Padmapada, the ardent sishya of Sri Sankaracharya, belonged to the middle of the 8th century. As we are going through the Advaita parampara, this Guru-Sishya relationship is one of its kind.
Padmapada means Lotus feet, and it was the devotion to his gurus that a lotus appeared to hold him from drowning for every step he took without fear and second thought when called upon by his guru; Sri Sankaracharya, who was on the other side of the lake. Puri Govardhana matha began under his leadership, and he was also the founder of Thekke Matham in Thrissur, Kerala. Padmapada along with Suresvara also sishya of Sri Sankaracharya established the Vivarana school of commentators. Padmapada upon his guru’s request authored an authentic commentary on Sri Sankaracharya's Brahmasutrabhashya namely PANCAPADIKA- his only work that is remaining.
Pancapadika of Padmapada emphasises “Pratibimbavada- Theory of Reflection.“ and the Mahavakya “tat tvam asi. “ experiencing which is sufficient for one to attain realisation of the truth. Let’s try to understand through interrogation and explanation by Sri Padmapada his teachings and on his theory Pratibimbavada.
Q) What are the necessary qualities of the aspirant to undertake the study of Vedanta?
G) One should inculcate four qualities when aspiring to study Vedanta.
1. To be able to discriminate between what is eternal and what is ephemeral?
2. To be able to give up all desires and worldly pleasures hereafter.
3. One should have control over his mind, senses and remain detached along with qualities of self-control, patience, persistence, abstinence, etc
4. Finally, his desire for liberation should be intense.
Only when one has passed all the requirements will he be capable to go through the process of knowing the advitiya Brahman.
Q) What helps one to know the Self?
G) It is due to the Karma one performed liable for knowing the Self more. The direct knowledge of the Brahman derives from the ancient scriptures; texts- Upanishads.
Q) Who is Jiva?
G) Jiva is the reflected image of the Brahman in avidhya.
Avidya- ignorance is the cause of miseries. Avidya is the attributed, i.e., quality of the mind, pure consciousness and mind not a sense organ. Brahman is the truth, the reality is known through intellect, only when one is devoid of ignorance.
Q) How can one get rid of ignorance?
G) It is through knowledge one can eliminate avidhya. Vedas have all the essential knowledge that can help one sail through this ocean of ignorance and even so smoothly in the guidance of Guru.
To be continued.
AUM TAT SAT.