Have you heard about Adi Shankaracharya, the great Guru and Philosopher of our Bharata? He is Jagatguru, Guru for the whole universe. He is also known as Adi Shankara Bhagavadpadacharya. Adi Shankaracharya is an avatara of Lord Shiva. Like how we have avataras of Lord Vishnu as Rama, Krishna, Balarama, Adi Shankaracharya is an avatara of Lord Shiva. Gods take avatara on earth with a certain purpose. Do you know why Lord Shiva took avatara as Shankaracharya? Our Santana Dharma is very vast.....
Have you heard about Adi Shankaracharya, the great Guru and Philosopher of our Bharata?
He is Jagatguru, Guru for the whole universe.
He is also known as Adi Shankara Bhagavadpadacharya.
Adi Shankaracharya is an avatara of Lord Shiva.
Like how we have avataras of Lord Vishnu as Rama, Krishna, Balarama, Adi Shankaracharya is an avatara of Lord Shiva.
Gods take avatara on earth with a certain purpose.
Do you know why Lord Shiva took avatara as Shankaracharya?
Our Santana Dharma is very vast.
Our fundamental scriptures are the Vedas.
But then we have Puranas, Itihasas, Smritis, and lacs of other books.
While Vedas, Itihasas, and Puranas are originals, there are lacs of other books which are interpretations, opinions of other people.
People write books as they understand the subject; their perception.
They come out with their own Philosophies.
Many of them may be right, many wrong even.
This goes to such an extent that some people try to establish that there is no God only.
They are all within our religion.
Still, they try to propagate such ideas because they haven’t understood the Vedas correctly.
About 1,200 years before the state of our religion was alarming.
There were so many different different philosophies, contradicting each other.
Each one claiming that what we say is correct, this is what Veda says.
Have you heard about the game called Chinese whispers?
It is a very funny game.
In this game there are ten participants.
A short story is whispered into the ear of he first participant.
Then he has to whisper that into the ear of the second participant.
Like that till the tenth participant.
Then the tenth participant tells the story aloud, whatever he heard.
Then it is compared with the original story.
They will be completely different.
Here also, first one scholar will understand and interpret Vedas as he understood.
Then the second person will not try to read the original Vedas; he will only read this interpretation, and write an interpretation of his own.
Like this it will go on and on and on.
After a series of such interpretations, what we have may not have any connection with the original principles of the Vedas.
They used to fight with each other.
This was the situation of our religion a few centuries back.
It was then that Lord Shiva decided that I have to go down to earth and set this right.
So Bhagavan took avatara as Shankara in a small village Kalady, in Kerala.
From his childhood, Shankara wanted to become a sanyasi.
Do you know who is a sanyasi?
Someone fully, 100% dedicated to spiritual path.
Shankara wanted to become a sanyasi.
But his mother was very fond of him.
She didn’t allow.
If he becomes a sanyasi, then he will have to leave home.
He will not be able to stay with his mother anymore.
That’s why Shankara’s mother did not want him to become a sanyasi.
He was also very fond of his mother and would not do anything without her permission.
So young boy Shankara prayed to God to get him his mother’s permission.
Once, when he was taking bath in the river nearby, a crocodile caught him by his leg.
He was not able to get released.
He told his mother that the crocodile would leave him only if she gives him permission to become a sanyasi.
Mother agreed and the crocodile disappeared.
If you go to Kalady, you can still see the place where this happened.
Then he travelled towards the north and became the disciple of Govinda Bhagavadpadacharya whose ashrama was in Omkareshwar on the banks of River Narmada.
Omkareshwar is presently in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Shankaracharya has performed miracles also.
Once when his Guru was meditating, suddenly water in the river rose up.
He didn’t know that his life was in danger.
Shankara took out his kamandalu, his water pot and contained the whole river into it.
He released the river only after his Guru woke up and was away safely.
From Govind Bhagavatpadacharya, Shankara learned and perfected the Philosophy called Advaita Vedanta.
As per Advaita Vedanta, there is only one God; supreme power called Brahma, Parabrahma, or Paramatma.
A small part of that God only becomes this world; which we see as stars, planets, Sun, Moon, mountains, rivers, animals, birds, humans including you and me.
So he said: Aham brahmasmi.
I am not different from God; I am just a very tiny part of God.
Sarvam khalvidam Brahma!
Like that everything: birds, animals, trees, stones, water, clouds they are all divine, just small small parts of that one God.
Even the Gods as we know them: Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Devi, Ganesha they all come out of that one Supreme God only.
It is like; there is the ocean, you take water from that ocean in hundred small cups.
That is how we all are.
But then is the water in the cup completely different from the ocean?
This is why it is said: you should not harm anyone, hate anyone, make fun of anyone.
Because what every person, every bird, every animal every stone has inside is a small part of that one Supreme God.
Since we all come from that one Supreme God, we are all brothers and sisters of each other.
Not just humans, every being, living, non-living.
This is why we should take care of the environment, keep it clean.
Because it is our own.
It is divine.
With this Philosophy called Advaita Vedanta, Adi Shankaracharya travelled far and wide all over India, engaged in debates with a number of scholars.
They had different Philosophies which they believed in.
Some said: God is different from the world.
God is not part of the world.
He creates the world like how a sculptor makes a statue.
Some said: there is no God.
It is your own action that decides what you experience.
Like this many many Philosophies.
Adi Shankaracharya convinced all of them.
And unified Sanatana Dharma under Advaita Vedanta to a very large extent.
Most of his opponents became his supporters.
Then he established ashramas in the four corners of India to propagate Advaita Vedanta.
Having seen that the purpose of his avatara is achieved, Lord Shiva left his body as Shankara and returned to Kailasa when the Acharya was 32 years of age.
Glory of Venkatesha
Story of Sri Yantra