“God’s Own Country”!
Shankara was born in a Brahmin family 788 AD in a village named Kaladi on the banks of the river Periyar in the Southern Indian coastal state Kerala. His parents, Sivaguru and Aryamba, had been childless for a long time and the birth of Shankara was a joyous and blessed occasion for the couple.
Shankara mastered all the Vedas and the six Vedangas from the local gurukul and recited extensively from the epics and Puranas. Shankara also studied the philosophies of diverse sects and was a storehouse of philosophical knowledge.
Philosophy of Adi Shankara
Shankara spread the tenets of Advaita Vedanta.According to the Advaita maxim, the True Self is Brahman (Divine Creator). Brahman is the ‘I’ of ‘Who Am I?’ The Advaita doctrine 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 but ultimately become one with Brahman. The crux of Advaita is that Brahman alone is real, and the phenomenal world is unreal or an illusion. Through intense practice of the concept of Advaita, ego and ideas of duality can be removed from the mind of man.
Shankara while stressing the sole reality of Brahman, did not undermine the phenomenal world or the multiplicity of Gods in the scriptures.
His major works fall into three distinct categories – commentaries on the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavad Gita.
‘Having filled the pathway of the Nadis with the streaming shower of nectar flowing from the Lotus feet, having resumed thine own position from out of the resplendent Lunar regions and Thyself assuming the form of a serpent of three and a half coils, sleepest thou, in the hollow of Kula Kunda.
“Thou art residing in secrecy with Thy Lord (The spirit) in the thousand petalled Lotus, having pierced through the Earth situated in ‘Mooladhara’, the Water in Manipura, the Fire abiding in the Svadhisthana, the Air in the Heart (‘Anahata’), the Ether above (Visshuddhi) and ‘Manas’ between the eyebrows (‘Agnya’) and thus broken through the entire ‘Kula Path’.’ Saundarya Lahari’
I consider blessed and proud to be born, brought up and groomed, studied, and enjoyed my childhood, in the same land of Adi Shankara, where he was born,not far from kaladi, a village called Nedungapra..It is really Gods Own country.