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Padmapada – Story of the Disciple of Adi Shankaracharya

Padmapada was one of the most famous devotees of Adi Shankaracharya. He had written a famous commentary on the Brahmasutra Bhashya of Adi Shankara. Before becoming an ascetic, Padmapada was a successful businessman. His name before becoming a sanyasi was Vishnu Sharma. Adi Shankaracharya had given him the name Sanandanan after he became a monk. There is an interesting story, which narrates how Sanandanan got the name Padmapada.

A few disciples thought that Adi Shankaracharya showed undue favouritism to Sanandanan. Adi Shankara was aware that some of his disciples were jealous of Sanandanan.

Adi Shankaracharya once decided to show his disciples the depth of Guru Bhakti and love that Sanandanan had.

He invited his disciples to the bank of Ganga to learn Vedanta. During this time, Sanandanan was washing clothes on the other bank of Ganga. Adi Shankaracharya called him loudly and asked him to join in the Vedanta teaching.

Sanandanan immediately started walking on Ganga. His mind was fully dedicated to the call of his Guru and he did not think twice. It is said that a lotus flower appeared under each step to hold Sanandanan on the water.

Seeing this miracle, the jealousy of the other disciples melted away.

From that day he was known as Padmapada – Padma means ‘lotus’; padam means ‘feet.’