Shri Shankara Jayanti is the day of the incarnation of Shri Adi Shankaracharya. During the lunar month of the Vaishakha, in the waxing fortnight, the fifth day is celebrated as the ‘avataran’ day of rejuvenator of the Advaitic approach. He was born to a pious couple named Aryamba and Shivaguru in the serene place of Kalady in present-day Kerala.
Having lost his father at a baby age, Shankara as the boy was named by his parents mastered what all had to be by the age of eight. Analogically showing the samsara as the crocodile, he created an enigmatic act. He earlier shared his desire for ‘sanyasa’ with his mother. Out of affection for the son, she naturally doesn’t approve of the same. An act of ‘being caught’ by the crocodile was created and ‘renouncing the current life’ was the only way out shown to escape the misery. Mother agreed for Sanyasa and Shankara became Shankaracharya. As he set up the four mathas and started the ‘Shankaracharya’ tradition, he is referred as Adi Shankaracharya, the first in the order.
Adi Shankaracharya proposed the Advaitic path to understanding things or the non-dualistic approach. He averred, there is none in this world that is not ‘Brahman’. Other than Brahman, nothing can exist. In other words, Brahman is all-pervading and all-encompassing. The Chaitanya that is there in the moving and even non-moving is that Brahman. The challenge before the ordinary is to ‘see and feel’ that ONE which is all-pervading and common to all. Thus, seeing one in all and all in one becomes the ultimate ‘Aspirational High’ for seekers who can spiritually dream for best.
One confusion often the seekers have is, if all is ‘same’ then how to do ‘vyavahara’ (mundane conduct) in this world? The advaita bhava is for the ‘underlying’; from vyavahara bhava, the dualistic approach has to be adopted is the answer. The underlying ‘Atman’ which is present in all is that ONE. One has to believe first, then strive to realize next. Letting go of the petty ego that operates at the lower levels helps one’s perception. The ego prevents one from ‘stretching’. Stretching out is the first step in realizing ONE. Rest shall become ONE.
Prof S Ainavolu is a teacher of tradition and management. He is with VPSM, Navi Mumbai. Views are personal. You can read more at https://www.ainavolu.in/blog
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