The Pursuit of Yoga, Cihna Yātrā and the First Sarana
Sankaradeva practised Yoga for a brief period of time and so mastered the yogic practices that he could perform wonderful yogic feats. But, soon after, he found the path showed by the Bhāgavata to be the best among all (the paths). After knowing the substance of the Bhāgavata he gave up the practice of yoga:
sarirara caya chakraka cintanta manaka kari niyama pāche Bhāgavata sāstraka pāilanta sabāto kari uttama Bhāgavata tattva jāniyā pāchata erilā yoga abhyāsa
disciplining his mind,
the Guru) focused on the six cycles (caya chakra) within his body
(but) later on, he found the Bhāgavata
the best among all (the paths).
After knowing the substance of the Bhāgavata
he gave up the practice of yoga.
Vaikuntha Nagar patate lekhiā
Anka karilanta tār.
Dhemālir ghosā prathame lekhilā
Dwitiya sloka racilā;
Sutra Bhatimāka gitak kariā
Cihna save bibhāgilā.
Yār yena thān yimat laksan
Sarobarcay adhik sobhay
Ananta sajyā sobhan.
Laksmi Saraswati Caudha pārisad
Gitat savāke dilā;
Sāta Vaikunthar sāt gotā Nat
Savāke tāte nirmila.
Git Nāt Sutra samaste kariā
Yeve sānga karilanta ;
Bhuyā save rabhā ghar sāji teve
He painted the city of Vaikuntha in pictures and composed a drama relating to it. He wrote the preliminary chorus and, secondly, composed a Sanskrit verse. He composed also Sutra, Bhatimā and other songs, and divided them in scenes. The garden of Wish-Yielding tree, the lakes, the exquisite bed of Eternity, he put them all in their proper places and in their native characteristics. He described the Goddesses of Wealth and of Learning and their fourteen attendants and pictured the seven Vaikunthas (paradises) with their respective Seven Overlords in his very songs. When he thus completed the composition of the songs, the drama and the Sutra, the Bhuyans also completed the shed for the performance and informed him.
The First Sarana
According to Rāmacarana Thākur, after the staging of the play Cihna Yātrā by the young (nineteen year-old) Sankara, certain members of the audience expressed the desire to be initiated:
Bolanta āmāka tumi Sarana karāyo
Nāma Guru Bhakta Deva āmāka dekhāyo
Do administer Sarana (initiation) to us (they said)
Reveal to us (the four reals) Nāma, Guru, Bhakta and Deva
Thus, with a view to providing a sacred text which would be necessary for offering Sarana to the willing devotees, Sankaradeva authored, almost within no time, the Uddhava Samvada..
Dasamara Purānara Sloka pāche cāi
Uddhava Samvāda puthi karilanta jāi
(The Guru) then went and, studying the Slokas of the Dasama Skandha of the (Bhāgavata) Purana,
composed the Uddhava Samvada text.
..And then administered the Sarana:
prathamate Krishnara Sarana kahilanta
Rāmarāma guruve tekhane mātilanta
sunā jata loka save sevā karā māne
āmāra Sankara bine guru nāhi āne
satye satye satye Sankaraka guru loilo
kāya vākya mane tāna carana bhajilo
First, (the Guru) explained (to them) the Sarana of Krishna.
Rāmarāma guru then declared:
Hear all ye people (assembled here), hold this in your mind
we have no Guru other than our Sankara
I hereby accept Sankara as my Guru, swearing upon the truth thrice (do I declare this)
in body, mind and word I worship his feet.