[Advaita-l] Sri Shankara Jayanthi - 18th May 2010
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon May 17 02:13:50 CDT 2010
Someone sent to me the following write-up on Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada. My
attempt to thank him and seek his consent to publish the essay proved futile
as the email repeatedly bounced. I go ahead publishing it in good faith and
with my sincere thanks to the unknown author.
HINDU RELIGION EXISTS ONLY BY THE EFFORT OF THE GREAT SANKARA "Religion is
realisation. It is not mere learning, or dialectic." This is the divine
message which stands deeply imprinted in the mind of every Hindu. This is
not mere fancy. This is not a mental conception. This is not a stretch of
imagination. It is not a coinage of the brain. Nor is it a decision arrived
at by vehement vituperation and incongruent argumentation promulgated by all
ordinary intellectual prodigy.
It is the bold assertion of the greatest philosopher of India, the Avatara
of Lord Siva.
What can we take him for except Lord Siva Himself, who proclaims
authoritatively and undauntedly:
Jaatam mayyeva sarvam punarapi mayi tatsamsthitam chaiva visvam,
Sarvam mayyeva yaati pravilayamiti tadbrahma chaivaahamasmi.
"In me is the whole Universe born; In me has it its support; and, in me does
it dissolve. Therefore that very Brahman indeed am I."
Srimad Adi Sankara is our Vedanta Guru. He is God incarnate. He was born at
a time when Indian thought and culture was decaying; when it underwent sore
distraction; when ethical glory and far-spread influence of Buddhistic cult
was gradually dying; when there was complete chaos and confusion; when
innumerable sects sprang up and with their own individual doctrines
confounded the mass; when social evil influences and blind superstitions
falsely garbed in the name of religion fancifully attracted the deceptive
masses in a frenzy and ambushed them in complete ignorance of the Ultimate
Reality. There were no less than seventy-two cults and sects of this type
which carried away people from the right path.
The advent of Lord Krishna rejuvenated Hindu religion and saved many a soul
from their complete ruin by subjugating themselves to passivism and
passivism only due to the misinterpretation of the Vedas and the Upanishads.
In the same way, Sri Sankara appeared on the earth to deliver very many
struggling souls. He set them free, enlightened them and liberated them
through his peaceful, unostentatious persuasion and loving propaganda.
Through his irresistible logic, he planted the triumphant banner of unique
intellectual conquest over all other schools of philosophy. Before him all
other theories proved to be phantoms and fallacies.
It was only Sri Sankara who gave the unshakable concrete form to Hinduism
and established the unity and purity of enlightened Hindu thought and
culture. Superstitions and corrupt practices melted away in no time.
The age-long six systems of theism which were kept down in the mouth by the
prattlers re-emerged in their original glory only through Sri Sankara.
His victory over other systems of philosophy was never due to his holding
fast to his own faith and reasoning without the consideration of the pros
and cons of others. He had mastered even the minute intricacies pertaining
to other theories. The underlying currents of his thoughts were the very
foundation for other systems too. Hence they were recognised with much
reverence by all the other schools of thought despite their difference in
The secret of his conquest and the charm therein lay on his most apt and
reasonable illustrations in every case. He never based his arguments on
theoretical axioms and untestified hypotheses but entirely on integral
experience (anubhava). Further all his arguments were based upon Srutis
which too are genuine record of religious experiences of various saints and
sages and not imaginary speculation with trivial data. He never entered into
any hot unpalatable discussions to substantiate his case or disprove others'
theories. With his gigantic intellect he has poured out his masterful
exposition and simple and clear elucidation of the supreme authority of the
Prasthanatraya (The Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Brahma Sutras), the
self-evident validity of the Sruti Pramana and so on.
Above all, his philosophy was not only for the highly intellectual. It is
within the easy reach of even the layman. With his profound knowledge,
all-comprehensive learning, keen intuitive insight, and convincing
explanations he has erected the strong edifice of Vedanta at the same time
equally accessible to a simpleton as to a man of high intellect. How
effectively has he prescribed "Bhaja Govindam" to a scholar who was racking
his brain in committing various scriptures to memory!
Vedanta is not the only aspect of philosophy which he has preached to the
world. He has entered the heart of every earnest seeker after Truth. He
encourages the worship of various forms of the Lord and advocates Bhakti
Yoga. Without any tinge of partiality to one form or the other, he has given
out innumerable slokas, each brimming with full tattva and bhava and which
inculcate ecstasy and perennial joy even in the tender undeveloped minds.
His untiring work of Lokasangraha marks him out as the veritable master of
the Yoga of Activism too.
At the background of all these his devotion to his Guru is supermost. Mark
him say, "Any person who realises `That very Brahman am I' through the
unparalleled mercy and glance of the Sadguru loses all feelings of doubt and
with his mind free from illusion attains liberation even while living in the
body." How much efficacy and glory lie in Guru Bhakti!
May you all develop Guru Bhakti! May the blessings of Sri Sankara be upon
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