This is an episode which was a turning point in the life of
Shankaracharya. Even as a child, he had a great desire to
renounce the world and become a sanyâsi. His mother did
not want her only child to become an ascetic. Without her
consent Shankaracharya could not take up sanyâsa.
One morning, while Shankara was bathing in the Poorna river,
a crocodile caught his legs. Shankara called out to his mother:
“Oh mother, save me from the deadly jaws of the crocodile.”
She was helpless. She shed tears and prayed for the life of
her son. Shankara who was fighting death called out again:
“Mother, this crocodile will release me if I become a sanyâsi.
Please permit me to become one. Let me live.”
Since there was no other way to save her son from death, the
mother agreed. At once, the crocodile let him go.
Which is this crocodile ? Which is this river?
Samsâra is the river of life. When Jeeva bathes in that river,
death, the crocodile, captures it. The only way to escape
death is to renounce the world.
A sanyâsi liberates himself from the wheel of life and death.
Sanyâsa is a life of sacrifice. It is the renunciation of things
which obstruct Jeeva’s union with Deva. A sanyâsi willingly
gives up the small pleasures of life to obtain the greatest
happiness of reaching the Almighty. When Shankara
renounced samsâra, he was free to pursue the path of God
Shall we too give up the sickness of desires and embrace the
yoga of thyaga?