Shankara's Advaita

Adi Shankara, regarded as an avatar of Shiv, was born in Kaladi, Kerala. After assuring his mother that he would be by her side in her final hour, he went on a spiritual mission. Walking through thick forests, he reached Omkareshwar on the banks of the Narmada River and met his guru, Govind Bhagavadpada. The guru posed a question: ‘Who are you?’ Prostrating at his feet, Shankara said: ‘I am not the body. Nor am I the mind. I am not the intellect nor am I the senses; I am the Self.’ Pleased by his answer, Guru Govind initiated Shankara into the order of sannyas. Later, Shankara expressed the transcended state he attained in 10 verses called ‘Nirvana Satakam‘.

In Kashi, Shankara propounded the philosophy of Advaita, which holds that there is one substratum of Reality behind the entire universe. What appears externally as dual, or many, is unreal. It is the Self within which reflects one Reality, Brahmn. The individual functions in connection with the mind, body and senses, which limits his supreme divine nature and obscures his vision. Realising one is not the body, mind or intellect and consciousness of the Self leads to spiritual fulfilment.

Though Sankara was an embodiment of Jnana, the eternal wisdom, he also emphasised the importance of devotion. According to him, when the devotion matures, it leads to Jnana.

Shankaracharya Jayanti falls on May 12


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