Padmapada- Guru Bhakti


Value- Faith

Sub value- Devotion

Padmapada was one of the four disciples of Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The other three being Hastamalaka, Totaka and Suresvara.

Padmapada’s original name was Sanandana.

This story is one of my favorites and illustrates the great Guru Bhakti of Sanandana.

One day when Sankara was staying in Kashi, he and Sanandana happened to be on the opposite banks of river Ganges. The disciple was drying his masters clothes.
Sankara wished to let the world know about the great bhakti of his disciple. Shankara bathed in the river and after the bath wearing his wet clothes called out to his disciple to get the dried clothes.

Sanandana, impelled by his devotion for his guru, thought to himself, ” if my master asks me to do something, I must do it at once” It pained him that his master was wearing wet clothes. He was now like the one possessed, possessed of love and devotion to his guru. There was no time for rational thinking.

It did not occur to him that he should take a boat to cross the river, he was oblivious of the turbulence of river Ganga. The only thought that possessed him was that his Guru asked him to get bring his clothes.

So as if he were walking on firm earth, he just walked!!! He walked on the river without any thought that he might by drowned or that his guru’s clothes would get wet again.

When there is such devotional fervor in the disciple will not God exalt it to the plane that it deserves ? That’s exactly what happened the very moment Sanandana started walking.

A miracle happened ! As Sanandana walked on the river, Gangadevi placed lotuses for him to walk upon. In other words lotuses bloomed underfoot as he took each step. He himself was not aware that he was walking on the lotuses.

People stood agape with wonder over Sanandana’s guru bhakti as he crossed the big river and brought his guru’s clothes.

Shankara asked him in jest ” How did you, my boy, cross Ganga? ” Even then it did not occur to Sanandana to turn back and look. He just replied ,”By merely thinking about you, the vast ocean of samsara is reduced to knee deep water. When you had bidden me to do something what was so remarkable about my crossing the Ganga ”

It was then that Shankara showed him the lotuses and since they had borne Sanandana’s feet he called him “PADMAPADA”


When one has full faith in his/her Master and completely surrenders at the Master’s feet; the Master takes care of all his/her needs.

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