Tag Archives: Sankaracharya

Who Is A Jagadguru?

Translated from a post in Tamizh from Kamalji Panditji.

This happened in 1933 on a tour to Kashi.

A grand welcome was arranged by the Raja for Sankaracharya. Erudite pundits, aacharya’s, dignitaries had assembled in good number. No shortage of them ever in a premier learning cum spiritual center like Kashi in those days when they were held in veneration.

Where there is scholarship, green-eyed monster of envy resides usually not far away. This occasion was no exception. Among those who had gathered were some who were envious of the attention the sage was drawing and his aura.

‘So this is the young man who carries the title of Jagadguru, eh? Let’s quickly show him for what he is,’ they thought among themselves.

As soon as the sage settled down, one of them heckled him: ‘Who is Jagadguru (jagad = world) here?’

‘I,’ said the humble sage.

So brazen? ‘Oh, so you’re the guru of this jagad, eh?’

‘Oh, no, jagadaam guru na, jagathi bandhyamanaa sarve mama guru.’

<’No guru of the world, I claim. On the other hand all creatures present in this creation (jagad) are my guru’s and hence Jagadguru.’>

The beauty (and ambiguity) of Sanskrit – a poet’s delight and readers’ woe – allows the compound word Jagaduru to be resolved in two different ways – one who is the guru for this jagad or one to whom this jagad is a guru!!

Smiling at them, he inquired, ‘What are these?’ pointing at holes in a wall of the room.

‘Bird nests.’

‘Who built them?’

Kuruvi’s (common house sparrows)’

‘The limbless kuruvi’s can build such beautiful houses for themselves that I cannot with the benefit of all my limbs. Blessed with creativity of this kind, they are my guru’s.’

He did namskarams with all humility and veneration to those kuruvi’s!

His critics were silenced…and won over.

He – Jagadguru Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati Swamigal – was born this day (18/05) in 1894.

End