SRI SANKARA BHAGAVADPADA
SRI SANKARA BHAGAVADPADA
Yogihrudpadmanilayam natageevahiteratam |
Sruteenaam janmabhumitvaam chaturmukham ahamashraye ||
My salutations to the lord of four faces! You are the resider in the lotus heart of yogis, you bestow all that is good for the humble devotees, and from you, the Srutis are inherited. I bow to you!
Adi Sankaracharya is the next in the lineage of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Sri Shankaracharya is believed to be of eight century CE and birthplace to be a village kaladi in kerela.
It’s said, Sankaracharya was interested in an ascetic way of living from early childhood. With the permission of his mother, Sri Sankaracharya left in pursuit of knowledge. In the quest for knowledge, Sankaracharya happened to gain the grace of his guru Sri Govindabhagavadpada. When Govindabhagavadpada was meditating in a cave, Sankaracharya stood at the entrance of the cave singing couplets in praise of the meditating guru who was in the cave. Gaudapada’s sishya, Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada, asked from inside who was reciting; Sankaracharya replied through Dasasloki that which is one of the great works of Sankaracharya….."Sivahkevaloham". Impressed and having understood his dedication, Govinda Bhagavatpada accepted Sankaracharya as his disciple and initiated him in all the Mahavakyas. Shankara studied Gaudapadiya Karika, the Vedas, Upanishads and Brahmasutra under the guidance of his guru for about three years. Sri Sankaracharya mastered the spiritual knowledge and having experienced its essence dedicated his further life in preaching and making the spiritual knowledge available and accessible to the humankind through slokas and stotras. Sri Sankara was guided by his guru to teach Advaita philosophy and to write an authoritative commentary on the Brahma Sutras.
Let’s try to understand Advaita Vedanta a little more. To begin with, let's try to recollect through Svadhyaya - Self-study and that of the knowledge of the Self.
Q) What is Aum? What is Its significance in knowing the Self?
Self) Aum ityetath aksharam
idam sarvam tasyopavyakhyanam
bhutam bhavat bhavishyat iti sarvam omkaram eva
yechhanyattrikaalaateetam tadapi Omkara eva||
All that is prevailing in this world are the forms of AUM. That AUM which is the form of Paraparabrahma-The Truth is eternal and transcends time and space. Everything in this universe origins from this AUM and was present in the past, is in the resent and will be in future.
Q) How is AUM the form of Paraaparabrahma-The truth/Reality?
• Sarvam etat Brahma
Ayam atma Brahma
Everything that we see in this world is Brahman. Like the rope is seen as a snake so also everything we see in the world is the Brahman. Aumkar which can be subdivided into four is also the form of Brahman only so too is the Self. Self also has four aspects.
Q) What are the four aspects of AUM?
Self) The fourfold structure of Aum is akaar, ukaar, makar and silence. That is; A+U+M+ soundless/no element. These represent the state of consciousness namely Wakeful, Dream state, Deep sleep state and the state of Union with the self.
Q) So does chanting AUM helps in realising Self?
Self) Yes. Yes. Yes.
When one transcends to the fourth state, in Turiya state does one experience the universal consciousness, union with the self- a state of non-dual reality – ADVAITA. There is no other path equivalent to chanting Aum that can bestow one with liberation.
Note:- Also, utmost care ought to be taken in practising Aum chanting as once’s ability differs from another and so also are the results it bestows upon. Hence it is said, Guru’s guidance is crucial. Also, it is said that the literal meaning of the Upanishad vakhya’s/verses reveals a purpose but for the in-depth meaning and to experience that one has to tread the ashtanga yoga path for positive results and under guru’s guidance.
AUM TAT SAT.