Padmapadacharya’s life exemplifies the Guru-Sishya relationship. For Padmapadacharya, the Guru is everything and the command of Guru is ultimate. Once when he was on the opposite bank of a river, Sankara who was on the other side called him, and Padmapadacharya, without even thinking that he might be drowned in a swollen river began walking and lo! behold ! a lotus appeared on every step that he would take and hold his feet from drowning – and that is why he came to be known as Padma-Pada – Lotus – Feet. His devotion exemplifies the hoary relationship of Guru and Shishya.
The story goes like this: He was Shankra’s first disciple and shankra gave him the name :SANANDANA:
When Sanandana and a few other disciples were once on the other bank of the river Ganga, the Acharya called them to come to him. No boat was available. But Sanandana, secure in faith and grace of the Acharya, stepped on the water and began to walk. Struck with his devotion, the divine Ganga showed her admiration by placing lotuses on the water to support his feet at every step. To the astonishment of all, he unconcernedly crossed over to the other bank where he was duly rewarded by the embrace of the Acharya. It was a mark of affection, which no other disciple had ever received. In memory of this incident, he was henceforth known as Padmapada at the desire of the Acharya.
There are other stories also about his devotion and dedication for his Guru but the above story is the most popular one.