Where was Adi Shankaracharya born

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Adi Shankaracharya, founder of Advaita Vedanta, one of the most famous sub-schools of Indian Vedantic philosophy, is hailed as the greatest philosopher that India produced. From a young age, Adi Shankara traveled on foot across the Indian subcontinent and shared the Advaita philosophy discourses and debates. Adi Shankara lived in AD 700. Explained the philosophy of the non-dualistic Advaita Vedanta and explained it in a popular style.

Shankara was born into a humble Brahmin family in Kaladi, a village in the Ernakulam district of Kerala, India, on the banks of the famous Periyar River in Kerala.

He was born to a devout Brahmin couple, Sivaguru and Aryamba, as a result of their passionate prayers for a child to Lord Shiva in the famous Vadakkumnatha Temple in Trichur. Satisfied with their prayers, God appeared in their dream and asked what kind of child they wanted. Whether they wanted a short-lived extraordinary son or a simple and ordinary child with a long life. They chose the first option. Soon a child was born to them and they named the boy Shankara. When he was three years old, he lost his father and his widowed mother Aryamba raised him alone.

One day Shankara's mother passed out after walking two miles for her daily bath in the Periyar River. Little Shankara felt helpless and prayed to Lord Krishna. Moved by his prayers, God appeared to him and blessed him saying: "The river will flow where your little feet mark the ground."

The river took a new course towards the point marked by the little boy's feet. Since then the city has been called Kalady. Before this event, the village was called Sasalam. Shankara then installed Lord Krishna's idol in the present temple and recited the occasion by reciting his famous Ätchutha Ashtakam.

The young Shankara showed remarkable erudition and mastered the four Vedas by the age of eight. From the beginning he was attracted to spirituality and sanyasam and wanted to live a meaningful life devoid of worldly joys.

After mastering the Vedas at the age of 16, he began his search for the truth. He was a major proponent of the Vedanta truth that "Lord Brahma and men are of one essence and each one should try to develop this vision of oneness."

His teachings are based on the unity of soul and Brahman (self), in which Brahman (self) is viewed as having no attributes. Shankara traveled through India and other parts of South Asia to spread his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers.

One day a miracle happened. While Shankara was bathing in the river, a crocodile caught Shankara's leg. Horrified, he called his mother, who ran to the river bank, only to see her beloved son being dragged into the water. The mother watched helplessly as the terrible scene unfolded, and then Shankara said there was only one way to get the animal to free him from its jaws and that she had to allow him to enter the Sanyasa Ashram ( Renunciation). Since there was no alternative at that moment, his mother agreed and the crocodile let go of Shankara.

Before saying goodbye to his mother, Shankara assured her that he would be with her for the last few days and perform the funeral rites, a promise he kept despite the problems of his community.

In order to fulfill his spiritual path, he started looking for a teacher. He met his guru Swami Govindapada Acharya in a hermitage on the banks of the Narmada River. Under the guidance of Govindapada Acharya, he mastered yoga, Vedanta and other systems and became a connoisseur of Brahman (self). Shankara traveled all over India and met the leaders of the various schools of thought.

Later in Kashi (Varanasi) he had a strange experience: When he wanted to bathe in the Ganga river, an outcaste with four dogs came from the opposite direction and blocked the way. Shankara ordered him to get him out of the way. To his surprise, the outcaste replied, “O venerable guru! You are a preacher of Advaita Vedanta and yet you make a huge difference between one person and another. How can this be compatible with your teaching of advaitism? Is Advaita Just A Theory? "

Shankara soon realized that the outcaste (Chandala) was none other than Lord Shiva, who took this form to teach him a lesson. He immediately recognized his mistake and prostrated himself at Lord Shiva's feet. It was then that Shankara composed five slokas called "Manisha Panchaka".

Every sloka ends this -

"Anyone who has learned to look at phenomena in the light of Advaita is my true guru, whether he is Chandala or whether he is a Brahmin."

The teachings of Shankara can be summed up in half a verse: “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah - Only the Brahman (Self) is real. He taught that the supreme Brahman (self) is nirguna (without the gunas), nirakara (formless), nirvisesha (without attributes) and akarta (non-agent). Brahman (self) is above all needs and desires. This world is unreal and the jiva or individual soul is no different from Brahman (self). The soul is identical to Brahman (self). This is the quintessence of his philosophy.

When Shankaracharya decided to enter "Samadhi", the most eminent disciple of Shankara asked that the essential aspects of his teaching be summarized and given to them. Adi Shankara then said the Dasa Shlokas, or ten verses, in which the omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence of Brahman - the core concept of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) - was worked out.

  1. The five elements do not express my true nature; I am immutable and I will stay forever.
  2. I am above caste and creed. I am seen when "Maya" is removed and I do not need concentration or worship as shown in Yoga Sutras.
  3. I have no parents, I don't need any Vedas as proclaimed in the scriptures, no sacrifices, no pilgrimages. I am the eternal witness.
  4. All the teachings of various religions and philosophies do not reveal my true nature and are just shallow views of my deep being.
  5. I penetrate the entire universe and am above, in the middle and below in all directions.
  6. I am colorless, formless, light is my form.
  7. I have no teacher, scripture or disciple, nor do I know you or I or even the universe and am immutable and the absolute knowledge.
  8. I am neither awake, in deep sleep nor in dreaming, but above the consciousness with which the three are connected. All of this is due to ignorance and I am beyond.
  9. I penetrate everything, everywhere and the eternal reality and self-existence. The whole universe depends on me and becomes nothing without me.
  10. I cannot be called one because that implies two, which is not the case. I am neither isolated nor not isolated, I am neither empty nor full.

Adi Shankara's teachings of Advaita (non-duality)

The ultimate reality and the highest God is the unfathomable splendor of the heart. Let the mind be locked in the heart, in the midst of the repetition of the sound "Om" within yourself - it is the sound brahman. Without realizing "Him" in yourself as "I am He", all of this appears real, but when it is realized, all of this becomes unreal. Every object of perception has an underlying reality and is identical to Brahman, the Supreme Lord - pure existence, pure consciousness. Anything other than self is unreal.

Knowledge [jnana] is the only direct means of liberation. Rituals cannot dispel ignorance because they contradict the true nature of the self. The body, senses, mind and consciousness go on by depending on the consciousness of self. The self illuminates the consciousness. Whoever has recognized this highest truth remains in self-happiness. There is no greater gain, no greater bliss, no greater knowledge than Brahman (self). Uninterrupted bliss should be understood as Brahman (self). Brahma and others are only part of this self-interrupting bliss and become happy, each in their own degree, by having a little bit of that bliss. Sat [being] and Chit [consciousness] are aspects of self and so are Ananda [bliss].

Whatever is seen or heard except Brahman (self) cannot be real. Only the person who has the eye of knowledge sees Brahman (self) - consciousness and bliss - but the person who does not have the eye of knowledge cannot see or realize the self. A blind person cannot see the shining sun. The well-instructed and realized individual soul is freed from all spots and shines by itself. The self is the sun of knowledge in the firmament of the heart, which supports everything.

Indeed, what is the individual soul besides you alone? You, who you ask who I am, are Brahman himself. Meditate on that whose nature is reality, bliss and knowledge and which is the testimony of consciousness like yourself. Understand by “I am He” that “I am this inner, immutable self, the direct witness, the witness who is the dearest of all, the object of supreme love. ”The self is the witness and the knower. Bliss unsurpassed, reality, knowledge and existence - "that" is referred to as the Supreme Self. Understand this as Brahman. Vedas explain the universe as the effect of it. [d. H. Brahman is the cause of the universe.] Brahman (self) is to be realized for liberation. If someone is set free during their life, they will remain as such for some time because of their past actions that have produced their present life. Thereafter he attains absolute liberation which is of unsurpassed bliss and is known as the highest abode. The self is of the nature of knowing and pure.

The self is inherently eternal and real. "I am indeed Brahman, indifferent, indifferent, and of the nature of reality, knowledge and bliss." This is what the wise call knowledge. The ego is unchanged. All of this universe is verily the Self [in one of its modes]. The self is the informing spirit, the Supreme Lord, the soul of all, identical with all.

Consciousness is one by nature. All creatures are born of Brahman, the Supreme Self. The Eternal is the testimony of these three states [wake up, dream, deep sleep], of pure consciousness. The distinction between self and not-self [body] is unnecessary for the wise.

Vedas speak of past actions to promote understanding of the ignorant. The self, which is pure existence and knowing, can be realized. Meditate on Brahman (Self). Samādhi, the other name of which is knowledge, is the forgetfulness of all mental activity by first making thoughts immutable and then identifying consciousness with Brahman (self). The people who do not understand and recognize this truth live in vain, and although they have a human form, they live like beasts. Those who have recognized and recognized this awareness continue to develop it and they are the best people, happy and venerable in all three worlds. A person should reach the nature of the cause through careful investigation. When you do this, the absolutely real "self" recognizes the cause as inherent in the effect itself. The wise man should meditate attentively on himself, which is the nature of subjective consciousness. The sage realizes that everything is Brahman himself and should then dwell in eternal bliss with his mind full of the essence of pure consciousness.

In his short life of 32 years, Adi Shankara became one of the greatest teachers of the Vedas. The only weapon he used for this feat was sheer knowledge and spirituality. Adi Shankara is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.