According to the records of the Kamakoti monastery at Kanchi, the holy Shankara Acharya was born in 509 B.C. and lived for 32 years

“I bow down to Shri Bhagavadpada, in whom abides the essence of the eternal truth contained in the Shruti, traditions and Puranas, who is an ocean of compassion and an inexhaustible mine of the highest good of humanity.” (Sureshvara Acharya) To give a brief account of the life of Shri Shankara, as we attempt here, …

Read moreAccording to the records of the Kamakoti monastery at Kanchi, the holy Shankara Acharya was born in 509 B.C. and lived for 32 years

In his eighth year Shri Shankara embraced the monastic order called sannyasa

In the far south of India is a district called Kevala, which includes Cocheen, Malabar and Trivankura; it is noted for the beauty of its scenery and for its advanced social condition. Lapped by the sea, the earth is covered with the glossy green of leaves and grass which charm the eye and fill the …

Read moreIn his eighth year Shri Shankara embraced the monastic order called sannyasa

Shri Shankara decided to go to Mount Badrinath in the Himalayas to complete his commentary on the Brahma Sutras

Shri Shankara decided to go to Mount Badrinath in the Himalayas to complete his commentary on the Brahma Sutras. It was in a cave near the Mana glacier that Shri Vyasa had composed these Sutras. In the company of a Brahmachari named Sanandana and a few other close disciples he set out on his journey, …

Read moreShri Shankara decided to go to Mount Badrinath in the Himalayas to complete his commentary on the Brahma Sutras

The meeting of Shri Shankara and Kumarila Bhatta is of great importance in the history of Indian philosophy and mysticism.

Shri Shankara learnt that Kumarila Bhatta lived in the sacred city of Prayag (Allahabad) at the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna, so he set out with his disciples along the bank of the Yamuna in the direction of Prayag. The meeting of Shri Shankara and Kumarila Bhatta is of great importance in the …

Read moreThe meeting of Shri Shankara and Kumarila Bhatta is of great importance in the history of Indian philosophy and mysticism.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s arguments in support of non-duality and non-difference prevailed over those of Mandana Misra

Mandana Misra was a native of the province of India which is now known as Behar. His real name was Vishvarupa Shastri and he had “been given the name Mandana “because he was acknowledged as the most distinguished pundit of his time. Shri Shankara knew him to be the chief opponent of Adwaita hut one …

Read moreShri Shankara Acharya’s arguments in support of non-duality and non-difference prevailed over those of Mandana Misra

Shri Shankara sat quietly meditating on the oneness of Brahman, repeating the holy name OM

Shri Shankara started for the south of India where he hoped to undermine the common belief in the non-Vedic religions and to gain a following for the metaphysics of Advaita. He was accompanied by a number of disciples including Sureshvara and Padmapada. At every main centre on his route he established the superiority of Advaita …

Read moreShri Shankara sat quietly meditating on the oneness of Brahman, repeating the holy name OM

Shri Shankara blessed the child and said: ”My son, who are you? ‘Whose disciple are you? What is your aim in life?”

Gokama is an ancient and sacred place consecrated to Lord Shiva, where King Ravana once performed great tapas. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata and certain of the Puranas, and the poet Kalidas had also spoken of it with great reverence. Shri Shankara, accompanied by his disciples, stayed there at the temple of Shiva for …

Read moreShri Shankara blessed the child and said: ”My son, who are you? ‘Whose disciple are you? What is your aim in life?”

Shri Shankara Acharya’s disciples heard the sound of the great bull, the vehicle of Shiva

Shri Padmapada had been born at Chola in the South of India and he asked leave of his Guru to return there for a short time. Shri Shankara granted his request and Padmapada set out in the company of a few fellow-disciples. When he reached his birthplace, the villagers were surprised to find that he …

Read moreShri Shankara Acharya’s disciples heard the sound of the great bull, the vehicle of Shiva

Shri Shankara Acharya’s writings can be divided into the three categories of commentaries

Shri Shankara Acharya’s writings can be divided into the three categories of commentaries, devotional songs and short philosophical works. His commentaries on the major Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras are collectively known as the Prasthana, which literally means The Way, signifying the way which leads to Brahman- realisation. In his commentaries on …

Read moreShri Shankara Acharya’s writings can be divided into the three categories of commentaries

According to the Advaita Vedanta of Shri Shankara, release (Moksha) is eternally true.

According to the Advaita Vedanta of Shri Shankara, release (Moksha) is eternally true. By the spiritual practices it is realised in our practical experience. Before an aspirant treads the path of Yoga he must cultivate the antecedent qualifications. He must hear from the loving and living lips of a God-realised Guru the meaning of Shruti …

Read moreAccording to the Advaita Vedanta of Shri Shankara, release (Moksha) is eternally true.

In Vedanta, devotion to God is the greatest instrument of spiritual cognition

Our progress on the path of spirituality is helped by selfless benevolence. In Vedanta, devotion to God is a sure means of purifying the heart and the greatest instrument of spiritual cognition. Many people think, including a number of Western scholars of Vedanta and their blind followers in India, that devotion to the personal aspect …

Read moreIn Vedanta, devotion to God is the greatest instrument of spiritual cognition

Ethical living according to Dharma makes the spiritual experience easier

Let us consider the position of moral virtues in Vedanta. In the holy Yoga the inner life is considered more important than the outer life. Ethical living according to Dharma makes the spiritual experience easier. In Vedanta a good life of benevolence, peace, study, devotion and meditation occupies the highest position. In the Bhagavad Gita …

Read moreEthical living according to Dharma makes the spiritual experience easier

In the philosophy of Shri Shankara, the highest good is Moksha

In the holy philosophy of Shri Shankara, the highest good is called Moksha, that is freedom from all the limitations of nescience. It is experience of the Self. It is not the production of something which is not already present. It is an experience of Truth which is eternal. Self-realisation is achieved through Jnana. Moksha …

Read moreIn the philosophy of Shri Shankara, the highest good is Moksha

Sat-Chit-Ananda is an experience of the Self and not of the mind

The Vedanta of Shri Shankara is not rationalism like the philosophy of Descartes or Spinoza but it is a spiritual ontological philosophy which has no peer in Western philosophy. The way to be established mentally in the Truth of the holy philosophy is to reason deeply about the spiritual Truth obtained from an Acharya; but …

Read moreSat-Chit-Ananda is an experience of the Self and not of the mind

Realised experience alone is the highest proof in determining the nature of Self

We see that dialectics occupy their proper place in the philosophy of Vedanta; but dialectics are one of the powers of our mind and we cannot say that they are the ultimate factor in the determination of Reality. Vedanta is a spiritual philosophy; it is not like the rationalism of Hegel. Dialectics therefore occupy a …

Read moreRealised experience alone is the highest proof in determining the nature of Self

The theory of Maya is found both in the Upanishads and in the writings of Shankara

Let us consider the theory of Maya and the reasons for which it is held so important in the Vedanta of Shri Shankara. A famous Western scholar, Gough, says: “The theory of Maya which enunciates the unreality of Jivahood and Jagat, is the vital life of the ancient Indian philosophy”. Shri Shankara has extracted the …

Read moreThe theory of Maya is found both in the Upanishads and in the writings of Shankara

There is no other existence apart from the existence of Self (Atman)

Let us discuss the nature of Advaita. We say that the expression “There is no other existence apart from the existence of Self (Atman)” (Chandogya Upanishad 7.25.2.) shows that there is nothing separate from Atman. In this sense the Self is one without a second. It does not mean that any existence imagined as other …

Read moreThere is no other existence apart from the existence of Self (Atman)

According to Vedanta, Brahman is the highest truth

In the Taittiriya Upanishad (3.1.) Brahman is described as that fundamental Truth from which the world of beings is born, by which it is supported and in which it is finally dissolved. There are long descriptions in the Upanishads to explain the genesis of the world (e.g. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.) A complete negation of the …

Read moreAccording to Vedanta, Brahman is the highest truth

”Darshana” means the search after the ultimate truth of life in the world

The Sanskrit word for philosophy is ”Darshana” which literally means ’’sight”. It means the search after the ultimate truth of life in the world. Its main field is the nature of man himself and its promptings are the secrets of the world. When man began to think he began to philosophise. The history of man …

Read more”Darshana” means the search after the ultimate truth of life in the world