Monday, February 9, 2009

Sri Sankaracharya and Temple worship

More than (2500) years ago, an avalanche of anti-Vedic philosophies threatened to wipe away Sanatana Vedic Dharma . In the Bhagavad Geeta, Bhagavan Sri Krishna has told Arjuna that, whenever there arises danger to Dharma, Bhagavan will incarnate in this world to eradicate Adharma and re-establish Dharma . Accordingly , the partial incarnation of Lord Siva as Sri Sankara, happened, on the prayer of celestials to redeem Sanatana Dharma in Bharata-desa .

In His short life span of (32) years , Sri Sanakraracharya evolved a comprehensive working system of Sanatana Dharma . He established five *Advaita-MathAs* to train Sages and Brahmanas . At the grass root level , He strongly recommended Temple-worship to practice Sanatana Dharma .

Sri Sankara personally consecrated several temples to facilitate *Ishta-deva* worship according to individual taste . He worshipped in many temples, strictly complying with its' *Acharams* ( traditions) . AchAraya standardized the *AchArams* of many of those temples according to it's Deity's will .

Sri Sankara's Dwigvijaya Yatras

During His great Dwigvijaya Yatras , it was Sri Sankara's habit to visit all temples nearby his route . Some of the important events are :

At Gokarna , after bathing is sea , worshipped Sri Parameswara . Residing (3) days there, wrote *Bujangaprayatam- stotram* .
Worshipped in Ramseswaram temple .
At Kanchipuram , constructed Kamakshi-temple with the help of devotees . Performed it's *Prana-pratishta* and instructed the Poojaris how to conduct the Pooja-rituals .
Visited Thiruvanaikar, near Trichy . In this temple, Akhilandeswari- devi was having a fierce power that was difficult the devotees . Sri Sankara created two sets of earrings which are called *Tatankam* and he presented these to the Goddess. The fierceness of the Deity reduced. This *Tatankam* , the earrings, has been maintained over time by the Acharyas of the Kanchi Mutt .
Visited Tirupathi and recited the Sloka *Vishnu pathathi keshanta stotra* which describes Bhagavan Venakateswara from His foot to the head. Sankara wanted the people to visit Bhagavan in great numbers and get His blessings. For this, he established a *yantra*. From that day the number of followers of the temple increased and is increasing day by day.
In Sringeri , after drawing *Sri Chakra* atop a rock , worshipped Sarada-devi' s Moorty . Only afterwards , the construction of Sringeri Mutt was commenced . Instructed the Disciples " You should daily perform pooja for Sarada-devi before your Veda learning or teaching " .
When Sri Sankara was in Sringeri, he divined by yogic powers that his mother was in her deathbed, and as per his promise while taking Sanyas that he would be by her side while she breathes her last ; he reached Kaladi and paid last respects . Aryambal was happy that her son had come back. Sri Sankara prayed to Bhagavan Venkateswara who appeared in person and blessed Aryambal with *Mukti*. Sri Sankara did the last rites for his mother ignoring the critics at Kaladi who argued that Sankara a Sanyasi does not have such a right .
Visited Guruvayoor temple many times . Revised it's *Kshetra-Acharams* as desired by Sri Guruvayoorappan .
At Kadambuzha temple , located the exact spot where Devi had merged in *Kirata-form* . Made arrangements to have daily worship of this *Swayambhu-devi* according to the pooja-rituals stipulated by self . Established the famous ritual *Poomoodal* .
Sankaracharya' s *Kula-devata* (Family-deity) was Sri Krishna . He re-consecrated that temple ; and in the stotra *Prabodhana Sudhakaram* mentioned about this Deity as : " Kuladevo Yadupati " .
Established and consecrated Kollur Sri Mookambika Devi temple . The famous stotra *Soundaryalahari* is about this Deity .
After reaching Ujjaini town , had darshan at Mahakaleswara temple . Only after this , the debate with Bhatabhaskar commenced .
Sri Sankara completed his travels and went to Badrinath . Bhagavan Vishnu appeared before him and told that his Moorty in Alaknanda river should be taken out and a temple should be built for it . Accordingly, the Badrinarayan temple was constructed and consecrated . Also it's Pooja-rituals were established . Brought suitable Brahmana-priests from Kerala and after providing necessary training appointed them as traditional Temple-priests .
Deities of Sri Sankara Mutts

Puri - Jagannatha + Vimala Devi .
DwAraka - Siddheswara + Bhadrakali Devi .
BadrinAth - Badninarayana + Poornagiri Devi .
Sringeri - Sarada Devi + Adi Varaha Moorty .
KAnchi - Chandramouleeswara + Kamakshi Devi .
Conclusion

Therefore, it is clear that Sri Sankaracharya recommended *Deity-worship* to practice Sanatana Dharma . Even a Yogi who has attained *Sidhi* needs to do *Sadhana* to retain the Siddhi. It is like a Musician doing daily *Sadhakam* to improve his skills . Even the *Jivanmukutas* do practice Yoga , Meditation and Deity worship .

Sri Sankaracharya had two crystal Moorthies of Sri Mahaganapaty and Chandramouleeswara for His daily Sadhana . He handed over them to successor Acharya Sureswara just before attaining Mukti .

Om Namo Narayanaya !!!!

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