Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Power Of Hindu Mysticism


Acharya Shankara [788-820]: When Acharya Shankara returned to Madhyarjuna pilgrim centre [now known as Tiruvidaimarudur] during his Vijaya Yatra, many learned scholars approached Sri Shankara and said “We know that Advaita as propounded by you in your treatises is the underlying principles of the Vedas [Shrutis]. However, in this context if there could be a divine display of this considered view, then everybody will be convinced that Advaita is the irrevocable doctrine of Vedanta.
Immediately thereafter, Sri Shankara went to the altar of Mahalingaswamy, the deity of Madhyarjuna along with the scholars and prayed “O Bhagavan, thou art the knower of the significance of the Vedas. The Vedas are your manifestation. Therefore, you should declare in doubtless terms the doctrine contained in the Vedas”. Suddenly the Lord, appearing out of the Mahalinga vigraha, held aloft his right hand and declared in thunderbolt like voice “Satyam Advaitam, Satyam Advaitam, Satyam Advaitam”

Sri Ramanujacharya [1017-1137]: Sri Ramanuja, the foremost exponent of Vishishtadwaita, went on foot in search of his guru Yamunacharya at Srirangam to take over the mantle of leadership from him, as Yamunacharya was almost nearing his end. By the time he reached Srirangam, Yamunacharya had passed away and arrangements were being made for his Samadhi. When Ramanuja went to have darshan of the dead body of his Guru, he was amazed to find that the three fingers of the right hand of the dead Swamiji were folded. There was a sudden intuitive flash in the heart of Ramanuja and he felt that the phenomenon of closed fingers signified three tasks which were close to the heart of the dead Acharya and which he could not take up while alive. These works were: 1 To write a commentary on the Brahma Sutras of Badarayana
2. To write a commentary on the Divya Prabandham, the Sookthis of the divine
Alwars in Tamil
3. Firmly establish and spread the name of Sage Parashara, the author of Sri
Vishnu Puranam.
Ramanuja openly took a pledge to perform these three desired tasks. Immediately the three fingers of the dead Acharya returned to their normal positions.

Sri Madhvacharya [1238-1317]: Sri Madhavacharya, one of the three giant pillars of the Hindu philosophical thought, was once meditating near the seashore of Malpe on the West Coast. He noticed a ship caught in the midst of rough weather and the captain giving a distress signal. When Madhvacharya noticed this, he started waving his saffron coloured upper garment when the ship started sailing towards the shore and reached it safely. Grateful for having saved the ship and its crew from an impending disaster, the Captain of the ship requested the Swamiji to choose whatever was there in the ship as a gift. The Acharya wanted only a dried heap of sandalwood paste [Srigandha], which he knew by his yogic power, contained an idol of Lord Srikrishna. He carried it to Udupi, singing the popular Dwadasha Stotram and had it installed there. According to tradition, Rukmini worshipped the idol earlier and when Dwaraka got submerged, sandal paste covered the idol, only to be retrieved by a saint later.

Sri Raghavendra Swamy [1598-1671]: When Sri Raghavendra Swamy was adorning the Mantralaya Math, Sir Thomas Munro was an Administrative Officer of the East India Company. He was entrusted with the job of bringing the land of Mantralayam under the Company’s rule as per the policy of Permanent Settlement. The natives and devotees vehemently opposed the move, as they thought it was a religious sacrilege to encroach upon the holy premises of the Math. Fortunately for the devotees, Sir Thomas Munro, even though a Britisher was a great devotee of Swamiji. With a view to assessing the exact situation on the spot, Munro made a personal visit to Mantralayam.
It is said when Munro reverentially took off his shoes and stepped into the Math, Sri Raghavendra Swamy appeared before him in a vision and both became involved in a conversation. However, no one could see or hear this.. The matter became public only when the Madras Government Gazette subsequently published about this incident.. Munro, it is interesting to note, soon became the Governor of Madras Presidency and cancelled the order to annex Mantralayam to the British Government As a token of gratitude for having saved the Math premises from the occupation of the British, the Temple authorities offered special worship to Sri Raghavendra and sent the Prasadam [Mantrakshata] to Munro who accepted it with all reverence.

Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra [18th Century]: Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra, a great Jeevanmuktha and a music composer [ known for his songs like Broohi Mukundeti, Pibare Rama Rasam, Khelathi Mama Hrudaye etc ] lived in the 18th Century and has been held in highest esteem and reverence by the Shankara Math, Sringeri. He gave up his mortal frame sometime between 1750 and 1753 at a village known as Nerur, about 12 kms from Karur in Tamil Nadu. He knew very much in advance when the end would come and that when he would enter Samadhi. He had specified the date and time to his followers and identified the place for the Samadhi. He had further said that on the 9th day after his Samadhi, a Bilva tree would sprout from his Samadhi and on the 12th day, a Brahmin from Kashi would bring a Lingam which was to be consecrated and a temple built, exactly 12 feet from the Samadhi towards the East. People in large numbers had assembled on the 9th and 12th days to witness the miracles. As prophesized, the Bilva tree sprang up on the 9th day and a Brahmin from Kashi turned up on the 12th day with the Lingam. This Lingam has been subsequently consecrated and a temple around has been built as specified by Sadashiva Brahmendra. Even today, people who go to Nerur can see both the ancient Bilva tree and the temple built around the Lingam

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa [1836-1886]: Just a week before he passed away on 16th August 1886, Sri Ramakrishna asked a close disciple to read to him from the Bengali Panchangam the dates from the 25th day of the Shravanamasa [9th August] onwards. The disciple read until he came to the last day of the month. The Master then made a sign to stop it. Four or five days after this, the Master called Narendranath [Swami Vivekananda] to his side. There was nobody else in the room. He made Narendra sit before him and gazing at him fell into Samadhi. Narendra felt a subtle force like an electric shock penetrating his body. Gradually, he, too, lost outward consciousness. He did not remember how long he sat there. When he came to normal consciousness, he found Sri Ramakrishna weeping. On being asked why he wept, the Master said “Today I have given you all and I have become a Fakir! Through this power you will do immense good to the world and then only shall you go back”, It was in this way that Sri Ramakrishna passed on his powers to Narendra. Henceforth Ramakrishna and Narendra became one soul in two bodies. Vedanta as revivified in the life of the Master found in the person of Narendra a worthy disciple, an effective instrument to bring about the world-wide regeneration of our Sanathana Dharma.

Swami Vivekananda [1863-1902]: Even though much pressed by his close associates, Swami Vivekananda was undecided and confused about his going to Chicago for the Parliament of World Religions. During his visit to the South and when he was in Kanyakumari, he swam through the rough sea and reached the rock [now known as Vivekananda Rock] , quarter of a mile away, in the last week of December 1892. He stayed on the rock for three days for deep meditation. There he had a great vision of the future of the country. One night, as he laid half asleep, the command came to him in a symbolic dream. Vivekananda saw the figure of his Master, Ramakrishna, walking from the seashore into the waters of the ocean and beckoning him to follow. He woke up. A great peace and joy filled his whole being; his mind seemed to have been impressed with the authoritative “GO”. The vision sustained him. He thought it to be a direct command from above. All his doubts and misgivings were dispelled and he made up his mind to go to Chicago.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi [1879-1950]: A gentleman from Kashmir came to Sri Ramanashram with his Assistant who could not speak a word of any other language except his native Kashmiri. One night when the Hall was almost dark except for the pale grimmer of a hurricane lantern, the Assistant alone came to the Hall and stood before Bhagavan in a respectful manner jabbering something rapidly in his language. Bhagavan said nothing and sat quietly gazing at him. After a while, the Assistant saluted and left the Hall. Next morning his master came to Bhagavan and complained “Bhagavan, you never told me that you could speak Kashmiri, Was it fair? When Bhagavan asked how he thought so, he said “Last night my assistant came to you and asked several questions in Kashmiri. He tells me that you answered him in the same language and cleared all his doubts”. The Maharshi replied “I never opened my mouth”.

Maharshi Aurobindo [1872-1950]: Aurobindo passed away on 5th December 1950. As he had innumerable devotees spread all over the world who wanted to have his last Darshan, it was expected that the Samadhi would not take place earlier than 7th December. By that time the grave was ready and the Samadhi would take place at anytime. But instead of the burial on that day, an announcement came from the Mother who said “The funeral does not take place today. His body is charged with such a concentration of supernatural light that there is no sign of decomposition and the body will be kept lying on his bed as long as it remains intact”.
As the French Colony had a legal regulation that no dead body should be kept unburied longer than 48 hours, the French officials thought that the Ashram was breaking the laws. On the morning of 7th December, the French Government deputed one of their doctors by name Dr. Barbet who inspected Aurobindo’s body. At the end of the examination, the doctor reported that it was a ‘Miracle’ and that there was no deterioration whatsoever, no rigor mortis. It was an unheard of occurrence in medical history, according to the doctor.

The body was finally laid to rest on 9th December 1950 in the evening.

H.H. Sri CHandrashekhara Bharati [1892-1954]: His Holiness was the 34th Pontiff of the Sringeri Math. Once during mid-summer, while feeding was about to start in the open courtyard within the Math campus, clouds gathered, heavy winds blew and heavy downpour was imminent. Jagadguru Sri Chandrashekhara Bharati, who was returning to Narasimhavanam from Sri Sharada Temple, saw many women and children sitting in rows for taking food and the rains about to fall.
He halted for a minute, took his upper cloth and waved it over his head towards the sky and walked away. The women and children who were in the courtyard finished the food and hurried to their homes. Immediately thereafter the clouds gathered again and there was a heavy downpour.

The Paramacharya of Kanchi [1894-1994]: Following in the footsteps of Acharya Shankara, the Paramacharya took an all-India tour on foot for 20 years from 1919 to 1939.
Since 1927, a dog was following the Paramacharya and his retinue of the Math. It was a strange dog—an intelligent animal without the least trace of uncleanliness. It would keep watch over the camp during nights. It would eat only the food given to it by the Math. The Acharya would therefore enquire every evening if the dog had been fed. When the camp moved from one place to another, the dog would follow, walking underneath the palanquin. When the entourage stopped so that the devotees of the wayside villages could pay their homage, it would run to a distance and watch devoutly from there, only to rejoin the retinue when it was on the move again.
One day, a small boy hit the dog. The dog was about to retaliate when the officials of the Math, in fear, caused the dog to be taken to a distance of 25 miles blindfold and left it in a village. But strange as it may seem, the dog returned to where the Acharya was, even before the person who had taken it away could return. From that day onwards the dog would not eat without seeing the Acharya and stayed till the end of its life with the Math.


Created: Friday, November 28, 2008 9:31 PM


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