SankaraAndMaleChauvinism Om Namasivaya
Om Sri Durgayai Namah Om Sivayanama
Veeraswamy Krishnaraj  


Sankaracharya (788-820 CE)

         Male Chauvinism and his change of heart, mind and spirit.    


Sankaracharya, the propounder of Monistic theory and devotee of Siva (Vishnu, and Mother Goddess) was in Kasi. He was ambushed, seized and buttonholed by Saktas who argued on the greatness of Mother Goddess and Sakti. Sankara beat them all to a pulp by his arguments; Saktas were heart-broken because the arguments were apparently sound and came from the mouth of Sankara himself, who was a realized soul and knower of Brahmavidya (Brahman knowledge = God Realization). This debate over the superiority of Siva over Sakti went on for days to the delight of Saivites and to the consternation of Saktas; Sankara won it every time. (In those days, wars [of words] happened on the debating platforms unlike these days.)
He was once lying with his head towards the south and feet towards the north in utter physical exhaustion on a narrow path. He saw a girl come towards him asking him to move his legs, so she could pass him to fetch water from Ganges.
Sankara said, "O Mother (
அம்மா), go on, jump over my legs if you want. I am not moving. I am too tired to move my legs."  (It is common to address a female of any age as mother; it is a mark of respect.)
The girl refused to jump over his body or legs and said, " O Brahmana, I cannot jump over a body of a Brahmana. Please move your legs."
Sankara said, "You, silly ignorant girl. There is no harm in jumping over me. Ignorance separates people as Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. Everyone and everything is Brahman (Impersonal or Para Brahman or Supreme Consciousness). Jump over me and you will incur no sin or faux pas. I am too tired to move my legs."
The girl said, "I myself will move your tired legs and pass by."
Sankara retorted, " You do what you want, silly girl. Off you go and out of sight."
The girl lifted his legs, and made enough room to pass by.
The girl came back to Sankara who asked for water to quench his thirst.
The girl said with a smile, " You are so near the water, go and get it yourself, you adamant Brahmana."
Sankara irritated by the girl, said, "I told you many times, I am too weak to move or get up."
The girl then rolled her eyes and uttered in a voice that shook the sky, the earth and his very being: "Sankara, you ignored Sakti. You said Sakti did not exist, didn't you?"  (Sakti is the power of Siva, depicted as His consort. Siva is Sava (dead) without Sakti. It is like a wallet without money. It is like saying He is a stuffed shirt.) Om Namasivaya.
Sankara was shaken to the core by the weightiness, gravity, tone and meaning of the words of a little girl. He shut his eyes and opened them to find waves of light in her eyes equal to a thousand suns and moons. He ran to hold her feet in reverence and seek refuge. The Light and the girl disappeared. Disappearance of the Light shattered him; his Brahmajnana was shaken to its foundation; his pride was tottering in tatters.  He ran to the temple of Annapurna, crying "Mother." His conviction about Siva being superior to Sive (Sakti) was shaken. Siva is Sava (dead) without Sakti (power). In modern parlance: 'Money talks, BS walks.' Sankara sang hymns in honor of Mother Goddess, Sakti. This was a sport of Devi, and Sankara was an important participant. If one sees Sakti in everyone and everything, she is within your reach.
 Saundaryalahari by Sankara

Verse 1. Siva, only when united with Sakti, gains the power to create; if not, Siva cannot move forward.  Who except a punyavan can
pay obeisance, prostrations, worship and praise to you, who is worshipped by Hari, Hara and Virinci?
punyavan = he who has accumulated good karmic merits. This word (Punyavan) is not in the verse.  Hari = Vishnu; Hara = Siva; Virinci = Brahma.         

                       Om Sri Durgayai Namah. Prostration to Mother Durga. Durga represents the motherhood aspect of God. She is the Force or Sakti through which divinity manifests, for Durga is power. She is the Protector and Benefactor. Durga is the confluence of the pure consciousness of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. - Swami Vishnu Devananda

Om Namasivaya