Was sha~NkarAchArya ekadaNDI or paramahaMsa?

It is difficult to say anything about presence of ekadaNDa or it’s absence. But, we can easily say that he was not a tridaNDI.


Why ?


Because, tridaNDa relates to kuTIchaka and bahUdaka type of sannyAsa which can only be accepted by tIvra-vairAgyavAn, i.e. a person who doesn’t desire son, wife, etc. in this life.

Considering that bhagavatpAda was parivrAjaka, chances of him being kuTIchaka is eliminated. Only those tIvra-vairAgyavAn persons can accept kuTIchaka sannyAsa who are unable to travel to tIrtha-xetra.
Now, considering that kuTIchaka and bahUdaka sannyAsI-s have to keep shikhA and yaGYopavIta, which are sAdhana of karma, and abide to detailed rituals as mentioned in smR^iti-s and nibandha-s, one can easily deduce that sha~NkarAchArya was not one of them.

Why ?

Because, he supports that type of sannyAsa which is opposed to all vaidika-smArta-karma and all laukika-karma (other than that which is needed for deharaxA). sannyAsa as a~Nga of shravaNa, etc. is supported by vArttikakAra, sarvaGYAtmA, madhusUdana, etc.


Now, we have two more types of sannyAsa-s, haMsa and paramahaMsa. They are accepted as a vow by tIvratara-vairAgyavAn persons (those who don’t want any loka and their enjoyments).

Considering that both sannyAsI-s don’t want any loka which causes return to other loka-s, both appear same. But, there is a big difference in sannyAsa-dharma of boht. While haMsa-s don’t practice shravaNa, etc., which are direct means of knowledge, as their Ashrama-dharma and rely on praNava-japa (in big numbers) and ahaMgrahopAsanA; paramahaMsa-s practice shravaNa, etc. as their main sAdhana.


It should be noted that tyAga and aparigraha is mandatory for all types of sannyAsI-s. Though, the degree of tyAga and aparigraha is determined by the same of vairAgya. Same applies to the resulting sannyAsa. So, paramahaMsa-s are barely allowed to have any parigraha.


As bhAShyakAra appears too much devoted to GYAna and it’s direct means, i.e. shravaNa, etc., so we can easily conclude that he was a paramahaMsa. puShpikA-s (last part of book where author is mentioned) of his works mention him as paramahaMsa.


Both, daNDI-s and paramahaMsa-s(daNDa-tyAgI-paramahaMsa-s) accept that sha~NkarAchArya a paramahaMsa-s. So, we have paramparA as pramANa here.


Now, the problem actually arises when we see that paramahaMsopaniShad first says that paramahaMsa-s have ‘daNDa ekaH parigrahaH’(one daNDa as belonging) and then says that ‘tacca na mukhyo.asti, …na daNDaH…carati paramahaMsaH’(that is not important….without daND…..paramahaMsa walks). Here we see that the upaniShad says that daNDa, etc. are not primary signs of pAramahaMsya(paramahaMsa-hood), but being without any sign is.

So, paramahaMsa-s get divided as daNDI-s and daNDa-tyAgI-s (according to the mentioned upaniShad and similar veda-vAkya-s).


So, if you consider sha~NkarAchArya possessed of marks of sannyAsa, you will draw him as daNDI; while if you think of him possessed of greater degree of tyAga and brahma-niShThA you may consider him as daNDa-tyAgI. In both cases, his pAramahaMsya is intact.


Now, as I’m closely related to daNDa-tyAgI paramahaMsa, but have also tried to understand the import of daNDa, I know what is the cause of inquiry.


Are there any references to the question of shrI shankara being an ekadaNDin or was he a paramahamsa who had done vidhivat-daNDa visarjanaM ?


It appears that you don’t consider ekadaNDin-s paramahaMsa. This is not correct. ekadaNDin-s can be either haMsa or paramahaMsa.


Do the installed images of shrI shankara always have the daNda ?


No. sha~Nkara-maTha-s print his image and install his statue with daNDa, while daNDa-tyAgI-paramahaMsa do same without daNDa.
It is another story that sha~Nkara maTha-s have made their version reach everywhere as images, even to Ashrama-s of daNDa-tyAgI-s.


What is the Sringeri Math’s tradition w.r.t images of shrI shankara?


They print him with daNDa.


I was told that some others regard him as one who had done daNDa visarjanam.


Yes, there are many. You may count daxiNAmUrti-maTha, kailAsa-Ashrama, and everyone related to them through guru-paramparA, as following this version. However, you may also find pictures with daNDa in these Ashrama-s, as sha~Nkara-maTHa-s have printed and sent those to them. They don’t hate that version, so they have that picture hanging in their maTha-s.


Even if there are no direct references to this question in the digvijaya literature, if we can still draw inferences based on other smritis related to this question, please share the same.


This part will reveal conflict of views, so beware.


daNDa-tyAgI-s don’t accept the daNDa with parashu-mudrA, etc. vaidika, just because they could not find any pramANa for that. Those mudra-s are more related to tantra-s/Agama-s. The often quoted vishveshvara-smR^iti, is just a collection by a sannyAsI (vishveshvara sarasvatI) and is often silent about it’s sources. A tAntrika work, yatidaNDaishvaryavidhAnam (accredited to bhagavatpAda), has many details about mudrA-s and shrividyopAsanA through daNDa.


daNDin-s use the daNDa for all types of karma-s which are for adR^iShTa, i.e. tarpaNa, praNAma, archana, etc.

vidyAraNya while explaining paramahaMsopaniShad says that daNDa is accepted to keep cow, snake, etc. away; i.e. daNDa is for dR^iShTa-praayojana, as are kaupIna, jalapAtra, etc.
So, although daNDa-tyAgI-s accept optional acceptance of daNDa, they say that it’s not the same which daNDin-s practice now.
That’s why they like to remember bhagavatpAda as either with daNDa sans mudra-s or without daNDa.


daNDin-s consider that such daNDa has come to them through shiShTa-paramparA and hence is to be adhered to.
daNDin-s hold that daNDa is not optional, and could not be separated(for great time-distance). If they separate it for more than what is allowed, iShuxepatraya, they will accrue pratyavAya, is what they say.


daNDin-s say that one can’t just leave daNDa without leaving other parigraha-s, i.e. kaupIna, etc. because that would just mean that it is selective tyAga.


The counter argument to this by daNDa-tyAgI-s is that being a paramahaMsa, daNDin-s too can’t do bAhya-pUjA, collect large number of pUjA-pAtra-s, and sit on golden chair, etc.(gold is cause of mahApAtaka to sannyAsin-s).


In short, both are doing it wrong and blaming each other.


However, when blamed about parigraha, daNDin-s choose to say that they are rAja-sannyAsin-s, which is unique in peculiar ways and allows parigraha of suvarNA, etc.


daNDa-tyAgI-paramahaMsa say that rAjatva and sannyAsitva, both are viruddha and can’t stay together.


This goes on.


And, this type of presence of different AchAra-s and different pramANa-s and yukti-s and bias has created confusion about daNDa, sannyAsa, vairAgya and everything else.


If you have jIvanmuktivivekaH with you, then go to last chapter where vidyAraNya explains the upaniShad.
The upaniShad vaakya is:


असौ स्वपुत्रमित्रकलत्रबन्ध्वादीञ्शिखायज्ञोपवीते स्वाध्यायञ्च सर्व्वकर्म्माणि संन्यस्यायं ब्रह्माण्डञ्च हित्वा कौपीनं दण्डमाच्छादनञ्च स्वशरीरोपभोगार्थाय लोकस्योपकारार्थाय च परिग्रहेत् इति ।


Without going to commentary of vidyAraNya, observer that kaupIna, daNDa and AcchAdana are for use of own body and for good of loka-s, both.


What is the use for own body, is explained by shrIvidyAraNya:


स्वशरीरोपभोगो नाम –

कौपीनेन लज्जाव्यावृत्तिः

दण्डेन गोसर्पाद्युपद्रवपरिहारः

आच्छादनेन शीतादिपरिहारः ।

लोकस्योपकारो नाम –

दण्डादिलिङ्गेन एतदीयमुत्तमाश्रमं परिज्ञाय तदुचिताभिवन्दनभिक्षाप्रदानादिप्रवृत्त्या (लोकानां) सुकृतसिद्धिः ।


So, the use of daNDa is to protect own body from cow, snake, etc. This is the dR^iShTa-prayojana for sannyAsI. Benefits, which loka(people) get may be of many types, and that doesn’t relate to sannyAsI.


Then upaniShad says that acceptance of kaupIna, etc. is favorable(for deha, etc.), hence that is not essential for paramahaMsa:


कौपीनादिपरिग्रहस्यानुकूलत्वमभिप्रेत्य मुख्यत्वं प्रतिषेधति(उपनिषद्)

तच्च न मुख्योऽस्ति इति ।

यत् कौपीनादिपरिग्रहणमस्ति तदपि अस्य योगिनः परमहंसस्य मुख्यः कल्पो न भवति , किन्त्वनुकल्प एव ।


But, he supports that acceptance and maintenance of daNDa, etc. for vividiShu-paramahaMsa:


विविदिषासंन्यासिनस्तु दण्डग्रहणं मुख्यम् इतिकृत्वा दण्डवियोगस्य निषेधः स्मर्यते –

दण्डात्मनोस्तु संयोगः सर्वदैव विधीयते ।

न दण्डेन विना गच्छेदिषुक्षेपत्रयं बुधः ॥

इति ।

प्रायश्चित्तमपि दण्डनाशे प्राणायामशतं स्मर्यते – दण्डत्यागे शतञ्चरेत् इति ।


That’s why sentences are found which say that daNDa-deha-saMyoga should be maintained, he should not go without daNDa beyond iShuxepatraya. And hence there is a prAyashchitta for daNDa-nAsha.


Mind that original sentence says ‘daNDa-tyAga’ while shrIvidyAraNya translates it as ‘daNDa-nAsha’.


Why ?


Because, daNDa-tyAga is being taught for vidvat-paramahaMsa by upaniShad here.


Now, maintenance of specific type of cloths, daNDa-s will cause problems to a sannyAsI who wishes to intensely engage in shravaNa, manana, nididhyAsana, yoga and vAsanA-xaya. So, he should shun them. This is said there in jIvanmuktivivekaH:


यथा विविदिषुः परमहंसः शिखायज्ञोपवीताभ्यां रहितो मुख्यः तथा योगी दण्डाच्छादनाभ्यां रहितः सन् मुख्यो भवति ; दण्डस्य वैणवत्वादिलक्षणम् आच्छादनस्य कन्थात्वादिलक्षणञ्च परीक्षितुं , दण्डादिकं सम्पादयितुं रक्षितुञ्च चित्ते व्यापृते सति चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधलक्षणो योगो न सिद्ध्येत् इति । तच्च न युक्तं , न हि वरविघाताय कन्योद्वाह इतिन्यायात् ।


You take sannyAsa for GYAna and chittashAnti. So, when daNDa, etc. start to cause hindrance, you should shun them.


Other dR^iShTa-prayojana of daNDa is to keep sannyAsI aware of his duty, i.e. brahmaniShThA. This is also mentioned by vidyAraNya:


ननु दण्डग्रहणविधिवासनयोपेता विविदिषासंन्यासिनो योगिनं दण्डरहितं परमहंसं नाभ्युपगच्छन्ति इत्याशङ्क्य

आह (परमहंसोपनिषद्)

ज्ञानदण्डो धृतो येन एकदण्डी स उच्यते ॥

काष्ठदण्डो धृतो येन सर्व्वाशी ज्ञानवर्ज्जितः ।

स याति नरकान्घोरान्महारौरवसञ्ज्ञकान् ॥

तितिक्षाज्ञानवैराग्यशमादिगुणवर्ज्जiतः ।

भिक्षामात्रेण यो जीवेतस पापी यतिवृत्तिहा ॥

इदमनन्तरं ज्ञात्वा स परमहंसः ।

इति ।

परमहंसस्य योऽयमेकदण्डः स द्विविधः – ज्ञानदण्डः काष्ठदण्डश्चेति ।


एवं सति मौनादीनां वागादिदमनहेतुत्वात् यथा दण्डत्वं तथैव अज्ञानतत्कार्य्यदमनहेतोः ज्ञानस्य दण्डत्वम् । अयं ज्ञानदण्डो येन परमहंसेन धृतः स एव मुख्य एकदण्डी इत्युच्यते ।

मानसस्य ज्ञानदण्डस्य कदाचित् चित्तविक्षेपेण विस्मृतिः प्रसज्येत इति तन्निवारणार्थं स्मारकः काष्ठदण्डो ध्रियते । तदेतच्छास्त्रार्थरहस्यमबुद्ध्वा वेषमात्रेण पुरुषार्थसिद्धिमभिप्रेत्य काष्ठदण्डो येन परमहंसेन धृतः स पुरुषो बहुविधयातनोपेतत्वात् घोरान् महारौरवसञ्ज्ञकान् नरकान् आप्नोति ।


एवञ्च सति ज्ञानदण्डकाष्ठदण्डयोर्यदन्तरम् उत्तमत्वाधमत्वरूपं तदिदमवगत्योत्तमं ज्ञानदण्डं यो धारयति स एव मुख्यः परमहंसः इत्यभ्युपगन्तव्यम् ।


So, a person who has accepted paramahaMsa-sannyAsa may be vividishu or vidvAn.

If he is a vividiShu, he should maintain daNDa (without mudrA-s though), etc. for his safety from cow, snake, etc. and to reveal his sannyAsitvam.

If he has mahAvAkyopadesha and has known oneness with brahman, i.e. if he is a vidvAn, who wishes to intensely engage in brahmaniShThA, i.e. shravaNAdi, vAsanAxaya and yoga; then he should shun all signs of sannyAsa to increase intensity.


More for both vividiShu and vidvAn sannyAsI-s:

Worshiping God is for that sannyAsI, who is not trying to become yogI:


यस्तु देवपूजायां निर्बन्धः स्मर्यते

भिक्षाटनं जपः शौचं स्नानं ध्यानं सुरार्चनम् ।

कर्तव्यानि षडेतानि सर्वथा नृपदण्डवत् ॥

इति ; तस्याप्ययोगिविषयत्वमभिप्रेत्य नावाहनम् इत्यादि आम्नातम् (परमहंसोपनिषदि) ।


He should not make/maintain maTha for attachment to that is a hindrance for yogI:


अत एव भिक्षुरनिकेतस्थितिरेव । यदि नियतनिवासार्थं कञ्चिन्मठं सम्पादयेत् तदानीं तस्मिन्ममत्वे सति तदीयहानिवृद्ध्योश्चित्तं विक्षिप्येत ।


Similarly he should not accept pots made of gold/silver:


यथा मठो न परिग्रहीतव्यः तथा सौवर्णराजतादीनां भिक्षाचमनादिपात्राणामेकमपि न गृह्णीयात् ।

तदाह यमः –

हिरण्मयानि पात्राणि कार्ष्णायसमयानि च ।

यतीनां तान्यपात्राणि वर्ज्जयेत्तानि भिक्षुकः ॥

इति ।

मनुरपि –

अतैजसानि पात्राणि तस्य स्युर्निर्व्व्रणानि च ।


इति ।


Again paramahaMsopaniShad for avoiding/shunning gold, etc.:


यस्माद्भिक्षुर्हिरण्यं रसेन दृष्टं चेत् स ब्रह्महा भवेत् यस्माद्भिक्षुर्हिरण्यं रसेन स्पृष्टं चेत् स पौल्कसो भवेत् …….




Now, I request you not to bring present sannyAsin-s, either daNDin-s or paramahaMsa-s,to this talk. They may not be doing everything according to shAstra-s. What they are doing according to that, of which most important is tyAga and shravaNAdyabhyAsa, is to be recommended and everything else is not to be supported(just to save our faith and hence ourselves).


After mentioning shAstra-s, it is quite clear to us what is correct and what is not. So, let us support right things and ask sannyAsI-s, directly or otherwise, to follow these rules and help them in whatever way we could.


This varNAshramadharma-chyuti(fall from shAstra-prescribed activities of varNa-s and Ashrama-s) is also to be accepted by non-sannyAsI-s and they should also try to do/live more according to shAstra-s.


I think any deviation from the above mentioned will make this thread dirty. So, please avoid anything like that.


Let truth prevail. Just accepting truth as truth (even if you are not adhering to it) is a big step towards it. Let us support truth by accepting it as truth and accepting our failure to adhere to it at the same time.

यतिरहं श्रीमतो भगवतः शङ्कराचार्यस्य भगवत्पादाभिधां बिभ्रतः सम्प्रदायानुगतो वेदतदनुकूलसकलशास्त्रनिचये श्रद्धावान् गुरुणाऽनुल्लङ्घनीयशासनेन विदितवेदवेदान्तशैवाद्यागमतन्त्रादिरसरहस्येनाऽनुगृहीतो निश्चितवेदप्रामाण्यस्तादृशविद्वत्त्वलोभी येन जीवन्मुक्त्यादिक्रमेण विदेहकैवल्याप्तिरुपदिष्टा मात्रा श्रीमत्या स्नेहपरयोमया हैमवत्या श्रुत्या॥

Author Socials Follow me

Leave a Reply