In Bhavanatha’s (Ayachi Mishra) seminary there were over ten thousand students enrolled. The system of imparting education was a four – tier one. The great master gave lessons to ten selected top ranking students, who, in their turn, trained ten students each and they taught ten students, who again taught ten students each.
Once it came to pass that the queen of the then reigning king of Mithila, who used to give away a manuscript copy of “Harivansa” daily to educated Brahmanas at the time of morning worship, had no copy left for the following day. Thinking the preparation of manuscript otherwise impossible she ordered a messenger to rush to Bhavanatha’s seminary to get the voluminous work copied. The royal emissary reached there and within six hours’ time the manuscript copy was complete. The concluding verse of the copy bears testimony to the fact.
aho sarsapasamrajyamidam pasyantu sajjanah//”
There are numerous anecdotes current in Sarisava which centre around the life and attainments of the worthy son and his worthy father. I am going to consider three of them:-
First, M.M. Ayachi Mishra was issueless and hence in old age he went to Vaidyanatha dhama to ask for a son, but in his dream he was told by the lord that there was no possibility of a son being born to him, but since that was the first and last supplication of Ayachi, he insisted on his request. At last the lord had to condescend. The lord said unto him that He Himself body forth as his son but would die a premature death. He further warned him that thenceforth no member of the Sodarpura-family would be allowed entrance into the Sanctum sanctorum of the Lord. Abiding by the divine mandate till present day the descendants of the said family regard the premises of the temple, nay the entire town of Vaidyanatha dhama, as a strictly prohibited area. In due course the son was born and named as “Sankara” because he was the incarnation of the Lord himself.
Second, once the drum sounded by itself in the house of a drummer-woman. Foreseeing the birth of a great and enlightened soul in the village, she approached Bhavani, who was enceinte, nursed her and in no time was born “Sankara”. But, as the poor mother was moneyless, she could not pay any remuneration to her for her services. She however promised her the first earnings of the promising boy in toto.
The time rolled on and one day King of Mithila reached this village Sarisava. He saw a tiny boy in rags having a singular charm on his face. The king enquired of him if he had learned something. Sankara replied :- Although I have not completed five years, but can explain whole world.
“Baloham jagadananda name bala sraswati/
Apurne panchme varshe varnyami jagatryama//”
The king further enquired of him if he could recite any Sanskrit verse but Sankara, in his turn, wanted to know if he was to recite verses composed by others or by his own self. Astonished by the reply the king expressed his desire to hear a verse of mixed authorship. Thereupon, Sankara recited
“Chalitaschakitaschannah prayane tava bhupate/
Shashrashirkha purukha sahashrakshaha sahashrapata//”
The king told Sankara to take away as many gold coins as the two little hands of the boy could contain. Sankara rushed with the award money to his mother. But the noble lady, though herself in monetary trouble, remembering her promise called the drummer woman and gave her the whole money. But the drummer woman immortalized herself by utilizing the money in getting a tank dug for public use, which is still known by her name in the village. That was the glory of Sarisava.
Third, when a labourer engaged in digging the land adjacent to Ayachi’s hut found a pitcher full of gold coins and wanted to handover the same to Ayachi, the later did not touch it at all. He presented it to the then king. The king refused to take it, but it was also refused by Ayachi by telling “as per Dharmashastra, the fortune buried underground belongs to the Head of the state.” That was the glory of Sarisava.