Meanwhile Shankara felt that the end of
his old mother Aryamba was nearing. Accordingly he returned to Kalati. When Shankara came
to know that she was to die shortly, he offered Shiva Bhujanga Stotra and
Vishnu Stotra which have a power to save the soul, and prayed that she might
die peacefully and attain heavenly abode.
Shankaras mother died. Her body was to be cremated. But none of Shankaras
relatives came forward to help. A monk cannot perform the funeral rites of anyone, not
even of his parents. Still Shankara- charya felt, is it not a sacred duty to perform the
funeral rites of the dead when required to? Shankara had to carry" the body himself
with great difficulty to the burning place and light up the pyre. By doing this last
service to his mother, he felt gratified.
Shankaracharya paid a visit to Sharada Nilaya in Kashmir known as Sarvajna Peetha (the
seat of the all knowing). Those who are not all-knowing are not entitled to sit on it; no
one could claim to be an expert in any religion or philosophy without sitting on it.
Shankara did not wish to show himself off as Sarvajna. He felt that Sri Sharada Nilaya
with Sarvajna Peetha was by itself a place worthy of visit by all devotees. Besides,
Kashmir is the crown of Bharat. So he resolved to g 0 there, lest the ancient Hindu
religion should perish there.
There are four gates in four directions for entering Sharada Nilaya. Eminent scholars
and philosophers had entered it from various directions and had established their
scholarly merit But no one so far had adorned this chair of Sarvajna. And also till their
no one had even attempted to enter the temple through the Southern gate May be this gate
was waiting for Acharya Shankara. only who was from the South! Scholars of many group and
communities were waiting for him in the premises of Sir Sharada Nilaya All were
filled with a feeling of reverence to see him who was learned in both Jnana and Vijnana
Yet the scholars in religious philosophies of Jaina, Bouddha, Samkhya, Yoga, Nays and
Vaisheshika confronted him at the time of his entry to the temple, Shankara defeated all
of them in philosophical debate and then entered the temple through the Southern gate.
Acharya went to ascend Sarvajna Peetha. Sri Sharada, the presiding deity of all
learning, herself set a test for him. Shankara passed this test also. After this the
Goddess Herself blessed him, proclaiming his omniscience. So say the Shankara
We can take this to be an allegory of all the struggles Shankara had to face in his
life. Ascending the seat of Sarvajna situated in Kashmir of the North is a symbol. The
meaning of it is that Shankara reached the peak of spirituality. We can get an idea of his
greatness from the fact that a person of just thirty had ascended the throne of all