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Shankaracharya Jayanti

 Hindu Of Universe 

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Shankaracharya Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of this great Indian philosopher Adi Shankaracharya. He was an 8th-century Indian philosopher and theologian.

He is considered one of the most significant celebrations in Sanatan Dharma.

He is known by many names, Jagathguru, Adi Shankaracharya, or Bhagavatpada Acharya (guru at the feet of Lord), he expounded on the Advaita Vedanta doctrine which had its influence on the growth of Hinduism.

He also preached Vedic knowledge.

How do people celebrate Shankaracharya Jayanti?

With great enthusiasm, the day is celebrated at Shankaracharya Mathas or monasteries around the country.

People organize Havan, puja, and Satsang at Mathas like Shringeri Sharada Peetham in Kerala, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha in Kanchipuram, etc.

Not only this but also discussions and speeches on Sanatan Dharma are organized on this day.

The story behind the celebration

Regarded as one of the greatest gurus and philosophers in Hinduism, Sri Adi Shankaracharya or Adi Shankara is also known as the savior of Vedic Dharma.

He was also known as the exponent of Advaita Vedanta. The concept of Atma or soul was explained by him.

He explained the concept of Vairagya (renunciation), Parmatma (divine soul), and Moksha (salvation).

When Hinduism was in a state of decline, his teachings had an influence on the growth of the Hindu culture.

Shankaracharya is said to have resuscitated Hinduism, along with philosophers Madhava and Ramanuja.

Significance of Shankaracharya Jayanti

As Adi Shankaracharya put forward the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and explained and reinterpreted Hindu scriptures like the Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita.

He also helped people to interpret the primary principles of Brahma Sutras.

In order to revive Hinduism, he traveled to various nations.

His contributions do not stop here as he also established four monasteries (mathas) in four corners of India — Kashmir in the North, Jagannath Puri in the East,  Sringeri in the South, and Dwaraka in the West.

It is believed that  Shankara was visited by Lord Vishnu at Badrinath and he was asked to make a statue of the deity in the Alaknanda River.

Today the temple is popularly known as Badrinarayan Temple.

He breathed his last at the young age of 32 in 820 CE at Kedarnath. Kedarnath is in present-day Uttarakhand.

Shankaracharya Jayanti- Significance and Observance

Shankaracharya Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, a revered figure in Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

Known as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, his teachings have significantly influenced Hinduism’s evolution.

This day is commemorated with great fervor, reflecting the profound impact of his life and teachings on Indian culture and religious practices.

The observance includes various rituals, community events, and educational sessions that highlight his philosophical contributions and the relevance of his work in contemporary times.

Key Takeaways

Shankaracharya Jayanti celebrates the birth of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, an eminent Indian philosopher and theologian, and an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

The day is observed with religious fervor, involving rituals like Mahanyasa Purvaka Rudrabhishekam and the worship of deities representing the unity of God.

Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s establishment of the four Mathas and his Shanmata system of worship play a crucial role in the preservation and promotion of Hindu traditions.

His philosophical legacy, particularly the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, continues to influence Hindu philosophy and practices to this day.

Community involvement in Shankaracharya Jayanti includes cultural events, scholarly discussions, and the performance of traditional ceremonies.

The Life and Teachings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya

Early Life and Enlightenment

Sri Adi Shankaracharya, a revered figure in Hinduism, was born in a small village in Kerala, India. From a young age, he exhibited a deep inclination towards spirituality and philosophy.

His profound understanding of the scriptures and innate wisdom set him apart from his peers.

Shankaracharya’s quest for spiritual truth led him to renounce worldly life at a tender age. He traveled across the Indian subcontinent, engaging with scholars and practitioners, refining his knowledge and insights. It was during these formative years that he formulated the core principles of Advaita Vedanta, emphasizing the non-dualistic nature of reality.

The enlightenment of Shankaracharya marked a pivotal moment in Hindu philosophy.

His realization that the individual soul (Atman) and the ultimate reality (Brahman) are one and the same challenged the prevailing religious doctrines and reshaped spiritual discourse.

His early life and subsequent enlightenment laid the foundation for his later works and teachings, which continue to inspire and guide seekers of truth across generations.

Philosophical Contributions

Sri Adi Shankaracharya’s philosophical contributions are monumental in the realm of Hindu thought. His philosophy of Advaita Vedanta posits that the ultimate reality is non-dual, asserting that the individual soul (Atman) and the universal soul (Brahman) are one and the same.

This revolutionary idea challenged the prevailing dualistic interpretations of the time.

Shankaracharya’s approach to philosophy was not merely theoretical; it was deeply practical, aimed at achieving liberation (moksha).

His systematic metaphysical, linguistic, and epistemological frameworks were designed to guide individuals towards a direct experience of non-duality.

The essence of Shankaracharya’s teachings lies in the realization that the self is not separate from the absolute, but rather, it is an expression of the infinite Brahman.

His legacy extends beyond metaphysics, influencing various aspects of Hindu theology and practice.

The following list highlights some of the key areas impacted by his teachings:

Systematic exposition of non-duality

Emphasis on direct experience of the self

Reinterpretation of Hindu scriptures in light of Advaita Vedanta

Integration of spirituality and daily life

Establishment of the Four Mathas

Adi Shankaracharya’s vision for a unified spiritual framework led to the establishment of four cardinal mathas.

These institutions, located at strategic points across India, serve as pillars of Hindu faith and guardians of its customs.

Each matha is associated with a particular Hindu sect and geographical direction:

Dwarka in Gujarat (West) for the Sankhya philosophy

Joshimath in Uttarakhand (North) for the Yoga philosophy

Puri in Odisha (East) for the Purva Mimamsa philosophy

Sringeri in Karnataka (South) for the Vedanta philosophy

Founded by Adi Shankara around 788 CE to 820 CE, these mathas have evolved into complex organizations.

They encompass religious shrines, temples, libraries, and living quarters, dedicated to preserving and advancing Shankara’s teachings.

The heads of these mathas, known as Shankaracharyas, are revered leaders who continue a lineage that traces back to Adi Shankara himself.

Their role in re-establishing traditions and imparting spiritual knowledge has been pivotal in maintaining the continuity of Hindu culture.

While the historical context of these mathas’ existence before the 14th century CE is debated, their impact on Hindu society is undeniable.

They are not just centers of learning but also play a crucial role in various temple festivities like Brahmotsavams and Aradhanas, which celebrate cultural heritage, spirituality, and community bonding, with astrological insights enhancing their significance.

Shankaracharya Jayanti: Celebrating the Great Guru

Significance of the Day

Shankaracharya Jayanti holds profound cultural significance as it commemorates the birth anniversary of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, a revered figure in Hinduism.

This day is not just a celebration of his life but also a reflection of his immense contributions to Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

The observance of Shankaracharya Jayanti is marked by various rituals and ceremonies, one of which is the Guru/Brihaspati Graha Shanti Puja.

This ritual is performed to appease Jupiter in Vedic astrology, believed to balance its energies for prosperity and harmony in life.

It is especially recommended for those facing obstacles or with malefic Jupiter.

On this auspicious day, devotees engage in spiritual practices such as meditation, chanting, and reading scriptures to honor the legacy of Adi Shankaracharya.

It serves as a reminder of the timeless wisdom he imparted and its relevance in guiding individuals on their spiritual journey.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Shankaracharya Jayanti is marked by a plethora of rituals and ceremonies that are deeply rooted in the Hindu tradition.

These rituals are designed to honor the life and teachings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya and invoke his blessings.

Among the various ceremonies, the Guru Graha Shanti Puja stands out as a significant practice.

This sacred Hindu ritual is performed to appease Jupiter, the guru among planets, and involves meticulous rituals, auspicious timing, and mantras for spiritual growth and well-being.

The observance of Shankaracharya Jayanti includes a series of customs that unfold over multiple days. Each day is characterized by its own set of rituals:

The first day, known as “Ragula,” is performed within the privacy of the chief’s house.

The second day, called “Kakkat,” continues the celebration.

Participants don elaborate costumes and feathered headgears, dancing to the music of drums, gongs, and flutes.

The atmosphere is charged with devotion and the rhythmic harmony of an orchestra that includes the sonorous tones of a primitive flute made from buffalo horn.

The essence of these ceremonies lies in their ability to bring communities together in a shared experience of reverence and joy.

They serve not only as a means of paying homage to a great spiritual leader but also as a vibrant expression of cultural heritage.

Community Involvement and Cultural Events

Shankaracharya Jayanti is not only a spiritual occasion but also a platform for vibrant community involvement. The day is marked by a plethora of cultural events that bring together people from various walks of life.

These events serve as a means to celebrate the rich tapestry of Hindu culture and the enduring teachings of Sri Adi Shankaracharya.

Cultural Performances: Traditional music and dance performances that depict the life and teachings of Adi Shankaracharya.

Discourses and Debates: Intellectual gatherings where scholars and devotees discuss the philosophical impact of Shankaracharya’s work.

Charitable Activities: Many organizations take this opportunity to conduct food drives, health camps, and educational workshops.

The essence of Shankaracharya Jayanti lies in the collective spirit of the community, coming together to honor a legacy that transcends time and continues to guide spiritual seekers.

The Legacy of Adi Shankaracharya in Modern Times

Influence on Hindu Philosophy

The profound impact of Sri Adi Shankaracharya on Hindu philosophy is undeniable.

His teachings and works have been instrumental in shaping the religious and spiritual landscape of India.

Shankaracharya’s non-dualistic philosophy, Advaita Vedanta, emphasized the unity of the individual soul (Atman) with the ultimate reality (Brahman), offering a cohesive metaphysical framework that continues to influence Hindu thought.

Shankaracharya introduced the ‘Shanmata’ system, promoting the worship of six principal deities.

He authored key texts and commentaries on major scriptures, reinforcing the supremacy of the Vedas.

His establishment of the four Mathas played a crucial role in unifying Hindu practices across the subcontinent.

Shankaracharya revitalized Hinduism at a time when it faced challenges from other religious philosophies, fostering a sense of unity and re-establishing traditional values.

Shankaracharya’s Relevance Today

In the contemporary world, the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya continue to resonate, reflecting a timeless wisdom that transcends the ages. His philosophical insights remain integral to the understanding of Hindu thought and spirituality.

The principles of Advaita Vedanta, emphasizing the oneness of the individual soul and the universal soul, offer a profound perspective on unity and interconnectedness in an increasingly fragmented world.

The relevance of Shankaracharya today is not limited to spiritual realms but extends to cultural and national identity.

 His vision of a unified Hindu philosophy has been instrumental in shaping the religious and cultural landscape of India.

The following points highlight the enduring impact of Shankaracharya’s teachings:

His ‘Shanmata’ system continues to influence the worship of principal deities within Hinduism.

The Dashanami monastic order, restructured by Shankaracharya, remains active, preserving ancient traditions.

The four Mathas he established serve as pillars of Hindu religious study and practice.

His birthplace, Kaladi, is recognized for its historical significance and is set to become a national monument.

Shankaracharya’s legacy is a testament to the power of ideas to shape societies and inspire individuals across generations.

Recognition and Honors

The legacy of Sri Adi Shankaracharya has been celebrated and honored through various recognitions and awards that highlight the enduring impact of his teachings.

The Padma Awards, one of India’s highest civilian honors, are conferred by the President of India in three categories: Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri, reflecting exceptional and distinguished service across various fields.

In the realm of cultural heritage, traditional crafts and practices that resonate with Shankaracharya’s influence have also been acknowledged.

For instance, Bidri ware, an art form with a spiritual and cultural essence, was awarded the Geographical Indication status by the Indian government and recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The recognition of Shankaracharya’s contributions extends beyond awards, permeating the fabric of Indian culture and spirituality.

Defense personnel and others who embody the virtues of devotion and strength, akin to those celebrated during Hanuman Jayanti, are also honored for their service to the nation.

These acknowledgments serve as a testament to the values Shankaracharya espoused and their relevance in contemporary society.

Understanding Shankaracharya’s Philosophical Teachings

Advaita Vedanta Explained

Adi Shankaracharya’s Advaita Vedanta is a school of Hindu philosophy that emphasizes the unity between the individual consciousness (atman) and the ultimate reality (brahman).

This non-dualistic approach posits that the world we perceive is an illusion (maya), created by the creative energy of Brahman.

Advaita Vedanta is grounded in the teachings of the Upanishads and is further elucidated through Shankaracharya’s commentaries, such as the Brahma Sutra Bhashya.

The core principle of this philosophy is that the transcendental self of the universe (Atman) and the experiencing self (Jiva) are identical, leading to the realization that one’s true self is not separate from the ultimate reality.

The pursuit of understanding Advaita Vedanta is not merely an intellectual exercise but a transformative spiritual journey that leads to liberation (moksha).

The following points summarize key aspects of Advaita Vedanta:

Non-Dualism: The belief in the essential oneness of Atman and Brahman.

Maya: The concept that the world is an illusion, a manifestation of Brahman’s creative energy.

Liberation: The ultimate goal of realizing the non-difference between Atman and Brahman, resulting in moksha.

Shanmata System and Worship

Adi Shankaracharya’s Shanmata system of worship represents a harmonization of six major Hindu deities, aiming to cater to the diverse spiritual inclinations of devotees.

This inclusive approach underscores the unity of the divine, despite the apparent multiplicity of forms. The system encompasses the worship of Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Surya, Ganesha, and Skanda, each deity symbolizing a particular aspect of the cosmos and human experience.

The Shanmata system not only simplifies worship for the common people but also integrates various sects under the umbrella of Sanatana Dharma.

It is a testament to Shankaracharya’s genius in creating a structure that allows for individual expression while maintaining the integrity of Vedic traditions.

The Shanmata system is a brilliant example of Shankaracharya’s ability to adapt and innovate within the framework of Hinduism, ensuring that the essence of spirituality remains accessible and relevant to all.

Impact on Hindu Rituals and Practices

Adi Shankaracharya’s influence on Hindu rituals and practices is profound and enduring. His teachings have shaped the way rituals are perceived and performed within the Hindu tradition.

The integration of philosophical insights into daily practices has been a hallmark of his impact.

Religious influence: Certain aspects of Theyyam, such as abstaining from eating after sunset, indicate religious influences from Jainism and Buddhism.

Activities:

Participants observe ‘Narasimha Deeksha’ by wearing yellow robes, ‘Tulasi Mala’, and practicing celibacy.

During the ceremony, tribal members shoot arrows at the deity’s palanquin as a gesture of respect and protection.

Paruveta Utsavam is celebrated by people of all castes, showcasing the inclusive nature of Shankaracharya’s teachings.

The observance of rituals and ceremonies has evolved to include a blend of spiritual and cultural elements, reflecting the diverse influences that Shankaracharya embraced and integrated into Hinduism.

The 600-year-old Ahobila Mutt, through the ‘Guru Parampara’, oversees the temple, highlighting the continuity of tradition and the role of established institutions in preserving ritualistic practices.

Conclusion

Shankaracharya Jayanti is not just a day to commemorate the birth of a great philosopher and theologian,

Adi Shankaracharya, but also a time to reflect on his immense contributions to Hindu philosophy and the unification of diverse spiritual practices.

Celebrated with fervor and piety across India, this occasion serves as a reminder of the rich spiritual heritage that Adi Shankaracharya helped to preserve and propagate.

His teachings on Advaita Vedanta, the establishment of the four cardinal mathas, and the introduction of the Shanmata system of worship have had a lasting impact on Hinduism.

As we observe Shankaracharya Jayanti, we honor the legacy of a revered sage who dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and the upliftment of society through spiritual enlightenment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Sri Adi Shankaracharya?

Sri Adi Shankaracharya was a revered Indian philosopher and theologian, often referred to as Jagatguru Sankara. He played a pivotal role in consolidating the principles of Advaita Vedanta and rejuvenating Hinduism during a time when it faced challenges from other doctrines.

What is Shankaracharya Jayanti?

Shankaracharya Jayanti is the birth anniversary of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, celebrated with great reverence by his followers. It involves various religious ceremonies and cultural events to honor his life and teachings.

When is Shankaracharya Jayanti observed?

Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed on different dates each year according to the Hindu lunar calendar. For instance,

What are the four Mathas established by Adi Shankaracharya?

The four Mathas established by Adi Shankaracharya are located at Dwarka in Gujarat (West), Joshimath in Uttarakhand (North), Sringeri in Karnataka (South), and Puri in Odisha (East).

They continue to preserve and propagate his teachings.

What is the significance of the Shanmata system introduced by Shankaracharya?

The Shanmata system, introduced by Shankaracharya, emphasizes the worship of six principal deities, aiming to integrate various Hindu sects and streamline the practice of worship within the framework of Advaita Vedanta.

How does Shankaracharya Jayanti get celebrated?

Shankaracharya Jayanti is celebrated with a range of activities including Mahanyasa Purvaka Rudrabhishekam, Avanti Homam, Abhisekam, and Archana.

Devotees also engage in discussions, recitations of his works like the Sharada Bhujanga Stotram, and cultural events.

ADI SHANKARACHARYA JAYANTI HISTORY

Adi Shankara was born in Kalady, Kerala during 788 C.E. From the age of 16-32, Shankaracharya travelled across the country and spread the message of the Vedas. The saint passed away at a young age, but his teachings continued to inspire people across generations.

The saint’s birth anniversary is celebrated annually during the Panchami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month and currently falls between April and May. The Hindu saint is known for consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanata and revived it at a time when Hindu culture was facing decline.

 It is said that the works of Adi Shankara, along with other Hindu hermits like Madhava and Ramanuja, were instrumental in the revival of Hinduism.

The three teachers formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects even today.

They are remembered as some of the most important figures in the modern history of Hindu philosophy.

Adi Shankaracharya’s notable work includes several commentaries on Hindu scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita, and 12 Upanishads. The Hindu hermit composed nearly 72 devotional hymns like Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shatakam, Maneesha Panchakam, and Soundarya Lahari.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Shankaracharya Jayanti is celebrated as birth anniversary of great Indian Philosopher and Guru Adi Shankara. In 2016, the date of Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is on May 11, Wednesday. Guru Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed on the 5th day (Panchami Tithi) during Shukla Paksha of Vaisakha Month during waxing of moon (April – May). Guru Shankara was born in Kalady, Kerela during 788 C.E. and he left this earth for the heavens at young age of 32 in year 820 C.E.

Adi Shankaracharya brought out Santana Dharma, from the clutches of rituals. He is also considered as an incarnation of Lord Mahadeva by many people. Adi Shankaracharya consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanata and revived the teachings of Upanishads when Hindu culture was in decline.

Guru Shankara, along with Guru Ramanuja and Guru Madhava, was contributory in the revival of Hinduism.

These three renowned Gurus (teachers) formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sectors.

These three teachers hadbecome the most important figures in the recent history of Hindu philosophy. He also gained spiritual guidance and became a master in semantics and dialectics.

Guru Shankaracharya is also known as Jagadguru (teacher of the world) as he saved Sanatan Dharma.

Adi Shankaracharya established the thinking that one can gain Salvation (Moksha) through study of Vedas. He also travelled throughout the country to spread his teachings.

Guru charanam, bhaja charanam,

Satguru charanam, bhava haranam.

Maanasa bhajare, guru charanam,

Dustara bhava saagara taranam.

Guru maharaaj guru jaya jaya,

Para brahma satguru jaya jaya

This is the assertion of Guru Shankaracharya, India’s great philosopher-saint, reverently also named as Srimath Adi Shankaracharya.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is celebrated by fasting, studying his work and by meditating. People recite his compositions and Prasad (sacred food) is cooked and distributed. This day is also celebrated by giving donations to the poor people.

“प्रातः स्मरामि हृदि संस्फुरदात्मतत्त्वं
सच्चित्सुखं परमहंसगतिं तुरीयम् ।
यत्स्वप्नजागरसुषुप्तिमवैति नित्यं
तद्ब्रह्म निष्कलमहं न च भूतसङ्घः ॥१॥

prātaḥ smarāmi hṛdi saṃsphuradātmatattvaṃ
saccitsukhaṃ paramahaṃsagatiṃ turīyam |
yatsvapnajāgarasuṣuptimavaiti nityaṃ
tadbrahma niṣkalamahaṃ na ca bhūtasaṅghaḥ ||1||

~

At dawn, I meditate in my heart on the truth of the radiant inner Self.
This true Self is Pure Being, Awareness, and Joy, the transcendent goal of the great sages.
The eternal witness of the waking, dream and deep sleep states.
I am more than my body, mind and emotions, I am that undivided Spirit.

At dawn, I worship the true Self that is beyond the reach of mind and speech,
By whose grace, speech is even made possible,
This Self is described in the scriptures as “Not this, Not this”.
It is called the God of the Gods, It is unborn, undying, one with the All.

At dawn, I salute the true Self that is beyond all darkness, brilliant as the sun,
The infinite, eternal reality, the highest.
On whom this whole universe of infinite forms is superimposed.
It is like a snake on a rope. The snake seems so real, but when you pick it up, it’s just a rope.
This world is ever-changing, fleeting, but this eternal Light is real and everlasting.

Who recites in the early morning these three sacred Slokas,
which are the ornaments of the three worlds,
obtains the Supreme Abode.

~ Adi Shankara (8th century)”
― Adi Shankaracharya

Who is Adi Shankara?

Sri Adi Shankaracharya or Adi Shankara is regarded as one of the greatest gurus and philosophers in Hinduism.

He is known as the saviour of Vedic Dharma and the exponent of Advaita Vedanta.

He explained the concept of Aatma (soul), Parmatma (divine soul), Vairagya (renunciation) and Moskha (salvation).

His teachings contributed to the growth of the Hindu culture when it was in a state of decline.

Along with philosophers Madhava and Ramanuja, Shankaracharya is said to have resuscitated Hinduism.

Shankaracharya Jayanti Celebrations

  • The day is celebrated with enthusiasm at Shankaracharya Mathas (monasteries) around the country.
  • Havan, puja, and satsang are organized at Mathas like Shringeri Sharada Peetham in Kerala, Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha in Kanchipuram, etc.
  • Discussions and speeches on Sanatan Dharma are held on this day.

Significance of Shankaracharya Jayanti

  • Adi Shankaracharya expounded the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta.
  • He explained and reinterpreted Hindu scriptures like the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and the primary principles of Brahma Sutras.
  • He traveled to various nations in order to revive Hinduism.
  • He established four monasteries (mathas) in four corners of India — Sringeri in the South, Kashmir in the North, Puri in the East, and Dwaraka in the West.

The Legend of Shankaracharya Jayanti

Shankara was born to a humble Nambudri Brahmin couple in Kaladi (in the present day Kerala) in 788CE.

His parents, Shivaguru and Aryamba, who were a childless couple, had prayed to Lord Shiva to bless them with a child. Soon, they had a baby boy who went on to become a great teacher.

A legend associated with Shankaracharya considers him an incarnation of Lord Shiva himself, who had appeared in Aryamba’s dream and promised to take birth as her child.

Some believed that Lord Shiva incarnated on earth to restore order at a time when there was absence of harmony and mankind was deprived of spirituality.

As he grew up, Shankaracharya traveled several places to find a suitable Guru. After observing severe penance, he found the ashram of Govinda Bhagavathpada, better known as Patanjali.

He was a learned philosopher of the Vedanta School of Thought. Shankara became the disciple of Govinda, under whose guidance he learnt about the Vedas and the six Vedangas..

Govinda also guided Shankara to preach the tenets of Advaita Vedanta.

It is said that Lord Vishnu visited Shankara at Badrinath and asked him to make a statue of the deity in Alaknanda River. In the present time, the temple is popular as Badrinarayan Temple.

Shankaracharya died at the young age of 32 in 820 CE at Kedarnath, which lies in the present day Uttarakhand.

Shankaracharya Jayanti

Shankaracharya is known as Adi Shankaracharya or Shri Adi Shankaracharya or Bhagavatpada Acharya which is a guru at the feet of the Lord.

He was an 8th-century Indian philosopher and theologian whose teachings influenced the growth of Hinduism. He expounded the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.

This article will cover his early life, teachings, philosophy, and books.

His teachings and philosophy influenced and revived when Hindu culture was on the decline.

It is said that Shankaracharya, along with Madhava and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism.

Born: 788 CE (according to Scholars)
Place of Birth: Kaladi, Kerala, India
Also known as Adi Shankaracharya/ Adi Sankaracharya
Died: 820 CE
Place of Death: Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India
Father: Sivaguru
Mother: Aryamba
Teacher: Govinda Bhagavatpada
Disciples: Padmapada, Totakacharya, Hasta Malaka, Sureshvara
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
Founder of: Dashanami Sampradaya, Advaita Vedanta

As we know that Shankaracharya is best remembered for his remarkable reinterpretations of Hindu scriptures and his sayings on the Vedic canon whether Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita.

His philosophical teachings have deeply influenced various sects of Hinduism and also contributed to the development of the thought of modern India.

Do you know at a very young age, he was inclined toward spirituality and religion? With the help of his guru, he mastered all the Vedas and the six Vedangas.

Also, while traveling he spread spiritual knowledge and the tenets of Advaita Vedanta.

He died at the very young age of 32, despite of it he left an indelible mark on the people, methods of teaching Vedas, and the development of modern thought.

Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Early Life
According to some scholars, he was born in 788 circa in a poor Brahmin family in Kaladi, Chera Kingdom, present-day Kerala, India.

His father was Sivaguru and his mother was Aryamba.

Let us tell you that his parents were childless for a long time and had prayed a lot to Lord Shiva to bless them with a baby.

Soon, they became parents of Shankaracharya. No doubt he proved to be an intelligent boy who mastered all the Vedas and six Vedangas from the local Gurukul.

As mentioned above from a young age he was more inclined toward religion and spirituality and was not interested in worldly affairs.

He was not interested in marriage and so he remained unmarried his whole lifetime.

Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Later Life
He wants to take Sanyasa and wants to learn under a guru who can show him the right path.

Once he met Swami Govindapada Acharya in a hermitage in Badrinath in the Himalayas.

He told his life story and asked him to accept him as a pupil.

He was pleased and initiated him into the sacred order of Sannyasa.

Then he taught Shankaracharya the philosophy of Advaita which he had learned from his guru Gaudapada Acharya.


Shankaracharya went to Kashi and there he wrote his commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, the Upanishads, and the Gita.

He traveled a lot in his life, usually, he participate in public philosophical debates with religious scholars, preached his teachings, and founded several “matha’ or monasteries.

He is regarded as a founder of the Dasanami Sampradaya of Hindu monasticism.

Shankaracharya/Adi Shankaracharya: Works
He has written spectacular commentaries on ancient texts.

– Shankaracharya’s review of ‘The Brahma Sutra’ is known as ‘Brahmasutrabhasya’ and is the oldest surviving commentary on Brahma Sutra.

– He wrote commentaries on Bhagavad Gita.

– He also wrote commentaries on ten principal Upanishads.

– He is also well-known for his “stories and poems. He had composed several poems, praising gods and goddesses. One of his stotras is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Krishna and is considered the most important.

– He also composed ‘Upadesasahasri’ which means ‘thousands teachings’. This is one of the most important philosophical works.

We can’t ignore the fact that his teachings played a pivotal role in the development of Hinduism over the centuries.

Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Philosophy
His philosophy was straightforward. He advocated the existence of the soul and the Supreme Soul.

He believed or told that the Supreme Soul alone is real and remains unchanged or can’t be changed but the soul is a changing entity and so it does not have any absolute existence.

Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Mathas
Let us tell you that as per the scholars he has founded four maths or monasteries namely Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Dvaraka Pitha, Jyotirmatha Peetham, and Govardhana Matha.

So, now we come to know that Shankarachraya’s teachings and philosophy not only paved an impact on the people of Hinduism but at such a young age he had learned all the Vedas, six Vedangas which itself is commendable.

We can’t forget that his methods of teaching Vedas have contributed to the development of modern Indian thought.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is celebrated as the birth anniversary of the legendary Indian philosopher Adi Shankara.

This year, the festival will be observed on Sunday, May, as it marks the fifth date of Vaisakha month in the Hindu calendar.

The Tithi (date) will begin at 10:00 am on May and end at 11:34 am on May.

Shankara, who is also known as Jagadguru Shankaracharya, is regarded for his significant work in unifying and establishing the main thought currents in Hinduism.

He is also known for consolidating Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualist doctrine that believes only Brahm, the ultimate unchangeable unity, is real and the rest, the phenomenal transient world, is its illusory appearance.

Shankaracharya is also credited with moving the Hindu scholarship from realism to idealism.

His publications criticised Mīmāṃsā, a school of thought in Hinduism that emphasises critical investigation.

Shakara was born in a village Kaladi in Kerala to a Nambudiri Brahmin couple, who had devoted their lives to the service of the poor.

They named their child – Shankara, which means the giver of prosperity.

 After the death of his father when Shankara was very young, he wanted to live a life of Sanyasi which his mother Sivataraka disapproved of.

A story about his life mentions an interesting incident.

When Shankara was eight, he went to a river with his mother to bathe.

Suddenly, a crocodile grabbed his leg and Shankara used this opportunity to make his mother agree to his demands.

He asked his mother to allow him to become Sanyasi or the crocodile will kill him.

Wishing for her child’s life, Sivataraka agreed. After the crocodile frees Shankara, he leaves his home.

Upon reaching a Saivite sanctuary in north-central India, he became a disciple of a teacher named Govind Bhagvatapada.

He is believed to have died at an age of 32 in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand.

About Sri Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Sri Adi Shankaracharya is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

He is the world’s greatest Guru (Jagathguru). He preached Vedic knowledge and awareness by teaching judgment, intellect and he instituted the worship of deities as worshipping different forms of the one God.

Legnd behind Shankracharya Jayanti :

About 2500 years ago, when the mankind was not living in harmony with their intrinsic spirituality and holiness, all the deities and rishis went to Mount Kailash and requested Lord Shiva to revive the world.

Lord Shiva approved to their request and informed them that he would be born into the world.

On this festival, perform Lord Shiva Puja
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In a little village, Kaladi, Kerela, Adi Shankaracharya was born to the Nambudri Brahmin couple, Shivaguru and Aryamba.

The couple was remained without a child for a long period of time and prayed for a child or children.

Shiva, then appeared to the couple in a dream and assured them a option of a son who would be having a short life, but the most brilliant philosopher of his day, or many sons who would be average at finest.

The couple opted for a brilliant, but short-lived son, and thereby Shankara was born.

Shankarachrya travelled and explored for a virtuous Guru who would commence him and acquire his determination of sanyasam (monk).

He found the Ashram of Govinda Bhagavathpada who was recalled as Patanjali in a preceding birth.

Govinda Bhagavathpada was also the follower of Goudapada, early and most reputed philosopher of the Vedanta school of thought.

Govinda accepted Shankara as his disciple.

He commenced him into the uppermost kind of renunciation. Shankara was taught various Vedas as well as advaita.

Advaita is the principle that each and every creator on this earth is the demonstration of God and that God and soul are one and the same.

He guided Sri Shankara to go out into the world and make everyone aware of this truth throughout the country, which he did.

At Badrinath, Lord Vishnu became visible to Shankara and he told him that his statue/idol in the Alakananda River should be made out and a temple should be constructed for it.

This temple is known as Badrinarayan Temple which is the most religious temple.

Significance of Adi Shankracharya Jayanti :

Shankaracharya taught everyone the belief of Advaita Vedanta.

He also studied and taught the main principles of the Brahma Sutras, Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads

Shankaracharya condemned the focus on strict rituals and ceremonies, which some schools of Hinduism pardoned

Though he approved the immensity of the Vedas, he explained them differently and denounced some of its very old ritualistic practices; which he thought as being regressive

People are very much influenced by Shankaracharya’s teachings

He moved and travelled across the country to teach and make people aware of his conviction and revive Hinduism

Shankaracharya was a great devotee of Lord Shiva

His most famous literary work is the Bhaja Govindam

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed as birth anniversary of Indian Guru and philosopher Adi Shankara.

Adi Shankara was born in Kalady which is situated in Kerala during 788 C.E. and he was disappeared at young age of 32 in year 820 C.E.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed on Panchami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month and currently falls between April and May. Shankaracharya consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanata (अद्वैत वेदान्त) and revived it at a time when Hindu culture was on decline.

Adi Shankara, along with Madhava and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism.

These three teachers formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects even today.

They have been the most important figures in the recent history of Hindu philosophy.

Adi Shankara was born in Kalady in Kerala in the year 788 C.E. and he left his physical existence in this world at the young age of 32 in year 820 C.E It was Shankaracharya who combined the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta philosophy and revived it at a critical time when Hindu culture was on decline.

Adi Shankara, Madhava and Ramanuja, were the three great masters who actively involved in the revival of Hinduism.

They formed philosophical doctrines that are still followed by their respective sects.

They have been revered as the most important figures in the history of Hindu philosophy.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

What is Shankaracharya Jayanti?

Shankaracharya Jayanti commemorates the birth anniversary of Adi Shankaracharya, a revered philosopher and theologian who played a pivotal role in the revival of Hinduism.

It is celebrated with great fervour and reverence by devotees across India and beyond.

History of Shankaracharya Jayanti

Shankaracharya Jayanti traces its origins to the life and teachings of Adi Shankaracharya, who lived in the early medieval period, around the 8th century CE.

Born in Kerala, India, Adi Shankaracharya is credited with consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and establishing four mathas (monasteries) in different parts of India.

Origin and Significance

The significance of Shankaracharya Jayanti lies in honouring the life and contributions of Adi Shankaracharya to Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

His teachings emphasise the oneness of the individual soul (Atman) with the universal soul (Brahman) and the importance of self-realisation to attain liberation (moksha).

Important Teachings of Shankaracharya

Adi Shankaracharya’s teachings revolve around Advaita Vedanta, which asserts the ultimate unity of all existence.

His commentaries on the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Brahma Sutras elucidate the concept of non-duality (advaita) and the path to self-realisation through knowledge (jnana).

Deities Associated with Shankara Jayanti

While Shankaracharya Jayanti primarily honours Adi Shankaracharya, devotees also pay homage to Lord Shiva, as Shankaracharya was a devoted follower of Shiva.

Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva witness special prayers and rituals on this auspicious day.

Customs, Traditions, and Rituals

Devotees observe Shankaracharya Jayanti by visiting temples, conducting special prayers, and participating in satsangs (spiritual discourses).

Some also engage in acts of charity and seva (selfless service) as a way of honouring Adi Shankaracharya’s emphasis on compassion and selflessness.

Benefits of Shankaracharya Jayanti

Celebrating Shankaracharya Jayanti fosters spiritual growth, deepens one’s understanding of Advaita Vedanta, and strengthens one’s connection to the Hindu philosophical tradition.

It also serves as an opportunity for devotees to reflect on the timeless wisdom of Adi Shankaracharya and apply his teachings to their daily lives.

FAQ

Q: When is Shankaracharya Jayanti celebrated in 2024?

A: Shankaracharya Jayanti falls on Sunday, May 12th, 2024. It is typically observed on the fifth day (Panchami) of the waxing phase of the moon (Shukla Paksha) in the Hindu lunar month of Vaisakha.

Q: What time should I perform rituals on Shankaracharya Jayanti?

A: Devotees often perform rituals and prayers during the Brahma Muhurta, which is the auspicious time before sunrise. However, the exact timing may vary based on regional customs and preferences.

Q: Can Shankaracharya Jayanti be celebrated at home?

A: Yes, Shankaracharya Jayanti can be celebrated at home through personal prayers, chanting of hymns, reading scriptures, and reflecting on the teachings of Adi Shankaracharya. It is a time for introspection and spiritual upliftment, irrespective of the setting.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed on the 5th day during waxing of moon in the month of Vaisakha (April – May).

 It is the birth anniversary day of  Adi Shankara. In 2024, the date of Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is May.

Scholars differ regarding the period in which Adi Shankara lived but his birthday is celebrated annually on the same day – on the 5th day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Vaisakha.

Adi Shankaracharya, who brought out Sanatana Dharma, from the clutches of rituals, is also considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva by many people.

It was Shankaracharya who had revived the teachings of Upanishads.

One of India’s greatest philosopher and saint, Shankaracharya arrived on the scene when there was complete destruction of truth, culture and morality.

There was utter chaos and confusion and Shankaracharya set the house in order with his peaceful message of Vedanta.

He established the four Mathas in four corners of India to propagate Vedanta.

The day is observed by many temples, Hindu religious institutions and by schools, colleges and universities.

Apart from the mandatory prayer meetings, discussion on the philosophical works are held.

Coaching camps on the works of Adi Shankara commence on the day.

Some Teachings of Adi Shankara

  • The annihilation of ignorance is salvation.
  • The charity at right time is precious.
  • Truth is that which helps the living beings.
  • One’s own pure mind is the greatest pilgrimage.
  • That is knowledge that helps in getting united to the Brahman

May 12 All day

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