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Salutations to adi shankara

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To day is Shankara Jayanthi or the birth anniversary of Adi Shankara. The word ‘Adi’ means ancient or the initial. Thus he is the original Jagathguru. Just as Christmas is celebrated by Christians, and the birthday of Prophet Muhammad by Muslims, all the Hindus of this land (and abroad) must celebrate the birth day of Adi Shankara. He was a dynamic religious reformist, an avid scholar, an organizer par excellence, a thinker of the highest order-all rolled into one.
The name of Swami Vivekananda evokes, to this date, a sense of awe and respect amongst spiritually minded people. Adi Shankara was a forerunner to Swami Vivekananda in many ways. At the time of the birth of Adi Shankara (6th Century BC), Hinduism or Sanathana Dharma was at its lowest ebb. There were petty-minded, religious groups, each with its own set of values, trying to upstage each other. Other religions, which were in their infancy, were taking advantage of the bickering and squabbles amongst the multi-various Hindu groups. They were highlighting certain unwanted practices and taking out just a few elements from Hinduism, like non-violence and truthful living, were enticing uninformed, ordinary folks to join their fold.
As reassured by the Lord in Bhagvad Gita
He decided to enter the human-world, to rid the original religion of all its evils. And what an eventful life it turned out to be! All within a span of 32 years!
As Adi Shankara, was a master of both Vyakarna Sutram [grammar] and Tarka Shastram [logic], he entered into arguments with various religious leaders, disproved their philosophy with characteristic ease and firmly established the philosophy of Advaita or non-dualism. His guru was Govinda Bhagavadpada. Adi Shankara traversed the length and breadth of this country by foot. He composed a number of eloquent hymns in praise of the Gods and Goddesses. Sivananda Lahari, Soundarya Lahari, Annapurnasthakam, Mahasuramardhini Stotram, Dakshinamoorthy Asthakam, Siva Panchakshara Stotram, Subramanya Bhujangam and Bhaja Govindam-each one is a master piece -be for its lyrical beauty, exquisite musical quality or the potent spiritual content. He assembled a group of 4 great shisyas- Hasthamalaka,Tothakacharya,Sureshwara and Padmapada.He established 4 muts in the 4 corners of the country- Puri (Govardhan Peeth)in the east,Dwaraka (Dwaraka Peeth)in the west,Badrinath(Jyotir math) in the north and Sringeri (Sharada Peeth) in South. He established the Kamokoti Mutt, in Kanchipuram, as Sarvagya Peetam.He had mastered the SriVidya Upasana and the Sri Chakra worship.
Once when in Kashi, while returning after a bath in the Ganges, Adi Shankara was confronted by a chandala with 4 dogs. The Chandala was none other than Lord Vishwanath, the presiding deity of Kashi, Himself, in disguise. The 4 dogs were the 4 vedas.Adi Shankara requested the Chandala to move away from his path, whence the chandala questioned that who was to move away -his body or atma? If atma is indeed the same amongst every one- a learned scholar and a low-caste person, why should Adi Shankara ask him to move? If Shankara was referring to the body, then by Shankara’s own admission, this body was temperorary and one should not identify oneself with the body. On this count also, there wasn’t any difference between the two of them. Gifted with a razor-sharp intelligence, it did not take long for Shankara to realize his folly and that the Lord Himself was before him. He immediately burst out with a philosophers delight -Manisha Panchakam a five-stanza exposition of the body-soul concept.

Every one of us, atleast the members of this forum, must take upon a vow to propagate the name of Adi Shankara, as the father of Sanathana Dharma or Hinduism in its present form. They should retort to chanting of Taitray Upanishad, beginning from the Sukla Pratama, of the Chitrai/vaikashi month and conclude it on the panchami, the birthday of Adi Shankara. On the Shankara Jayanthi Day, if individuals/groups of individuals can perform Rudra Ekadasini culminating with Vasurdhara, nothing like it. In fact, this forum should take it up with the Government to announce Adi Shankara’s birth day as a public holiday. With shastanga namaskaras to Adi Shankaracharya
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