1)Adi Sankaracharya is one of the finest vedic scholar whe had ever had. He had composed beatiful hymns on Hindu Gods and Goddess. To my utter suprise, I've never seen any composition on Lord Shasta by Shankara Bhagavatpada. Also, according to Shri XXXXX in his website, Adi Sankaracharya had not composed any hymn on Lord Shasta.
I've once asked a gentleman on this and he told me that Lord Shasta's incarnation was after Shankara Bhagavatpada and our beloved lord's duty was more as guardian deity which I did not agree totally to his comments.
What i'm curious to know here, why there is no any hymns on Dharma Shasta by Adi Sankara? May be there could be a composition by Adi Sankara on Lord Shasta which i do not know till today.
2) What is the mount/vehiche of Lord Shasta? Based on my findings, I've seen Lord Shasta rides on Horse, Elephant and tiger. And in Sabarimala Sanctom Sanctorum, horse is mounted on the Dwaja. Swami, could you please explain this doubt as well?
Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa!
Swamiye Sharanam Ayyappa
In the world of spirituality many people today assume things and the worst part of it is they propagate what they believe (or what they want to believe)
So no one can Just like that pass judgments on the Master of the Universe. Now its a fashion and Ego of people that they even tend to comment on God.
Let people call him Guardian Deity, Village Deity or Tribal Deity or anything they want.. afterall He is everything to us.
If Sastha is guardian deity then who is Vishnu ? - even his duty is the same Protection- Paalana - Stiti or whatever you call it.
If Sastha is tribal deity then who is Shiva ? - clad with tiger skin, snakes and who lives in the Graveyard.
Shankara and Sastha
Who said Adhi Sankaracharya has not composed any stotra on Sastha.?
The Gentleman you have mentioned has done a great job by compiling many stotras and putting in his website... But that doesnt mean he is an authority and can pass judgement on our Lord.
Let me point out a small thing... He has published a dhyanam
Thamalasyamalam bhadram.... and he has explained it as Sastha's dhyanam.. Whereas its the dhyana sloka of Satyaka - Sastha's son...
A simple thing which many of us fail to understand Sastha is different from Ayyapan. Sastha is a God and Ayyappan and Shankaracharya both are incarnations. Then how can a God's manifestation take place after a human being?
Ayyappan might have incarnated after Shankara but Sastha is the Supreme Lord who was always there (in other words - before Shankara ; After Shankara and forever)
Sastha at Kaanchipuram
There are nearly 6000 Sastha Shrines out of which Iam sure more than 2000 temples will be before Shankara. Sorimuthaiyan Kovil at Karayar is worshipped by Agastya, Achankovil by Parasurama and Kanchipuram - the wonderful Kshipra Prasaada Moorthi - Purna Pushkala Samedha Maha Sastha was worshipped by Durvasa. This is only a tip of the iceberg....
There is a Deva Rahasya that every divine incarnation must get the anugraha of Sastha to complete His divine mission. (This rule is proved from Mahavishnu's Incarnations, Devi's Incarnations, Subramanya's incarnations and continues till Sudarshana, Bhairava and all other Devatamshabootas. For each devata I can point out in detail but Iam not going to that subject now)
Then how can Shankara who is Shivamsha miss this Supreme Personality ?
Shankara is also attached to Sastha personally
Another thing which many people donot know is - Sastha is enshrined in Adhishankara's mother's house ie Melpazhur Mana, where Shankara was born. (Kiratha Sastha is the family deity of this Mana)
If you have visited Chottanikkara - you may find two shrines of Sastha there. One shrine was already there as per the temple pratishta. And the second Sastha shrine has its own story - Once when Devi was out on a procession, the procession was attacked by rogues. To safeguard the Goddess, the Namboothri sent his family deity Sastha along with them. Sastha who came along with Devi, stayed back at Chottanikkara.
And now coming back to your query - If you see Shiva Keshaadi Paada Stuti in which Shankara Salutes Ganapathy, Subramanya and Sastha respectively on the 7th 8th and 9th slokas
(Aarooda Prauda Vega....)
There are many Stutis attributed to Shankara which he has not composed and many more Stutis composed by him but not properly recorded.
There is a wonderful Stuti by Shankara is there which many of the books have not recorded...
Its Sastha's Keshadi Paada Dashakam - starts with AshAnu rupa phaladam
Vaahana Of Lord Sastha
Undoubtedly the Vahana of Sastha is Elephant... "Davala Vaaranam DIvya Vaahanam" - says Harivarasanam.
Even Mantra Shastras and Puja Kalpams and Avarana Pujas gives separate puja for this Elephant. You have both white and black elephant as vahana for Sastha. One is Prabhuta and the other one is Taraka.
All the ageold temples of Sastha like Aryankavu, Karanthapuri etc has only this Elephant vahana
And the next Vahana of Sastha is Horse. Sastha's horse is of green color. This is what you see in Sabarimala, Kuthiran and many other temples.
And coming to Tiger... its only in Ayyappan incarnation he rode on a Tiger and in mantra Sasthra we dont find any form of Sastha acknowledging Tiger as his Vahana.
We call him Vanpuli Vahanan just because of the Ayyappan Incaration and the Pulipaal episode. But the Official Vahana Status is given primarily to Elephant and Horse.
And there are puranic episodes and at some temple we find Bull and also Dog as a vahanam to Sastha like Sori Muthaiyan Kovil or Kadanthethi but surprisingly not even a single dhyana or form or temple with Puli(Tiger) Vahana