The most awaited Pran Pratistha of Ram Temple is just three days away, and India eagerly awaits the consecration of Ram Lalla’s idol. The vibes in Ayodhya are vibrant and tempting, tempting people to come and enjoy the historical event. However, all four chiefs of Sanatan Dharma declined to join the proceedings. Seers from Dwarka and Sringeri have yet to give any particular reasons. Still, the Shankaracharya from Puri, Nischalananda Saraswati, expressed discontent, stating that as PM Modi inaugurates the temple, he does not know what he, as a seer, should do at the consecration.
The nation was informed on January 4 by Puri Shankaracharya Nischalanda Saraswati that the four Shankaracharyas would not be present for the January 22 consecration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. “I am aware of the dignity of my position,” he said. “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi touches the idol to inaugurate the temple, what should I do?” Get up and give a round of applause?
At the Ganga Sagar Mela in West Bengal on Saturday, January 13, the Shankaracharya of Puri reiterated his decision to turn down the invitation to attend the temple’s inauguration and explained how the scriptures were violated by dedicating a partially built temple.
Who is Shankaracharya?
The four prominent Hindu mutts (monasteries) in Odisha, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Gujarat are led by the most revered Shankaracharya. These monastic orders are part of the Advaita Vedanta Sampradaya tradition of Hinduism, which was established in the eighth century by Adi Shankara. These religious leaders interpret the Hindu sacred texts, especially the Vedas. Currently, Shankaracharya Swami Shri Nischalananda Saraswati of Puri, Shankaracharya Avimukteshwaranand of Jyotir Math, Shankaracharya Bharati Teerth of Sringeri, and Shankaracharya Sadanand Saraswati of Dwarka, are holding the position of Shankaracharya.
Who was Adi Shankara?
Adi Shankara, born in Kalady, Kerala, is an 8th-century scholar-monk. Legend says a crocodile caught young Shankara. It promised to release him only if his mother allowed him to embrace life as a Hermit. After she reluctantly agreed, Shankara swam ashore, left home, and became a sanyasi. He travelled extensively, challenging philosophical traditions, establishing mathas, and preaching Advaita Vedanta.
What is Advaita Vedanta?
Advaita Vedanta, translated as “non-dualism” or “non-secondness,” is a school of Hindu philosophy and a spiritual discipline with a rich history and profound core principles.
Here’s a breakdown and Key Concepts:
- Brahman: The ultimate reality, one, infinite, and unchanging. Think of it as the foundation of everything, the source of all existence.
- Atman: The individual self, not separate from Brahman but ultimately identical to it. Imagine it as a wave in the ocean, inseparable from the sea.
- Maya: Illusion is a misconception that creates the appearance of separation and individuality. Think of it like a mist, Blurring the true nature of reality.
- Moksha: Liberation, freedom from the cycle of birth and death, achieved through realising the non-dual nature of reality.
- Brahman is the only reality: Everything else, including the individual self and the phenomenal world, is an imaginary overlay of Brahman.
- Atman is ultimately Brahman: Individuality is a temporary illusion, and releasing this identity is the key to liberation.
- Maya is not real: The world as we perceive it is not inherently real but rather a projection of our ignorance.
- Moksha is the ultimate goal: Through spiritual practice and self-knowledge, we can shed the illusion of Maya and realise our true nature as Brahman.
What is the legacy of Shankara?
- Philosophical Defence: When Buddhism and Jainism threatened the Hindu faith, Shankara’s sharp intellect and eloquent discourse countered their arguments, providing a robust philosophical foundation for Hinduism.
- Advaita Vedanta: He established Advaita Vedanta as a dominant school of thought, offering a clear and compelling interpretation of the Vedas and Upanishads, emphasising the non-dual nature of reality.
- Monastic Institutions: To preserve and propagate his teachings, Shankara established four monastic institutions (mathas) in different corners of India – Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri, and Sringeri. These mathas continue to thrive today, serving as learning and spiritual practice centres.
- Devotional Hymns: He composed over 300 hymns known as stotras, expressing profound love and reverence for various deities, particularly Shiva.