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Adi Sankara's koodu vittu koodu paaithal

From: Sampath Rengarajan (srengara_at_ford.com)
Date: Fri Nov 03 1995 - 07:43:39 PST

To ascertain whether Sankara's composition on Lakshmi nrshimha has anything to
do with this koodu vittu koodu paayum episode, I suspect not. This ia different
"story" in Sri Adisankara's life history as narrated by the mutt. The one
expalined earlier that kaaplika's were to sacrifice him and nrsimha appeared
through Sankara's disciple padma paadaa is the right one and that is the time
it was composed.

This episode "koodu vittu koodu paathal" has kindled many questions in my mind
when I heard this episode of sankara being discussed by sankara mutt people and
some strong vaishnavite in my home towm. As a preamble I would like to mention
that my home town Kumbakonam used to be the de-facto head quarters of Kaanchi
mutt for 4 of the peetams from 64 th to 67 th peetams and untill the
paramaacharyaa Sri Chandrasekara Saraswathi reinstated the prominance of the
mutt in kanch town. It is needless to say that Kumbakonam had a very strong
kanchi mutt followers. The discussion was as follows.

1. If Srimath Bagwath Geetha was accepted by Adi Sankara, then how can he
belive that an aatman or soul can carry experience from one body to another.
The episode narrates that he lacked that experienc and switched bodies to
"acquire" such experience. There was no good explanation provided by the mutt
followers on this. "If it doesnot fit, quit" that story from the life history
was argued by the vaishavite side.  It was later suggested that it was
 possible that, to add "attraction"  to the Great Saint's life history the
later day story tellers would have added this episode and didnot explain it
very well.

The question in my mind was, is there any other explanation possible to this.

2. There was an other way to look at it. When a person gets possesed by a
spirit
he talks or does the action as to the nature of the spirit or the hanging
aatman. If it would be possible for a spirit to carry its nature to another
body
then is it possible for the spirit to feel the nature of the body it possessed
?
so that when it leaves that body it can take with it the nature of both its own
and the other person's nature with it. No answer is known to such questions. If
it would be possible for a spirit to do so, then it would be possible for an
aatman performing koodu vittu koodu paaythal. If an aatman should go in for
pursuit of materilistic experiences through "koodu vittu koodu paaythal" then
it certainly was not in that "zero" or "neutral" state srimath bagwath geetha
was explaining. then what was the "state" of that aatman at the instant of such
pursuit ? ( Please donot read this as derogatory statement on Adi sankara. Adi
sankara is one of the best srivishnavite we had so far when one looks at his
message thorugh Sri Baja Govindam it is clear that he also puts SRiman Naarayan
the first and the only one and the ultimate to obtain Salvation). If the aatman
doesnot have that "neutral" state without any "attributes" does it contradict
the whole advaitin theory ?

This is not a very great philosphical discussion. But it remains to answered by
the pundits of the mutt and vaishnavite friends of the kaanchi mutt strongly
feels that this is a mere story. Can anyone from kancheepuram add to this or
contradict this with explantions.

Sampath Rengi