Mystic Mantra: The age of meditation and enlightenment

At the age of 11 it is almost impossible even to understand it and Shankara wrote the greatest commentary.

What is the right age when one should start meditating? This question has often been discussed in the world of spirituality. Some enlightened masters, such as Ashtavakra and Adi Shankara started meditating very early in their life. They attained self-realisation when they were really young. Adi Shankara is the most luminous example. He was merely seven year of age when his father, a poor brahmin, died and Shankara was expected to take care of his mother. But the boy wanted to become a sanyasi. This was a shock to his mother. She said to him: “Your father has died and you want to become a sanyasi? I cannot allow you.”

Shankara then continued living with his mother. He also started meditating on the banks of the river where he used to go for his morning bath. One day he requested his mother to accompany him to the river. She accompanied him to to the river and Shankara entered the river for the bath. Once again she was shocked to see that her son was suddenly caught by a crocodile. Now the story takes another unbelievable twist. Shankara cried and told his mother: “Now there are only two possibilities: either you give me permission to become a sanyasi or this crocodile is going to eat me. You decide. Be quick!” The mother relented and said: “Ok my son, I want to see you alive, you be a sanyasi.”

At this point, the crocodile left the boy and disappeared. This may not be historical, may be just a parable. But for Adi Shankara there were only two options: sanyas or death.

Osho says: In the whole history of the world there is no other case parallel to Shankara. Somewhere between the age of seven and 11, he must have become enlightened. At the age of 11 he started writing his great commentaries on the Upanishads, and on one of the greatest and most complicated scriptures that exists in India, Badrayana’s Brahma Sutras. At the age of 11 it is almost impossible even to understand it — and Shankara wrote the greatest commentary. It has defeated all the great commentators of the past and all the great commentators that came after him. Nobody has been able to go beyond these flights of consciousness and bring such tremendous meaning to the almost-dead scripture of Badrayana’s Brahma Sutras.

By the time he was 33, Adi Shankara had written all the great commentaries on all the great scriptures, and he had travelled all over the country and defeated all the so-called great philosophers, theologians and priests. He died at the age of 33, just the same age as Jesus on the Cross.

Osho concludes: Meditation changes your life pattern completely. This is still to be recognised by psychology. But the psychology of the enlightened ones knows perfectly well that consciousness can go on growing. It need not grow simultaneously with the body.

Swami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World, is the author of Mindfulness: The Master Key

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