II Sri Adi Śaṅkarācārya - श्री आदि शङ्कराचार्य II
Sōpānaṁ : 21 Towards Kedār :

The Bhāshyam contains the exposition of the meaning of mantras, assertion of one’s own opinions, & refutation of objections.
The Acharya’s commentaries are Simple, Delightful & Profound.

Among all the Bhāshyas, the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Bhāshya is the most insightful & the most Profound.

Bhagvadpāda composed the Bhāshyas & instructed them to the disciples three times.
Keeping the essence of these Bhāshyas in his heart, the ‘prakarana granthas’ that were written later,
were intended only for the best among seekers.

Texts like ;
Upadeśa Sāhasrī,
Sarva Vedānta Siddhānta Sāra Saṅgraham,
were composed for the discriminating seekers who had no interest in debates & arguments, but were interested only in Sādhana &
There are a number of other simple Prākaraṇas like ;
Ātmabōdha &

Each of them is deep & profound and among them Dakṣiṇāmūrti Stotram remains the Crown Jewel, worthy of deserving a Vārtika (independent commentary).

The Knowledge of the Self
will dawn for a mature seeker by contemplating on Dakṣiṇāmūrti Stotram alone.
All these were written from time to time to instruct & bless the Disciples.

After completing the Bhāshyas, the group of ascetics resumed their journey from Vyāsatīrtha & arrived at Jyotirdhām.
The disciples wished to go to Kedār & Acharya agreed to it.
Knowing that Acharya was going to Kedār, the king made arrangements to restore all the temples Enroute.
In Uttarakhand, a pleasant breeze carrying the fragrance of Brahmavidya started blowing.
The Path was quite a difficult one ; They crossed,
Nanda Prayag,
Kalpeswaram (the 5th Kedār),
Rudranath (the 4th Kedār),
Tunganath ( the 3rd Kedār),
Sonitapura (the erstwhile capital of King Bana),
GuptaKasi (the 2nd Kedār),
Passing through ;

They reached Gauri Kund.
From Gauri Kund, one has to go through Chiravasabhairavam & Bhimasenasthanam to enter Kedār.

Kedār is triangular in shape, Extreme cold weather prevails here.
Here Mahadeva performs penance
in absolute solitude in his majestic form.
Acharya, along with the disciples, worshipped the Bhagavan.

महाद्रिपार्श्वे च तटे रमन्तं सम्पूज्यमानं सततं मुनीन्द्रैः |
सुरासुरैर्यक्ष महोरगाढ्यैः केदारमीशं शिवमेकमीडे || ७||
{ द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिङ्ग स्तोत्रम् }

After staying for a few
days in Kedār, they started towards Gomukh, the source of the Ganga & after this pilgrimage they returned to Gangotri.
Here Acharya installed a Shiva LInga & an idol of Gangadevi & proclaimed that offering worship there is equivalent to a pilgrimage to Gomukh.
Acharya &
disciples reached the spot where Bhagirathi turns northward ( known as Uttara Kashi today ).

At this time Acharya was 16 years Old!

The pilgrimage of Acharya helped in reviving all the tirthas of Uttarakhand.
Now, withdrawing from all external activities Acharya started living
in a cave on the banks of the Ganga.
Mostly he remained in a state of samadhi.

किमपि सततबोधं केवलानन्दरूपं
निरुपममतिवेलं नित्यमुक्तं निरीहम्।
निरवधि गगनाभं निष्कलं निर्विकल्पं
हृदि कलयति विद्वान् ब्रह्म पूर्णं समाधौ॥ ४०९॥
"Through samādhi, the wise man
realised d infinite Brahman in his heart as something (inexplicable) of d essence of eternal Knowledge& complete Bliss,
which is Unparalleled,
which is beyond all Limitations,
which is Ever free,
which has no activity & which is Indivisible
& absolute like d limitless sky."
The disciples & the devotees watched the stillness of Acharya with Awe.
The Profound peace of Self-Experience was truly palpable in the presence of the Acharya.

A Divine Meeting :
During this period, one day, long before Sunrise an aged ascetic came & stood before the cave.
Acharya’s disciples greeted the unusual visitor at the entrance.
The presence of this agile old man mysteriously had an impact on the Acharya.
Now Padmapāda had noticed that Acharya had got up & was getting ready for a bath, Coming out of the cave,
Acharya stood silently for a moment & greeted the ascetic.
Padmapāda wondered about the true identity of the elderly ascetic, who, by his mere presence had influenced the inner state of the Acharya.

Thus ends the twenty-first Sōpānaṁ.

I ओम् तत् सत् I
I Om Tat Sat I

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