Know More about the Theologian & Philosopher Adi Shankara

Discussion in 'Adi Shankaracharya' started by Aum, May 2, 2015.

  1. Aum

    Aum New Member

    He is one of the most respected and revered Hindu philosopher and theologian who is well known for having consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, as per Hindu books he is known as Adi Shankara, and there are also many other names by which he is remembered even today like Shankaracharya, Adi Shankaracharya, Shankara Bhagvatpada.

    The doctrine of Advaita Vedanta talks about the relationship or the unity of Atman which is the soul of a human and Nirgun Brahman which means a Brahman without any kind of attributes. Some of the central religious concepts around which the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religion is designed can be found in the Upanishads, and Adi Shankaracharya’s work elaborate and talk in a more detailed manner about the ideas which are mentioned in the Upanishads. He was among the few saints, who used the mode of discourses and debates to propagate his philosophies, and he did that with other thinkers, and for which he would travel all across the India subcontinent. Monastic life which at that point of time was ridiculed by the Mimamsa School was highly regarded by Shankaracharya who with the help of Upanishads preached the importance of such kind of life. During his time he successfully established four monasteries which are known as ‘mathas’, which was the place that helped him in the historical development, and also revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta, and he is till date known as one of the greatest revivalist of this form of Vedanta.

    It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya was born in Kerela in a place called kaladi, to his childless parents who it is believed had prayed to Lord Shiva, who had then appeared and blessed them to have a son, giving them a choice of a son with average intelligence who would live for years, or a son with a short life and extraordinary skills, but would not live for long. The parents had gone for the latter option, and hence when the saint was born he was named Shankara which is the other name of Lor Shiva. As promised by Lord Shiva, Shankara turned out to be quite an extraordinary child who was able to master all the four Vedas as a delicate age of eight, and thus showed his remarkable scholarly skills. After achieving what we call as a unachievable goal in those years of mastering the four Vedas, Shankara wished to start his life of recluse as a Sanyasi, but could not take the pledge as his mother was not ready to let go of her son. It is said that after a lot of persuasion she finally agreed to his request.

    There were several debates that Adi Shankara was a part of and among them the most famous was the debate with the ritualist Mandana Misra, according to whom the life of a householder was superior to the one who was leading a reclusive life, and it is believed that after a debate which went for fifteen days and more in fact, Mandana Misra had to accept his defeat. After which Shankaracharya along with his diciples travelled to Maharashtra and also Srisailam, and it was in Srisailam that he composed the famous devotional hymn which is in praise of Lord Shiva, and the hymn is known as Shivanandalahari.

    Advaita Vedanta which is a doctrine consolidated by Shankaracharya is based on scriptures which is known as ‘Sastra’ in Sanskrit, reason known as ‘Yukti’, Experience known as ‘Anubhav’ and karmas known as ‘spiritual practices’, and thus talking about these main features on which a complete human life is based this book basically provides a clear cut picture as to how a life of a human should be followed.

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