Saturday, 25 May 2019

Sripada srivallabha charitra chapter - 2 English

       Shankara Bhatt had Darshan of Sri Sidda Yogindra


 I (Shankar Bhatt) continued my journey recollecting in the mind the strange experiences I had in Marutwa Malai and chanting the divine name of Sripada Srivallabha. I visited many sacred places on the way.


 I used to get food without asking anybody. It was an unprecedented experience. When I reached the Kadambavanam in Pandya Kingdom, I felt that my weight was becoming more and more lighter. There was a ‘Sivalinga’ in that area which had tremendous power.
shiva lingam
Shiva lingam in kadamba forest


 After I had ‘darshan’ of Lord Eswar, my legs started becoming weighty. I stayed in that Siva temple for some time and again started walking. I saw an ashramam nearby. In that, there was a Mahatma by name Siddhendra yogi.

 After I paid obeisance to his feet, my body became lighter than a cotton seed. I had the knowledge that I was in the body, but my body weight was felt almost zero. That Maha Guru, with a graceful heart put his hand on my head and blessed saying “May you have darshan of Sripada Srivallabha!” The greatest among yogis told me “My Dear Shankar Bhatt! The Siva Lingam you saw was most powerful. Once Devendra defeated many demons (Rakshas). 

But one demon escaped, ran away and started doing penance! But Indra killed that demon who was in tapas mercilessly. As the effect of that bad deed, Devendra became lusterless. To wash off his sin, he visited many sacred places. When he came near the Kadambavanam in Pandya Kingdom, he noticed that the sins suddenly left him. 

He was surprised. He thought that there must be some greatness in that place, started searching and found the Siva Lingam. Indra worshipped it with devotion and built a temple for that self-manifested (swayambhoo) Siva Lingam. Hence, it is Indra installed Siva Lingam. That Siva Lingam removes all sins and is very auspicious.

 Only people with special merit will be able to see it. But the devotees of Lord Sri Datta, will have the opportunity of meeting sacred people and visiting sacred places without any effort.” I again paid obeisance to the lotus feet of Sri Siddha Yogindra. He told me to go and have darshan of Siva Lingam again. When I went to that place again, I saw an extremely beautiful Siva temple. 
meenakshi amman temple
Meenakshi sundareswara temple


But it was not the temple I visited earlier. When I enquired there, I learnt that it was the temple of Meenakshi Sundareswar and that it was the city of Madhura. I had darshan of the deities and went to the ashramam of Sri Siddha Yogindra. But I saw that the whole area was a town inhabited by a large number of people.

 I could not find the ashramam of Sri Siddha Yogindra even after a long search. I started going in one direction chanting the name of Sripada Srivallabha. It became dusk and was becoming dark. I noticed that a ray of light was coming from behind me. When I looked back, I saw a three headed snake coming behind me. 
sripada srivallabha charitamrutam
Sankar Butt


There were three gems on its three heads; the light was coming from those gems. I became nervous. If I stopped, that divine serpent was also stopping. The divine name of Sripada Srivallabha was coming from the depths of my heart without effort. Similarly Sripada’s divine name was being chanted from my mouth involuntarily. 

Atlast, I reached the ashramam of Sri Siddha Yogindra. Immediately, that divine serpent and the light also disappeared. Sri Siddha Yogindra received me with extreme grace. He gave me hot fried ‘chana’ (Bengal gram seeds) on a banana leaf as ‘prasad’. I ate them to my full satisfaction. 
sripada srivallabha

Even while I was eating, the palpitation of my heart did not come down. Sri Siddha Yogindra stroked the right side of my chest lovingly. Later he did the same on the left side. Then he touched my head with his divine hand. I noticed that the palpitation was coming down. I felt that some evil air was going out from my lungs. I felt that bad thoughts and evil tendencies were leaving my body through the breath. My body felt hot and sedated

Sripada’s Mahima (greatness) and the qualifications required to earn the grace of Sripada 


The Sri Siddha Yogindra said ‘Shankar Bhatt! The Siva lingam you saw before and Sundareswar you saw later, are not different. According to the wishes of Sri Dattatreya you were granted this type of experience. That means, the time was put back and the Siva lingam installed by Devendra and its surroundings at that time were shown to you. 

To think this creation you see, as a ‘creation’ is Maya. Everything is of dynamic nature (chaitanyam). By mere wish of Sri Datta Prabhu, the ‘future’ can become ‘present’ and the ‘present’ can become ‘past’. The ‘past’ may appear as ‘present’. The chaitanyam of Sri Datta Prabhu is perpetual ‘present’. The thing that happened before, that is happening now, the things that are going to happen in future, all happen according to His wish. 
Dattatreya


Only the wish of Sri Datta Prabhu is important for a thing to happen, not to happen or to happen in a different new way. The Maha Sankalpam (the wish of the supreme being) in which the creation, protection and annihilation are happening is the nature of Sri Dattatreaya. 

The same Lord Dattatreya manifested himself with a human body as Sripada Srivallabha on this earth. The people of Sri Peethikapuram did not recognize Him properly. They failed in comprehending the ‘Guru Tatwam’. In Kuruvapuram illiterate people like the fishermen got the knowledge of Brahman. To get the grace of Sripada Srivallabha, the ego in us should die. All types of egos must become weak. 
sripada srivallabha
Sripada Srivallabha


Then only we will be able to understand His power, His grace and His real nature. One businessman by name Dhananjaya noticed the Siva lingam installed by Devendra and informed Kulasekhar Pandya, who was the ruler of the Kingdom. On the orders of Lord Siva, Kulasekhar Pandya developed it, built a city there and named it ‘Madhura Nagaram’. His son Malaya Dwaja Pandya did ‘putra kameshti’ yajnam for having children. A three year old female baby emerged out of yajna kundam. 

She was Meenakshi Devi. She married Sundareswar. The river ‘Vegavathi’ which originates from Siva’s Jatajutam (hair) is making the Madhura Nagaram more sacred. Sri Maha Vishnu Himself did ‘kanyadanam’ and performed the divine marriage of Meenakshi and Sundareswar with splendor.” Sri Sidda Yogindra said again ‘My Dear Shankar Bhatt! From each article in this creation vibrations develop.

 There are wide varieties of these vibrations and under their influence, attractions and repulsions keep happening with other articles. In the gross, subtle and causal bodies, sacred vibrations emanate due to sacred acts and sinful vibrations emanate due to sinful acts. 

Because of the speciality of sacred acts, meetings with sacred people, visits to sacred places and interest in doing sacred acts happen. Thus, merit keeps developing. Only if such a merit grows to heights and the sin gets destroyed, one gets stable devotion towards Sri Datta Prabhu.

 As a consequence of time, fate and the wish of the Lord, different types of incidents keep happening. Dhananjaya, the business man who gave information to Kulasekhara Pandya about the Devendra installed Siva lingam, acquired great merit. As a consequence of that merit, he was born as Kusuma Shreshti, the King of Brihat Sila Nagaram (Penugonda) and got Jaganmatha as his daughter. 
virupaksha and vasavi mata
Virupaksha and Vasavi Mata

Virupaksha with the ‘amsa’ of Nandiswar was born to Kusuma Shreshti couple as the brother of Ambika. Sri Datta Prabhu kept one ‘amsa’ (part) of Him in Virupaksha. According to the word given by Her, Ambika, who was born in Brihat Sila Nagaram got the name ‘Vasavi’. Only Jnanis know that Sri Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari was Ambica Herself and Sripada Srivallabha the embodied Dattatreya was Srimannarayana Himself. On the full moon day in the month of Sravana, Ambica will tie Raksha Bandhan to Sripada Srivallabha. 
Rakshidara Sripada
Ambica will tie Raksha Bandhan to Sripada Srivallabha. 

This is a divine secret. It is not to be revealed to ordinary people. Even then, I revealed it to you on the order of Srivallabha. On that day, if anyone has darshan of the deities in the temples of Ambika or in Datta kshetras, he will get the fruit of special merit. Siva and Kesava are not different. If any one sees them differently they will get the fruit of sin. On the day of Ekadasi, all sins will be tagged on to ‘annam’ (rice food). If one fasts on that day and gives food to a good Brahmin on the next day (Dwadasi) one gets high merit.

 He gets the highest merit if he fasts on Dwadasi day also and then gives food. Along with getting merit, his sins also get destroyed. If one ‘fasts’ on Ekadasi, gives food to a suitable Brahmin and also takes food himself, he will get average fruit. He will get merit but his sins will not be destroyed. If one fasts on Ekadasi day, and takes food himself on Dwadasi without giving food to a suitable Brahmin, he will get the lowest fruit. He will have minimum merit only. Sin will not be destroyed.” In what way can I describe the speciality of the fruit of my merit? I questioned Sri Siddhendra Yogi like this. “Maha Prabhu! What was the reason for Ambika to take the name ‘Vasavi?
vasavi maata
vasavi

Whom did she give this promise and became Vasavi Kanyakaparameswari like this? Please show grace on me and reveal to me.” Sri Siddha Yogindra smiled to my prayer. He said, ‘My Dear! I realize that you have a great interest in listening to words related to Jnana. 

There is a restriction that divine secrets should be revealed only to those who are inquisitive, qualified and suitable. We should not reveal these to unsuitable people, argumentative people and atheists. Blaming divine secrets and divine plays becomes the reason for acquiring sin. “Srimannarayana has another name ‘Upendra’. Once Indra asked Srimannarayana, ‘Swamy! Because you have the name ‘Upendra’, you have become my brother. In that case, Ambika also should become my sister. She should also have a name which reminds my name also.” Srimannarayana smiled and said, “Yes! Your argument has a good reason. 

You put this question to Ambika Herself.” Time was running. Gods killed demons and became arrogant. The time had come to destroy their pride. Ambika took the form of ‘yaksha’. When Vayu deva reached there, the ‘yaksha’ put a small grass blade there and asked him to move it. Vayu deva could not move it. Similarly Agni (the fire God) could not burn it. In this way, the Gods became humiliated. But Devendra could recognize that it was not ‘yaksha’ but the ‘Para tatwam’ Itself. 

Because Devendra could recognize the ‘Para tatwam’, he became great. So he got the name of Indra. That ‘Para tatwam’ took the form of Ambika. Indra praised Her with many stotras. Pleased with that, Ambika gave a boon to Indra, that she would manifest Herself in Kaliyugam in Brihat Sila Nagaram and take the name of ‘Vasavee’ which would remind his name ‘Vasava’. In accordance with that boon She manifested as Vasavee Kanyakaparameswari. 
devendra praises the goddess

My Dear! Every small incident happens in accordance with time, effect of karma and a reason. Divine plays cannot be predicted. They cannot be comprehended. Before Srimannarayana took birth as Sri Krishna to Devaki and Vasudeva, Ambika manifested as Yoga Maya. When Kamsa tried to kill her, she took a divine shape in the sky. In Sri Krishna Avatar, the Prabhu could not get the affection of maternal uncles. 

But he will get that affection in the avatar of Sripada Srivallabha. If anybody worships Srivallabha thinking that He is his child, Sripada Srivallabha will be moving in his house as a small child incognito. If somebody worships Vasavee Kanyaka Parameswari thinking that she is their child and show affectionate devotion, she will be moving as divine child in their house incognito.

 Sadhakas having pure hearts will hear the sound of Her anklets melodiously. This is the absolute truth in Kaliyugam. There should not be any doubt. Now you take rest. Always remember the name of Sripada Srivallabha. The sins acquired in many births will be burnt out. You could come here because of the endless grace of Sripada Srivallabha on you.” He blessed me. Because I was tired, I slept deeply. Surprised for my good fortune, I decided not to leave the auspicious feet of Srivallabha. I was very much eager in my mind to reach Kuruvapuram quickly

The next day when I woke up, I was surprised because, I was lying on a high hillock under an Aswatha Tree (Fig Tree). There was no movement of people nearby. I had a doubt in my mind whether it was an illusion what all I saw in Sri Siddha Yogindra ashramam in the night. I also had a doubt whether Sri Siddha Yogindra was a trickster, a daksha or a sorcerer.

 The words spoken by Sri Siddha Yogindra about Sri Datta Prabhu were reverberating in my ears. I also wondered what would Sripada Srivallabha gain by putting me in this troublesome state? Many different ideas and doubts were moving in my mind. I took my belongings and continued my journey. My journey continued from morning till afternoon. There I saw a village having small houses.

 I became hungry. I am a Brahmin. I cannot eat anywhere except in the house of a Brahmin. I thought that if somebody gave groceries for preparing food, I would cook them and eat. I asked the village people whether there were any Brahmins in their village. One of them said ‘Sir!, we are tribal people. I am the head for this hamlet. There is no Brahmin in our village. If you do not have any objection, you can take fruits and honey from us.’ I thought that it was not wrong to accept any food offered in the middle of journey.

 They brought fruits and honey available in hilly areas and put them in front of me. When I was about to eat, one crow came from somewhere and started poking my head. I tried to drive it away but failed. Meanwhile, some more crows came and started poking on my body everywhere. Frightened, I started running. They were following me. There was none among the village people to help me.

 The village head who talked to me before, said “Oh! What a strange thing? The crows in our area will not harm anybody. We are very much surprised to see them in their frightful form and harming you. You might have blamed or insulted any ‘siddha purusha’. You are getting this punishment due to his curse. If we stop them, we may also have to face that Rishi’s ire. So we don’t try to change the course of divine play. Don’t think otherwise”. And he kept quiet. 

I could not take the fruits or the honey offered to me. My whole body was smeared with blood. Even when I was running, the crows chased and tortured me. I felt extreme sorrow for my illfate. “Did Sri Siddha Yogindra curse me because I doubted him? But he blessed me that I would have the fortune of having darshan of Sripada Srivallabha. I may not get the darshan of Datta Prabhu until all the sins in my previous births are destroyed.

 How much more sinful karma am I carrying? How many punishments should I undergo to annihilate all of them? Oh! So many troubles and calamities are embedded in the blessing that I will have darshan of Srivallabha. Oh! God! How many more punishments will you give me? Who will save me now? Sripada Srivallabha! I surrender at your feet.” Thinking so, I walked slowly and reached the shade of a ‘Medi Tree’ (Ficus Glomarata) (Oudumber Tree). 

I thought that the tree, being the place of residence of Datta Prabhu, would save me. But the Datta’s leela was quite contrary. Some odour started emanating from my body. Attracted by this odour or by the adversity of fate, big poisonous snakes started coming to me one after the other and were going after biting me. Previously I was tortured by crows. Now my body was all becoming poisonous due to the snake bites. Froth was coming from my mouth. My heart became weak. 

I thought that it was certain that I would die at any moment. It was evening. Some washermen were going by that way. After washing clothes and drying, they made bundles and put them on donkeys and were going. They noticed my miserable situation and hesitated initially for sometime noticing that I was a Brahmin and doubting whether they could touch me.

 But because I would die if delayed, they thought that it was more important to save my life. They put me on a donkey and took me to their village. On that day all adverse incidents were happening throughout. The washermen took me to the place where leather makers lived. One of those leather makers knew the art of curing ‘snake poisoning’ cases. They put me on a cot in that place filled with bad odour. The leather worker physician took the extract of some forest plants and made me drink it. He tied leaves on places where the snakes bit me. 


He plucked some leaves from a fig tree. White juice, like milk, was pouring from those leaves. The stems of those leaves were inserted into my both ears. I felt extreme pain. I tried to get up and run away. Two hefty people held me firmly. I was helpless. The physician told his assistants, “The poison will enter the fig leaves. After that, the poison filled leaves should be burnt. The more poison enters the fig leaves, the more loudly will he cry. Hold him firmly.” After some time, the poison was broken. I stayed in the leather worker’s house throughout the night. The leather worker was chanting ‘Datta Digambara! Datta Digambara! Sripada Vallabha! Datta Digambara!’ throughout the night. I was lying on a cot. 

My heart bloomed on hearing that most melodious name. As this leather man was a Guru-relative because of soul relation, I developed love towards him. The next moment I felt sorrow because I was born in a higher Brahmin family and he was a leather man. 

Leather man’s teaching to Shankar Bhatt

 After finishing the melodious chanting, the leather man came to me. Nectar of grace was overflowing from his eyes. His eyes looked as if he had realized ‘Self’. I guessed in my mind that he could be a yogi. He looked at me and said ‘Sir, my name is Vallabha Das. I am a leather man and I belong to the fifth caste. There is no doubt. But I want to tell you certain things.

 I know that you are Shankar Bhatt and you are going for darshan of Sripada Srivallabha. I also know why you were tortured by crows and snakes. I was stunned. I thought that he might have acquired some scholarship in astrology also. Immediately Vallabha Das said, ‘Sir! I am not even an astrologer. Sri Peethikapuram is the birth place for scholars. It is the sacred place where Malladi Bapannavadhanulu who was famous as ‘Saanga Vedartha Samrat’, lived. The ‘Para tatwam’ (the Supreme Brahman), whom the Vedas got tired describing, was born as Sripada Srivallabha in that sacred place. Dry Vedanta and meaningless arguments will not give us the grace of SripadaSrivallabha. 

One need not be a scholar to get the grace of Sripada Srivallabha. Moreover, the ego of scholarship will throw us far away from Him. The crows which attacked you were great pundits, who lived in Peethikapuram in their previous births. They wasted their lives not able to recognize the divinity of Srivallabha and could not perceive him as Datta Prabhu. 

They could chant Vedas from bottom to top in reverse direction. But what is the use? They used to express their ego using words like ‘Kramam, Ghana, Jata and Swadhyaya’. After dying, they went to heaven. Indra praised them immensely. “Oh! You are Kramantha, you are Ghanapati, and you are Jati. Oh! You are an expert in ‘Tarka’, what a great fortune? How many hundreds of thousands of times had you chanted Vedas? A great merit! Great merit! With the effect of that great merit, you could come to Indraloka. 

Thus he immersed them in praises. All others in Indraloka also praised them a lot. But they suffered from hunger. They had heard previously that one could get ‘Amrit’ in heaven and if one drank it, there would not be any hunger or thirst. Nobody bothered about their plight. So they directly asked Devendra. Devendra gave answer like this. ‘Vedas are the form of inhalation and exhalation of ‘Prabhu’. Prabhu is endless, and has no death. 

So Vedas are also endless. Vedas are the basis for all dharmas. By doing Veda pathanam (chanting), you praised ‘Prabhu’. As the reward for it, we the Gods are praising you so much. Otherwise how is it possible for you to be praised by me? If someone wants food, he should have given food to others before. If someone donates one grain to somebody, we the Gods make it into thousand grains and give to the donor as the fruit of that act.

 When you had not given any donation, what can we give you? Because you have chanted the Vedas, you achieved endless merit. So you can stay here freely as long as Indraloka exists. Later you can go to another loka (world). You can be free like this endlessly.” After hearing Indra, they were perturbed. They thought that it was an unbearable punishment living here endlessly with hunger and without food. Indra again said, “Though you lived in the sacred ‘Pada Gaya’ kshetram, you did the funeral rites to your departed ancestors without concentration and devotion. 

You were always thinking of how much money was spent on the ceremonies and how much tasty were the eatables you were eating, but did not do them with devotion and concentration. So your ancestors did not get higher states. Your descendents are also doing the same thing. ”Our parents lived long. Oh! How much food was wasted unnecessary? How much money was wasted for their medical treatment?” You had children thinking in those lines.  

When Srimannarayana Himself manifested among you in the form of Sripada Srivallabha and was showing the way out, you shouted at him. You did unnecessary arguments. Even though the auspicious qualities of Bhagawan like                                                                                                                            ‘Omniscience, Omnipresence and Omnipotence were clearly seen in Sripada Srivallabha, you could not recognize Him and became blind. After you drink the blood of a person sanctified by chanting the sacred name of Sripada Srivallabha, you will get higher states. It was decided for you to be in the form of crows, the symbol of ancestor Gods till then.”

Shankar Bhatt! for that reason, they were born as crows and drank your blood as a consequence of their previous merit and got salvation. Then I recognized that Vallabha Das standing in front of me was not an ordinary man and the grace of Sripada Srivallabha was there on him fully. Sri Vallabha Das said “Sir, attracted by the smell coming from your body, the serpants bit you and then got salvation”. I said, “Sir, Vallabha Das Mahasay! Why did that incident has to happen? It will be very troublesome to me if my body is used as food by crows and serpents like this. 

I am afraid when and which animal attacks me?” Vallabha Das said, ‘Sir, all this is Srivallabha’s fun filled play. You need not worry. From now, you will not be troubled like this. Only the one who gives life has the authority to take life. So such authority is vested with Bhagawan and none else. But some of your ancestors did ‘Kalika sadhana’ in graves and killed many people whom they disliked with the effect of the power of their mantras. Thus they acquired great sin by being the cause of untimely death of some people. 

As a consequence of that sin, they were born as serpents. Because you were born in their descendents’ family, your blood is related to them also to some extent. Because you received the grace of Sripada, they also got a little merit and as a result of that, this incident happened and they got salvation. ‘Sir, A brahmin has to be a seeker of Truth. Kshatriya should be bound to Kshatriya dharma. 

Vysya should do agriculture, protection of cows and things like buying and selling. So he has to be a peaceful person. A Sudra should be a loving person and do service. But to acquire the grace of Bhagawan, there is no difference like race, caste, rich and poor. A brahmin can follow Kshatriya ‘dharma’ and become a king. A Kshatriya while seeking ‘Brahma Jnanam’ may follow Brahmin dharma.

 Kusuma Shreshti, a Vysya followed Kshatriya dharma and ruled a kingdom. To kill an enemy is an offence according to brahmin dharma. But according to Kshatriya dharma, it is a must. You are a brahmin, a seeker of truth. So ‘ahimsa’ (not to kill) is your ‘parama dharma’ (supreme righteousness), but not for a ‘kasai’ (a killer of animals). So, to have the right fruit for the actions of a man, one should perform actions in accordance with the ‘dharma’ he is following, in whatever caste one is born. 

Because you were ill, it was better to be with the physician. That was why you were brought here. You should know that Sripada Srivallabha will be watching us every moment. In childhood, while reading the ‘dhyana slokam’ of Sri Vishnu Murthi, you used to make fun of it while explaining its meaning to other boys. ‘Shuklambara dharam Vishnum Sashi Varnam, Chaturbhujam, Prasanna Vadanam, Dhyayet, Sarva Vighnopa Shantaye’. You used to tell the wrong meaning for that sloka to others for fun. “Shuklambara dharam’ - means wearing white clothes, Vishnum means - present everywhere, ‘Shashi Varnam’ means - having ash colour, ‘Chaturbhujam’ means - having four legs, ‘Prasanna Vadanam’ means - when it cries, it has a graceful face, and to remove all obstacles I am meditating on such ‘donkey’.” Sir! Shankar Bhatt! Sri Datta Prabhu is very clever.

 He will correct all the misdeeds done by you for fun in His presence. The washermen brought you to me on a donkey. Then you were in ‘ash’ colour with dust all over your body. Not able to walk properly, sometimes you came walking with both hands touching the ground like a four legged animal. You came to the ‘Medi’ tree to escape attack by serpents. Still you could not escape. When you were trembling with suffering, you had a graceful face. Lastly you were brought to the place of leather people. By putting you in such troubles Sripada Srivallabha, along with having fun, taught you a lesson, and your ancestors were saved from mean births. 

You used to tell the meaning of Vishnu dhyana slokam to other boys for fun. So, at the end you came to a state of being taught by a person like me who belonged to the fifth caste. Now you are here. Tomorrow you may be in the house of your own caste people. If you tell this incidence to them even by mistake, they will outcast you from your caste.” With that friendly teaching by Sri Vallabha Das, my brahmin ego had come down. The feeling that Vallabha Das belonged to fifth caste vanished and I developed a brotherly affection towards him like a blood relation. 

After taking Vallabha Das’ hospitality for three days, I started from that village. How can I describe the specialty of Srivallabha’s grace? Before reaching Chidambaram, I got entangled in a town named ‘Vichitrapuram’ (literally meaning strange town) in strange circumstances and got out of it strangely. While I was going along Vichitrapuram walking, King’s servants respectfully reached me and questioned. “Sir, are you a Vaishnava or a Saiva?” I said “we are ‘smartas’ who do not see any difference between Siva and Kesava, but still we lean a little towards ‘Saivam’. Sree Shankaracharya of Shringeri Peetham, the southern peetham of Adi Shankara, is our Guru.”

 They respectfully asked me to come to their King. I followed them for Raja darshan. On the way while talking to them I came to know certain strange things. In those days if any Brahmin was spotted, the king used to invite him and ask.” If this much is for that, how much will be for this?” No one was able to answer that question satisfactorily. Few years back, the king got a ‘yajna’ performed for the purpose of having children. Fortunately, he had a male child. But from then onwards troubles started for the brahmins. 

Unfortunately the son of the King became dumb. The king opined that only because the brahmins did yajna improperly, the child became dumb. So he got the Shaiva Brahmins tonsured and got Vaishnava marks applied on their face and got them move along the streets on donkeys. Similarly he got vaishnava brahmins tonsured and got vibudhi lines applied on face and moved them on donkeys in the streets. That situation was troublesome for both vaishnavas and Saivas. 

The King started behaving strangely all of a sudden. He would call brahmins and donate Thotakura to them. He ordered that Thotakura (a green leafy vegetable-amaranthus) should be grown as the majority crop in the fields. He was collecting half of the tax in the form of ‘Thotakura’. Cartloads of thotakura was being stored in the fort. He used to give Thotakura as ‘danam’ (donation) to Brahmins more than what they could eat. The Brahmins were prohibited to cook rice and other preparations for eating. They should eat cooked Thotakura only, and when they wanted to eat tiffin they were asked to eat Thotakura only either raw or cooked. 

What could Brahmins do? They used to be arrogant declaring that they were pundits in ‘tarkam’ (argument), ‘vedantam’, puranas and itihas. Now they all left their ego and silently were praying God to remove their troubles. Among those Brahmins, there was a Datta devotee. He said that Sri Dattatreya would be pleased with mere ‘smarana’ (thinking in mind about Him) and He only would remove their troubles. So all the brahmins took forty day ‘deeksha’ (spiritual discipline) and started worshipping Sri Dattatreya.

 The king thought that ‘dumb speech’ should be promoted because his son was dumb. He called the Raja Guru and told him to write a book on ‘dumb language’. The Raja Guru was very proud previously. Now he was in a miserable condition and started elaborate research on dumb language.

The talk between Shankara Bhatt and the King 


I was made to stand in front of the King. I was sweating. I wondered what test Sripada Srivallabha was putting me into. I was repeating the name of Sripada continuously in my mind. I suddenly became bold as never before. The King asked me what he asked all others. “If this much is for that, how much will be for this?” I replied seriously “Only this much will be for this.” The king was stunned and said, “Mahatma! You are very great. I am blessed by the fortune of your darshan. 

Recently the knowledge of my previous birth dawned on me. In the previous birth, I was a poor brahmin. I used to grow Thotakura in my house. I would give that to people whenever asked without saying ‘no’. The brahmins who took Thotakura from me were wealthier than me and were not having dearth of food and water. They took donation from me but never cooperated with me. They did not show mercy on me. 

When they sent me for performing ceremonies and marriages, good amount of money used to come in the form of dakshina and sambhavana (brahmin-money). They used to give me only one percent of it and keep the rest for themselves. I used to work and they used to take the fruit of it. Moreover, they would take Thotakura from my house freely. Inspite of my utter poverty, I would donate Thotakura as usual. They used to tell me that the Thotakura was tasty and there was no harm if I ate it. Time passed.

 Because I donated Thotakura in my previous birth, though I was in utter poverty, I am now born as a king in this birth. The brahmins who took the donation of Thotakura in
previous birth are now born again as brahmins in my kingdom. Because I became a king due to donation of a little Thotakura, What would be the highest result now that I am donating many cart loads of it? So I put this question. You only could answer it correctly.” Then I said, “Oh! King! In the circumstances of your previous birth, the Thotakura you donated was very valuable. But in the present circumstances when you are the king, its value is negligible. 

You are now in a position to donate precious stones, diamonds and gold. If you donate any amount of Thotakura, you may get hundred times that amount and nothing else.” The king was very much pleased with my words. My mind was consoled when the king told about his previous birth in response to my casual answer. I thought that I escaped riding a donkey by the special grace Sricharana showed on me. As a punishment to my childhood fun when I told the wrong meaning to the sacred slokam ‘Shuklambara dharam Vishnum’, I climbed a donkey before. I offered ‘pranams’ to Sripada in my mind for granting escape from climbing donkey again in an insulting situation.

 Next, second test started. It was in the dumb language which was very dear to the king. The Raja Guru started questioning. Raja Guru showed his fingers and asked ‘one? or two?’ With signs I said that I came alone. Then he showed three fingers. The number ‘three’ reminded me of Sri Dattatreya. I thought he was asking whether I was a Datta devotee. I thought that ‘devotion’ should be a secret thing. I closed my fist indicating that it was a secret thing and a matter to be confined to the inner heart. Then the Raja Guru tried to give sweet eatables urging me with signs to accept it. I declined and took out some flattered rice tied in my cloth and offered some to them. My aim was that I liked flattered rice more than the sweet-meats and they could also taste them.

 Then Raja Guru in a generous voice said “King! This man is a great pundit. It seems that he thoroughly studied Vedas and Vedaangas. He is also a great pundit in dumb language.” Everything was confusing to me. Then Raja Guru told the king, ‘King! I asked him, There are Siva and Kesava. Are they one or different?.” Showing one finger he indicated that they were one. I showed three fingers indicating that there were Brahma Vishnu and Maheswar. For that, he closed his fist indicating a question that ‘Though there are five fingers in the hand, are they are not working together?’ I tried to give sweets asking him to accept me as his disciple. He declined my offer and gave some flattered rice to me indicating that he did not want to take the trouble of having disciples and such problems, and he was a happy person living simply like ‘Kuchela’.” I was stunned. 

Oh! I was surprised to know how different were the minds in this world and their ways of thinking and the ways they understand the things. Then started the third test. The Raja Guru read the stanzas in the Rudra chamakam and asked me to explain their meaning. Thinking of Srivallabha, I explained as I understood. ‘Eka Chame’ means ‘one’. Tisra scha me’ means adding one to three, we get four and its square root is ‘two’. ‘Pancha cha me’ means adding five to four, we get nine and its root value is ‘three’. ‘Sapt cha me’ means adding seven to nine, we get sixteen and its square root is ‘four’. ‘Nava cha ma’ means adding nine to sixteen, we get twenty five and its square root is ‘five’. ‘Ekadasa cha me’ means adding 11 to 25, we get 36 and its square root is 6. ‘Thriyodasa cha me’ means adding 13 to 36, we get 49 and its square root is 7. ‘Pancha dasa cha me’ means adding 15 to 49, we get 64 and its square root is 8. ‘Sapta dasa cha me’ means adding 17 to 64, we get 81 and its square root is 9. ‘Nava dasa cha ma’ means adding 19 to 81, we get 100 and its square root is 10. Ekavigum satih cha me’ means adding 21 to 100, we get 121, and its square root is 11. ‘Thriyovigum satih cha me’ means adding 23 to 121, we get 144 and its square root is 12. ‘Panchavigum satih cha me’ means adding 25 to 144, we get 169 and its square root is 13. ‘Saptavigum satih cha me’ means adding 27 to 169, we get 196. Its square root is 14. ‘Navavigum satih cha ma’ means adding 29 to 196, we get 225 and square root is 15. ‘Ekatrigum satih cha me’ means – adding 31 to 225, we get 256 and its square root is 16. ‘Thiotrigum satih cha me’ means – adding 33 to 256, we get 289 and its square root is 17. ‘Panchatrigum satih cha me’ means adding 35 to 289, we get 324 and its square root is 18. ‘Sapta trigum satis cha me’ means – adding 37 to 324, we get 361 and its root value is 19. ‘Navatrigum satih cha me’ means adding 39 to 361, we get 400 and its root value is 20.

” My explanation pleased the pundits in the darbar very much. I, myself was surprised at my explanation. Again I said, ‘all this is the secret of the infinitesimal particles of matter in the creation. This is known to ‘Kaanaada maharshi’. Depending on the number of the infinitesimal particles, different ‘elements are formed’. Thus by the special grace of Sripada Srivallabha, I could get out of vichitrapuram (strange town) strangely.
             ******Victory to Sripada Srivallabha ****** 

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