By Swami Harshananda
Pippalāda literally means ‘one who eats pippala’.
Pippalāda, a Sage
This is the name of a ṛsi or sage. He might have got that name because he used to eat pippala to maintain himself.
Pippalāda as per Praśnopaniṣad
In the Praśnopaniṣad, Pippalāda is the great teacher who was approached by six sages like Sukeśa, Saibya and others. After living with him as his disciples for one year, they asked him questions and got satisfactory answers. This dialogue between him and these six sages forms the subject-matter of the Upaniṣad.
Pippalāda as per Mahābhārata
According to the Mahābhārata, he was one of the sages present when the grandsire Bhīṣma taught Yudhiṣṭhira, from his bed of arrows. Naciketas is said to have taught him spiritual wisdom concerning the life after death. According to another version he was the son of Dadhīci and Suvarcā. Padmāvatī was his wife. He is said to have advised Śani not to molest children below twelve years.
Pippalāda as per Padmapurāṇa
The Padmapurāṇa describes another Pippalāda, a sage who had become arrogant due to the special powers he had obtained by severe austerities. He was humbled by Brahmā, the four-faced creator, through a proper advice.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore