पर्व विशेष

Jagadguru Shankaracharya

Jagatguru Sankaracharya was born to Sivaguru and Aryamba in AD 788 in Kaladi in Kerala. In his childhood itself he lost his father. He grew up under his mother’s care. As an extra-ordinarily intelligent boy, he gained great mastery in vedas and upanishads. After completing his education at the age of seven, one day he presented his wish to renounce this world before his mother. She couldn’t agree to the idea of leaving her only son. Before long, while taking bath with his mother in the nearby river, a crocodile caught on one of his legs. Seeing this, his mother panicked and screamed. An unperturbed smiling Sankara told his mother that if she gave him permission for ‘sanyasa’, the crocodile would leave the hold. Finding no other way, half-heartedly the mom gave him permission. And the crocodile released him, says the legend. Thus, with his mother’s permission he left home. Giving her his word that whenever she wished to see him, he would reach her, he set out to fulfil his life mission. That was the beginning of a victorious, intellectual world conquering journey. Sankara became a disciple of Govinda Bhagavadpada. After getting ‘sanyasa deeksha’ from him, he travelled the length and breadth of Bharat, defeating master debaters of different schools of philosophy. Through sensible and factual arguments and points, he exposed the meaninglessness of many deep-rooted unjustifiable, wrong practices in the society. He upheld that everything in the visible world is a manifestation of the invisible ‘brahma tattva’. To make this ‘advaita ‘ philosophy spread its roots all over Bharat, he started a long journey. From Chidambaram in the south to Kashmir in the north and from there to Kedarnath, Dwaraka and Rameswaram that young sanyasin travelled on foot. He defeated several great scholars in ‘tarka’ (philosophical debate) and brought the age old vedic dharma back to its prime. It was a victorious journey; it was the beginning of a new era. Bharat was regaining its waning spiritual strength and grace. To eliminate differences and clashes among varied Sanatani sects who worshipped ‘Eswara’ in different forms, he formulated a new worship system known as ‘panchaayatana pooja’ . His generous concept accepted Shri Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. He was propagating the spiritual truth that nothing and no one is to be hated or kept apart because the ‘athma satta’ in all things is the same. These integrating revolutionary measures have contributed greatly in the unification of the ancient Indian society.
According to Sankara women and ‘sudras’ have equal rights with all others in practising and attaining ‘brahmajnana’.He expounded that anyone from any caste with dedication can succeed in achieving ‘brahmajnana’, showing the examples of Vidura and Dharmavyadha in Mahabharata and Vachaghnavi in upanishad. Sankara’s travels, literary works and super human efforts to raise Sanatana Dharma from decadence, purify, strengthen, and protect it and carry forward its human values to the wider populace will continue to influence Bharat as phenomenal monuments that time cannot ever wipe out.
At an early age of 32, his soul left the body while in ‘samadhi’. Within this short period of life, one of his contributions was the founding of the four mutts which served in strengthening national unity in the following years. Govardhan mutt of Puri, west Sarada Mutt of Dwaraka, south Sringeri Mutt, north Jyotir Mutt of Badarinath still serves as historical symbols of unity that India enjoys.
Sankara’s creative ability incomparable. He wrote countless stotras and interpretations to Bhagavat Geeta, Upanishads and Brahma sutra. Sankara is the great master who taught the world that the philosophical and spiritual essence that overflows from the vedic culture is the panacea for social inequality and endless wars. His philosophy and views will continue to inspire the world in all the ages to come.
Let this Sankara Jayanthi be an occasion for that ‘jnaana jyoti’ to shower more light in to our lives!Jagadguru Shankaracharya