Adi Shankar The Legend
26 April 2012 (Panchami, Shukla Pakshya) this year was the birthday of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, the great philosopher of eighth century (788 AD) and saint of the world, who had consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. The 32 years of his sojourn on earth, the legend Rishi, Adi Shankar belongs to the galaxy of master-minds of the world holding a pre-eminent place among intellectuals and prophets. He sanctified the soil of this land by performing his sharp intellect and established himself on the throne of omniscience. His prominent creations include Satasloki, Sarva Vedanta Sara sangraha, The Upadesa Sahasri and Vivekacudaman, Bhasya on the Brahma Sutra,Bhashyas upon the Eisha, Kena Katha, Prasna, Mundak, Mandookya, Taittireya, Chandogya, Brihadaranyak, Nrsinhatapaneeya Upanishads and also the Shreemad Bhagwadgeeta and Sanatsujateeya commentary on the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.
Why I choose to write about this great legend of India is to remind our great brethren to know about the great masters of India, who had created precious shastras in the form of crest jewels to guide us how to be a best human being, and how to reach Mokshya. Because, we Hindus have a syndrome of knowing less about our own religion and cultural moorings than Christians and Muslims. Our scriptures are full of verses, known as guiding principles, to follow Dharma (way of life). Many Indian saints say that: “We must be proud of the fact that our country has produced more men who have found inner bliss than all other countries put together. It is a matter of shame that we are ignorant of the shastras that they have bequeathed to us, the shastras that taught them how to scale the height of bliss. Many are ignorant about the scripture that is the very source of our religion-they do not know even its name”. So my point is we should have a clear idea about our religion, our nation, our culture, our pride, our saints, who have dedicated their whole life for forming the great nation in the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Hinduism encompasses all life and activity, individual, social and national, and all spheres of knowledge. Our scriptures say, “Hindu dharma is an organic part of Hindu. It imposes on him a discipline that is inward as well as outward and it is a process of refinement and inner growth”. Adi Guru Shankar has very categorically explained in a lucid form in his books on Vedanta, how to live a peaceful living for a harmonious society. On how to get Mokshya, Adi Shankar says: “Neither by yoga, nor philosophy, nor by work, nor by learning but by the realisation of one’s identity with Brahman is liberation possible, and no other means”. Swami Chinmayananda, founder of Chinmaya Mission, says: “our Vedic scriptures teach that the purest form of ethical living can exist only when an individual has understood the root cause of social harmony.”
The ancient Vedic masters were very much concerned with the question of social happiness, and their inquiries took them to a deeper level. Social happiness is attainable only where individual happiness exists, and individual happiness is assured only when one discovers the intrinsic harmony of his “higher self”. Unfortunately even many decades after Independence, our successive governments failed to identify, honour our own saints, social reformers, scientists and patriots who sacrificed their lives for the wellbeing of a human society and had produced valuable doctrines that protect and guide us and our nation. If Aristotle, as a great philosopher of Greek, has worldwide recognition for his great contribution to society, why is Adi Guru Shankar not getting that prominence in the international arena? By producing one movie on Adi Shankar, or writing a book on him does not solve the purpose. Our governments both at the Centre and states, should give serious thoughts to do research works on Adi Guru’s creation on Veda, Upanishads, Bhashyas and many more. Because the great Shankar does not need any recognition, but it is we the Indians should read, write and educate our future generation about the great works of Adi Guru. One cannot understand the contribution of Adi Shankar, unless one goes through his brief life sketch, reads and does research on his precious jewels on Vedanta and Advait philosophy.