Adi Shankara Acharya
Adi Shankaracharya (788-820) was born in a village named Kaladi on the banks of the river Purna (now Periyar) in the Southern Indian coastal state Kerala. His parents were Sivaguru and Aryamba.
Adi Means First. Adi Shankaracharya means the first Shankara spread the tenets of Advaita spiritual concept. Advaita means Non-Duality.
The quintessence of Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) is to reiterate the truth of reality of one’s essential divine identity and to reject one’s thought of being a finite human being with a name and form
subject to earthly changes.
According to the Advaita, the True Self is Divine Creator (Brahman). Brahman is the ‘I’ of ‘Who Am I?’ The Advaita propagated by Shankara, views that the bodies are manifold but the separate bodies
have the one Divine in them.
The phenomenal world of beings and non-beings is not apart from the Brahman(Divine Creator) but ultimately become one with Brahman.
Through intense practice of the concept of Advaita, ego and ideas of duality can be removed from the mind of man.
The comprehensive philosophy of Shankara is inimitable for the fact that the doctrine of Advaita includes both worldly and transcendental experience.
Shankara’s philosophy is based on three levels of reality, viz., paramarthika satta (Absolute Divineness - Brahman), vyavaharika satta (empirical world of beings and non-beings) and pratibhashika satta (reality).
Shankara’s theology says One should learn to go beyond ignorance and to realize the True Self.
Shankara developed his philosophy through commentaries on the various scriptures.
The revered saint completed these works before the age of sixteen.
His major works fall into three distinct categories - commentaries on the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita.
The most important of Shankaracharya's teachings are his commentaries on the Brahmasutras - Brahmasutrabhashya(Talks on self and divine self laws) - considered the core of Shankara's perspective on Advaita(Not two - Non Dual), and Bhaja Govindam ( song of divine).
Shri Shankaracharya established four 'mutts' or monastic centers in four corners of India and put his four main disciples to head them and spread the spirituality.
Each monastic center was assigned one Veda. The mutts are Jyothir Mutt at Badrinath in northern India with Atharva Veda; Sarada Mutt at Sringeri in southern India with Yajur Veda; Govardhan Mutt
at Jaganath Puri in eastern India with Rig Veda and Kalika Mutt at Dwarka in western India with Sama Veda.
After completing his mission in this world at the age of 32, Shankara went to Kedarnath and vacated his body.