The Jagatgurus have laid the foundation of Bharat and help sustained our civilisation for millennia.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत।
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम्।।4.7।।गीता
Whenever there is decline of righteousness, O Arjuna, and rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself.
हे भरतवंशी अर्जुन जब जब धर्मकी हानि और अधर्मकी वृद्धि होती है तब तब ही मैं अपने आपको साकाररूपसे प्रकट करता हूँ।
Dharma is the soul(आत्मा) of Bharat. It is the world’s capital and centre of Spirituality, Dharma, Knowledge and Moksha. Sages blessed this land with Austerity(तप), Knowledge(ज्ञान), Divinity(दिव्यता) and Wisdom(विवेक). This holy land of Bharat, Karma Bhoomi of the world, never remains free from the presence of sages in physical or divine form.
Today, we are in Kaliyuga(कलियुग) where Asuric forces are strong and even so Bharat is shinning like the Sun(सूर्य) because Sanatana Dharma is still strong and in practice. Many sages, acharyas, munis and scholars took birth in Kaliyuga to preserve and promote Dharma but the four acharyas are special as they not only preserved dharma but also reorganised and revitalised it with their Tapa(तप). They achieved the highest level of spiritual growth and got titles of Jagatguru(Master of World). They are not ordinary souls but incarnations of the divine.
They are Adi Shankaracharya, Nimbarkacharya, Ramanujacharya and Madhvaacharya.
Jagatguru Adi Shankaracharya
Early Life and Guru Diksha
When the whole world was thirsty for Vedic Knowledge and people were moving away from the path of Dharma and falling into the trap of ignorance of different cults and traditions that don’t lead the soul(आत्मा) to salvation(मोक्ष), to re-establish Sanatana Dharma, quench the thirst of people for true knowledge, lead them to the path of moksha and remove those thorns of different cults and traditions – the divine came in the form of Adi Shankara.
In Dakshina Bharat’s Kerala state in the village named Kalady situated on the banks of Purna river, a wealthy and pious Nambudiripad Brahman Shivagaru used to live with his wife Aryaamba. Shivagaru belonged to the Vedic branch of Krishna Yajur Veda. After many years of marriage, they didn’t have a child. To get the blessing of a child they started worshipping Shiva in the very famous Shivalaya of Trichur.
Soon Shiva got pleased with their devotion and appeared in their dream. Shiva said, “I have come to bless you but you will have to choose between many kids with long lives but limited wisdom or one child with a short span of life of eight years but with great character, intellect, wisdom and divinity. Shivagaru and Aryaamba asked for a child with great wisdom and divinity.
In Yudhisthir Samvat, 2631 or 507 BCE on Vaishakh Shukla Panchami (वैशाखशुक्लपंचमी), Sunday(रविवार) as blessed by Lord Shiva, Shivagaru and Aryaamba became parents of a child full of divinity as he was no one else but ansha of Shiva himself. They named him Shankar(शंकर). Sham karoti iti Shankar – “One who do good of others”(शं करोति इति शंकर- कल्याणकर). Shivagaru left his mortal body even before Shankara turned five.
At the age of five, the sacred thread ceremony(यज्ञोपवीत संस्कार) of Shankara happened. He started learning the Shastras, Vedas in the pathashala near his home. As his life span of eight years was coming to an end on the last day, he went to have a bath with his mother Aryaamba in the Purna river where one crocodile caught hold of his leg and started dragging him. Watching her son in the mouth of death, Aryaamba became very tense and fear engulfed her heart.
Then Shri Shankara told her that if at this very moment he accepts Sannyasa and leaves his current life this crocodile will leave his leg and go away and if not it will be the end of this body. Aryaamba was in a dilemma but then thought that letting her son take Sannyasa and live is better than losing him forever. She agreed and at that very moment Shri Shankara recited mantras and accepted Sannyasa and the crocodile left his leg and turned into a Gandharva who got free from a curse. He praised Shankara and returned to his loka(लोक). In this fashion the first span of eight years of Brahmacharya(ब्रह्मचर्य) life of Adi Shankara ended there and he was blessed with another eight years of life. After promising his mother that he will be there when she leaves this world, Shri Shankara left his home and traveled on foot from Kaladi to Narmada, visiting many sacred places in between. In a place called Omkar Mandhata Shivalaya on the banks of river Narmada, he met his Guru Govindbhagvatpada who through formal rituals gave him Diksha(दीक्षा) and BrahmaVidya(ब्रह्मविद्या गायत्री). His Guru Parampara(गुरुपरम्परा) consists of the illustrious Shri Narayana, Shri Brahma, Maharishi Vashishtha, Maharishi Shakti, Maharishi Parashar, Maharishi Vedavyasa, Paramhamsa Suka, Gaudapada, Govindpada, Adi Shankara.
After serving his Guru for three years and learning from him the Vedakosha on his command to teach people Advaita Vedanta and promote Veda Dharma, Adi Shankara went to Kashi and started teaching and writing commentaries(भाष्य) on different Granthas(ग्रन्थ). He stayed in Kashi for four long years, wrote commentaries on Brahmasutra(ब्रह्मसूत्र), Shrimad Bhagvatgita(श्रीमद्भगवतगीता), Upanishads (उपनिषद), Shri Vishnushastranama(श्रीविष्णुसहस्त्रनाम), Shri Lalitatrisatistotra(श्रीललितात्रिशतिस्तोत्र), wrote many famous strotras and many other granthas there.
Important Events in His Life
Once young Adi Shankara went for taking alms(भिक्षा) and stopped outside a house of a poor old woman for alms. The lady rooted in Dharma with a lot of respect, gave Adi Shankara a dried Amalaka(आँवला) as there was nothing else in her house to offer. Moved by her acute state of poverty, Adi Shankara started singing praises of Mata Mahalakshmi(Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth). Pleased with his devotion, compassion and poetry, Mata appeared before Adi Shankara and on his request blessed the old woman’s house with a rain of golden Amalaka. This prayer is known as Kanakdhara Stotra(कनकधारास्तोत्र).
Once for the comfort of his mother Aryaamba, Adi Shankara prayed to a river to change her course and on his request, it changed course and started flowing near their home.
When Adi Shankara accepted Sannayasa and went to the banks of Narmada in search of his Guru, he reached outside the cave in the forest where Acharya Govindpada was sitting in Samadhi and started singing his praise.
उरगपतिमुखात् अधीत्य साक्षात्
स्वयमवनेर्विवरं प्रविश्य येन ।
जगदुपकारपरेण शब्द भाष्यम् ॥96
अधिगत परमार्थम् गौडपादान्महर्षेः ।
अधिजिगमिषुरेष ब्रह्मसंस्थामहं त्वाम्
प्रसृमरमहिमानंप्रापमेकान्त भक्त्या ॥97
Having learned all the Vidyas from Adisesha in the nether world, you came to this world to give it the Yoga Sutras and Mahabhashyam (Bhashyam on Panini Sutras of grammar). You have attained the highest spiritual realisation through the instruction received from the great Gaudapada, a disciple of Suka, the son of Vyasa. I salute thee, the repository of all virtues and have come praying for instruction in the truth of the Supreme Brahman. (Here he revealed that Govindpada Acharya was an incarnation of Maharishi Patanjali).
Hearing him even in Samadhi Acharya Govindpada realised the greatness of the visitor and asked “Who are you” to which Adi Shankara replied
न भूमिर्न तोयं न तेजो न वायुः
न खं नेन्द्रियं वा न तेषां समूहः ।
अनेकान्तिकत्वात् सुषुप्त्येकसिद्धःअनेकान्तिकत्वात् सुषुप्त्येकसिद्धः
तदेकोऽवशिष्टः शिवः केवलोऽहम् ॥केवलोऽहम् १॥
I am not the Earth nor Water, neither Fire nor Air, I
am not space. Neither am I any of the Faculties nor am I their
aggregate. I am not any of these as they are all uncertain.
I am proved however in the sole experience of deep sleep. That
One, the Residue, the Auspicious, the Only One, am I
Through these words immersed in the profound depth of Vedic knowledge and self-realisation by Adi Shankara, Acharya Govindpada realised that he is none other than Shiva himself and accepted him as his disciple.
In Kashi one day when Adi Shankara was returning after having the darshan of Vishvanath. To test and show the world greatness of Adi Shankara, Parameshwar Shiva in the form of Chandala with four Vedas in the form of dogs appeared before Adi Shankara.
Adi Shankara told him to move away to which the Chandala answered,
अन्नमयात् अन्नमयं अथवा चैतन्यमेव चैतन्यात् ।
द्विजवर दूरीकर्तुं वाञ्चसि किं ब्रूहि गच्छ गच्छेति ॥
O great among the twice-born! What is it that you want to
move away by saying, ”Go, go”? Do you want the body made
up of food to move away from another body made up of food?
Or do you want consciousness to move away from
Stunned by the nondualistic nature of his utterances and the Consciousness level of Chandala, Adi Shankara realised that he is none else than Parameshwara Shiva and started singing a stotra known as Manishapanchakam(मनीषापंचकम्).
जाग्रस्वप्नसुषुप्तिषु स्फुटतरा या संविदुज्जृंभते
या ब्रह्मादि पिपीलिकान्ततनुषु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी ।
सैवाहं न च दृश्यवस्त्विति दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्यास्ति चेत्
चण्डालोस्तु स तु द्विजोस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥
If a person has attained the firm knowledge that he is not an
object of perception, but is that pure consciousness which
shines clearly in the states of waking, dream and deep sleep,
and which, as the witness of the whole universe, dwells in all
bodies from that of the Creator Brahma to that of the ant, then
he is my Guru, irrespective of whether he is an outcaste or a
Brahmana. This is my conviction.
Pleased by Adi Shankar’s stuti(स्तुति), Parameshwar Shiva along with the four Vedas appeared in their original form, praised and blessed Adi Shankara and disappeared.
Once while Adi Shankara was teaching his disciples on the banks of the Ganga river in Kashi, Maharishi Vedavyasa appeared in the form of an old Brahmin and asked Adi Shankara to have a debate(शास्त्रार्थ) on the Brahmasutra(ब्रह्म सूत्र). This debate continued for many days until Padampada, the famous disciple of Adi Shankara, hinted by saying ‘Sankara is Siva and Vyasa is Narayana Himself. When these gods themselves dispute, what can a mere mortal like me do?’ Then Adi Shankara realised that this old Brahmin is but Maharishi Vedavyasa himself.
Adi Shankara prostrated before him and asked for his blessings. Maharishi Vedavyasa appeared in his original form, praised Adi Shankara that he has understood Brahmasutra in its true sense. Adi Shankara expressed that the objective of his life to preserve Veda Dharma is now complete and hence he wants to leave his mortal body. To this, Maharishi Vedavyasa answered “no your mission is not complete yet” and granted him another sixteen years of life.
Once Acharya Gaudapada, Guru of Acharya Govindpada appeared in the vision of Adi Shankara and heard his bhashya on Mandukya Upanishad and Karika on it. Pleased with the bhashya, Acharya blessed Adi Shankara and disappeared.
Adi Shankara went to Prayag to have a debate with Acharya Kumarila Bhatt who was famous for his knowledge of Purvamimansa(the ritualistic side of Veda) but when he reached, Acharya Kumarila was about to immolate himself as the expiration of Gurudroha as he became a disciple of Buddhist monks to learn from them the tenets of Buddhism and later defeated them. Therefore he expressed that he cannot have a debate with him and that he also wanted to write Vartika of his Bhashya but because of his vow he cannot do it.
Adi Shankara praised Acharya Kumarila Bhatt and said you are an incarnation of Shanmukha and sins can never touch you and offered that he can put the fire off with his yogabala but a staunch believer in his vrata, Kumarila Bhatt refused. He told Adi Shankara to give him Diksha of Brahma Vidya and told him to go and have a debate with his own disciple who was a staunch believer of Karmakanda Vishvaroop(Mandana Mishra). As per his wish, Adi Shankara initiated Acharya Kumarila Bhatt in Brahma Vidya. From there he went to Mahishmatipuri (माहिष्मतिपुरी) to have a debate with Mandana Mishra. First, Mandana Mishra and then Ubhaya Bharti his wife both debated with Adi Shankara and got vanquished by him. Mandana Mishra took Sannyasa and became a disciple of Adi Shankara and adopted the name Shri Sureshwaracharya. And Ubhaya Bharti merged with Mata Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom). It is believed that Mandana Mishra was ansha of Brahmadeva and his wife Ubhaya Bharti was ansha of Saraswati.
Adi Shankara once visited Kailash to have darshan of Parameshwar Shiva. Shiva blessed Adi Shankara and gave him four crystal Shiva Lingaa(स्फटिक लिंग). These four are worshipped in the four mathas established by the Acharya. Shiva also gave him a manuscript of Soundaryalahiri(सौन्दर्यलाहिरी). Unfortunately, Adi Shankara lost it but later composed 59 shlokas himself.
Adi Shankara reached Kashmir(Sharda Desha) where there was a famous temple dedicated to Mata Sharda there was an Omniscience Throne(सर्वज्ञपीठ) and there were four doors of the temple in four directions. North, East, West were already opened but no great Omniscient (सर्वज्ञ) Acharya from South had reached there till Adi Shankara and defeated acharyas who challenged him and answered Mata Sharda’s query about his purity and adorned the throne with his presence and proved the supremacy of Veda Dharma and the philosophy of Advaita(अद्वैत).
In this way, Adi Shankara traveled the whole of Bharatvarsha, debated with acharyas of different sects and religions, defeated them and established the supremacy of Veda dharma.
Adi Shankara had numerous disciples but four are very prominent and famous who later were made heads of the four Mathas he had established. They are: i) Padampadacharya(Sanandana) – besides his great depth of knowledge, he is famous for his intense devotion towards his guru ii) Suresheshvaracharya(Mandana Mishra) – famous for his learning iii) Hastamalakacharya – famous for his self-realisation. iv) Totakacharya(Giri) – famous for his service, obedience of guru Shri Vidyaranya of Sringeri Matha who wrote the hagiography of Adi Shankara Madhaviya Shankar Digvijaya.
Four Mathas and Reorganisation of Monastic Order
Adi Shankara travelled far and wide across Bharatvarsha, won the hearts and minds of people, spread the greatness of Sanatana Dharma, united Bharatvarsha once again culturally, spiritually and geographically. He visited Rameshswaram in the south to Kedarnath, Badrinath and Kailash in the north. Dwarka in the west to Puri in the east. He established the four mathas for the preservation, protection and promotion of Sanatana Dharma in all four directions of the country. He assigned one Devi, one Veda, one Gotra and one area to these four mathas.
i) In the north in Badrivan, Badrinath, he established a Jyotirmatha and appointed Totakacharya who was from the south as its head. This peetha is Atharvaveda(अथर्ववेद पीठ), Narayana Deva, Shakti Purnagiri, Tirtha Alaknanda, Sampradaya Nandavala, Acharya titles Giri, Parvat Sagar. Mahavakya – अयमात्मा ब्रह्म।।
ii) In the south in Sringeri, he established Shardamatha and appointed Sureshvaracharya who was from the east as its head. This peetha is Yajurveda(यजुर्वेद पीठ), Varah Deva, Shakti Sharda, Tirtha Tungabhadra, Sampradaya Bhurivala, Acharya titles all ten. Mahavakya – अहं ब्रह्मास्मि।।
iii) In the west in Dwarka, he established Kalika matha. This peetha is Samaveda(सामवेद पीठ). Appointed Padampadacharya who was from south Andhra as its head. This peetha is Deva Siddhesvara, Shakti Bhadra Kali, Tirtha Gomati, Sampradaya Kitavala, Acharya titles Tirtha, ashram. Mahavakya – तत्वमसि।।
iv) In the east in Puri, he established Govardhanmatha. This peetha is Rigveda(ऋगवेद पीठ) Appointed Hastmalakacharya who was from south Karnataka as its head. Deva Jagannatha, Shakti Vimala, Thirtha Mahodahi, Sampradaya Bhogavala, Acharya titles aranya vana. Mahavakya – प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म।।
Adi Shankara also gave a constitution for the functioning of these Mathas called Mathamnaya Mahanushasanam(मठाम्नाय महानुशासनम्). It is a 70 verse grantha.
He also organised the sannyasins in ten orders(अखाडा) and gave them specific responsibilities to perform. Saraswati(सरस्वती) and Bharti(भारती) for the special focus on the promotion of Vedic Knowledge, spirituality and culture. Tirtha(तीर्थ) and Ashram(आश्रम) for the special focus on the preservation of Tirtha and Ashram. Puri(पुरी) for the special focus on protecting and maintaining cities like Ayodhya, Mathura, Dwarka, Kanchi. Aranya(अरण्य) and Vana(वन) for the special focus on the preservation and protection of forest and forest dwellers. Saagar(सागर), Parvat(पर्वत) and Giri(गिरी). With special focus on preservation and protection of seas, mountains and natural resources of these areas.
Works of Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara has given human kind the huge treasure of Vedakosha to nourish its Consciousness(चेतना) with nectar(अमृत) of Brahma Rasa. Works that increase the Devotion(भक्ति), Knowledge(ज्ञान) and Detachment(वैराग्य) in the hearts of devotees. Works that destroy the darkness of ignorance(अज्ञान) and bestow the light of ultimate wisdom(विवेक). Works that lead the Soul(आत्मा) to self-realisation.
Adi Shankara propagated the philosophy of Non duality(अद्वैत) to make a point that it is only the Supreme Self(परमब्रह्म) that is there in this world. who is worshipped in different forms and is formless. Adi Shankara’s commentaries on Brahmasutra, Upanishads and Bhagvatgita are called Prasthantraya(प्रस्थानत्रय) which form the foundation of Advaita Vedanta.
He has also written commentaries on Shri Vishnu Sahastranama, Yogasutra, Lalita Trishati, Adhyatma Patala of Apasthambha Dharmasutra.
His short commentaries on Vedanta are called Prakaran Grantha.
Advaita Anubhuti(अद्वैतअनुभूति), Ajanana Bodhini(अज्ञानबोधिनी), Atmashatkak(आत्मषट्कम्), Vivekchudamani(विवेकचूडामनी), Tattvabodha(तत्वबोध), Anatmashrivigarhanam(अनात्मश्रीविगर्हणम्), Aatmabodha(आत्मबोध), Aparokshaanubhuti(अपरोक्षनुभूति), Upadeshashastri(उपदेशसाहस्त्री), Jivanmuktanandalahiri(जीवनमुक्तानंदलाहिरी), Nirvanamanjari(निर्वाणमन्जरी), Nirgunamanaspuja (निर्गुणमानसपूजा), Sarvavedantsiddhantasaarsamgrah (सर्ववेदान्तसारसंग्रह).
He has written many famous stutis, few of them are:
Dakshinamurtistotra(दक्षिणामूर्तिस्तोत्र), Kanakdharastotra(कनकधारास्तोत्र), Shivmanaspuja(शिवमानसपूजा), Durgamanaspuja(दुर्गामानसपूजा), Soundaryalahiri(सौन्दर्यलाहिरी), Anandalahiri(आनंदलाहिरी), Gangalahiri(गंगालाहिरी), Annapurnashtak(अन्नपूर्णष्टक), Shivanandalahiri(शिवानंदलाहिरी), Subramanyamstotra(सुब्रमण्यमस्तोत्र), Lakshminarsimhapancharatna(लक्ष्मीनृसिंहपंचरत्नस्तोत्र), Bhramarambashtak(भ्रमराष्टक), Narayanastotra(नारायणस्तोत्र) and many more.
ब्रह्मसत्य जगत मिथ्या।।
जन्मानेकशतैः सदादरयुजा भक्त्या समाराधितो भक्तैर्वैदिकलक्षणेन विधिना सन्तुष्ट ईशः स्वयम् ।
साक्षात् श्रीगुरुरूपमेत्य कृपया दृग्गोचरः सन् प्रभुः तत्त्वं साधु विबोध्य तारयति तान् संसारदुःखार्णवात् ॥
The Supreme Lord, moved by the devout and reverential homage of his disciples in accord with scriptural prescriptions in countless former births, incarnates out of compassion in the form of a Guru; he thereby comes within the orbit of sight, freely transmits to them the wisdom concerning Ultimate Reality, and enables them to cross over the ocean of sorrowful samsara, the realm of conditioned existence.
Jagatguru Shri Nimbarkacharya
सुदर्शन महाज्वाल कोटिसूर्यसमप्रभ ।अज्ञानान्धस्य मे देव विष्णोर्मार्गं प्रदर्शय ॥ २॥
I pray to Sudarshan who is bright and shines like millions of Sun to destroy my ignorance and show me the way to reach Shri Vishnu.
To preserve and promote the path of devotion(भक्ति), especially devotion towards Shri Vishnu(श्री विष्णु). To protect the holy cities(धर्म नगरी) of Sanatana Dharma related to Shri Vishnu from non-vedic, atheist and other such groups. On the instructions of Shri Vishnu, one of the most famous Aayudh(आयुध) of Shri Narayana’s divine discus(सुदर्शनचक्र) came on this earth in the form of Acharya Nimbark.
Early Life and Guru Diksha
In Andhra Pradesh on the banks of Godavari river in a village named Vaiduryapattanam(वैदूर्यपट्टनम), Arun Muni, descendant of Maharishi Bhrigu with his wife Jayanti Devi used to live. Arun Muni was a Tailang Brahman. When invaders were troubling the devotees and sages in the holy cities, especially the Braj region(ब्रजक्षेत्र), one group of sages decided to find the solution of this problem and reached the hermitage of Arun Muni. They conducted a month long Gopalyajna(गोपालयज्ञ) in the Margshirsha(मार्गशीर्ष मास) month. Pleased with their yajna, Shri Narayana instructed his Sudarshan Chakra to incarnate on earth and solve the problems of his devotees and re-establish Veda Dharma and protect his holy cities dear to him and his devotees.
On earth, seeing auspicious signs in the final offering in the yajna(पूर्णाहुती), all the sages were certain about the solution of their troubles and also blessed Arun Muni and his wife Jayanti to get a child. After sages returned to Madhura one day in the Pausha month, Arun Muni had a pleasing divine vision and experienced a light entering his heart. When Jayanti Devi came to take his blessings after evening prayers(संध्यापूजन), he put his hand on her head to bless her that divine light transferred into Jayanti Devi.
In the year 1114 BCE(some also suggest 3096 BCE) on the auspicious full moon day of Kartik month(कार्तिक शुक्लपूर्णिमा देवदिपावली), Shri Sudarshan incarnated on this earth from the womb of Mata Jayanti. All divine forces, deities, sages celebrated the birth of Shri Sudarshan on this earth. In the Naamkarana Samskar the divine child was named Niyamananda(one who takes pleasure in following the rules). His other names are Aruni(Son of Arun Muni), Haripriya(Dear to Shri Hari), Jayanteya(Son of Jayanti).
When other kids used to play, young Niyamanand used to hear the teachings of Veda given by his father to his disciples. At the age of eight, Arun Muni organised the sacred thread ceremony(यज्ञोपवीतसंस्कार) and imparted him Brahma Vidya(गायत्री मंत्र) and started his formal Vedic education. Soon he learned all the Shastras and Vedakosha.
Important Events In His Life
Hearing everyday stories about different incarnations of Shri Hari, Shri Niyamananda’s heart filled with devotion and he requested his parents to move to the Braj region, Realising their son’s strong affection towards Shri Hari, Arun Muni and Mata Jayanti decided to settle in the Braj region and in a place between Barsana and Govardhan they established their hermitage. Later this place became famous as Nimbagram.
On the instruction of Shri Hari, Shri Brahma Ji appeared in the form of a Buddhist monk at the ashram of Arun Muni. At that time Munivar was not present in the ashram, he was on the banks of Yamuna for the daily evening prayers(संध्या), Mata Jayanti was collecting flowers for evening prayers(संध्या) and Niyamananda was playing.
The monk asked for alms(भिक्षा) but there was nothing in the ashram to offer to the monk which made Mata Jayanti sad but Niyamananda told her ‘don’t worry mother, I will go and get some fruits and roots for the monk’. He told the monk to wait but the monk said that it is almost sunset(सूर्यास्त) and he will not take alms after sunset. Niyamananda assured him that the Sun will not set until he fulfils his dharma of serving the guest(अतिथिसेवा) and placed Sudarshan on the Nimba tree for light.
Niyamananda fulfilled his promise and when the monk was about to leave his ashram he realised that it was already four ghatis past sunset. Pleased with the devotion towards following dharma, Shri Brahma appeared before Niyamananda in his true form who then prostrated before the Lord and did namaskara. Shri Brahma Ji blessed Niyamananda and gave him a new name Nimbark(निम्बार्क). He told him about his previous birth in Dwapara(द्वापर) as sage Havirddhana Muni who appeared in Naimisharanya(नैमिषारण्य) to solve the confusion of sages in the convention held by Rishi Shaunak. He told him to focus on the mission of his incarnation and soon Devarishi Narad will come to initiate you in divine knowledge, mantra and upasana.
As instructed by Shri Narayana and Shri Brahma Ji, Devarishi Narad at an appropriate and auspicious time appeared before Shri Nimbark to initiate him. Seeing Devarishi Narad at their ashram, Arun Muni and Shri Nimbark did namaskar and prostrated before him. Devarishi initiated Shri Nimbark by following Pancha Samskar. Vaishnava Diksha gave him divine Gopal Mantra, Shaligram Shri Sarveshvara and divine knowledge given by incarnation of Shri Hari Shri Hamsa to the four Kumars(Sanak, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanatkumar) and from them to Devarishi Narad. Devarishi Narad taught Shri Nimbark about other granthas and the way of worshipping Shri Sarveshvara. He instructed Shri Nimbark to do penance as per Diksha. Blessed him and disappeared.
Shri Nimbarkacharya’ s heart after Diksha from Devarishi Narad filled with strong desire to have darshan of Shri Narayana. He accepted Sannyasa and took a vow(व्रत) of Naishthik Brahmacharya( vow of complete physical, mental celibacy) and started austerity as per the guidance of Devarishi Narad. He stopped taking solid food and used to take only juice of neem leaves. He used to meditate on Shri Narayana and do chanting(जप) of mantra he got from Shri Narad. His spiritual power and Consciousness level started growing and one day he reached the supreme state of his austerity and got the darshana of Shri RadhaKrishna(श्रीराधाकृष्ण)
He recollected all his past lives and also the ones he would take in the future. He realised that he is joint incarnation of Sakhi Rangadevi and Sudarshan Chakra. He also became aware about the mission of his present life on this earth. His parents witnessed all this, realised he is an incarnation of the divine. They took Diksha of divine knowledge from him about the supreme truth and remained in the ashram while he left the place and began his mission of spreading Dharma, devotion of Shri Vishnu. With blessings of his Guru, parents and Shri Radha Krishna, Shri Nimbarkacharya started his tour of Bharatvarsha with few of his disciples.
After having a darshan of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Shri Badrinath, he reached on the banks of Brahmaputra and decided to live there for a few days. One day while he was walking on the banks of Brahmaputra, he saw a ship drowning in the river with at least a hundred people onboard. With his tapobala(divine power earned through austerity) he saved the ship and appeared on it. During the tour on the ship he reached Puri and had darshan of Shri Krishna, Balrama and Mata Subhadra. He defeated many atheist and other scholars there in debates.
During his Bharat yatra, Shri Nimbarkacharya reached Podhigai Hills(Agastya Malai).
One day he was looking for a stream to have a bath, at that moment Maharishi Agastya appeared in his vision. He was sitting on the banks of Ramganga(Ramnathi), a tributary of Thamirbarani river. He was looking dejected, Shri Nimbarkacharya asked the reason for his sadness. Maharishi Agastya replied that long time ago this river flooded and washed my ashram and many disciples(though I know they reached to higher lokas) but those rishis who are unaware of this fact cursed the river for the sin of Brahmahatya. Since then, it has been like a blood stream. The whole region’s well being depends on this river. After hearing about Maharishi Agastya’s cause of sadness, Shri Nimbarkacharya assured Maharishi and touched the river with the toe of his right leg and removed the curse. Soon the river became normal and healthy.
Maharishi Agastya filled with joy and asked Shri Nimbark to give darshan of his divine form and Shri Nimbarkacharya appeared before him in the form of Sudarshan and Lord Aniruddha. After that, they spent the whole day together talking about Shri Narayana.
During his Bharat yatra, some disciples of Shri Nimbarkacharya from Kerala told him about the sad state of affairs in Thiruvanantapuram at the Shri Anantapadmanabhaswami Temple. There are some greedy Brahmans who have stopped following Vedadharma and have overthrown honest pious attendants of Padmanabhaswami and started promoting and practicing some kriyas against the Vedas. Because of this, atheistic philosophy is growing and thousands have stopped practicing dharma and have become atheist. After hearing this, Shri Nimbarkacharya decided to restore the divya dhama of Shri Vishnu and with his disciples, he reached there.
When Shri Nimbarkacharya reached, there some event of non-Vedic rituals was happening. He went there and met all the people and those fake Brahmans and asked for their blessings. Seeing the Acharya, the innocent attendees got attracted towards him and stood up in respect. At this all the greedy Brahmans got angry but welcomed Acharya with fake smiles. After this, Shri Acharya had a darshan of Padmanabhaswami with Mata Sridevi and Bhudevi. Later he moved to a nearby forest area with his disciples and made huts to stay there.
All ill minded Brahmans who were running a non-Vedic rituals system to earn money thought that this new guest is a threat to their fakery so they decided to kill him and reached the hut where the Acharya was staying. They all surrounded the hut of Shri Nimbarkacharya, set it on fire and started celebrating. Padmanabhaswami who was watching everything, came to the resuce of his devotee and proves his greatness by appearing in the form of Shri Narsimha and swallowed the fire.
All the ill-minded Brahmans realised their mistakes and seeing Shri Narsimha, took refuge of Shri Nimbarkacharya. As a true devotee of Shri Hari is always full of compassion and love they prayed to the Lord to forgive them. They all left the path of greed and non-Vedic rituals and became disciples of Shri Nimbarkacharya.
Shri Nimbarkacharya reached Dwarkapuri, saw the influence of atheists there and defeated them using his divine powers as he restored Veda dharma there. In this way, touring across Bharat restoring the Veda dharma and devotion towards Shri Vishnu completed his mission and returned to Braj region Nimbagram.
Shri Nimbarkacharya had four main disciples:
Shri Srinivasacharya who was an incarnation of a conch shell one of the Aayudh of Shri Vishnu. He took birth as Vidyanidhi, a Shakta scholar later became the disciple of Shri Nimbarkacharya. He was appointed as a successor by Acharya himself.
Shri Audambaracharya who came on this earth in a miraculous way. When Shri Nimbarkacharya was in Thiruvanantapuram and staying in forest, there was a Udumbara tree near his hut and its fruit fell and touched the toe on the right leg of Acharya and from it, Shri Audambaracharya appeared. He wrote Nimbark Vikranti hagiography of Shri Nimbark.
And the other 2 were Shri Gaurmukhacharya and Shri Lakshaman Bhatt.
Shri Nimbarkacharya Peetha
Around 500 years ago there was an ashram in the Pushkar region(पुष्कर क्षेत्र) of Rajasthan where sages used to live. This area was the main route to visit Dwarka and Pushkar. Once a yavan Mastingshah started troubling the sages and devotees in this region. They went to Mathura to seek refuge under Shri Harivyasdevacharya, the then head of Nimbark Parampara. They requested him to help them. Hearing their story, Shri Harivyasdevacharya instructed his disciple Shri Parshuramdevacharya to go and make that area free from the troubles of Mastingshah.
Shri Parshuramdevacharya went there and defeated the troublemaker yavan Mastingshah.
On the instructions of his guru Shri Harivyasdevacharya in the Vikram Samvat 1520 with the help of Shri Sheo Singh Ji Bhati and Shri Gopal Singh Ji Bhati Sardar of Khejadla village, Jodhpur, he established Shri Nimbarkacharya Peetha there as this region was Nimbarkteertha in ancient times.
Here Shri Sarveshvara Shaligram, Shri Radha Madhav, Shri Gokul Chandramaji, Shri Acharya Panchayatan and Vedas are worshipped.
It is the main Nimbarkacharya Peetha in the country.
Works of Shri Nimbarkacharya
Shri Nimbarkacharya promoted the philosophy of Duality Non-Duality(द्वैताद्वैत) with special focus on devotion towards Shri Vishnu. He has written commentaries and many granthas.
– Vedanta Parijata Kaustubh(वेदान्तपारिजातकौस्तुभ)commentary on Brahmasutra(ब्रह्मसूत्र) with a view on Duality Non Duality(द्वैताद्वैत).
– Sadachar Prakash(सदाचार प्रकाश) commentary on Karma Kand (कर्म काण्ड).
– A commentary on Shrimadbhagvatgita (श्रीमद्भगवतगीता).
– Mantra Rahasya Sodashi(मंत्ररहस्यषोडसी)commentary on Gopal Mantra (गोपालमंत्र).
– Prapanna Kalpa Valli (प्रपन्नकल्पवल्ली)commentary on Mukunda Mantra (मुकुन्द मंत्र).
– Prapatti Chintamani(प्रपत्तीचिन्तामणि) grantha on supreme refuge.
– Prata Samaran Stotra(प्रातः स्मरण स्तोत्र) hymn on devotion.
– Vedanta Kama Dhenu(वेदान्तकामधेनु)
– Savishesh Nirvishesh Shri Krishna Stavan (सविशेष निर्विशेष कृष्ण स्तवन) a hymn on Shri Krishna.
– Radha Ashtak(राधाष्टक) a hymn devoted to Shri Radha Ji.
शरीरं सुरूपं तथा वा कलत्रंयशश्चारु चित्रं धनं मेरुतुल्यम् ।
मनश्चेन्न लग्नं गुरोरङ्घ्रिपद्मे
ततः किं ततः किं ततः किं ततः किम् ॥ १॥
One’s vesture may be superb, one’s consort likewise, one’s reputation resplendent and renowned, and one’s riches like unto Mount Meru; but if one’s mind be not centred upon the lotus feet of the Guru, what then, what then, what then?