Shankara: Not The Founder of Advaita Vedanta But A Link in the Timeless Tradition

There is a widespread notion that Shankara is the founder of Advaita Vedanta. Still, others think that he may have introduced some personal innovations in Vedanta by borrowing teachings from other schools. This article seeks to conclusively put an end to such speculations, by showing that Shankara gave ultimate authority to the Upanishads/shrutis. He followed a traditional teaching method of Upanishads called Agama: stretching back right up to Brahma, the Lord of every cycle of creation, who reveals the Vedas to the Rishis, and who further transmitted this knowledge to a chain of teachers constituting the Advaita tradition/sampradaya. Shankara was just a link – a powerful one – in this sampradya, which continues till today amongst those who know the Agama – traditional method of teaching found in the Upanishads/shrutis. Finally when Brahman is intuited even the shrutis are transcended.… Read More Shankara: Not The Founder of Advaita Vedanta But A Link in the Timeless Tradition

No Vedantic Schools of Duality Present Till the Time of Shankara

About half a century after Shankara, two schools developed: Dvaita (Dualism) and Vishishtadvaita (Qualified Non-Dualism). The founders of these schools seek support for their doctrines in the tradition of Vedanta. In this article, I show that if we study the Brahmasutra of Badarayana and the Brahmasutra Bhashya of Shankaracharya, we don’t find any non-Advaitic schools being mentioned. Though there were several schools not following the approach of Shankara’s Advaita tradition, they were all ultimately non-dual in their final purport. These schools were discussed and refuted by Shankara. These are schools which enjoin subtle actions along with knowledge as means of liberation, while Shankara’s Advaita talks only about knowledge as the final means. Schools which enjoin subtle actions like meditation, worship and even affirmations of knowledge are refuted by Shankara. Ultimately the article shows that the latter-day Dvaita and Vishishtadadvaita schools find no support even from these schools which Shakara refuted, for their doctrines.… Read More No Vedantic Schools of Duality Present Till the Time of Shankara

Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 2 : Pre-Shankara Schools

In Part 2 of this series, I examine the multifarious teachers and schools of Vedanta that existed before the advent of Shankara. I also show how Shankara refers to some of them as knowers of his tradition(sampradaya) in his various commentaries. This goes on to show that Shankara was not the founder of Advaita Vedanta as commonly believed. About a dozen pre-Shankara Vedanta schools and their teachers have been discussed, whose works are lost in history. Knowing all the views of these schools which do not belong to Shankara’s Advaita helps a seeker because at some points he/she holds similar erroneous views in one’s journey of self-inquiry.… Read More Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 2 : Pre-Shankara Schools

Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 1

Many seekers who are studying Advaita Vedanta personally or through a teacher may be totally unaware of the many schools of Vedanta as well as Advaita Vedanta. The teachings of Advaita Vedanta were systemized by Shankaracharya in about 700 AD. Very few people have actually read Shankara’s original works. Most of modern Advaita taught by teachers is a mix of teachings of various schools of Vedanta and Advaita Vedanta sub-schools which came after Shankara. They even mix Yoga and Samkhya. This series of articles has been started by me to show the huge variety of schools and sub-schools which are not Shankara’s teachings. Ultimately this shall help seekers discriminate and appreciate the most unique path of Shankara Advaita which was on the verge of getting lost.… Read More Difficulties in Finding the True Method of Advaita Vedanta of Shankaracharya – Part 1

The Liberated Being : Beyond all Acts – Good & Bad

History, culture, mythology all go into creating a prototype of an enlightened being or a Liberated Person. These prototypes inform the common man about the kind of greatness of person, or personality, that a liberated person has. The personalites of enlightened beings are worshipped as Gods or saviours, or beings with superhuman powers. However, the highest truth, which only Advaita Vedanta elucidates through the Vedas, is much more simple, but most difficult to penetrate. The liberated being, who in Advaita is called a Jnani, has gone beyond all names and forms, and acquired a non-dual vision. What is that vision and who is a Jnani? How does he act? I explore these questions in this article. … Read More The Liberated Being : Beyond all Acts – Good & Bad

Self Inquiry and Issues Related to Teachers

Self inquiry is a long and complex journey to liberation. Spiritual teachers and paths are proliferating the world and internet. To a beginner of self inquiry, the variety seems daunting. In this article I try to summarize all issues which arise when one is deciding, or decides on a particular teacher. While very few are truly interested in going the whole distance, in the end, I give my advice on how to choose a teacher, if one’s aim is nothing short of ending of ego-sense/individuality. … Read More Self Inquiry and Issues Related to Teachers