DIG VIJAYA YATRA

Trigger to conduct a Dig Vijaya Yatra

Padmapada’s pilgrimage

After consecrating the temple at Sringeri, Acharya and his disciples camped at the place for a few days. Here he instructed his disciple Sureswaracharya to write a vartika on his commentary on the Brahma sutras. However when his other disciples came to know if it and expressed reservations that owing to his previous conditioning as Mandana Mishra, he may not be able to write an accurate vartikam. Owing to this the Acharya instructed Sureswara to stop the work and instead write an independent text and instructed Padmapada to write a tika (notes) on Brahmasutra bhashyam. He finished the first four sutras and read them out to the Acharya who gave it a name of Vijayadindima.

After completion of the Tika, Padmapada got a intense desire to go on a pilgrimage to various places in the southern region of India. He requested permission from his Master and set out on the pilgrimage along with some of his disciples.

He visited Kalahasti, Kanchipuram and reached Srirangam. At this place he chanced to meet his uncle of Purvasrama who was a scholar and follower of Prabhakara in Karmakanda. Being a staunch follower of Karmakanda, he resented that his own nephew had taken sanyas and was preaching Advaita Vedanta. However on the face of it, he welcomed his nephew and invited him over for biksha.

During the course of the discussions, Padmapada proved that his uncle’s logic did not stand the test of reason. Though extremely upset inside, his uncle praised the scholarship and knowledge of his nephew. He showed great interest in the manuscript of Vijaydindima and requested Padmapada to leave it in his house while he completed his pilgrimage to Rameswaram and other temples. As Padmapada proceeded on his journey, the uncle who was just overtaken by envy and fear that the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta will destroy his creed of ideology. So much was his envy that He set fire to his own house in order to destroy the text. Upon his return his uncle apologized profusely and regretted that his work had got burnt up in an accidental fire that consumed his whole house. However Padmapada was not perturbed and said that he will be able to write it up again and in fact felt sorry for the house that got burnt up. Sensing that Padmapada will be able to recreate his text, his uncle mixed poison in milk and gave it to Padmapada. When the symptoms of poisoning became apparent, his disciple immediately understood the situation and administered some medicines. With this though Padmapada’s life was saved, he seemed to have lost his sanity as the poison had affected the brain. Padmapada instructed his disciples to take him to his revered Acharya as he felt his cure was at the feet of his Guru.

Meanwhile the Acharya had moved from Sringeri to Kaladi to attend to his ailing mother. In time Padmapada too reached Kaladi and his disciples narrated the entire incidence to the Acharya. The Acharya blessed him and said that he would regain his lost memory. Explaining it as the effect of his past karmas, he said that Brahmajnaa can never be destroyed. The Acharya helped him recreate the first four sutras that Padmapada had read out to him earlier.

Meanwhile King Sudhanwa, the disciple of Acharya also arrived to visit him. The difficulties undergone by Padmapada became a topic of discussion. The king sensed that there are still such strong and adamant believers of different ideologies who could go to any extent to harm those who held a counter belief. The king desired to take measures to counter such hatred and suggested that the Acharya should undertake a long and extensive tour (digvijayayatra) to convey the message of Vedanta and peace and unity. This was supported by Sureswara and other disciples. King Rajasekhara, who was the king of Kerala and who had come down to see the Acharya also supported the idea.

Acharya remembered the words of sage Vyasa who had adviced him to tour the land of Bharat and meet different people holding opposing views and spread the knowledge of Vedanta to bless humanity. Acharya agreed to the idea of Dig Vijaya and accordingly all arrangements were made for his travels. The kings men would ride ahead on horses and take permissions to cross over from one state to another. In turn the different rulers and Kulapatis of centres of learning also came forward to receiving the Acharya and his followers.

Southern Leg of Digvijaya Yatra

Route and Places visited:

1 Kaladi 9 Chidambaram
2 Guruvayur 10 Madhyarjunam (Current day Thiruvidaimarudur)
3 Rishabhachala (Current day Thrissur) 11 Thiruchirappali
4 Anantavana (Current day Thiruvanantapuram) 12 Sri Rangam
5 Kanyakumari 13 Jambukeshwaram
6 Tiruchendur 14 Arunachala (Current day Thiruvannamalai)
7 Madurai 15 Sri Kalahasti
8 Rameswaram 16 Kanchipuram

Acharya’s main intention behind the Dig Vijaya Yatra was to resolve differences of opinions of various sects and establish the true meaning of the Vedas. Accordingly Sri Acharya visited the main centres of worship and culture and not only participated in the rituals and worship of the place but also engaged in discussions with various sects helping them resolve their doubts and showing them the path. Some of the major places visited and the activities in each place is given below.

Guruvayur This is the place where the holy temple of Sri Krishna is located. Acharya visited the temple and made arrangements for systematic Vedic worship appropriate to the pure form of the Lord.
Tiruchendur This is the place in current day Tuticorin district. Lord Subramnyais said to have defeated the fierce demonSurapadman after a six day battle at this place. An ancient temple right at the sea shore is dedicated to Lord Muruga. Acharya visited the holy place and meditated on the form of the Lord and became aware of the self luminous light shining in his heart. Inspired by it he composed the famous SubramanyaBhujangam here.
Madurai Madurai an ancient city central to Tamil history and language. It is the centre of culture and scholarship. It is also famous for the divine temple of Mother Meenakshi and Lord Siva. Acharya worshipped Lord Siva and Mother Meenakshi at the famous Meenakshi Temple. He also engaged in debates with Virasaivas, Prachinasaivas, Vaishnavas and winning them over. Debates were largely led by Sri Sureswaracharya
Rameswaram Rameswaram is one of the most revered holy sites of pilgrimage since ancient times. Acharya visited the famous and divine temple and worshipped Lord Siva in the form of Ramanathaswamy. Further he held discussions with people following various sects of Saivism who held very strong opinions about their faith. Acharya held deep discussions with each of them and expelled their doubts. Difference of opinions between different sects over external factors and symbols were resolved. True meaning of Advaita Vedanta was established
Chidambaram Chidambaram is the famous abode of Lord Siva who is present there in the form of Nataraja. Acharya harmonized the discord between Saiva and Vaishnava followers.
Madhyarjunam

Madhyarjunam or current day Tiruvidaimarudur near Kumbakonam and is dedicated to Lord Siva who is worshipped in the form of Lord Mahalingeshwara. The temple is considered very holy and on par with Kashi.

Here at this place a major debate broke out between the local Brahmins who were staunch followers of Karma Kanda. A strange condition was put forth that the Lord himself should proclaim that "Advaita is the Truth". The next day after the Acharya worshipped the Lord with Bilva leaves and prayed to the Lord to grant all the devotees present a "ChakshishiDiksha" (initiation by sight) and instruct them on "advaitamasatyam" (Truth of Advaita). The Acharya sat in deep meditation and soon everyone else was also aborbed in deep silence. At last at a sacred moment, everyone heard a divine voice declaring "Advaitameva Satyam" (advaita is alone the truth).

Discussion with Saktas (worshippers of GodessBhavani) were held at a village near by. They belived in the final supremacy of the Mother. Acharya held debates and discussions with them and finally won them over. Similar discussions and debates were held with followers of mother Lakshmi and mother Saraswati.

The Acharya lovingly discussed and debated with those who were open to knowledge. There were a sect fo people who were followers of vamamarga and arrogantly challenged the Acharya and declared their way of worship involving wine, women and meat as the most supreme. Acharya refused to be drawn into any debate with them and instead strongly chided them that without any authentic knowledge of the Vedas, they are just obsessed with wine women and meat. He reminded them that even sinners can be redeemed but not those who are arrogant. Those who worship the dark aspects of nature will only end up aggravating the perversions of man and dismissed them without any discussion. Taken aback by such strong words, they were subdued and later several of them gave up their dark practices and accepted satvik forms of worship.

Thiruchirapalli - Srirangam

Srirangam is one of the holiest shrines for Vaishnavas. The reclining form of Lord Vishnu as Sri Ranganatha attracts many a devotees since centuries.

The acharya worshipped Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam. Acharya met with several people who followed different traditions such as Jnanavaishnavas, karmabhaktas, Vaikhanasa, Prachina-Bhagavatas, Pancharatras, KarmahinaVaishnavas and so on. He guided them on the right path and helped them correct the mistakes they had in their thought process and rituals. Acharya stayed at Srirangam longer than planned owing to the number of sincere and devoted people who flocked to gain true knowledge from the Acharya

Thiruchirapalli - Jambukeshwara

Jambukeshwar temple, also known as Thiruvanaikaval is famous temple of Lord Shiva and was built by the early Chola kings. This temple represents the element of water and is one of the five mahabhuta temples of Lord Siva. The temple is close to the famour Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. Sri Acharya visited the temple and offered worship of Lord Jambunatha, the Jalalinga and Devi Akhilandeshwari.

He held discussions with Saivaites and Saktas. Several staunch followers of Saiva and Sakta traditions were traditionally opposed to the Vaishnava traditions. Though the difference was only in the ways of worship and upasanas, the diversity at times became cause for conflict amongst ordinary people. Acharya helped explain and reconcile the differences between the groups

Arunachala

Arunachala is the name of the famous hill believed to be the form of Lord Siva himself. This is in current day Thiruvannamalai.During the time of the Acharya, the place around Arunachala was nothing but dense forest and was the abode of ascetics and sadhus with very few householders residing in the region. The hill was and is still considered an embodiment of Lord Siva. Acharya felt the entire area pervading with peace and spent time in meditation.

DakshinamurthyStava: Acharya experienced the power of Siva as Dakshinamurthy at this place. The hill itself was like a silent teacher. He explained the principle of Dakshinamurthi to his disciples and condensed the whole of it into a profound work called DakshinamurthiStava and gave it to Sureswaracharya who later wrote a commentary on it which was named Manasollasa.

Arunachala Sri Kanchipuram

Kanchi is considered one of the most sacred holy places on earth. Divine mother Kamakshi is the deity at Kanchi. Acharya reformed the traditions of upasana practiced by the people there. He also performed rituals to propitiate godessKamakshi as per vedic injunctions and installed a yantra in the garbhagriha of Kamakshi Devi. Acharya wrote a book called "PrapanchasaraTantra" as a guide to help worshippers and to purify tantric practices.

In Sivakanchi, He renovated the Ekambaranathar temple dedicated to Lord Siva. He also renovated the Varadarajaswamitemple inVishnukanchi and established daily worship in the Vaishnava tradition.

People observed the Acharya was established in the non-dual Brahman and explain the deep meanings of Vedanta to seekers and at the same time was giving equal prominence to and reinstating the worship of all dieties. Thus the Acharya shone forth as an ideal example for people who had hitherto believed that an Advaitin was against upasana and supported only meditation of the formless Brahman. Acharya actively and reverentially reinstated the worship of Shakti, Shiva and Vishnu treating all of them with equal significance. Thus the holy place of Kanchi was doubly blessed by the presence of the Acharya

Debates in Kanchi: Along side all the above activities a debate was organised where many great scholars participated. It included followers of various paths including Jains and Buddhists. Even atheists participated in the debate. Acharya answered many a questions with logic and love slowly awakening in the listeners the path to true knowledge. Thus he not only defeated them in debate but also showed them the path to liberation with great compassion.

Karnataka – Andhra - Puri and Kashi

After successful tour of major centres and city in the south, the group continued their journey northwards.

Key places visited and route taken:

1 Ujjaini (Karnataka) 5 Jagannath Puri
2 Rajamahendri (Andhra) 6 Magadha
3 Mallapuram 7 Prayag
4 Marunghanagara 8 Kashi
Ujjaini(karnataka)

During Acharya’s time several places in Karnataka were underthe influence of Jainism. The great emperor Chandragupta Maurya in his last days had accepted Jainism and had moved to Karnataka.

Apart from Jainism and Buddhism the place was also a strong hold of Kapalikas. The king of the place met with the Acharya and lamented that on one hand the Buddhist and Jains were mocking the vedic injunctions and on the other hand the fierce bhairavas were indulging in their own vile practices and engaged in horrible rituals.

Sri Acharya decided to visit the place even as the king and other devotees suggested otherwise. Ujjaini was a strong hold of the terrific Krakacha Bhairava. Upon hearing the Acharya’s decision King Sudhanwa (who was accompanying the Acharya right from Kaladi) decided to follow him with his Army. Though there was fierce and vulgar attacks from various Kapalikas, the Acharya kept his calm while one by one a number of kapalikas were destroyed by the king’s army.

Karkacha was known for his occult powers and he invoked Bhairava to harm the Acharya. Bhariava appeared and sternly said that Acharya was his own form and instead killed the Kapalika for attempting to harm the Acharya.

Thus partly the kings army and partly by Acharya’s grace, the entire region was cleansed of the influence of the evil Kapalikas.

After the prolonged encounters with the Kapalikas, the Acharya decided to move to other places. He medidated for sometime and composed a work called Dhyanashtakam

Mallapuram ,Marunghagara (Andhra)

Acharya reformed the practices at Mallapuram who worshipped god Mallari who had a dog as his vehicle. Some strange customs were being practices that the Acharya stopped and showed them the right path.

At Marunghagara there was a beautiful temple of Vishvaksena. The Acharya sat in meditation for a long period of time and was rejuvenated. Travelling through various places the Acharya propagated the Vedic dharma, and encouraged right upasanas as a method to gain knowledge of Vedanta.

Jagannath Puri Puri to this day is famous for the temple of Lord Jagannath. When the Acharya went there he was informed that the original idol of the temple was hidden away somewhere to save it from invaders, however they were now unable to locate it. Acharya meditated on the Lord and helped retrieve the idol from the right place. He installed the idol and performed the required rituals and prescribed rituals of worship
Magadha

This is an ancient city known right from the days of Mahabharata. Lord Buddha’s association with the place is also historically significant.

Acharya visited the region that was under the influence of a number of different religions and sects. Worshippers of Indra, Kubera, Buddhists, Jains, Yoga practitioners came and posed questions and debated with the Acharya. He engaged with all of them in debates and convinced them of the advaitic truth.

Prayag

Prayag the holy place of Triveni Sangam. Acharya had visited the place earlier when he came in search of Kumarila Bhatta. This time he was visiting with a large number of devotees who were accompanying him in the dig vijaya yatra. Crowds swelled up to witness the dig vijay vahini.

Here Acharya spent considerable amount of time. The city was home to a number of scholars who followed different paths.They came forth for an argument and returned convinced about the truth of Vedanta and became devotees of the Master. Yet there were a few such as Vainasikas and Sunyavadis who argued vehemently and Acharya tirelessly countered each of their points to bring forth the truth of the Vedas. Such was his love for both the Vedas as well as the people that he patiently put forth every point and logic with a combination of care and force that it would create a transformation in the minds of the listeners.

Yet there were a few Sunyavadis and Nihilists who would be adamant in their own beliefs and created an uproar. But the Acharya, the powerful gale of Vedanta tirelessly put forth a train of logical arguments and questions to counter them. He quoted from the scriptures and showed them the right path. Those who chose to be arrogantly adamant were unable to endure the radiance of the awakened Rishi Dharma and dispersed to various places.

Kashi

Acharya was very happy to return to Kashi after so many years. He rushed to have darshan of Lord Vishwanatha and offered prayers. As before Acharya stayed near the Manikarnika Ghat. People of the city welcomed the dig vijay vahini with a lot of love and joy.

Here too men of different faiths and beliefs like worshippers of Pitraloka, Siddhalokas, Gandharvas etc. met the Acharya and discussed with him about their respective faiths. Acharya explained to them about the highest Vedantic truths and directed them to learn and understand the meaning of mother Shruti’s statements like “Tat Tvam Asi” .

Acharya and his devotees spent 3 months in Kashi. His main devotees conducted lessons separately on the Bhasyas in the mornings. Acharya guided earnest seekers in matters relating to upasana and self enquiry. The talks on Vedanta were very well attended by a large number of people everyday in Kashi. Acharya would also spend long hours along the banks of Ganges and was often found sitting in Samadhi in some temple precincts. People of Kashi were blessed to have the Acharya amongst them for a good three months.

Westwards – Kasi to Dwarka

After successful tour of major centres and city in the south, the group continued their journey northwards.

1 Avanti (Ujjain, MP) 4 Somnath
2 Omkareshwar 5 Prabhasa
3 Saurashtra 6 Dwarka
Avanti (Ujjain in MP) & Omkareshwar The famous temple of Mahakaleshwara is located here at Ujjain. Acharya offered worship at the temple. From there they went to Omkareshwar where he had first met his Guru. Acharya showed his disciples where he met his Guru and spent a few days with the people who already knew him from his earlier days.
Saurahstra It was the king Siladitya of Saurashtra who had invited the Acharya to visit his kingdom. Acharya saw a number of ascetics living in forests. The place where Gorakshanath had performed austerities was also located there. Heeding to their needs the Acharya initiated many sanyasis into the Mahavakyas.
Somnath, Prabhas, Dwarka

Acharya visited the famous temple of Somnath and offered prayers. From there he proceeded to Prabhas and Dwarka. The stories of Lord Krishna and his dynasty played across his mind. Prabhas was the place where the Yadav dynasty met with destruction. Remembering Lord Krishna and his discourse to Uddhav who was greatly saddened to see the destruction of the Yadava dynasty.

Acharya stated there and taught the Gita Bhasya

From there Acharya and his group proceeded to Dwarka where Lord Krishna resides as Dwarkadeesh. Acharya met a number of people and resolved their queries and doubts. A group of people called Pancharatas who were a dominant group came to meet him to explain their ways and beliefs. Acharya intently listened to them and guided them.

As the Acharya was readying to leave the king of Dwarka arrived with a large number of scholars. They prostrated and requested that the Acharya should establish a centre for Advaita Vedanta at Dwarka, the land of liberation. Pleased with the earnestness of the king, Acharya blessed that their wish may be fulfilled in the future

Northwards – Dwarka to Kashmir

Places visited and Route taken:

1 GurjarDesh 6 Bahlika (Baluchistan)
2 Pushkar 7 Kamboja
3 Sindh 8 Trivishtapapura (Tibet)
4 Gandhara 9 Daradas (Gilgit region, near Kashmir)
5 Purushapura (Peshawar) 10 Sri Sharadakshetra
GurjarDesh

After departing from Dwarka, the Acharya and his group entered the land of Gurjars. As in other places he met with a number of people who had grown to follow their own customs and had forgotten the main aspects. Acharya clarified many questions and set them on the right path.

Acharya stayed in Srimala (Current day Bhinmal, Rajasthan) and propagated Vedanta and reformed the Jains there.

Pushkara Acharya started moving north-east and reached Pushkar where there were lakes surrounded by mountain ranges (current day Aravalli mountains). Here too he met a number of people and clarified their doubts about upasana and self enquiry.
Sindh

Acharya moved westwards passing through Sindh and reached the spot where the river Sindhu (Indus) met the sea. Due to the influence of Buddhists and Jains, followers of Vedic dharma were hardly to be seen. A few followers of Saktas were present but their methods were primitive. Acharya stayed there for some days and made arrangements for some of the ascetics to stay there and work towards strengthening of the Vedic dharma

Gandhara (Kandahar), Purushapura (Peshawar), Bahlika (Baluchistan), Kamboja, Tibet

Acharya proceeded northwards and passed through various lands. The entire region was under political upheavals and unrest. There were frequent attacks from strong groups and people were always in fear. There was no environment conducive to pursuit of higher ideals. Even then, there were a few who sought refuge in Acharya and got awakened.

Acharya reached Gandhar and was astonished to see the widespread propagation of Buddhist faith there. Acharya praised Lord Buddha whose teachings had spread so far out and had such a large number of followers. The Acharya moved onwards with his journey and crossed what is current day Peshawar, Baluchistan, Kamboja and Tibet. He observed that in Kamboja Buddhism had turned into a tantric faith.

Daradas (Gilgit region, Kashmir)

Acharya entered the land of Daradas. It was then ruled by a king named Amarukasimha. Amarukha had no regards for Vedanta and neither for Acharya. He spent his time in sensuous pleasures and taking delight in singing and dancing in the company of women. He was however a great scholar of literature and fine arts. The royal mother of Amaruka visited the Acharya and sought his blessings to transform the king. She said that they were all followers of Saivism but unfortunately his son had given up all that and had resorted to seeking only pleasures.

Though the king had showed no respect and had written to the Acharya calling him as “one who moves in the desert of Vedanta”, the Acharya decided to bless the king. He felt that the king who was addicted to “rasa” of the sensual kind can be transformed if he is made aware of another object that is more beautiful. He decided to make the king experience the rasa of Atmanubhava.

Acharya sent his disciples with a specially written stotram to be read out to the king. Through his grace and partly using his yogic powers, the Acharyamade the king experience his inner self. This completely transformed the king and brought him on the right path.

The Acharya rapidly left the place after the transformation leaving the king to now manage the kingdom in the right way.

Temple of Sarada and Eastward Journey – Kashmir – Assam

1 SharadaPeeth 6 Gaya
2 Takshashila 7 Vangadesa (Bengal Region)
3 Jwalamukhi 8 Tamralipta (Tamluk, WB)
4 Haridwar 9 Pragjyotisha (Near Kamarupa)
5 Naimisharanya 10 Kamarupa (Assam)
Kashmir and Ascending the SharadaPeeth

After leaving the land of Daradas, Acharya went towards Kashmir. This land was known as Sharadakshetra. During the time of the Acharya, there were several academies of learning corresponding to all the branches of knowledge that prevailed in Bharata at that time. It was a very vibrant environment with active debates being conducted at regular intervals. While other places of studies like Takshashila and Nalanda were known as great universities , this place was revered and considered a temple with strong presence of mother Saraswati. All vedic tradition were followed here and the king took special care to nourish and strengthen these centres of learning.

The SharadaPeeth was a special seat and the one who could stand the test of omniscience could ascend the throne of Omniscience. As the Acharya went to the temple he was challenged by scholars from different streams of learning and philosophy. Scholars from Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhyas,Kanadas, followers of Patanjali Yoga challenged him and posed questions. After this believers in Purvamimamsa, and followers of upasanamarga like Saivas, Pasupatas, PancharatasVaikhanasas among Vaishnavas debated with the Acharya. After this he was further challenged by Mimasakas.

Later the Buddhists, Jains and Charvakas also came for argument. The upavadis, hatayogis, artist, physicians also came for discussions.

Acharya lucidly and patiently answered all their questions and convinced them beyond doubt that the Vedas are the origin of all knowledge. Everyone had to submit and bow with humility before the unshakeable faith of Acharya.

In the end, all the scholars present there reverentially welcomed the Acharya to ascend the throne of omniscience. The southern door was thrown open (as the Acharya was from the south and the first one from that direction to ascend the throne) and the Acharya very respectfully entered through it. After the due ceremony the Acharya was given the title of “Sarvajna”

The ceremony was attended by representation from all of Bharat. Even celestial being attended the ceremony to see the Acharya who was none other than Lord Shiva ascend the throne of omniscience (Sarvajnapeetha). Acharya remained calm and totally unaffected by all this.

Srinagar

After the ceremony and staying there for a few days, the Acharya proceeded towards Srinagar. Crossing stunningly beautiful mountains and valleys he reached Srinagar. There he held discussions with Kashmiri Saiva scholars and explained the finer nuances of the Vedas.

By this time the rainy season had commenced and the Acharya decided to camp in the Siva temple atop a hill. It was a very beautiful place from where one could see the valley for a long distance.

King Sudhanwa who had accompanied the Acharya all this while returned to his kingdom. The Acharya and his disciples stayed atop the hill and spent their time in studies and sadhana.

During this period the Acharya composed the famous divine poem “Soundaryalahari” glorifying the majestic beauty of the divine mother Mahamaya in order to remove the misonceptions imputed to Advaitins by the KashmiriSaivaites.

After composing the Soundaryalahari he directed Sureshwaracharya to write varttika for Sri Dakshinamurthy. The hill where they stated was renamed as Shankaracharya hill.

Takshashila, Jwalamukhi

From Srinagar the Acharya proceeded towards Takshila. It was a thriving centre for learning particularly for the Buddhists. Many scholars decided that they will not have any debate or discussions with the Acharya. Yet some came forward on their own to discuss and ask questions. Acharya guided them and answered their questions to help them resolve their doubts.

From here the group moved towards Jwalamukhi where mother goddess is worshipped in the form of fire. Many saktas met Acharya and had discussions on various topics

Chandravadani ,HaridwarNaimisharanya, Ayodhya, Mithila

Leaving Jwalamukhi and after walking for several days they reached Chandravadani where the Acharya purified the practices of Saktas at that place and installed a yantra. They proceeded further towards Haridwar and Naimishranya. Earnest devotees came to meet the Acharya and clarified their doubts

At Ayodhya he composed his divine work “Sri Rama Bhujanga”. Moving on to Mithila, the Acharya noticed that tantra had a dominant influence in the region. Acharya awakened them to the right path. At this place he was also presented with manuscripts of ancient texts like AshtavakraSamhita, Yoga Vasishta and Annapurnopanishad.

Gaya, Nalanda

Acharya and his group moved to Gaya and Nalanda. Several Buddhists had already heard about the Acharya and they thronged in large numbers to speak to him and understand the tenets of Vedanta.

Gaya also had a large number of followers of Kapila and Dattatreya. Acharya interacted with them and taught them Atmavidya.

Vangadesa, Tamralipta, Dabak

Moving further eastwards Acharya reached the Vangadesa (current day Bengal). He noticed that most people followed Buddhism blindly and there were some Saktas and Saivaites too. But there was very little knowledge of the Vedas.

Moving further they reached the cuty of Tamralipta (Tamluk) where many Buddhist monasteries were present. Acharya spent time giving upadesa on the high ideals of Vedic dharma. Through these talks respect and interest in the Vedas and Vedic dharma took prevelance. Many people who had blindly adopted Buddhist and tantric traditions returned to Vedic culture.

Moving further the Acharya visited several places where Buddhist and Jain were very strong. Acharya spread the message of karma, upasana and jnana. In several places he installed their favourite deities and prescribed ritualistic worship. He brought in Vedic scholars from Kanyakubja and commenced extensive propagation of the Vedas.

Pragjyotisha, Kamarupa (Assam)

Acharya soon reached the banks of the mightly Brahmaputra. Quite terrible rituals were at vogue along it’s banks. After visiting several sacred places and inspiring the people the digvijayvahini moved towards current day Assam-Guwahati.

The king welcomed the Acharya and organized an assembly in the Acharya’s presence. Various topics like Karma, Upasana, Jnana, Dharmashastras etc. were discussed. Many attempted to present arguments that the Karmakanda should be rejected. Though the Acharya was himself a renunciate he patiently explained the importance and place of karmakanda in the overall path to knowledge. He explained that first one has to refine and purify themselves by the performance of karma and they alone are eligible for gaining the knowledge of Vedanta. Acharya’s teachings on Brahmavidya were more forceful than the Brahmaputra and at the same time more soothing.

The king accompanied the Acharya and made arrangements to visit the famous Kamakhya temple dedicated to the divine mother.

The place was a Shakti peeth. Over the years several followers of Shakta had resorted to strange rituals and sacrifices. They were unwilling to converse with the Acharya. However a number of common people came to the meet the Acharya and clarified their doubts.

Evil Attempt in Kamarupa

Chief amongst the Saktas of Kamarupa was Navadurga Gupta. One day he came fiercely to debate with the Acharya but had to return hastily as he had no backing or support of the Vedas to whatever he was claiming. However his evil mind plotted to harm the Acharya and he resorted to sorcery and the Acharya’s body was afflicted with a terrible disease affecting the fistula. Acharya remained calm and peaceful but his disciples saw that his health was deteriorating rapidly. All their attempts to cure him by getting medicines and getting physicians to attend to him were of no avail. Acharya had no identification with his body and remained unaffected but his devotees and disciples were very worried. None of the medicines seemed to work.

Padmapada for whom his life breath was his Guru sensed that something was not right. Padmapada intuitively felt that it was not a disease or effect of karma but something else. He meditated on the topic and came to know of the evil designs of Navdurga Gupta. He informed the Acharya and told him that he would retaliate. However Acharya told him to ignore it and said that he was not affected by whatever happened to his body. Padmapada was not the one to tolerate an attempt on his Guru. He prostrated before his Guru and with the power of his yoga, he effectively countered the spell and it recoiled on Navdurga Gupta who soon met with his painful death due to his own evil design to harm a saint.

Acharya’s health was quickly restored.

To the Himalayas – Pashupathinath–Badrinath - Kedarnath

1 Gorakshapuri (Ghorakhpur) 3 Badrinath
2 Nepal - Pasupatinath 4 Kedarnath
Nepal

The digvijayvahini left Kamrupa and moved towards Nepal. Nepal is where the famous Pashupatinath temple is located. The king of Nepal was a practitioner of Buddhism. Vedic studies and rituals had come to a standstill. The divine shrine at Pashupatinath was ignored and the place was littered with leftover food thrown by the bhikshus.

Learning that the Acharya would be visiting the temple the king had it cleaned up. Acharya worshipped the Lord with a divine hymn that he composed called “UmamaheshwaraStuti”.

Acharya intuitively understood that the king had some sorrow and enquired about it. The king informed him that he had no son and he was worried that the land will not have a successor. The Acharya instructed the king to worship Lord Pashupatinath with bilvaleaveschanting Sri Rudra and DurgaSukta for eleven days. Very soon the queen conceived and the king developed deep faith and devotion in the Lord . His indifference to the temple disappeared. The Acharya brought in learned priests from the South and re-initiated the tradition of daily worship. The Vedic culture revived and study of Vedanta and Vedas began to spread.

Badrinath

From Nepal the digvijayvahini started towards Badrinath. Acharya started to teach Mandukya Upanishad along the way. On their way to Badri they rested for a while in Jyotirdhama. The king requested the Acharya to establish a mutt at Badrinath. The Acharya listened to the request and heard his disciples discuss it. The group went further and finally reached Badrinath. The Acharya spent a number of days in the serene presence of the Lord of Badri. He composed many hymns while he stayed there

Kedarnath

After leaving from Badri the group went towards Kedar visiting all the holy places in betweem. The entire region was deeply influenced by the Acharya. One could see that rituals for worship were conducted in all temples in the prescribed manner.

Acharya worshipped Lord Kedarnath. The priest of the temple approached the Acharya and said that though he performed all the rituals and worship to the best of his abilities he had a fear that he could be committing errors. Acharya composed the SivaparadhakshamapanaStotra.

DigvijayYatra route.Starting at Kalady and ending in Badrinath. Created on Google Map for reference. Actual route in between places could have been different based on the paths taken during those days