On the 30th of April 2017, at 6 p.m , Ramakrishna Mission joyfully celebrates the birthday of Shri Adi Shankaracharaya at the holy shrine in Bartley Road . The soulful divine program will include bhajans, prayers followed by vegetarian Indian cuisine as prasad. All prasad will be lovingly prepared by volunteers who are also devotees. Bhajans will be conducted by Swami Satyalokananda. In this connection the President of the Ramakrishna Mission Swami Vimokshananda will deliver a Lecture on Adi Shankara from 6 PM at the Sarada Hall within the Mission premises.
We welcome you and invite you to join in this joyous occasion as we have inherited vast and invaluable knowledge, divine guidance and holistic information on Vedanta philosophy from this great soul.
A great philosopher and ascetic, Shri Adi Shankaracharya, with his remarkable reinterpretations of Hindu scriptures, especially on Upanishads or Vedanta, had a profound influence on the growth of Hinduism at a time when chaos, superstition, and bigotry were rampant .He, with his remarkable reinterpretations of Hindu scriptures, especially on Upanishads or Vedanta, had a profound influence on the growth of Hinduism at a time when chaos, superstition, and bigotry was rampant.
Shankara was born in a Brahmin family circa 788 AD in a village named Kaladi on the banks of the river Purna (now Periyar) in the Southern Indian coastal state Kerala. His parents, Sivaguru and Aryamba, had been childless for a long time and the birth of Shankara was a joyous and blessed occasion for the couple. Legend has it that Aryamba had a vision of Lord Shiva and promised her that he would incarnate in the form of her first-born child. Siva is said to have appeared to the couple in a dream and promised them a choice of one son who would be short-lived but the most brilliant philosopher of his day, or many sons who would be mediocre at best. The couple opted for a brilliant, but short-lived son, and so Sankara was born.
WORKS OF ADI SHANKARA CHARYA
He had expounded the Vedanta philosophy through his writings; he had attracted many intelligent disciples to him, who could carry on the vedantic tradition; and he had established monastic centers for them in the form of mathas. It is a measure of SankarAcArya’s widespread fame that such conflicting traditions have arisen around his name. His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara’s publications criticised the ritually-oriented Mīmāmsā school of Hinduism.]He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts “Atman (Soul, Self) exists”, while Buddhism asserts that there is “no Soul, no Self”.
His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman “brahman without attributes”.[He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara’s publications criticized the ritually-oriented Mīmāsā school of Hinduism.
Philosophical tour and disciples
While the details and chronology vary, most biographies mention Adi Shankara traveling widely within India, Gujarat to Bengal, and participating in public philosophical debates with different orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, as well as heterodox traditions such as Buddhists, Jains, Arhatas, Saugatas, and Carvakas.During his tours, he is credited with starting several Matha (monasteries), however this is uncertain.[Ten monastic orders in different parts of India are generally attributed to Shankara’s travel-inspired Sannyasin schools, each with Advaita notions, of which four have continued in his tradition: Bharati (Sringeri), Sarasvati (Kanchi), Tirtha and Asramin (Dvaraka)[ Other monasteries that record Shankara’s visit include Giri, Puri, Vana, Aranya, Parvata and Sagara – all names traceable to Ashrama system in Hinduism and Vedic literature.
Adi Shankara had a number of disciple scholars during his travels, including Padmapada (also called Sanandana, associated with the text Atma-bodha), Sureshvara, Tothaka, Citsukha, Prthividhara, Cidvilasayati, Bodhendra, Brahmendra, Sadananda and others, who authored their own literature on Shankara and Advaita Vedanta
Adi Sankara is believed to have died aged 32, at Kedarnath in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, a Hindu pilgrimage site in the Himalayas His had been a short, but eventful life. He retired to the Himalayas and disappeared inside a cave near Kedarnath. This cave is traditionally pointed out as the site of his samAdhi. Other variant traditions place Sankara’s last days at Karavirpitham or at Mahur in Maharashtra, Trichur in Kerala or Kancipuram in Tamil Nadu.
Quotes of Adi Shankara- Pearls of Wisdom
- Do not be proud of wealth, people, relations and friends, or youth. All these are snatched by time in the blink of an eye. Giving up this illusory world, know and attain the Supreme
- Do not look at anybody in terms of friend or foe, brother or cousin; do not fritter away your mental energies in thoughts of friendship or enmity. Seeking the Self everywhere, be amiable and equal-minded towards all, treating all alike.
- As gold purified in a furnace loses its impurities and achieves its own true nature, the mind gets rid of the impurities of the attributes of delusion, attachment and purity through meditation and attains reality.
- Even after the Truth has been realised, there remains that strong, obstinate impression that one is still an ego – the agent and experiencer. This has to be carefully removed by living in a state of constant identification with the supreme non-dual Self. Full Awakening is the eventual ceasing of all the mental impressions of being an ego. Knowing that I am different from the body, I need not neglect the body. It is a vehicle that I use to transact with the world. It is the temple which houses the Pure Self within.
- Curb your senses and your mind and see the Lord within your heart
Swami Vivekananda On Adi Shankaracharya
Swami Vivekananda considered Adi Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara) as the greatest teacher of Vedanta philosophy. Vivekananda was an admirer of Adi Shankara and translated Adi Shankara’s poem Atma Shatakam (also known as Nirvana Shatakam)
The greatest teacher of the Vedanta philosophy was Shankaracharya. By solid reasoning he extracted from the Vedas the truths of Vedanta, and on them built up the wonderful system of Jnana that is taught in his commentaries. He unified all the conflicting descriptions of Brahman and showed that there is only one Infinite Reality. He showed too that as man can only travel slowly on the upward road, all the varied presentations are needed to suit his varying capacity. We find something akin to this in the teachings of Jesus, which he evidently adapted to the different abilities of his hearers. First he taught them of a Father in heaven and to pray to Him. Next he rose a step higher and told them, “I am the vine, you are the branches”, and lastly he gave them the highest truth: “I and my Father are one”, and “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Shankara taught that three things were the great gifts of God: (1) human body, (2) thirst after God, and (3) a teacher who can show us the light. When these three great gifts are ours, we may know that our redemption is at hand. Only knowledge can free and save us, but with knowledge must go virtue.