Home » Blog » Shankaracharya and Agasthiyar

Shankaracharya, a renowned spiritual master and Agasthiyar, the foremost Tamil Siddhar lived 2-3 millennia apart. Something is common between these two. One incident in each of their lives throws light on this. This are related to the Kaya Parvesh (transmigration) skills of Shankaracharya and Agasthiyar. Firstly, let us look at the incident in Shankaracharya’s life. Secondly, we can look at Agasthiyar’s life.


The incident in Shankaracharya’s life centers around one of his prominent followers, namely, Mandan Mishra. Mandan Mishra was the foremost expert in Yagna techniques. Besides he adhered to the ritualistic tradition of ancient India. However, Shankaracharya was attempting to bring Vedantic tradition to the forefront. Consequently, the latter had to debate Mandan Mishra and establish the superiority of the Vedantic tradition.

Shankaracharya finds his student

The judge for the debate was none other than the wife of Mandan Mishra. Besides, his wife, Sharada equaled her husband in the ways of a householder. Therefore, she set a minimum qualification for admitting Shankaracharya into a debate. Only those who had gone through the experience of a householder could enter into the debate. However, Shankaracharya had taken up the life of a recluse at the end of his boyhood.

Shankaracharya’s Prana enters the body of a King

Shankaracharya decided to exercise his powers to enter into the body of a householder. A king with several wife had just departed his body. Shankaracharya suspended the functions of Prana in his body, left the cave where his body was and entered the body of the King. He relived the memories of the king as a householder and was ready to get back to his body in the cave.

The art of Kaya Pravesh is carrying the Prana from one body to another , momentarily


A Rakshasa, came to know that Shankaracharya’s body was left unprotected in the cave and decided to destroy it. Shankracharya’s powers  were limited as long as he was in the King’s body. He prayed to Narasimha for protection. Narasimha made sure that Shankaracharya could return to his original body. Who is Narasimha and how is he connected with Agasthiyar?

Agasthiyar meets the expert in changing appearances


Agasthiyar once sought the presence of the Purusha Mriya Yogi (Narasimha). Specifically, he learnt the way to move the Prana to take on different appearances. It is a known fact that Vishnu had taken the form of Narasimha, half human and half lion. to vanquish an Asura. Therefore, who else but Narasimha could teach Agasthiyar this magical skill. Shankaracharya too had used the power of his Prana to dip into the memories of a householder to qualify himself for an important debate. Truly, the hidden link between Shankaracharya and Agasthiyar is Narasimha.

Are Kaya Pravesh and transmigration the same?

Not completely. Transmigration is defined as the migration of a soul to another body after death. Kaya Pravesh is entering another body while suspending the activities of one body, momentarily. Siddhars call Kaya Pravesh as கூடு விட்டு கூடு பாய்தல் (moving to another nest)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial