About Adi Shankaracharya
- Adi Shankara is said to have been born in Kaladi, Kerala in 788 CE on the bank of the Periyar, the largest river in Kerala.
- He opposed the practise of ritual worship.
- He also felt that when a person’s intellect is cleansed by living an ethical life, self-knowledge is reached.
- He also emphasized on Yamas. Within the Yoga philosophy, the Yamas are the ethical guidelines of right life.
- Maya Theory, Advaita Sidhanta (Non-Dualism), Tarak Brahma.
- The theory of Advaita says that the Upanishad actually teaches that the individual soul (called Atman) is not different from Ultimate Reality (called Brahman).
- Adi Shankara also taught that there is only one essential principle called Brahman and everything else is a kind of expression of that one Brahman.
- Because of this theory of one being, his teachings became popular as the “Advaita” (a = not, dvaita = two, means no-two or non-dual).
- In simple words, People who believe in Advaita believe that their soul is not different from Brahman. Here Brahman means reality (consciousness) and not the caste.
- The Advaita Vedanta schools use concepts such as Maya, Brahman, Atman, Avidya and meditation.
Where Advaita Sidhanta shares similarities with other philosophies
- Mahayana Buddhism says that anyone (including the person in the cycle of samsara) can achieve enlightenment. (In Hinduism, all life goes through birth, life, death, and rebirth and this is known as the cycle of samsara)
- Within Islam there is an idea of annihilation within the divine, Fana and Waḥdat al-Wujūd (Unity of Existence).
Major Works of Shankaracharya
- Commentaries (bhashyas) on 10 Upanishads, the Brahmasutra and the Gita
- Bhajagovinda Stotram
- Nirvana Shatakam
- Poetic works include Vivekachudamani, Maneesha Panchakam, and Saundaryalahiri. Some scholars propose that they are not his works but are his attributions
Contributions of Shankaracharya:
- Shankara is believed to have established Mathas in Sringeri, Dwaraka, Puri, and Joshimath for the spread of Advaita Vedanta.
- Tried to revive Hinduism in India while Buddhism was gaining popularity.
Why in News:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled a statue of Adi Sankara and monuments related to his samadhi.