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07 FACTS-- 1-Adi Shankaracharya(821 CE) was a great saint & philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. 2-His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes. He hailed from Kalady of present day Kerala. 3-Adi travelled across India and other parts of South Asia to propagate his philosophy through discourses (communication of thought by word )and debates with other thinkers.

4-He founded four mathas (monasteries), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta.

5-Adi Shankara is believed to be the organizer of the Dasanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship. 6-His works in Sanskrit concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Non-dualism). He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism.

7--Adi Shankara represented his works as elaborating on ideas found in the Upanishads, and he wrote copious (fullness, as of thoughts or words) commentaries on the Vedic Canon (Brahma Sutra, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavadgita) in support of his thesis.

The main opponent in his work is the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers some arguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya and certain schools of Buddhism that he was partly familiar with. BRAHMA SUTRAS-- TOPIC ONE (Sutra 1) The enquiry into Brahman and its prerequisites. Athato Brahmajijnasa (1) Now, therefore, the enquiry into Brahman. LITERAL MEANING--

Atha: now, then, afterwards;

Atah: therefore;

Brahmajijnasa: a desire for the knowledge of Brahman (the enquiry into the real nature of Brahman). DESCRIPTION---

15 POINTS--- 1-Sutra literally means a string. It serves the purpose of stringing together the flowers of the Vedanta passages. The word Atha is not used to introduce a new subject that is going to be taken up. It is here to be taken as denoting immediate consecution. 2-The enquiry of Brahman specially depends upon some antecedent conditions. The enquirer should be endowed with certain spiritual requisites or qualifications. Then only the enquiry is possible. 3-Atha i.e., after the attainment of certain preliminary qualifications such as the four means of salvation viz.,

3-1 Nityaanityavastuviveka---Discrimination between the eternal and the noneternal 3-2 Ihamutrarthaphalabhogaviraga--Indifference to the enjoyment in this life or in heaven, and of the fruits of one's actions. 3-3 Shatsampat (sixfold virtues) viz., 1- Sama – control of mind ,2- Dama – control of the external senses, 3-Uparati – cessation from worldly enjoyments or not thinking of objects of senses 4- Titiksha – endurance of pleasure and pain, heat and cold, 5-Sraddha – faith in the words of the preceptor and of the Upanishads 6-Samadhana – deep concentration

4-- Mumukshutva i.e. the desire for liberation. Those who have got an earnest desire for the knowledge of Brahman only are fit for the study of Vedanta Philosophy or Brahma Sutras. Even without possessing the knowledge of Karma Kanda which deals with religious ceremonies or sacrifices, a desire for attaining the knowledge of Brahman will arise direct from the study of the Srutis. 5-The enquiry of Brahman does not depend on the performance of any acts. You must know and realise the eternal Brahman. Then only you will attain eternal bliss, freedom, perfection and immortality. You must have certain preliminary qualifications for your search.

6-Why should you enquire about Brahman? Because the fruits obtained by sacrifices etc., are ephemeral (short-lived) , whereas the knowledge of Brahman is eternal. Life in this earth and the life in heaven which you will attain on account of your virtuous deeds is transient. 7-If you know Brahman, you will enjoy everlasting bliss and immortality. That is the reason why you must start the quest of Brahman or the Truth or the Ultimate Reality. 8-A time comes when a person becomes indifferent to Karmas. He knows that Karmas cannot give him everlasting,unalloyed happiness which is not mixed with pain,sorrow and fear. 9-Therefore, naturally, a desire arises in him for the knowledge of Brahman or the allpervading, eternal Soul which is above Karmas, which is the source of eternal happiness. 10-Charvakas (sweet-tongued ) think that the body is the soul. Some think that the senses are the soul. Some others think that the mind is the soul. Some think that the intellect is the soul. Some think that the soul is a mere momentary idea. 11-Some think that nothing exists in reality. Some think that there is a soul which is different from the body which is both agent and enjoyer of the fruits of action. Others hold that he is not a doer but is only an enjoyer. 12-Some think that the individual soul is a part of the Supreme Soul. Vedantins maintain that the individual soul is identical with the Supreme Soul .Different schools of philosophy hold different views. Therefore it is necessary to examine the truth of things very carefully. 13-Knowledge of Brahman destroys Avidya or ignorance which is the root of all evil, or the seed of this formidable (of discouraging or awesome strength,difficulty, etc) Sansara or worldly life. Hence you must entertain the desire of knowing Brahman. Knowledge of Brahman leads to the attainment of the final emancipation. 14-Hence an enquiry about Brahman through the study of the Srutis which treats of Brahman is worthwhile and should be undertaken. 15-The question now arises: What are the characteristics of that Brahman? The nature of the Brahman is described in the following Sutra or a aphorism (concise statement of a principle).. Janmadyadhikaranam: Topic 2 (contd.) ........SHIVOHAM........