Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788 in Kaladi, Kerala, India
and in his short life of 32 years he had impressive achievements.
As a philosopher and yogi, Adi Shankaracharya is recognized for
consolidation of the Advaita Vedanta doctrine.
He united and clarified currents in yoga, exposing the key differences between yoga and Buddhism.
Shankaracharya provided a major insight into how yoga is different from Buddhism.
He declared that Hinduism supports and accepts the concept of Atman, which means that the soul or self exists. In Buddhism it is not believed that there is no Self or soul.
One of his invaluable contributions to Hinduism was the reorganization and restructuring of the old Sannyasa order. Bhagavan Adi Shankaracharya is considered to be the ideal of Sannyasi.
He also explained the basic ideology of the Upanishads and explained the identity of the immortal Self Atman with the Supreme Self (Nirguna Brahman).
It is considered to be an avatar of Shiva.
Adi Shankaracharya gave up worldly pleasures at a very young age. So, at the age of eight, spurred on by the desire to achieve spiritual realization, he left home in search of his Guru.
The young Shankara traveled about 2000 kilometers to the banks of the Narmada River, in the central plains of India, where he found his Guru, Govindapada. He stayed there for four years. Under the compassionate guidance of his teacher, he came to master all the Vedic scriptures.
At the age of twelve, his Guru realized that Shankara was very capable of commenting on major sacred texts in yoga. Shankara wrote comments elucidating the subtle meanings hidden in the yogic teachings. At the age of sixteen he finished writing the comments for all the major treatises.
It is said that during the rainy period, the Narmada River rose and was to enter the cave where his Guru stood, deeply immersed in Samadhi. His disciples did not dare to disturb him, although his life was in danger. Then Shankaracharya placed her kamandalu (water vessel) at the entrance of the cave, saying that she would absorb all the waters of the flood. His words came true. The waters could not disturb the Guru’s meditation. Guru Govindapada blessed him by saying:
„Așa cum ai conținut apele inundate din kamandalu-ul tău, ar trebui să scrii comentarii care să conțină esența scripturilor vedantice. Prin această lucrare vei dobândi gloria veșnică. ”
From the age of sixteen to thirty-two years Shankaracharya traveled all over India, carrying into the hearts of the masses the essential message of the Vedas.
„Brahman, conștiința pură, este realitatea absolută.
Lumea este ireală.
În esență, omul este identic cu Brahman. ”
Thus, by the statement
“Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya, Jeevo Brahmaiva Na Para”,
it condensed the essence of the voluminous scriptures.
In those days, ancient India was dominated by superstitions and misinterpretations of the scriptures
Shankaracharya provoked various eminents and leaders of various religious sects in vigorous disputes. They supported their own interpretations of the scriptures, but the wise boy was able to easily overcome them all and make them understand the wisdom of his teachings.
They then accepted Shankaracharya as a guru, fully respecting his guidance, which led to an important change in their lives, but also that of other followers from all walks of life.
He founded 4 ashrams in four corners of India and invested his four disciples to learn and propagate the teaching of Advaita Vedanta
In Shankara’s day, there were countless sects that followed their own narrow philosophies and cult systems. People were not aware of the existence of one God. For their benefit, Shankaracharya formulated the system of worship of six sects that brought to the fore the main goddesses – Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Muruka, Ganesha and Surya.
He also formulated the rituals and rites to be followed in most major temples in India
Shankaracharya left the physical plane in the year 820 Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India.
Apart from his immense intellectual and organizational skills, Shankaracharya was a refined poet with a loving heart of the Divine.
He composed 72 devotional and meditative hymns such as Saundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shatakam, Maneesha Panchakam.
He also wrote 18 commentaries on major sacred texts, including the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads.
Adi Shankaracharya is famous for his in-depth and insightful comments about ancient texts.
The Brahma Sutra review he wrote is famous as brahmasutrabhasya and is the oldest commentary on the Brahma Sutra.
She has also written 23 books on the fundamental elements of advaita Vedanta philosophy, which expose the principles of nondualism. These include, among others,
Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Vaakya Vritti, Upadesa Sahasri.
One of his most important works is the synthesis of the six sub-schools or Shanmata, which means six devotional perspectives that worshipped six different deities, conisdered to be facets of the one God. Shankaracharya exposed the existence of only one divine power – Brahman, and these six deities being facets of it.
There are at least 14 known biographies of Adi Shankaracharya depicting his life. The best known biographies are known as: Sankara Vijaya or Guruvijaya, Shankarabhyudaya and Shankaracaryacarita.