Shankara was the advocate and propagator of the `Advaitha Sidhanta’. He has given a new form and meaning to the already prevalent theory of the existence of a single godhead in the ancient medieval India. He was more inclined towards the instrument of pure knowledge and spirituality in place of the increasingly prevalent tantrâs and the sole dominant role of priest cults in his times; which in turn lead to a new era of the vedic knowledge in pure knowledge form.
Sankara was born in kalady, kerala, India in the year 788 A.D. Sankara exhibited extraordinary intelligence in his boyhood. By sixteen, He was well versed in all the spiritual scriptures and began to write commentaries on the Gita, the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras.
Sankara was so supreme and deeply knowledgeable in the secret doctrines that Vedic scholars from all regions of India came for discussion with him and he was able to answer all of their questions. Sankara, by defeating all the other religious sect gurus of his time- (more than seventy-two different schools of thoughts) reigned supreme over all others and was named “Jagat Guru”. After Sankarâ’s time, although a few gurus of Advaithâ philosophy have appeared, none have been able to completely conquer the other sects of philosophy like Sankarâ did in his time..
There is undoubtedly a very important position assigned to Sankarâ in the history of Indian philosophy. Sankarâ’s philosophy was the purest of the “knowledge led freedom of the soul” that he was somewhat skeptical of the real role of devotion and prayers in the ultimate realization of the truth. He advocated the study of Vedas as the ultimate solution for self realization. His theory of advaitha philosophy explained the world as a total illusion and the godhead was supposed to be the only real existing reality.
Later exponents of Sankarâ’s doctrines were confused among themselves and the interpretations were variants of the original philosophy laid down by Sankarâ; which he repeatedly stated to be just replica of the principal upanishádic scriptures, being given a lucent poetic form so that the weak minded could comprehend better. But, as priesthood has sustained throughout the ages with the money of the spiritual seeking minds; Sankarâ’s philosophies were given a divine and different profile as advaitha sidhânta by his priestly followers and the sect as such has flourished as a powerful monasteric brotherhood. The main clash between the advaitha sidhanta and the “sânkhya” philosophy (Dual Nature of Reality) is mainly based upon the “Ego” of the individuals who are fighting for these both doctrines ; but not so much is left to differentiate between these two doctrines in truth; as Sankarâ has affirmed always in all his scriptures the necessity of the “STRIPPING OF EGO” as the first thing to be done to start the spiritual journey; as we would see – is the upanishidic principle for a person to be fit for realization. Dual nature of philosophy is by itself explained in the singularity principle that the illusion of world is in fact real for the person who is standing inside it; as the quantum theories and parallel universe equations of modern science are explaining to us.
In the doctrines of Sankarâ; two complete important principal works are given here:
The opening lines of Vivekachudâmani is very powerful in the sense that each mind secretly admits to the fact of being incomplete without the eternal knowledge of conquering death is like living in the body of an animal. We enjoy having sex, making and spending money, manipulating people, but it still feels like living in the hands of a stranger- who can anytime close the fist and whoosh…. thus goes our lifebreath- like in a sudden heart attack, accident, or old age- if we come that much!!!
The solutions are also given but it becomes a little confused for a beginner to understand the philosophy behind the procedure; as the basic question which comes to the mind of a typical bold and courageous spiritual warrior who defies all conventional principles to obey the religions or priests is that:
” Why??? And Again; Why should all this happen to us???*** What did I do for all This Unhappiness which surrounds me like a blanket????
The guru’s with their all knowing attitude, waves away the question with the casual waving of his hand and says with a thin smile in his mind- ” poor fellow; frustration !!! I can make a good disciple out of him and conquer the world to show my knowledge… but let me move cautiously, or he may go away!!! So; let me be a light to him and show him what all this is…”
The fact is that any mind which is searching for the “Truth” instantly knows that the guru or the advisor is thinking thus in the same instance that the thought is passing through the mind of the preceptor; but then the natural question next is that: ” Then why is there so many guru’s and so many millions of devotees for any religions or sects all over the world?”
The answer from me is that, it is not because the devotee or the disciple believes 100% that the guru can show him the way; but the inquiring mind is soooo lost in the search in so many places that it gradually looses its grip on the belief that there is something such as “Truth”- itself. So, it desperately wants something get its mind on so that it wouldn’t slip into the insanity of this make-believe world again. Along with it- the willpower with which the inquiring mind started it’s quest has come to a sudden halt in front of another magnanimous egoistic mind- which calls itself a “Guru” !!!”
And like salt on the wound- the “Guru mind” next teaches in an all powerful display of words that “ALL SOULS ARE EQUAL AND POWERFUL AND ETERNAL. YOU JUST SIT SOMEWHERE AND MEDITATE AND PRAY WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT TO THE SUPREME GOD- CALLED KRISHNA, RAMA, AND IN WHATEVER FORMS- AND IT MAY ANSWER OR NOT ANSWER- IT ALL DEPENDS UPON YOUR LUCK (Otherwise called by the guru as karma-period!). But, never forget to accept me as your guru and everything- so that I can tell you when to do the work and when to tell the others that My Guru is Great and He is God!!!”
Any spiritual advisor who tells his/her disciples that they are the one and only god is only making them depended on him/her; so that the masses can be used to attract more disciples and make a name for themselves. More than money; Power motivates a human mind and the minds which have reached the levels of extra ordinary perception and mind reading etheric planes can easily produce awe and humbleness in a disciple’s mind just by reading out the thoughts and materializing objects. Likewise; there are thousands and thousands of hatha yogis in India who can do all these and become invisible and go to extra dimensional planes and come back. A spiritual aspirant should so first ask a question to their own mind that whether they want to become like their guru’s and do powerful and wonderful things to attract the masses or is aim to sincerely seek the supreme reality; from which all these powers come as drops of seawater out of ocean???
Adi Sankara gives us an idea about the ways by which we can attain the supreme power; but the real secret doctrine is only revealed in The Yoga Vasishta and so; I am concerned with only yoga Vasishta- which is the only scripture in which the truth is given in its original form. Casual spiritual seekers are discouraged to go into the secrets of these doctrines as it may tip their normal life pattern into an unfavorable side by which they may loose interest in the normal duties of life and if delved deep it may also prove to be quite upsetting for the mind; which is very difficult to be reversed under normal circumstances; as I have seen in a few of the minds associated in a real spiritual quest. “