October 11, 2009

Adi Shankara - Part 1

Looks like I have got into a mood of story telling:-). This is another awesome story of a great Vedas exponent called Kumarila Bhattar who lived in Allahabad. He was a great Hindu philosopher, of  the Mimamsa school of thought. He was greatly disturbed by the progress Buddhism was having in India and the story goes that he joined one of the Buddhist ashrams as a Bhikshu in disguise. He went there to learn about their philosophy in order to refute them and propagate Sanathana Dharma. Apparently, he was found out to be a betrayor and he was to be thrown from the top of a hill, for deceit. Apparently, as he was falling down, he is supposed to have said, "If the Vedas are true, no harm will come to me". Kumarila Bhattar landed safely but he lost his vision on one eye. He was shocked and he exclaimed, how could this happen, how did the Vedas not save me? A celestial voice was heard saying that you used the word, 'if', which meant you had a little doubt, instead if you had said, "The Vedas are true and so no harm will come to me", you would have escaped injury.

Kumarila Bhattar was satisfied with this verdict and he went on to preach and spread Sanathana Dharma across the land. He was a complete believer in the Vedas and the Mimamsa theory which was to follow the rules and shastras, as prescribed in the Vedas. He actually didn't think there was God! As years rolled by, he was overcome with guilt about the betrayal he had committed by going in disguise as a Bhikshu. So, he decided to inflict punishment for this act of his. The shastras said for betrayal, he would have to roast his body in burning coal, unto death.

Apparently, Adi Shankara was passing by and saw Kumarila Bhattar in this state. He argued and debated with him on honoring the body, not torturing it, and that there are Rules and there was a God. Rules are not everything, the last word on any subject and that God was the ultimate truth. He is believed to have explained that extremism of any kind, be it in Buddhism or the Mimamsa was not the right approach and the moderate middle path was the way. Apparently, Kumarila Bhattar was convinced by the intellectual debate and he is supposed to have told Adi Shankara that his Guru, a greater Mimamsa exponent had also to be won over through debate. His name was Mandana Mishra in Varanasi.

Watch this space for his story:-), equally interesting and profound.

1 comment:

Surya said...


Altogether very interesting works...
keep it up....