Attributes of a Ideal Human Being
THIS IS A COLLECTED LIST OF INTERVIEWS AND TALKS BY THE SRINGERI ACHARYALS ON VARIOUS RELIGIOUS TOPICS DURING THE 1990’S. THEY WERE PUBLISHED IN “THE HINDU” NEWSPAPER.
"Only in men with a background of outstanding and distinguishing acts will the tree of spiritual life take real roots. Control of mind is the sprouting leaf-bud of that tree; checking the senses, its tender foliage; contentment its blossoms; forbearance, its nectar; and faith, its fruits. Your teachings, which inculcate all these excellences become available only to men who possess great merits to their credit. A dip in the waves of mercy of your river of grace fetches liberation from bondage. Your message is like a necklace of splendorous pearls, strung on the golden thread of sound-reasoning which dispels the darkness of ignorance."
This exemplary tribute about Adi Sankara is from the verses of another great scholar Madhava Vidyaranya extolling that great personality. "But for the timely appearance of Sankara, the world of pious men would not have been able to taste the nectar of Adwaita philosophy," was the praise showered on the great Guru by another ascetic. In one of his works (Upadesa Panchakam), Adi Sankara has urged devotees to perform well all the acts enjoined in the Vedic revelations. "Give up the thought of engaging in desire-prompted rites. Worship God through the observance of duties. Eradicate the hosts of sins. Contemplate on the faults in worldly enjoyments. Pray for the knowledge of the self."
In a lecture on the occasion of Sankara Jayanthi, Sri Bharathi Theertha Mahaswamigal, Head of the Sringeri Math, has advised people to recite at least one hymn of the great Acharya (Sankara) everyday and attain prosperity. Adi Sankara has categorically established in his commentaries that liberation can be achieved only through knowledge of the `self.' He had held that in reality, the individual soul and the Almighty are not different. Adi Sankara's depth of knowledge has remained unparalleled. He was a poet par excellence and was no less eminent than Kalidasa in his poetic genius.
In one of his prayers, Adi Sankara urges the Lord "Let me possess humility. Let me not turn arrogant. My mind wanders all over and hence, you should enable me to firmly fix it on you. Make me compassionate and do not allow me to wallow in the mire of desires, but bless me with liberation." The manner in which a man should conduct himself is thus focussed by him. The Acharya asks man to be humble, control his senses and refrain from desires. Indirectly, he describes the attributes of an ideal human being in this poem.
Adi Sankara's patience in dealing with people has been seen on many occasions. He was not treated with respect when he visited Mandana Mishra; Ubhaya Bharathi questioned him on matters opposed to ascetic order; another even asked for his head for a religious rite. But Sankara treated all of them with compassion.