Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti
Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti 2022
Fri , 6th May 2022
Shukla paksha Panchami tithi of Vaishakha month marks the birth anniversary of Saint Adi Shankaracharya. He is a great saint, philosopher and a Guru lived in 507 BC. His birthplace is Kalady in Kerala. His Guru was Govinda Bhagavathpadha. Adi Shankaracharya consolidated the Vedic doctrine called Advaita Vedanta which greatly influenced the followers during the decline period of Hindu culture. He played a pivotal role in uniting a severed cultural land into one whole unit through his powerful hymns, poetry, and pilgrimage. He wrote extensive notes on various principal Upanishads like Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutras and Kena Upanishad, Taittriya Upanishad and Yoga sutras as well.
His works Advaita Vedanta is strongly rooted on shaastra (‘scriptures’), yukthi (‘reasoning’) and anubhava (‘experience') and well backed by karma yoga or Sadhanas- ‘spiritual practices’.
Adi Shankara’s life is an epitome of devotion and faith in Lord Shankara-Shiva. Since his childhood, Adi Shankara’s objective has been understanding the philosophy of life, moksha and attaining Jivanmukta. His philosophical thesis elucidates the process of self-realization, and oneness with the Universal Spirit. He has founded many Mutts and monasteries or revived Hinduism. He was very pivotal in spreading Advaita Vedanta. He had initiated many common people to the true essence of the Vedas and to lead a much spiritually inclined life. His life was full of hard and difficult journeys to various temples and spread Vedic way of life among people.
Adi Shankara’s father died while Shankara was very young. Shankara has been fascinated by hermitage from very early years of his life. It is said that his mother was against Shankara’s will of wanting to be a Sanyasin. Adi Shankara at age of 8, while bathing in a river, was caught by a crocodile, Shankara called out to his mother to grant him the permission to initiate into monkhood or the crocodile will kill him. The mother finally agreed to the boy’s request and Shankara was freed by the crocodile. He leaves his home for Gurukul education, reaches a Saivite sanctuary along a river to learn from the Guru Govinda Bhagavathpadha. After becoming a learned Sanyasin, he commenced his pilgrimage to various parts of the country to revive the culture. Adi Shankaracharya believed in the philosophy of “non-dualism”. He framed techniques for every individual to access their inner divine existence, by tapping into Supreme cosmic power. His preaching led his followers to higher and new dimensions of life & knowledge. His slokas depict that “Self-realization” is the key to attain salvation (Moksha) and become one with the infinite God element. Though he died young, he left an invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge for future generations. There are many disputes that claim different birthplaces and samadhi for the Saint.
Sri Adi Shankara designed a Srichakra Yantra and installed it at the inner sanctum of Sri Kamakshi temple (Sri Chakra Swayamalikhat), Kanchipuram. This is a powerful temple consecrated by Adi Shankara and is one of the 51 Shakthipeetas.
Famous hymns or slokas that we chant for Lord Shiva, Vishnu, Goddesses like Lakshmi, Shakthi, Kamakshi are written by Adi Shankaracharya. The most notable ones that are played every day in all south Indian households and sacred places are Bhaja Govindham, Nirvana Shatakam, Subrahmanya Bhujanga Stotram, Guru Paduka Stotram, Kanakadhara Stotram, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Karavalamba Stotram and Soundarya Lahari.