ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

ADI SHANKARA AND ADVAITA PHILOSOPHY

Updated on March 1, 2013
ADI SHANKARA
ADI SHANKARA

SHANKARA: HIS LIFE AND TIMES

Very few Indian philosophers have influenced Indian thought and culture as SHANKARA, though the great ancient philosophers like AITEREYA, `YAJNAVALKYA, KAPILA and many others had contributed a lot to the evolution of Indian philosophy. What made him stand out was his versatility as a great thinker, organizer and communicator. Though there is no certainty about the date of his birth, scholars are of the view that he was born around 788 CE, in Kalady, in the South Indian state of Kerala.

India during this period was in a state of intellectual ferment. Heterodox beliefs like Jainism and to some extent Buddhism was in the ascendant. Countering them were the MIMAMSAKAS who exaggerated the importance of Vedic rituals. This was further compounded by the emergence of devotional sects like the SAIVAITES (Nayanmars who were devotees of Lord Shiva) and VAISHNAVITES (Alwars who were devotees of Lord Vishnu). Realizing the directionless, conflicting and futile spiritual scenario, SHANKARA devoted his energy in blending the ethical and spiritual needs of the people by giving it a refined intellectual framework called ADVAITA.

SHANKARA achieved this in two ways. On the one hand he used the power of logic and debate in subduing the heterodox beliefs and entrenched orthodoxies. On the other he went about integrating sparring sects by propagating the philosophy of ADVAITA. What made Shankara different from some of the earlier philosophers was his organizing skill. Unlike them he went about setting up MUTTS or monastic institutions in four corners of India, like Dwaraka, Sringeri, Puri and Badrinath. There is also a fifth one at Kanchipuram which is believed to have been set up the acharya.

ADVAITA AND ADI SHANKARA

ADVAITA popularly referred to as the Monistic school of Indian philosophy attempts to reveal the underlying unity in the apparently conflicting belief systems which prevailed. The basic concepts of ADVAITA are:

1.The ultimate reality is the eternal and impersonal BRAHMAN which is mentioned in the UPANISHADS and of which we have no conceptual knowledge.

2.Though the absolute is unchanging in time and space, it appears to be so on account of the power of MAYA

3.The absolute is beyond the notion of causality and therefore this idea is inapplicable

4.The ‘ATMAN’ or the spirit in man is the same as the all pervading BRAHMAN or spirit which is reflected in the saying ‘AHAM BRAHMOSMI’ (I’m the Brahman)

IMPACT

These principles imply that all our sufferings are on account of ignorance of the individual’s identity with the BRHAMAN. Liberation from this according to SHANKARA cannot be just through rituals and devotion, but only through JNANA or illumination. But the impediment to this knowledge is illusion due to our wrong perception. This according to SHANKARA is due to three types of experiences an individual goes through. For example seeing a serpent in a dream is an illusory experience, and it is called PRATIBASIKA (illusory). On the other hand mistaking a rope for a serpent is an error of perception and is called VYAVAHARIKA (empirical). Where we are able to recognize a rope as a rope when illuminated such an experience is called PARAMARTHIKA (transcendental). Every individual is subject to experiences of the second variety and not the first. Here the ignorance deludes us from realizing the true identity and erroneously believe that we are separate from the Absolute BRAHAMAN. Only JNANA or knowledge can help us remove this veil of ignorance and be in communion with the ABSOLUTE.

SHANKARA’s ADVAITA helped in combating and limiting the rate of growth of the heterodox schools. Buddhism gradually faded away in the land of its birth and Janism continued to exist, though with very limited number of followers

IMPORTANT WORKS

Some of the important works of ADI SHANKARA are:

PHILOSOPHICAL

BHAGAVAT GITA BHASYA

BRAHMASUTRA BHASYA

UPANISHAD BHASYA

ATMA BODH

VIVEKACHOODAMANI

TATTVA BODH

SADHANA PANCHAKAM

HYMNS

SOUNDARYALAHARI

SHIVANANDALAHARI

BHAJA GOVINDAM

KANAKA DHARA STOTRAM


Comments

Submit a Comment

  • ram_m profile imageAUTHOR

    ram_m 

    5 years ago from India

    nice to know the hub was useful.

  • profile image

    sugar 

    5 years ago

    thanks helped in my speech

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)