(This is a story with deep meaning and hence we recommend readers to read and analyze it with the help of elders.)

One day when Jagadguru Shri Aadi Shankaraachaarya was going with His Shishyas, they saw an unbelievable thing. There was a Vruddha sitting under a Taala-Vruksham and the Vruksham by itself was bending and giving its ‘sura’ to him. The shishyas and Shri Aadi Shankaraachaarya were surprised seeing how a tree can bend and by itself give its product, to a person.

Shri Aadi Shankaraachaarya went to the Vruddha and asked how he got this Shakti? The Vruddha replied “Svaami! All my life I have lived by selling this sura I get from Taala-Vruksham. This is my Sva-dharmam, Vrutti. Though many who were with me left this and took to other jobs, I never left it. This Taala-Vruksham was my aadhaaram for years.

As Shri Krishna Paramaatma told, for a person who follows his Sva-dharmam, nothing is impossible. Now since I grew old and can no longer climb the tree, collect ‘sura’ and sell it, the Vruksham by itself is bending and giving its sura to me. Since I never left my Sva-dharmam, it is only saving me”.

Showing this great person, the Vruddha, Shri Aadi Shankaraachaarya told His shishyas “Is there a greater example to say Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah“?

Search Terms: Adi Shankaracharya, Sankaracharya

Published in: on August 1, 2006 at 11:59 pm  Comments (2)  


  1. What is the swadharma of a scavenger? Cleaning shit !?. How does it confirm to the greatness of Hindu Religion ?
    Thank you for your interest in moral stories. You have raised an important point that merits some debate so that your misconceptions can be clarified.
    Since you had raised a question about the greatness of Hinduism, let us first understand some of the basic precepts of our dharma. Essentially, several kulavrttis (professions, loosely) were existent, for example, soldiers, potters, carpenters, blacksmiths, businessmen, teachers etc. (this is not a complete list). During the chanting of the everyday prayer to Lord Shiva, each of these is mentioned personifying them as Lord Shiva Himself and a namaskaram is put to each one of them. This is part of the daily pooja (prayer) of Hindus emphasizing the significance of each of their roles in everyone’s life.
    In fact, even before talking about kulavrttis, it is mentioned “mitrasya chakShuShA samIkShAmahe” meaning that everything in this universe must be viewed as a friend, leave alone fellow human beings. This clearly shows that all the kulavrttis are equally important – the so-called dignity of labour, which is a modern term to convey the puranic idea.
    Each of the kulavrttis is given such importance, since progress is complete only when it covers all spheres of life. For example, during the period of Shri Krishnadevaraya (the period where Hinduism was followed properly) various kinds of arts (e.g. literature, sculpture, painting, dance, music etc) flourished. It is unfortunate that we cannot give sufficient examples from the present era, where the emphasis has shifted to money and power. Equal importance is not being given to all the kulavrttis – only the ones that give money and power are being encouraged.
    Coming to the point you had raised about scavengers, as Aditya has rightly pointed out (in his comment below), such a profession is an artifact of the modern way of life, where poorer people are being exploited for serving the richer ones. This is NOT one of the kulavrttis mentioned in Hinduism. Newer professions can be followed provided they are not adharmic. But clearly, exploiting the poor and make them do scavenging contradicts “mitrasya chakShuShA samIkShAmahe”.
    In the olden days, people existed in great harmony with nature, with no one defecating or disposing garbage in public places, but on the other hand using biodegradable and natural resources (e.g. plantain leaf to eat on, sit on etc.). Artificial (non-biodegradable – that are of concern as waste) products were never used for ANY of the daily needs. All waste being biodegradable was extremely useful as manure and agriculture benefitted directly. Thus, neither a question of massive waste production nor the problems associated with its disposal existed in the Hindu society.
    One more important point is your criticism of a religion (any religion for that matter), which forms the faith and life of millions of people, is unfounded and uncalled for. To illustrate, we have the story of Gaudapaada (an acharya approached by Adi Shankaracharya), who did AtmAhuti (burnt himself alive) just to atone for his mistake of criticizing some sub-religions of Hinduism, even though he had rightly criticized the people to reform their misconceptions of dharma. This is because Hinduism mandates that no religion should be criticized.

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