Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Adi Shankara of Kalady - a great Hindu philosopher


Adi Shankara and his deciples. www.dailyo.in/
Adi Shankara Janam Kshetra.trip advisor kalady
When Hinduism was on the decline, Adi Shankara was the one who revived it and breathed new life into it. He was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian  and  a proponent of  the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.  Sri Ramnujacharya (1077–1157 CE)  propagated  Vishishtadvaita (non-dualism) and Madhwachara (CE 1238–1317) - Dvaita (dualism). These three great philosophers made vast contributions to Hinduism in their respective ways.  When Hinduism was in disarray due to the influence of Buddhism and  other faiths,  Adi Shankarar traveled across India  and united various groups   and established the main facets of   Hinduism.  He did it through discourses and debates with other  eminent thinkers and nor proposing conversion under duress.
Adi Shankara Janam Kshetra..inditales.com
Adi Shankara's  philosophy  rests  on the unity of the Atman and Nirguna Brahman "brahman without attributes".   To support his view of approach to God  he wrote innumerable copious commentaries  in Sanskrit on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita).  His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads you can find the corroborative works.   He was quite critical of the ritually- based Mimaṃsa school of Hinduism. To him, the discernible difference between Hinduism and Buddhism is very simple.  Hinduism asserts "Atman (Soul, Self) exists",  whereas Buddhism says that there is "no Soul, no Self". The Mimaṃsa school  gave more emphasis on  ritualism and  and was critical of  monasticism  as  sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra. Adi Shankara founded  four Mutts  ("monasteries")  with a view to  developing and  popularizing  Advaita Vedanta. He was  the organizer of the Dashanami monastic order and unified the Shanmata tradition of worship.

Born in Kalady,  which is close to Kochi, Kerala on the banks of River Poorna,  Sri Shankara's date of birth is vague and is a subject of discussion.  Any way, his contribution to the Hinduism is  so vast and one may wonder as to how he wrote so many commentaries in Sanskrit on Hinduism  and traveled across the Indian subcontinent before he reached the holy feet of God at a young age of just 33. Kangathara sosthram, Soundarya Lahiri and Baja Govindam  were his additional contributions along with many other gems.
Sri Shankarta's  parents were poor and  aged Nambudiri Brahmins  and the  couple led a simple and devout life of service to the poor;  they named their child ''Shankara'', meaning "giver of prosperity". As his father died when Shankara was young, his mother had his upanayanam conducted. It was the initiation into student-life.  Right from childhood Shankara took keen interest in ascetic life against the wish of his mother. After long discussion, with her permission,  he moved over to north central India and  and found a guru in Govinda Bhagavatpāda on the banks of the Narmada river at  Omkareshwar. Very much impressed by his knowledge which was similar  to  his  Advait, his guru asked him to write commentary (Bhashya).  The cave  where  Govinda Bhagavatpāda spent his life, is still being maintained below the Shiva temple there.
At Kalady  you can find temples where his mother used to pray. 
The birthplace of Adi Shankara at Kaladyen.wikipedia.org
Adi Shankara's quote. www.azquotes.com
The Sringeri Mutt  is  functioning there  and is called Adi Shankara Janam Kshetra. It is here the birth of  the Shankaracharya is celebrated.  His birth place was discovered just over 100 years ago and since  then, efforts have been made to preserve this place and its sanctity by  the followers of different Shankara Mutts  across the country.
 There are  three  mutts by Sankara  - Mutts of Kanchi and Sringeri and the third is in a small  village.   Kalady Sringeri Mutt is the largest one.  Sharadamba is the presiding deity of the Mutt
At Kalady Sankara Mutt   there is Vrindavan of Aryamba or the samadhi of mother of Adi Shankara. There isalso  a Shakti Ganapati Temple. The life story of Adi Shankara is inscribed in marble plaques there. His  birthplace  celebrates his life and shares his philosophy. Sri Krishna Temple  in Kalady is the oldest temple in town.   Kanchi Mutt here has built a lovely Keerthi Stambh that celebrates the  six  paths of worship of Hinduism  as taught by Adi Shankara. They are: the deities Ganesha, Shanmukh or Kartikeyan, Surya, Vishnu, Shakti, and Shiva. Sri Adi Shankara Keerthi Stambh Mandap is an integral part of the structure here. Inside there 
are two small temples. one is dedicated to Adi Shankaracharya
 - his birthplace and the other  dedicated to Shiva Parvati and Ganapati.
Adi Sankara established  the Hindu monks of  ten sects or names under four Maṭhas (Sanskrit) or monasteries, with main offices  at Dvārakā in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Sringeri in the South and Badrikashrama in the North.  Each math was headed by one of his four main disciples, who each continues the Vedanta Sampradaya. The heads have to practice celibacy  since their initiation into Sanyasam (ascetic life) and should be well-versed in many languages besides other religious subjects. 
Tit-bits: 

Adi  Shankara's quotes:
01. ''All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence; just as the different ornaments are all made out of the same gold.''
 02. ''The witness of the three states of consciousness [waking, dream and deep sleep] and of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss is the Self.''
03. ''Just as a stone, a tree, a straw, grain, a mat, a cloth, a pot, and so on, when burned, are reduced to earth (from which they came), so the body and its sense organs, on being burned in the fire of Knowledge, become Knowledge and are absorbed in Brahman, like darkness in the light of the sun''.
https://www.azquotes.com/author/24264-Adi_Shankara

https://www.inditales.com/kalady-adi-shankaracharya-birthplace/