru or other followers.

Once he was asked to repeat the prose-passages of the Fifth Skandha of Bhagavat—a crucial test to find out the depth of his knowledge—and to everyone’s surprise, Poorna Pragnya repeated the text, page after page with perfect accuracy. Achyutapreksha Tîrtha soon gave up trying to educate Poorna Pragnya, and himself became a disciple, under the name Purushottama Tîrtha. Poorna Pragnya was then made the head of the institution of Achyutapreksha and he continued his teachings. Well-trained pundits and laymen alike gathered in large numbers to listen to his interpretations of the scriptures.

According to his teachings, the world is real, the individual souls are different from Brahman, and Vishnu is the Highest Entity in the universe. Many scholars of other schools came to him for debate and went back defeated by his keen and irrefutable logic.

During one such occasion, he debated Pandit Vasudev, a famous Advaita scholar for 40 days and won the debate. That is when he got the name Ananda Tirtha. He later assumed the name Madhva by which he is most commonly known today. It is said the words Ananda Tirtha and Madhva are synonymous. Both mean, “one who creates shastras that bring happiness.”

 

Tour to South India

To spread his teachings and debate with scholars, Madhva toured South India covering many places such as Vishnumangalam (near Kasargod), Trivandrum, Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram, Srirangam and a few other sacred places. Everywhere he went, he humbled scholars from other schools of thought with his powerful logic and oratory.

Once in the assembly of scholars, a discussion on the topic “Ithareya Sooktartha” was being held in the Sriranga temple. Madhvacharya propounded that the Vedas had three meanings, Mahabharat, ten and Vishnu Sahasranam, 100. There were differing opinions about it and to quell doubts, he began narrating hundred meanings in his interpretation for the word ‘Vishwa’ (the first word of the famed Vishnu Sahasranam) backed by grammatical illustrations. Even the scholars in the audience found it impossible to refute and accepted his deep knowledge.

It was also during his tour of South India that he performed yet another miracle—he is supposed to have gone to a place called Srimushna and created a water pond with his wand, to quench the thirst of a pregnant woman.

He started propagating dualism, the essence of Dvaita philosophy. His teachings emphasized that Hari (Sri Vishnu) is sarvottam and jagat (the universe) is satya and not maya (illusion).

He stressed that Hari (Vishnu) is the only entity praised in the Shrutis and their adjuncts. He always identified the Brahman of the Upanishads with Vishnu and forcefully argued against the dichotomy of Shrutis as claimed by Sri Shankaracharya.

In simple terms, he espoused fivefold differences among God, living things and non-living things. These are the Panch Bhedas in Dvaita philosophy. He used three methods to prove his philosophy, namely personal experience (pratyaksha), scriptures (agamas) and inference (anumana).

 

Panch Bhedas

Five-fold differences

  • Between God and living things
  • Between God and non-living things
  • Between living and non-living things
  • Amongst living things themselves
  • Amongst non-living things

Basic tenets of Dvaita Philosophy

The basic tenets of Dvaita philosophy can be enumerated as below:

a.   God (Brahman or Lord Vishnu) is the only independent and supreme being

b.   The Universe which we inhabit is real and not  a myth

c.   Neither is there a beginning nor an end for God and the living beings—both are eternal

d.   The Universe (Jada), living beings (jeeva) and God (Brahman) are real but are mutually different

e.   There exists no two identical objects (Jada) in this universe—all objects are mutually different.

f.    Two living beings (jeevas) are fundamentally different

g.   There is a hierarchy among different living beings

h.   Moksha or salvation is the realization of one’s own true nature and a state of permanent happiness.

i.     It is only through Bhakti or devotion to God can one attain Moksha

His southern tour lasted for about two to three years and he returned to Udupi. Soon after, he began his career as an author and started writing a commentary on the Bhagvad Gita. The Gita Bhashya is the first work of Madhvacharya. He made a dispassionate study of the prevailing conditions and came to the conclusion that it was his duty to redeem the Vedic scriptures from being misinterpreted. For which he needed the blessings from Lord Vedvyas (an incarnation of Vishnu). It was believed that Vedvyas resided in the Himalayan regions in a remote place, unreachable by normal human beings. Madhva decided to undertake a pilgrimage to Badrinath. Seven years after he took to holy orders Poorna Pragnya commenced a pilgrimage to the North where he touched Benares, Allahabad, Dwaraka, Delhi and other places and reached the famous Badrikshetra. After worshipping Lord Badri Narayan in the temple, Madhvacharya nursed a deep desire to go to Upper Badri, the abode of Lord Vedvyas and learn Vedanta from him. To achieve this mission, he undertook severe penance for 48 days without food and water and observed speechless meditation. One night Sri Vedvyas appeared before Madhva and invited him to visit his ashram in the upper reaches of Badri which is unapproachable to humans. Jumping from peak to peak like an expert mountaineer, Madhva reached the abode of Sri Vedvyas. That sacred place impenetrable to humans was splendid like Vaikunta. Madhvacharya prostrated before Lord Vedvyas and heartily extolled him. Vedvyas hugged him in great affection. Madhvacharya blissfully spent sometime enjoying the divine presence of the Lord.

 

Later with the permission of Lord Vedvyas he came to the shrine of Badrinarayan. Acharya had the orders of Vyasa to write a commentary on Brahma Sutras which would reflect their real views. He returned from Badri carrying their orders in all humility. Acharya, denouncing the earlier 21 commentaries on Brahma Sutras, wrote his own commentary. On his return, Acharya journeying through North and East India sowed the seeds of Vaishanava philosophy in Bengal. In the coming days it is that seed which sprouted, and grew into a tree nursed by Krushnchaitanya, popularly referred to as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534). Even today it is being widely practiced by the members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) worldwide.

 

Later, in about A.D.1262, Madhvacharya came to Kalinga (present Orissa). During the reign of Rudrambe (A.D. 1261), daughter of Gajapathideva at Rajamahendri, the two great Advaita scholars Shobhana Bhatta and Shambu Shastri being humbled in debate by Madhvacharya became his disciples and took sanyasa. It is they who were the first to continue the tradition of Acharya and were renamed as Padmanabha Tirtha and Narahari Tirtha.

 

Ashta Mutts

 

Sri Madhvacharya established eight mutts (ashta mutts) in Udupi and nearby

villages to collectively manage the Sri Krushn Temple. He also appointed a disciple to head each mutt. The eight mutts and the disciples are:

 

Palimar Mutt: – Sri Hrishikesha Tirtha

Adamar Mutt:  Sri Narasimha Tirtha

Krushnpur Mutt: Sri Janardhana Tirtha

Puthige Mutt: Sri Upendra Tirtha

Shiruru Mutt: Sri Vamana Tirtha

Sodhe Mutt:  – Sri Vishnu Tirtha

Kaniyoor Mutt:  Sri Rama Tirtha

Pejavar Mutt:  Sri Adhokshaja Tirtha

 

Each mutt is named after the village where it was originally located. The mutts have now relocated to Udupi in and around the main temple, but each mutt also maintains its original location. Many of these mutts have branches outside Udupi. Some even have branches outside India.

 

The force of Madhvacharya’s personality, the clarity of his thought, his sonorous voice and attractive physique and the depth of his knowledge earned him many followers. As it was natural, he also had to face a lot of opposition due to his teachings which was quite the opposite of established norms and beliefs.

 

It is said that his commentaries on palm leaf books were stolen and destroyed. His religious and social reforms in the Udupi region, to avoid animal sacrifice and consumption of liquor, were criticized by people and won him many enemies. However, he was undeterred and continued his teachings with zeal.

 

Supernatural Powers

There are several references to his supernatural abilities. Crossing the flooded Ganges river without his clothes getting wet, eating 1000 bananas and drinking 30 liters of milk at one go, lifting a huge boulder with his little finger, staving off the attacks of a Muslim army single handedly, appearing like stone images when attacked by thieves, challenging 15 wrestlers at one stroke, producing flowers and fruits on the non-flower bearing areca nut and other plants…are some of the incidents that have been documented by historians and biographers.

 

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C
redit – Indianscriptures

Basava

Introduction

Basavanna, also known as Bhaktibhandari. Basavanna (elder brother Basava) or Basaveswara (Lord Basava) was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka, India.

Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals such as the wearing of sacred thread, but introduced Ishtalinga necklace, with an image of the Shiva Liṅga, to every person regardless of his or her birth, to be a constant reminder of one’s bhakti (devotion) to Shiva. As the chief minister of his kingdom, he introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.

The traditional legends and hagiographic texts state Basava to be the founder of the Lingayats. However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the poet philosopher who revived, refined and energized an already existing tradition. The Basavarajadevara ragale (13 out of 25 sections are available) by the Kannada poet Harihara is the earliest available account on the life of the social reformer and is considered important because the author was a near contemporary of his protagonist. A full account of Basava’s life and ideas are narrated in a 13th-century sacred Telugu text of Lingayat community, the Basava purana by Palkuriki Somanatha.

Early life

Basava was born about 1105 CE in the town of Bagevadi in north Karnataka, to Madarasa and Madalambike, an upper caste Brahmin family devoted to Hindu deity Shiva. He was named Basava, a Kannada form of the Sanskrit Vrishabha in honor of Nandi bull (carrier of Shiva) and the local Shaivism tradition.

Basava grew up in Kudalasangama (northeast Karnataka), near the banks of rivers Krishna and its tributary Malaprabha. Basava spent twelve years studying in a Hindu temple in the town of Kudalasangama, at Sangameshwara then a Shaivite school of learning, probably of the Lakulisha-Pashupata tradition.

Basava married a cousin from his mother side. His wife Gangambike was the daughter of the prime minister of Bijjala, the Kalachuri king. He began working as an accountant to the court of the king. When his maternal uncle died, the king invited him to be the chief minister. The king also married Basava’s sister named Padmavati.

As chief minister of the kingdom, Basava used the state treasury to initiate social reforms and religious movement focussed on reviving Shaivism, recognizing and empowering ascetics who were called Jangamas. One of the innovative institutions he launched in 12th century, was the Anubhava Mantapa, a public assembly and gathering, which attracted men and women across various walks of life, from distant lands to openly discuss spiritual, economic and social issues of life. He composed poetry in local language, and spread his message to the masses. His teachings and verses such as Káyakavé Kailása (Work is the path to Kailash (bliss, heaven), or Work is Worship) became popular.

Literary works

Several works are attributed to Basava, which are revered in the Lingayat community. These include various Vachana : 

Hagiography

The Basava Purana, a Telugu biographical epic poem, first written by Palkuriki Somanatha in 13th-century and an updated 14th century Kannada version, written by Bhima Kavi in 1369, are sacred texts in Lingayatism.
Other hagiographic works include the 15th-century Mala Basava-raja-charitre and the 17th-century Vrishabhendra Vijaya, both in Kannada.

Authenticity

Scholars state that the poems and legends about Basava were written down long after Basava’s death.This has raised questions about the accuracy and creative interpolation by authors who were not direct witness, but derived their work relying on memory, legends and hearsay of others. Michael states, “All Vachana collections as they exist at present are probably much later than the 15th-century. Much critical labor needs to be spent in determining the authenticity of portions of these collections”.

Bhakti marga as the path to liberation

The Basava Purana presents a series of impassioned debates between Basava and his father. Both declare Hindu Sruti and Smriti to be sources of valid knowledge, but they disagree on the marga (path) to liberated, righteous life. Basava’s father favors the tradition of rituals, while Basava favors the path of direct, personal devotion (bhakti).

According to Velcheru Rao and Gene Roghair, Basava calls the path of devotion as “beyond six systems of philosophy. Sruti has commended it as the all-seeing. Its subtle form is beyond praise. Its eternally blissful form is the beginning of the beginning. The form of that divine linga is the true God. The guru of the creed is an embodiment of kindness and compassion. He places God in your soul, and he also places God in your hand. The six-syllabled mantra, the supreme mantra, is its mantra. The dress locks of hair, ashes and rudrashaka beads place a man beyond the cycle of birth and death. It follows the path of liberation. This path offers nothing less than liberation in this lifetime.

Legacy and influence

The Lingayats, also known as Virasaivas or Veerasaivas, traditionally believe that Basava was the founder of their tradition. However, modern scholarship relying on historical evidence such as the Kalachuri inscriptions state that Basava was the 12th-century poet philosopher who revived and energized an already existing tradition. The community he helped form is also known as the Sharanas. The community is largely concentrated in Karnataka, but has migrated into other states of India as well as overseas. Towards the end of the 20th century, Michael estimates, one sixth of the population of the state of Karnataka, or about 10 million people, were Lingayat Hindus, or of the tradition championed by Basava.

Social reform

Basava advocated that every human being was equal, irrespective of caste, and that all forms of manual labor was equally important.Michael states that it wasn’t birth but behavior that determined a true saint and Shaiva bhakta in the view of Basava and Sharanas community.
This, writes Michael, was also the position of south Indian Brahmins, that it was “behavior, not birth” that determines the true Brahmin. One difference between the two was that Sharanas welcomed anyone, whatever occupation he or she might have been born in, to convert and be reborn into the larger family of Shiva devotees and then adopt any occupation he or she wanted.

Synthesis of diverse Hindu traditions

Basava is credited with uniting diverse spiritual trends during his era. Jan Peter Schouten states that Virashaivism, the movement championed by Basava, tends towards monotheism with Shiva as the godhead, but with a strong awareness of the unity of the Ultimate Reality. Schouten calls this as a synthesis of Ramanuja’s Vishishtadvaita and Shankara’s Advaita traditions, naming it Shakti-Vishishtadvaita, that is monism fused with Shakti beliefs. An individual’s spiritual progress is viewed by Basava’s tradition as a six-stage Satsthalasiddhanta, which progressively evolves the individual through phase of the devotee, to phase of the master, then phase of the receiver of grace, thereafter Linga in life breath the phase of surrender to the last stage of complete union of soul and god (liberation, mukti). Basava’s approach is different than Adi Shankara, states Schouten, in that Basava emphasizes the path of devotion, compared to Shankara’s emphasis on the path of knowledge a system of monistic Advaita philosophy widely discussed in Karnataka in the time of Basava.

Icons and symbols

Basava advocated the wearing of Ishtalinga, a necklace with pendant that contains a small Shiva linga. He was driven by his realisation; in one of his Vachanas he says Arive Guru, which means one’s own awareness is his/her teacher. Many contemporary Vachanakaras (people who have scripted Vachanas) have described him as Swayankrita Sahaja, which means “self-made”.

Credit – wikipedia

 

Abhinava Gupta

Biography

Abhinavagupta was a philosopher, mystic and aesthetician from Kashmir. He was also considered an influential musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture.
He was born in Kashmir in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopaedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.
As an original thinker he shattered to pieces the established belief which laid heavy emphasis on caste and gender restrictions in relation to spiritual practice. He took to task those philosophical systems which held the prerequisite that spirituality required rigorous discipline–systems which made the quest for enlightenment the legitimate right of a chosen few. He abhorred the idea that spiritual revelation was only possible in a purely monastic surrounding, or that those caught in the householder way of life had to wait till the last portion of life before they could fully give themselves to spiritual pursuits. This idea was best expressed by Abhinavagupta in one of his concluding verses of Patanjali’s Paramarthasara:

“O my devotees! On this path of supreme Bhairava, whoever has taken a step with pure desire, no matter if that desire is slow or intense; it does not matter if he is a Brahmin, if he is a sweeper, if he is an outcast, or if he is anybody; he becomes one with Para-bhairava.” 

Abhinavagupta’s ideas were radical for his time, but since he spoke from the level of direct experience no one was capable of refuting him.
Having achieved the eight great siddhi powers he clearly exhibited the six illustrious spiritual signs: unswerving devotional attachment to Shiva; full attainment of mantra siddhi; control over the five elements; capacity to accomplish any desired end; complete mastery over the science of rhetoric and poetry; and the spontaneous dawning of knowledge of all philosophies.
The poet Madhuraja asserted that Abhinavagupta was the incarnation of Bhairava-natha Shiva. Swami Lakshmanjoo considered Abhinavagupta the pride of Kashmir and the final authority on all aspects of Shaivism. Even today his works and teachings continue to deeply influence discerning people worldwide.

Life

Abhinavagupta’s principal teacher was Lakshmana Gupta, but he traveled widely, even outside of Kashmir, to study different Shastras (teachings) under different at least 19 different teachers, including Buddhist and Jaina masters. In his Tantraloka he says that even though one might be lucky enough to get a teacher who has attained perfection himself and can easily lead his pupil to it, that does not mean one should not approach other teachers for obtaining knowledge of other teachings and other paths. He successively practiced and contributed to the development of each of Kashmir Shaivism’s three great schools, Krama, Trika, and Kula. Abhinavagupta credited the teacher Shâmbhu Nâtha in Jâlandhara, from whom he received the practices of the Kaula tradition, with leading him to enlightenment and true peace.

Later in his life, Abhinavagupta rose to the position of Acharya of the Shaiva sects in Kashmir. When Abhinavagupta wrote Tantaloka (The Light of the Tantras) in his early middle age, he seems to have had just a small group of close disciples, almost all of whom were members of his family. He tells us that his brother Manoratha was one of the first to learn from him and that he was later joined by Karna, the husband of his sister Amba. When Karna died prematurely and left Amba alone with their only son, she devoted herself entirely to the worship of Lord Shiva and the service of her brother. Karna’s father, a minister who had left the court to become “a minister of the Lord;” her father’s sister, Almost all the other disciples he refers to were sons of his paternal uncle, Utpala, Abhinava, Chakraka and Padamgupta and one named ‘Kshema,’ who might have been Kshemaraja, his most distinguished disciple.

“There are dull-witted people who are confused themselves and throw the multitude of creatures into confusion. Having bound them fast with fetters, they bring them under subjection with tall talk of their qualities. Having thus seen creatures who are simply carriers of the burden of gurus and their blind followers, I have prepared a trident of wisdom in order to cut asunder their bondage.”

The date of Abhinavagupta’s death is estimated at around 1025 C.E.. According to Kashmiri tradition, he entered a cave while reciting the Bhairavastava along with 1,200 disciples, and was never seen again. This cave, alleged to be his burial place, is located at “Birwa” village some five miles from Magam on the Gulmarg range.

 

A Thousand Years Of Abhinava Gupta

A thousand years ago to the year one of the world’s most prolific and brilliant literary critics is said to have penned his final work. If our historical estimations on the birth date, the date of Abhinavagupta’s final literary work  his luminous commentary, Reflections on the Recognition of the Lord (Īśvarapratyabhijñā-vimarśinī) and death are accurate, then this brilliant Kashmiri polymath put down his pen around the age of 66 at the time of the winter solstice in 1015, some five years before dying, or as lore would have it, transforming back into his divine, Bhairava self.

 

Born of a Yoginī

It is safe to say that Abhinavagupta’s life both began and ended with a proverbial ‘bang’. In the opening verse to his Distillation of the Tantra (Tantrasāra) Abhinavagupta poetically links his own birth with the birth of creation itself. The preeminent Abhinavagupta scholar, Alexis Sanderson, brilliantly renders Abhinavagupta’s invocatory double meaning as follows:
May my heart shine forth, embodying the bliss of the ultimate one with the state of absolute potential made manifest in the fusion of these two, the ‘Mother’ grounded in pure representation, radiant in ever new genesis, and the ‘Father,’ all- enfolding.

 


With these words Abhinavagupta begins his brilliant synopsis of the spiritual tradition that he himself would bring to an apex, namely the Tantra, or specifically the Tantra of the Embodied Triad (Trika Kaula), which itself was a particular lineage within the broader spectrum of pan-Indian Tantra.
Abhinavagupta’s creative synthesis of the Embodied Triad placed emphasis on the use of the body as a means to attaining a non-dual state of recognition of the all-pervasive nature of divine consciousness, termed Bhairava or Parameśvara.

 

A Bearer of Many Lineages

Abhinavagupta’s cosmicized description of his own birth matches the claims that he was in fact an incarnation of the god Bhairava, conceived through extraordinary circumstances in which his mother and father engaged in ritualized sexual union. His birth, in other words, was not the beginning of his life-journey but rather the appropriate means by which a god-being entered into the world for the sake of revealing ancient wisdom toward the end of providing a path of liberation for worthy seekers. Similar to the narrative of the historical Buddha, Abhinavagupta lost his mother Vimala at an early age. Thereafter, he was raised by his father, Narasiṁhagupta together with his brother Manoratha and sister Ambā. His father was a pious Brahmin, devoted to the worship of lord Śiva.

Tantra and the Teachings of Abhinavagupta

Today we think of Kashmir as a battlefield, but a thousand years ago it was a haven of religious tolerance where Buddhist, Jain, and numerous different Hindu schools flourished together in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Abhinavagupta steeped himself in the wisdom of these traditions, but he finally joined the lineage that resonated most deeply with his intelligent and passionate nature: the tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism.


Around 800 C.E. the Shiva Sutra, a set of aphorisms explaining the essential nature of consciousness and how you can experience it for yourself, was revealed to a north Indian sage named Vasugupta. Expanding on the Shiva Sutra, Vasugupta composed the Spanda Karika, which describes the limitless power of awareness and what happens when you master it. These two classics deal respectively with Shiva, the “male” or passive element of reality, and Shakti, the “female” or active component of the universe. To understand these teachings you need to keep in mind that while Western religions tend to picture the Supreme Being exclusively as male, in India it is seen as both male and female. Eternal pure awareness is called God in this system, while the ability of consciousness to know itself and to manifest the cosmos out of itself is described as the Goddess.

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