Of these, the Brhat-Sankara-Vijaya by Citsukha is the oldest hagiography but only available in excerpts, while Sankaradigvijaya by Vidyaranya and Sankaravijaya by Anandagiri are the most cited. According to the Kanchi matha tradition, it is "Abhinava Shankara" that western scholarship recognizes as the Advaita scholar Shankara, while the monastery continues to recognize its BCE chronology. Sir R. Bhandarkar believed he was born in CE. They named their child Shankara, meaning "giver of prosperity". His mother disapproved.
|Published (Last):||3 January 2018|
|PDF File Size:||11.37 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||4.27 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Apart from being the champion of Advaita philosophy, one of his invaluable contributions towards Hinduism was the reordering and restructuring of the ancient Sannyasa order. Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya is considered to be the ideal Sannyasi. It is commonly accepted that he lived about one thousand two hundred years ago though there are historical sources which indicate that he lived in a earlier period. He was born in Kalady, Kerala and in his short life span of 32 years, his accomplishments seem a marvel even today, with our modern conveyances and other facilities.
At the tender age of eight, burning with the desire for Liberation, he left home in search of his Guru. From the southern state of Kerala, the young Shankara walked about kilometers— to the banks of the river Narmada, in the central plains of India, to his Guru— Govindapada. He stayed there serving his Guru for four years. At the age of twelve, his Guru deemed that Shankara was ready to write commentaries on major scriptural texts. At the age of sixteen, he dropped his pen having completed writing all the major treatises.
There is a legend about the young disciple during this period of his stay with the Guru. The world is unreal. In essence the individual is not different from Brahman. In those days ancient India was sunk in a quagmire of superstitions and scriptural misinterpretations.
Degraded ritualism flourished. The essence of Sanatana Dharma, with its all-embracing message of Love, Compassion and the Universality of Humankind was completely lost in the blind performance of these rituals.
Shankaracharya challenged various eminent scholars and leaders of various religious sects in vigorous disputes. They championed their own interpretations of the scriptures but the prodigious boy sage was easily able to overcome all of them and make them understand the wisdom of his teachings. These men of stature then accepted Shankaracharya as their guru. They started to practice in accordance with his guidance, and this change in their lives also wrought a change in the lives of their innumerable followers, who came from all strata of society.
He established 4 ashrams in four corners of India and entrusted his four disciples to teach and propagate Advaita though them. People were totally blind to the underlying common basis of the One God. He also formulated the rituals and rites to be followed in most of the major temples in India. Apart from his immense intellectual and organisational abilities, Shankaracharya was an exquisite poet, with a heart brimming with Love of the Divine.
He also wrote 18 commentaries on the major scriptural texts including the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and 12 major Upanishads.
He also authored 23 books on the fundamentals of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy which expound the principles of the non-dual Brahman. Considered to be an incarnation of Lord Siva, Sri Shankara lived only a short life span of 32 years. There are many inspiring legends about him. Four Maths — Char Dhams — established by Shankara During his travels across the length and breadth of India, he established four maths ashrams to unify the scattered and diverse groups of Sannyasis.
Four maths were established, about AD, in four different corners of India. He selected four of his senior most disciples to head each of these maths.
Each of these maths was assigned the task of maintaining and preserving for posterity, one of the four Vedas the main scriptures of Hinduism and a Maha Vakya. Shankaracharya reorganised all the Sannyasis in India into ten main groups the Dasanami Sannyasa Tradition allocated to different maths.
Historical and literary evidences also exist which prove that the Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt at Kanceepuram, in Tamil Nadu, was also founded by Shankaracharya. The hostess was a kind but very poor lady. All she could give him was a small amalaka fruit. Shankara was deeply touched by the sincerity of this poor lady and he invoked Goddess Lakshmi the Goddess of wealth by singing spontaneously the Kanakadhara Stotra The legend has it that the Goddess showered golden amalaka fruits into the house.
One day the young Shankara found her lying unconscious, due to exhaustion. He prayed to the Lord and the next morning the river started flowing by the side of his house.
The flood waters rose and were about to enter the cave in which his Guru was sitting, deeply immersed in Samadhi. His disciples did not dare to disturb him, though his life was in danger. Then Shankaracharya placed his kamandalu water pot at the entrance of the cave saying that it would absorb all the waters of the flood. His words came true. By this work you will gain eternal glory. One day, however, when he accompanied his mother for a bath in the river, a crocodile caught hold of his leg and started dragging him.
His mother could only stand and watch helplessly. Then Shankara called out to his mother, asking her to permit him to become a Sannyasi at least during these last moments of his life.
To console his mother he promised her that he would come back to her at the time of her death and perform the last rites. By using his Yogic powers, travelled through the air to reach her quickly. At her request he granted her divine visions. Normally this would have been a serious setback as a cremation involves rituals, which would require physical assistance by a few people.
So Shankaracharya performed a miracle. He made a funeral pyre out of plantain stalks. After placing the body on the pyre he took some water and after chanting a few mantras he sprinkled the water on the pyre. Immediately the pyre caught fire.
Thus he was able to complete the funeral rites without help.
Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He is reputed to have founded four mathas "monasteries" , which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organizer of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship. His works in Sanskrit concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of advaita nondualism. He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. Shankara represented his works as elaborating on ideas found in the Upanishads, and he wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon Brahma Sutra, principal upanishads and Bhagavad Gita in support of his thesis. The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism.
The Life of Adi Shankaracharya