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Sunday, May 8, 2011


Today is JAGADGURU SHRI ADHI SHANKARA JAYANTHI and it is so unfortunate that the birthday of the avatar who is responsible for expounding ritually, philosophically and spiritually all the nectars of available literature of Sanathana Dharma passes of as an event unnoticed except for some small celebrations in the mutts that he has established.

Well, even he would not have advocated or welcomed or bothered about any celebrations but are we not guilty of our indifference in failing to at least resort to calendared concerns of the glories of such avatars?
While many in the west have taken pains to study in detail the grand philosophy of ADVAITHA propounded by JAGADGURU SHRI ADHI SHANKARA in their own usual analytically philosophical approach and have written volumes of excellent literature praising its greatness, we INDIANs have abysmally failed in even making our children know who he is?

Fortunately nowadays, thanks to the social media networks and technology there are many individual souls who feel the necessity to share the greatness of JAGADGURU SHRI ADHI SHANKARA and do so through many blogs, web sites and groups. The information and literature provided by these souls are really voluminous, worthy and welcome and they all will have the secret blessings of the avathar.

While most these present his works, some through critical analysis and clarifications for those who would find it difficult to understand his works.

While mentioning about understanding his works I feel there is a basic and huge difference in the very manifestation philosophy of the East [mostly Indian and Chinese] and the West. What it is? And why?

What it is?
In the West most of the great philosophical works have very well laid out analytic, critical, theoretical and carefully and verbal loaded exposition of ideas which grips your attention intellectually and clarifies concepts and they are therefore, undoubtedly the works of giant intellects from SOCRATES to SARTRE and so on . To put it briefly the western philosophy is the manifestation of ideas of giant intellectuals.

 Whereas in the East most of the philosophical works are the manifestations of spiritual enlightenment emanating from the spiritually enlightened souls starting from JAGADGURU SHRI ADHI SHANKARA through BHAGWAN SRI RAMAKRISHNA PARAMAHAMSA, SWAMI VIVEKANNADA, SHRI AUROBINDO, SHRI RAMANA MAHARISHI TO SHRI J.KRISHNAMURTHY TO OSHO TO SRISRI RAVISHANKAR TO SHRI VENKATA PRASANNA CHATHURVEDI AND MANY MORE.

 So to evaluate the eastern philosophies by the same intellectual parameters of western intellectual analysis may not even allow you to understand the essence of eastern philosophy. In eastern philosophies if you are looking for great palatable ideas and verbal constructions to quote in social gatherings or in text books to explain intellectual concepts you may not have many but when you use eastern philosophical works. as reference manual in any realm of life then I think there are no better source than these philosophies.

With western philosophies, which I enjoyed reading like many do, you can engage in prolonged and pleasant ideological, analytic and verbal masturbation culminating in ultimate and pure intellectual pleasure, in eastern philosophies you are married to the purpose of life in all its elements, broadly classified as body, mind and the divine spirit which enables and ennobles the other two [body and mind].

Now we have seen what it is now let me go to the next question. Why it is so?

I would be arrogating myself and sound ethnocentric and subjectively biased if I resort to conclusions as if the western intellectuals, who too were great souls created by the same divine spirits, were not enlightened souls and it would be wrong to conclude as if the spiritual enlightenment is the preserve of only eastern philosophers. Then why did I make such a clear distinction of the western and eastern philosophies.

The why can be very easily answered it was because in the west, unfortunately, even the enlightened souls and giant intellectuals were not allowed function as free souls they were forced mostly to get approved by and accepted by the tenets of institutionalized religions and their self appointed managers, who would not allow anything that may even remotely affect their established theories of life and universe; sometimes the political bosses; sometimes the approved scientific theories; sometimes the mania of mass opinions and so on and so forth and in addition the philosophers themselves were wedded to the label and enjoyed it as a profession with all its concomitant comforts. Whereas, in the east the philosophers , I mean those enlightened souls as indicated in the list above were and are least bothered about any label or profession and that is the reason why none of them mentioned above find a place in any Encyclopedia of Philosophers, it is a irony that the greatest philosophers do not find even passing reference in Encyclopedias of Philosophers. The eastern philosophers had no need to fall into any narrow groves set by any institutionalized religious perceptions or social mores or boundaries with  intellectual contours or approval of scientific proof or acceptance by the mania of mass opinions; they were the free birds scanning the entire gamut of life with its multiple facets, splendors and its seamless interconnectedness with the all the universes and all that is there in all the universes as divine spiritual energy whose ultimate aim was realization and not conceptualization or endless verbal conversations. To understand them all that you need is to brush aside all your preconceptions and conditionings and get tuned into the frequency of spiritual sanity uncluttered by anything and everything so that you can savor at least the nectar of at least some of the esoteric, profound and spiritual philosophies.

Well, why all these when talking about JAGADGURU SHRI ADHI SHANKARA JAYANTHI. I was reading many of his works and among them especially one that I am trying really hard to decipher the esoteric and really spiritual meanings is Brahma Sutra Bhashyam what an introduction in adhyAsa bhASyam . This can be reference manual for anyone wanting to explain with utmost clarity in preface what he intends to expound in the book .He does it with such ease on a subject as heavy and as excellent and extraordinary as Brahma Sutra is something really amazing , for the uninitiated herein [I mean in the preface ] he lays the fundamentals of ADVAITHA

“AdhyAsa bhASyam, shankara sows the seed for all the important aspects of his tradition of advaita:

1) What knowledge gives us knowledge of Ultimate Reality?
2) What is the obstacle to knowledge?
3) What is the nature of this obstacle?
4) How is knowledge of brahman attained? What are the means of knowledge, and why is Sruti the ultimate means of knowledge?
5) What is the role and purpose of shastra in revealing this knowledge?
6) What is the method used by the shastra to reveal brahman?
And this adhyAsa bhASyam, is, in my view, one of the greatest texts written on Vedanta. It is a Upanishad by itself, for in it, we find no quotation from other shastra in this introduction to support his statements. They are simply outpourings from anubhava, or experience, of an enlightened sage/soul, and which appeal to that sArvatrika-anubhava, or universal experience, that belongs to each and every one of us.
I can go on and on as far as my ignorance takes me but then IPL ,lack of time, other priorities and the limited ambit of this forces me to end this.

But before I end as humbling note I read SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S assessment of

“By solid reasoning he extracted from the Vedas the truths of Vedanta, and on them built up the wonderful system of Jnana that is taught in this commentaries. He unified all the conflicting descriptions of Brahman and showed that there is only one Infinite Reality. He showed too that as man can only travel slowly on the upward road, all the varied presentations are needed to suit his varying capacity.”Swami Vivekananda.

And I am proud to quote from one of my writing inspired by the works of swami vivekananda’
Sanathana dharma is perhaps the best known way which gives sketchy guideline for this process of soul’s slow but sure search for spiritual enlightenment /evolution/improvement. The crux of the matter is to grasp the essence of spiritual vibrations in every aspect of life in our own way and leave out the extraneous factors, however greatly revered by tradition or promoted by religious institutions or eulogized by the elite. Everything in any process of growth is just a step, important and inevitable, but not a stop. It is so with mother’s milk [our biological aspect of life]; it is so with learning of alphabets, words and numbers [our intellectual aspect of life]; it is so with hugging, kissing and cajoling as babies [our emotional aspect of life]; it is so with our learning and understanding of different concepts [ our philosophical aspect of life]; it is so with all forms of worship, devotion and all its concomitant rituals and religious practices [ our spiritual life] and so on. This is the inherent wisdom. A normal human being has to go through a process to grow in everything or into something. There may be exceptions like a Adi shankara, or a Bhagawan Ramanamaharishi.” Link to my article in blog

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