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8. Badarikashrama

 

Badarikashrama is a Tirtha, a holy place with sacred associations, in the Himalayas. The access to it not easy. The twelve-year boy Shankara did not however mind the difficulties of the ascent and went up with determination to reach the place. On his way to Badari, he made it a point to visit all places of pilgrimage and have Darshan of all the different divine images in the temples. With great piety, he worshipped and adored the Gods in all the shrines. Proceeding along the holy banks of Ganga, he passed through places like Prayaga and soon found himself in Haridwar.

Haridwar had always been the home of many monks from ages past, and his arrival at that spot of hallowed associations brought great joy to Shankara. Haridwar is the gateway to the Himalayas. Shankara performed the religious rites due to be done by pilgrims at that holy place and then proceeded towards Hrishikesh, which in olden times was verily a Yagna Bhumi, a sacrificial region. From now on we shall perceive in Shankara, an Acharya, a Jagadguru whose role is of establishing Dharma, true faith.

Acharya was no doubt firmly rooted in the Supreme self-knowledge of the Brahman. Surely it was not for being immersed in Samadhi, the super-conscious state, and for the experiencing of the bliss of the self-hood that his advent had come about. The compelling mission, the grand purpose, of his life was rather virile consolidation, and the firm establishment once again of the whole Vedic Dharma, the Vedic faith.

We see in Shankara's life a bright illustration of the manner in which the knower of Truth, a Jnani lives on in this world of relative values and conditioned existence even after he has attained the Knowledge of the non-dual Unity. The knower of the Truth lives on seeking refuge in Vidyamaya ( the higher aspect of the Cosmic Illusion which turns one to right perception and away from false judgment, Sri Devi's grace to be precise) and holding on to devotion to God, compassion towards beings and dispassion towards objects of enjoyment. His life on earth has two aims, teaching people the higher learning and himself tasting the Rasa, the divine sweetness of the Divine Bliss.

Those who ascend to spiritual realm are of two kinds, the Jivakotis and the Ishwarakotis. The latter are especially endowed individuals. But the patterns of life of these two categories of persons differ and are unique in their own separate way. The Jivakotis can gain the highest self-knowledge by means of spiritual practice and prayer and through intense austerity, but cannot, after coming down from Nirvikalpa Samadhi stay very long in this world. When the great power, Kundalini reaches the Sahasrara, the plane of conscious is Chidakasha and after the union of Paramashiva and Sridevi, which is nothing but realization of the individual Soul as the Universal soul, Paramatman, perfect knowledge is attained and Nirvikalpa Brahma Samadhi follows. Yogi attains perfect bliss and becomes firmly established in Supreme Parabrahman. Now the self can linger in the physical body at the most for twenty-one days. And then, their bodies fall off like dried up leaves. They are then freed for all time from the riddle of life and death and attain Nirvana liberation, which unlike other lower states of attainment of heavenly worlds (which most other dualistic sects mistake for Moksha, the final liberation), is the consummation of all spiritual striving, the very omega of perfection. But in the case of those who are anointed ones endowed with special commands, i.e. Avatars, their embodiment is for the fulfillment of a divine purpose, for the ensuring of the welfare of the world and living beings. They are men out of the ordinary, sent to earth by God as his very manifestations. Their number is few. Whenever there comes about in the world a decline of the true spirit of religion, then the Lord, as promised in the Gita, sends out His anointed souls to arrest the decline of the true religious faith in the world and to re-establish that faith on firm foundations. The advent of these extraordinary spiritual stars is not for the acquisition of self-knowledge for themselves since they are already endowed with this knowledge. They are born liberated. They come down in order to show the dwellers on earth that the eternal path to perfection which men have forsaken and forgotten and in order to lead men on to the way to salvation.

These supermen with divine commissions the greatest of the Knowers of Brahman, but at the same time in response o the especial wish of the Lord, they slide down a little from the final state of Beatitude which is attained only with great difficulty, and for the good of the world, they tarry for a time in the region of duality. In the consciousness of the All-ness of the One Reality, there are two different reaches, one is Jnana- knowledge and the other is Vijnana or super-knowledge or specially verified knowledge. Even on the plane of remaining in Nirvikalpa Samadhi, there are several grades and levels of knowledge-acquisition and these are described in the scriptures. For instance, these states find a mention in them Brahmavid, Brahmavidvara, Brahmavidvariyan and Brahmavidvarishta. Brahmavid means a knower of Brahman, and Vara, Variyan and Varishra are suggestive of ascending comparative degrees of excellence and fullness. The normal human being, the ordinary Jivakoti, who takes to spiritual striving can attain Brahma Jnana, but cannot reach the state of Vijnana or super-specialty.

As long as the commissioned supermen referred to above, having, by the desire of the Lord, come down from the region of the super- conscious state of Samadhi, inhabit the world of living beings, their only wish being to do good to the world. If they remain immersed in deep Samadhi, no teaching and instructing of people becomes possible. Therefore, they do, in accordance with the wish of the Lord, reside in the world, perceiving the reality which is Brahman immanent in all things. That Bhakti or devotion which follows and is consequent on Jnana or knowledge is indeed fruition of right Bhakti. Pity the fools who indulge in duality, terming it Bhakti. We perceive this true and unique Bhakti in Acharya's life by the will of the Divine.

This is the view of the scriptures in general. However, by divine grace, a Sadhaka can indeed perfect Vijnana, by which the Kundalini returns to lower Chakras, allowing the Sadhaka to remain in undisturbed bliss of Brahman, at the same time allowing him to carry out his day to day worldly activities. This exactly is what is taught to followers of Srividya. Most scriptures ( I should say most Yogic and Tantric scriptures to be precise, since I personally cannot claim detailed study in other areas) however stop at Sahasrara since this is indeed meant to be the end of the journey for a Jivakoti. However, in Samayachara, (the very soul and essence of it being Srividya), Vijnana is but a natural course of study since the perfection in Srividya indicates that the Sadhaka is out of the ordinary. However, due to various injunctions in scriptures which ban public discussions on this highly esoteric and highly guarded methodology and theory of Vijnana ( to be handed over by a Guru to a disciple who is eligible to receive this lofty knowledge) and the descent of Kundalini by will. This piece about Kundalini is my own addition and none of the biographies of Acharya speak about it. Ascent of Kundalini makes a Jnani and a tailored descent of Kundalini, possible with certain Tantric techniques and most importantly by Sri Devi's grace, makes a Vijnani.

Shankara conducted himself in his work on the practical plane by taking the attitude of the devotion of the devotee. Making devotion the sporting field, he collected and rested his mind-stuff on that Brahman. Again, in order to re-establish the glory of the centers of sacred pilgrim spots in which the presence of Gods and Goddesses is felt and experienced, he undertook extensive pilgrimages, though to hi, such a discipline was of need whatsoever, for he was himself the very spirit of pilgrimage incarnate. Shankara had also not come to earth only to preach Advaita Vedanta, though indeed the Advaita experience of the One without a Second is the last word in all spiritual striving. His advent was also for the re-establishment of the Vedic faith, the way of thought and life enunciated in the Vedas, which is all-inclusive of the different attitudes and modes of approach. Few indeed are those who are qualified to receive the acme of knowledge of the non-dual absolute directly. Only when through worship and adoration of the Gods and Goddesses who are the effulgent forms and manifestations of the Parabrahman's ( or Parashakti's) several expressions and aspects and powers, the mind-stuff becomes purified and spotless, does the truth of the non-dual Absolute shine in it. It is because of this that the scriptures enjoin instructions regarding the performance of good deeds and rituals like ceremonial worship, adoration, fire sacrifices etc. These instructions are prescribed to different aspirants and salvation-seekers each suited to the degree and the stage of development in them. This is also the reason why Acharya propelled by a desire to do good to very many people, interested himself in the renovation of the different places of pilgrimage. During his itinerary throughout the length and breadth of India, he not only re- consecrated the sanctuaries of the places but his visits to these sacred spots did much more than merely recharging and reviving the spirit of those places. His wanderings were really big campaigns of national awakening on the front of popular religion. He performed appropriate rites and ceremonies at all the places he visited, and thus helped the especial glory of each place to become more manifest. The genius of each locality became better appreciated and became more operative than till then. As a result of this, there was a religious revival in the society. Numberless men and women came to know from him the true significance of divine worship and took to assiduously adoring the Gods and goddesses. As the Gita puts it wisely, ` What the great souls or leaders practice, the standard set by them, the people and the mass common folk emulate, follow". Even up to this day, it is the ideals highlighted by Acharya that inspire people in respect of the worship and adoration of deities. Hence does the pilgrimage part of Acharya's life work forms an important aspect of his mission of resuscitating religion in the land of Bharat.

Arriving at Hrishikesh, Acharya first proceeded to the temple of Yagneshwara Mahavishnu, the Lord of Sacrifices. In days long gone by, a community of sages had installed at this place, the image of Mahavishnu to be adored at the time of performing Yagnas or sacrifices. But now when Acharya went into the sanctum, he found the pedestal barren and empty. There was no image of any aspect of Lord, and there was no arrangement of any kind for any worship of God. Acharya was sorely disappointed and grief-stricken. He soon gathered information from the people of the locality to the effect that, frightened by the troubles caused by Chinese bandits, the priests of the temple had concealed the image of Sri Vishnu somewhere in the bosom of the bed of the holy Ganga. But afterwards, even in spite of extensive search to recover the image, it had not been possible to locate it and re-install it. All this information made Acharya feel down-cast. He remained silent for a moment and then plunged into meditation. Coming out of his deep trance after a while, he asked the local Brahmin inhabitants of the place, "In case the missing image is found and recovered, are you willing and ready to re-install it and make the necessary arrangements for the regular worship and service?" All of them gave their ready assent in great joy. Thereupon Acharya rose from his place, walked a short distance along the bank of Ganga and pointing to a spot there, announced, " Here lies the holy image". To the great surprise of all, after just a little effort, the image was found intact. The people of the place were overjoyed at the discovery and soon on an auspicious day, to the accomplishment of the prescribed rites, got the image re-installed on the altar in the temple. Acharya stayed on there for a few days and brought satisfaction to all by his philosophical and religious discourses and instructions. He then resumed his pilgrimage and set off towards holy Badari.

India is pre-eminently the land for pilgrimage. And in this vast stretch of the Punyabhumi or the sacred land, no region is more inspiring and invigorating than the Himalayas. The Himalayas are no lifeless rock and stone, no inert slope and peak, they pulsate with spiritual vibrations of high intensity, they are the treasure-house of deep spiritual emotions and urges. The serene and meditative atmosphere of the Himalayas which are the haunt even of the Gods in heaven, powerfully acted on the highly poised mind of Acharya and brought about an indescribable change in his attitude. His usually introspective mind became indrawn all the time. Marching up the mountains was often a test of endurance and a risk to safety, but the great soul, and the one already liberated while living in the body, a Jivanmukta, bore cheerfully the rigors of the difficult ascent.

Close to Hrishikesh is Lacchman Jhoola, famous as the spot where Vidura underwent his religious austerities. Getting across the Ganga here, Acharya surmounting a high mountain uninhabited but covered with forests, reached Vyasashrama. Beyond that place, the path lead towards Devaprayaga. There are five holy Prayagas or river- confluences on the Himalayas and among them, the holiest is Devaprayaga where the rivers Alakananda and Bhagirati mingle together. It is a pilgrim center of great sanctity. At this place, Acharya offered worship at the temples of Sri Rama and Sita, Hara and Parvati, and Ganesha, and also performed the rites associated with the sacred place, and experienced immense satisfaction in consequence. On entering the Himalayan region, Acharya became extremely indrawn and deeply introspective and more and more introvert. His disciples were, with great care, looking after his physical safety and well-being. The Acharya, except when he was actually walking along his way, was most of the time immersed in meditation. Passing Bilwakedara on the way, Shankara and his disciples reached Srinagar. This place was also known as Srikshetra. In the past, this place was the capital of the rulers of Uttarakhanda. Among the many temples in this place, the best known were those of Kamaleshwara Shiva and Sri Vishnu. Another fact of importance about the region was that five centers known as Siddha Peethas or seats of enlightenment, proclaimed the predominance of Vamachara Tantric modes of spiritual discipline. The five Peethas were known as Sriyantrasita, Rajarajeshwari, Kamasammardini, Chamunda and Mahishamardini. In those days, the practice of offering human sacrifice was in vogue among the Tantrika residents of that place.

As the news of Acharya's arrival at the place went around, groups and groups of people flocked to him to listen to his discourses on religion and morals. Acharya came to know from the people of the locality that the practice of human sacrifice was indulged in by the Tantrikas, and he called the Tantrikas to a discussion. The community of Tantrikas came in a body and engaged Acharya in a debate. Acharya however in a very calm and composed way, explained to them the true significance and import of spirituality and scriptures and corrected them of their perverted notions and retrieved them from their infatuation for the earful rite of offering human sacrifice. Even the very stone piece which had served as the altar for the offering of human sacrifice was cast away to the depths of the river waters. So through was the transformation wrought by Acharya. What a cruel rite this human sacrifice is! And all this in the name of religion and faith too! The primordial power is the Eternal Mother of all created beings. Is it at all possible that she is pleased and propitiated by drinking the blood of Her own children and the offering of the severed heads of Her own offspring. Sri Durga purposefully avoided killing even an evil Asura like Mahisha out of compassion for her wayward son. The Devas had to make her drink Madhu to make her wild with anger so that she could do a higher good to the world by destroying the demon. Sri Devi is thus the very personification of compassion and love. Whatever colourful words and logic may be used by people like Vimalananda and some others, the fact remains that Vamachara is condemnable in most cases. The tantras themselves have stated that Vamachara is indeed for Pashu or Tamasic Sadhakas. Tamas can lead no where. These are very critical times when a lot of nonsense is being pushed in the name of Tantra and Sadhana. In the light of this, Acharya's message gains all the more importance.

Leaving Srinagar, Acharya continued his journey and passed through Rudraprayag and arrived at Nandiprayag. All these places are well- known places of pilgrimage in the Himalayas. At every place he visited, crowds of people came to see and hear him, and he instructed and exhorted them to preserve and safeguard the Vedic faith and culture. Just beyond Nandiprayag, lies the shrine of Badari. It is there that the lovely confluence of the Mandakini and Alakananda is situated. The charming and awe-inspiring sublime surroundings of this sacred spot had once cast their spell on sage Vasishta and drawn him to this region. Vasishta performed severe austerities at this place to win boons from Lord Shiva. It was this sage who installed in that shrine, the deity known as Vasishteshwara Shiva. Closely are the mountain stream Virahi Ganga and the shrine of Viraheshwara Mahadeva. It is believed that in days of yore, Lord Shiva, overwhelmed with grief at the separation from Sati, his consort, did very severe penance at this place. The sacred memory of this act of Shiva proclaims even today the especial glory of the locality and pilgrims who come to the place tangibly feel the powerful undulation of great pathos which is awakened in them on arrival here by thoughts of the Shiva-Shakti separation.

The Acharya found immense delight in these visits to the many sacred centers pulsating with holiness and steeped into serenity. The visits were a soul-enthralling experience to him and his disciples. The Acharya next went towards Garuda Ganga. Tradition has it that at this spot, the great bird devotee Garuda went through severe austerities for the vision of Vishnu. Indeed all places on the Himalayas are surcharged with the spirit of high austerity and ascetical life. That is why the Himalayas are designated as Devatma, the divine souled mountains. That spot at which a great soul attains perfection through a course of spiritual discipline contains for a long time to vibrate with the thought-currents of his experiences. And many aspirants of subsequent periods get the rare opportunity of strengthening and enriching their own spiritual life by availing themselves those thought-currents. The though waves of a Master Spirit do not abate or die with his physical death, they live on and act on kindred souls despite distances in time and space.

Crossing one after another, many peaks of the Himalayas, Acharya and his disciples reached Jyotirdhama. The ruler of that area came to hear about the arrival of the Acharya and personally went forward to greet and welcome the adorable monk and with great earnestness and warmth, accorded him a befitting reception. Four temples in that region were dedicated to Vasudeva, Nrisimha, Durga Devi and Jyotirlinga Shiva. Acharya visited them all and offered worship at each of them to the great joy of himself and the followers. The Acharya did not leave Jyotirdhama at once. At the earnest importunities of the ruler, he condescended to stay on at the place for a few days. Needless to add, the period of his sojourn there saw, as in the case of other places visited by him, an upsurge of spirit in the people.

Even long before Acharya arrived at a place all over the Himalayan region, he was well-known as the one possessed of super-human wisdom, sublime realizations and astounding versatility. The most remarkable fact about him was his age. He was only twelve then. But a divine radiance enveloped his whole being. He struck everyone as the very acme of monasticism. His disciples, by physical age, were older than him. Coming to learn of his arrival accompanied by aged disciples at Jyotirdhama, a huge assemblage of men, Brahmin scholars and spiritual aspirants flocked to have a look at the young and brilliant Acharya. His tireless exposition of the truth of the non-dual Brahman and of the contents of the Vedas charmed every listener. The incomparable celestial charm of the boy-monk, the divine glow on his child-like countenance beaming with bliss of Sacchidananda, his two eyes effulgent with indrawnness and subjective absorption, his severely pleasant form and above all the extreme sweetness of his demeanor and character, filled the minds of all with amazement on the one hand and delight on the other. The Acharya's listeners and pupils were much senior in age and worldly experiences than him. But the boy-monk, by his clear exposition of the scriptural contents and by the great force of his personality immersed and nourished in the profound experience of Brahman realization was able to completely free everyone from doubts and fill all minds with intellectual contentment and satisfaction.

In the hymn to Dakshinamurthy, the south-facing Shiva, composed by Acharya, there is a very captivating picture of a strange scene: "This indeed is wonderful, under a banyan tree are seated old, aged disciples before a youthful master. The master sits mute or silent and by his eloquent silence, dispels all the doubts of the disciples". " He, who sitting silent emanates the knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, he, the young, most eminent of the a1s, surrounded by the assemblage of hoary-headed devout aspirants for the knowledge of Brahman, he holds Jnana Mudra in his palm and is the very embodiment of bliss, merged and satisfied in Self, with eyes closed, him that Dakshinamurthy do I adore".

In this hymn the Acharya ahs described, as it were, his own Guru aspect. He was verily the incarnation of Dakshinamurthy, the greatest of all Gurus. By his mere presence and proximity, lit the lamp of wisdom in many a soul and conferred the elixir of immortality in the life of vast number of beings. As the rising of sun automatically dispels the covering of darkness, so does the mere sight of a Knower of Brahman drive away the darkness of ignorance in a man. To the superficial eye, the Knower of Brahman also inhabits a physical body like that of an ordinary man, but in fact even his body is one that is beyond nature, super-physical, transmundane. He is light and consciousness and nothing else.

People have observed in the proximity of great saints like Sri Narasimha Bharati Mahaswamigal and Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal of Sringeri Sarada Peetham and also Sri Srimat Paramacharya Chandrasekhara Mahasannidhanam of Kanchi Kamakoti Mahapeetham as also in the presence of Sri Ramana, a strange power of divinity that automatically dispels all doubts. A learned scholar once had a doubt whether he had to take Sanyasa to achieve realization or continue as a householder. He sat thinking about it in front of the altar where Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi was performing Pooja to Sri Mahatripurasundari and Sri Chandramouleshwara. Automatically he heard the voice of the Acharya ringing in his ears, " Son, why take Sanyasa? Why cant you achieve what you want to, living as a normal householder? You are not meant to become a Sanyasin. What difference does it make any way? Worship Bhagavati Sri Kamakshi with devotion and nothing will remain impossible to you any more". The Guru's counsel brought tears of joy in his eyes. When he later went to receive Prasadam from Acharya, the great sage smiled meaningfully at his disciple who was now cleared of all doubts. Such is the greatness of the Acharyas of the lineage of Adi Shankara, who have carried the light of Brahmavidya even to this day, in an unbroken chain, Avicchinna Parampara. My Salutations to the great Guruparampara.

Many eager aspirants from all over the Himalayan region, athirst for knowledge availed themselves of the presence of the Acharya and felt themselves blessed. Leaving Jyotirdhama behind, Acharya visited one after another the shrines of Vishnu Prayaga, Dhauli Ganga, Brahmakunda, Vishnukunda, Shivakunda and Ganesha Tirtha and many other holy spot too and reached Padukeshwar. It is said that the king Pandu performed severe penance and ardent worship here and obtained the vision of Ashutosha Shiva. Now a days, trip to the Himalayas is comparatively an easy affair. At present, year after year, more than a hundred thousand pilgrims drawn from many parts of India visit Badari Narayan at the season of pilgrimage. There are arrangements now for quick transport of pilgrims by motor bus, and pilgrims who go to Badari Narayan can easily return Hrishikesh within a few days. Good roads have been laid, hotels have come up, and the wayside Chatis or rest-houses provide residential facilities to the pilgrims. But most pilgrims still prefer to go on foot the distance to Badari Narayan believing that there is greater religious merit in arriving at a shrine as a pedestrian rather than as a bus-passenger. But in the days when Acharya toured the Himalayas, conditions were quite different. Very few people dared think of going to these traditionally holy shrines as no one could be sure of reaching them alive at all. Death on the way from cold, starvation, wild animals or accidents like land slides or snow fall. In fact any one who left on a tour of the higher Himalayas in those days was quite meaningfully said to be leaving on a Mahaprasthana, a grand going or a great departure. For it was a going which might never know a coming back. And inaccessible holy places were called the veritable gateways to the great departure, the last parting.

Though Acharya had reached the pinnacle of the realization of nun- dual Brahman consciousness, and was gifted with unfathomable learning and far-famed eloquence, from the view point of age, physical build and bodily strength, he was only a boy of twelve years. Yet, divinely commissioned for fulfilling His mission he had, during a period of three months, defied the hazards of difficult mountain tracks and the frowns and inclemencies of the nature and moved on foot. He crossed many a river and rivulet, passed through dense forests teeming with wild, ferocious beasts, stayed in many inaccessible mountain caves, surmounted many tall peaks and overcame innumerable obstacles in the way.

Badari Kshetra soon became visible at a short distance. The altitude of the area is 10,224 feet above sea level. Acharya and his disciples reached a very holy place there called Bhuvaikuntha. The unparalleled loveliness of this sacred spot and its solemn surroundings were such as to automatically transport the mind, to a plane beyond physical consciousness, to the world of the super-sensuous. At this place did the sages Nara and Narayana perform penance in days of yore. On two sides of the region, two snow covered mountain peaks, as white as foam, named Nara and Narayana, stood aloft in noble grandeur proclaiming the glory of that ancient past. Close by, flowed in its own majestic course, the river Alakananda carrying down cold glacial waters as also the spiritual message of the Himalayas. Just by the side of the temple of Narayana were hot springs. Acharya and his disciples bathed in the hot springs and went to the shrine of Badrivishalji. But the four-armed idol of Badari Narayana installed by the sages in the Satyayuga or the Golden Age was not to be seen in the shrine. In the place o that idol, they were worshipping a Salagrama stone. Acharya performed in the prescribed manner the worship due to the deity and came out of the temple with a heavy heart. The temple priests had assembled there to have a view of him. Addressing them, Acharya enquired, " O venerable priests, why is the shrine without the idol of Narayana? I have heard it said that in all the four yugas, the lord dwells at this sacred site".

The priests answered, " O great soul! In consequence of the depredations of Chinese bandits, our forefathers found it advisable to conceal in safety the holy image in some spring nearby. But in spite of intensive search, the image could not be recovered yet. Therefore, all along, since the Lord has been worshipped here in the symbol of the sacred Salagrama stone". Hearing this account, Acharya became immersed in deep thought, and remained absorbed in meditation. On returning to normal consciousness, he slowly rose with a one- pointed mind and proceeded towards the Naradakunda springs. The disciples, temple priests and the pilgrims all followed him in mute wonder. Reaching the springs, Acharya stood motionless for a moment and then started getting down into the waters of the spring. The priests who saw him going into the spring, were greatly alarmed and cried out, " Great One, do not get into these springs. They are connected underneath with the Alakananda river. The under-current will draw you into the deep bottom of the river. Quite a number have lost their lives by getting into these springs. Please come away!" Acharya did not pay any heed to the alarm raised. He dived into the springs and came out holding in his hands, a four armed image of Narayana. But on scrutiny, it was found that the image was a broken one. A few fingers of the right hand of the image were seen to be broken, and so the image being one which had suffered a mutilation of limbs was not worthy of worship. He cast away the broken image into the river Alakananda and once more plunged into the springs. Again he came up with a Narayana image in his hands. But what a wonder! He had risen with the very same broken Narayana idol he had first picked up and cast aside. Without any hesitation, he immersed the image in the currents of the water and plunged into the springs a third time to come out again with an idol in his hand. It was the same broken idol once more. Holding it in his hand, and no longer impelled to cast it away, Acharya reflected in amazement, "This is indeed Divine Sport". Then he heard an oracle from the heavens, " Great Acharya, do not hesitate. In this age of Kali, it is this broken image that will receive worship here". These words stirred the depths of Acharya's heart. With a mind overwhelmed by devotion, he rose from the waters carrying on his shoulders the image of Narayana, the refuge of all humanity and the source of the world's auspiciousness. The place and its surroundings resounded with shouts of joy. This miraculous happening astounded the people. The Acharya then, in accordance with the prescribed modes, did the ceremonial bathing of the image, and with his own holy hands installed the Narayana idol in the shrine. An installation by Acharya meant the transmission of a powerful spiritual current whose efficacy would remain unimpaired for many a millennium. The Acharya entrusted the responsibility of worshipping the installed deity, laying down the procedures for the worship, to a worthy group of his Brahmin followers, who had come all the way from down south. He then proceeded in the direction of Vyasashrama.