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60 second interview with sri adi shankara

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(Questions are imaginary; Answers are true excerpts from BhajaGovindam and Viveka Chudamani)
--S Swaminathan

Q : Shankarji, Namasthe and Vanakkam.what is your philosophy? Could you please tell us in one or two sentences?
A: Brahman alone is real, the universe is unreal, and the individual soul is no other than the universal Soul ( ”Brahma Sathyam -Jagan Mithya- Jeevo Brahma Eva , Na Aparaha” ).

Q. You have said it beautifully well. But laymen may not understand it.
A: Maya can be destroyed by the realisation of the pure Brahman, just as the mistaken idea of a snake is removed by the discrimination of the rope.

Q. Swami, This is high philosophy indeed. But is there any short cut for reaching God?
A: Through the company of the good, there arises non attachment:
Through non attachment there arises freedom from delusion:
When there is freedom from delusion, there is the Immutable Reality:
On experiencing immutable reality there comes the state of ‘liberated in life’(Jeevan Mukti).

Q: Oh, Swamiji, now I remember the Bhaja Govindam sloka ‘Satsangatve nissangatwam, Nissangatve Nirmohatvam--------‘.Ok, A lot of people believe in simple things like holy dip in Ganges etc. Is it not good then?
A: To one who has studied the Bhagavad Gita even a little,
Who has sipped at least a drop of Ganges water,
Who has worshipped at least once Lord Murari,
To him there is no quarrel with Yama, the Lord of Death.

Q: Shankarji, only now you have come down to our level. We understand that you have gone round the Holy Bharat several times by foot when there was no vehicle, no bridges, no gun to protect you from wild animals .How did you do it. Aren’t you scared?
A: There is only Brahman, the one without a second, which is within all, homogenous, infinite, endless, and all pervading: there is no duality whatsoever in it (Eka mevadwayam Brahma neha nanasthi kinchana)

Q. Yeah, we understand fear comes only when you think there is another thing. Swami, we believe in Karma. Is in it that even meeting you today destined already?
A: Through the realization of one’s identity with Brahman, all the accumulated actions of a hundred crore of cycles come to nought.

Q: That is a good news. That means no one needs to fear Karma. Now In India, we have got a lot of Babas and Swamijis with hundreds of thousands of followers. Aren’t we are going in the right direction? I think Your Holiness must be happy about it.
A:One ascetic with matted-locks, one with shaven-head, one with hairs pulled out one by one, another parading in his ochre-robes- these are fools who, though seeing, do not see. Indeed these different disguises or apparels are only for their belly’s sake.

Q. Thanks for clarifying, Swamiji. Could you please give a simple message to our youths?
A: Childhood skips off on sport and play.
Youth flies off in pursuits of love making.
As one grows older one he is drowned in worry about the security and future of his wife and children.
One’s whole life gets spent in some kind of worry or other. And at no stage does man find time to lift his thoughts to God. Seek God (Bhaja Govindam), Seek God, Seek God.

Q. You are a keen observer of Nature. You even escaped from the grip of a crocodile when you were young in Kaladi, Kerala. You tricked your mum by saying the crocodile will leave you alive if she permits you to enter Sanyas (ascetic life).Tell us what can nature teach us?
A: The deer, the elephant, the moth, the fish and the black bee-these five have died due to one or other of the five senses, viz. Sound etc. through their own attachment.
Whoever seeks to realise the self by devoting himself to the nourishment of the body, proceeds to cross a river by catching hold of a crocodile, mistaking it for a log.

Q : Shankar ji ,we would recommend you to be entered in the Guinness Book of records under three categories : 1.The man who walked around the sub continent several times by foot-for longest Pada Yatra 2.The man who wrote highest number of commentaries on ancient texts and and 3. For strengthening the unity of India by establishing four centres (Mutts) in four corners of India :Sringeri, Dwaraka, Kashmir and Puri.

Namasthe. Thanks (Dhanyavad)
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