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08 May 2011, 03:58 AM
Today It's Shankar jayanthi and I'm writing this short piece on Vedanta. I'm not trying to prove a point here. This should be considered purely academic and I'm open to other's views.

I've been Studying various texts and listening to scholars and contemplating on these for more than two years now but each and every day i get a different understanding. What seemed as unimportant yesterday is the gist today. I still remember the first day when i read a big book on vedanta where it was mentioned: Thus having realized the ultimate, the revered guru started acting like a mad man. And his guru was disappointed that he didn't get that madness. Even though taken aback at first, by the time I finished the book, I was a bit positive. This is such a topic. And also that fine old book didn't promise that i would get anything, unless i understood it. By understanding, I don't mean the word-meaning. For eg: One has to eat the mango to know how it tastes. This is one of the main things in vedanta. It is practical. This is also the reason why, inspite of many studying vedanta, only some achieve the goal. But in order to practice, one has to be convinced first- In the sense, there has to be no single doubt in the mind. And this is how the journey begins- with the inquiry. A person who is inquiring should not be biased or preoccupied. If a person is already sticking to conviction like a concrete, then how can the person inquire? Adi Shankaracharya says- For a detached mind belief is unnecessary. And this is where the vedanta gets tougher, not only in the beginning but also till one reaches the end, It tells the same thing- Break all the convictions. Convictions rise, grow strong and finally fall in the mind. The secret is- the one thing which does not rise nor fall and which is the source for mind, know that by the methods taught by the seers.

The teaching starts with the explanation of the Atma/brahman as something different from the inquirer. And the next phase is explaining the relation between Atma and the inquirer.

To be contd...

08 May 2011, 11:02 PM
Today It's Shankar jayanthi and I'm writing this short piece on Vedanta.

To be contd...

Thank you!

For Shankar Jayanthi, I am lucky enough to have a Vivekananda Vedanta Society nearby to visit. The temple includes a picture of Sri Adi Shankaracharya decorated in beautiful flower garlands. Camphor and sandlewood incense wafted throughout the room.

There was a small dissertation by a Swami commemorating the day.

There were many great books I hope to someday read in the library of the Society on the topic of Advaita Vedanta.

10 May 2011, 03:25 AM
That's great water. If you wish, I can give you some e-books which are really worth reading again and again.


Before we get into the actual teaching, Let's have a look at the background.


Advaita is not a sect or a movement or a school of vedanta started by Adi shankaracharya. Shankara learnt vedanta from govinda bhagavadpada whose guru was gaudapadacharya whose guru was avadhootha shukha whose father and guru was bhagavan vyasa. Now there is a theory which is going around that Gaudapada was influenced by the buddhist teachings and thus advaita, although clearly different from buddhism is still influenced by buddhism. This is a mere speculation which has no basis at all. Those who speculate are so convinced about this because of course they can never be wrong.

About the birth of shankara-

SOURCE- Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya by Vidyaranya

According to the author of the book, Adi shankaracharya was Lord shiva himself. The story goes like this- During the time of the birth of shankara, vedic practices had taken a backseat and all non-vedic sects were on the raise, mainly buddhists. So the gods went to Lord shiva to seek help. Lord shiva said that he'd assume the form of a human and revive the vedic knowledge. According to his wish, Skanda would take the form of Kumarila Bhatta who would be a master in purva mimamsa learnt by jaimini who learnt from bhagavan vyasa himself. Jaimini propogated the purva mimamsa while vyasa propogated uttara mimamsa by his work brahma sutra or sharirika bhashya. Brahma would become mandana, a student of kumarila bhatta and Lord indra would become the king named sudhanva. While the date shankara was born is still not accurate, here's something which was mentioned in the book. A one astrologer named Venkataraman who hails from Tamil Nadu feels - " I have studied all the available literature giving widely different versions on the subject(birth of shankara); but unfortunately some of them do not stand the test of Astronomy, except Madhava Shankara Vijaya, which contains some astronomical particulars in Sarga 2 Sloka 71- Shankara was born in auspiscious lagna, occupied and aspected by benefics, when sun, mars, jupiter and saturn were exalted in kendras-
Shankara jayanthi festivals are celebrated unanimously all over india, on vaishaka shukla panchami, from time immemorial, the lunar date is fixed as such. On the basis of this astronomical data, I worked out the planetary positions from the beginning of Kaliyuga, in prayerful spirit, to find out the truth. After three and a half years of study and research, my joy knows no bound to find out that the rare planetary combination referred to in Madhaviya Shankara Vijaya occured only in 805 A.D

to be contd...