Adi Shankaracharya

Adi Shankaracharya

News: Recently, Madhya Pradesh CM unveiled the 108-foot-tall ‘Statue of Oneness’ of Adi Shankaracharya at Omkareshwar.

• The statue depicts Shankaracharya as a 12-year-old child when he is said to have visited Omkareshwar.

Who was Adi Shankaracharya?
• Adi Shankara, also known as Adi Shankaracharya, was an 8th-century Indian Vedic scholar and teacher. He was born around 700 CE in Kaladi, Kerala and is known for expounding the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
• Adi Shankara’s teachings were based on the Upanishads, and he played a crucial role in the religious reform movement in ancient India. He presented the fundamental principles of Hindu religion through his interpretations of the Upanishads.

What were his important works?
• He is said to have authored 116 works. The most notable among them are the commentaries on the 10 Upanishads, the Brahmasutra and the Gita.
• He wrote 23 books on the principles contained in the Advaita Vedanta philosophy, including Viveka Chudamani, AtmaBodha, Vakya Vritti, Upadesa Sahasri, etc.
• 72 devotional hymns and meditational hymns like Soundarya Lahari, Nirvana Shatakam, Maneesha Panchakam.

What is the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta?
Advaita Vedanta is a school of Hindu philosophy and a path of spiritual discipline. The term “Advaita” means nondualism, indicating that there is an ultimate reality (Brahman) that transcends the observable universe. Key
Concepts are as follows:
• Brahman: Advaita Vedanta posits Brahman as the ultimate, transcendent and immanent God. Brahman is the absolute reality that is beyond time, space, and causation. It is not just the creator, but also the creation itself.
• Atman: The Atman or individual consciousness within you is considered the true source of happiness. According to Adi Shankaracharya, 'Atman is your true nature, that makes you complete'.
• Maya: The concept of Maya refers to the creative energy of Brahman that makes the universe appear real. It’s important to note that while Maya causes the world to appear differentiated from Brahman, this appearance doesn’t have infinite existence.
• Non-Dualism: The philosophy of Advaita Vedanta is essentially monistic, asserting that there is only one truth, which is Brahman. This means that all diversity and plurality we perceive in the world are ultimately unreal and that everything in the universe is a manifestation of Brahman.
• Satchitananda: This term describes the nature of Atman or Self. ‘Sat’ refers to the knowingness of consciousness, ‘Chit’ refers to aliveness or life force, and ‘Ananda’ refers to the inherent bliss within Atman.
• Moksha: Moksha or liberation in Advaita Vedanta is the realization of one’s identity with Brahman. It’s the state where one attains eternal peace and bliss, free from all worldly bondage and suffering.

• While Advaita Vedanta teaches that the world is ultimately an illusion, it acknowledges the relative reality of the empirical world and encourages individuals to fulfill their worldly duties (dharma) while seeking spiritual realization.

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