The Sanatana Dharma is a native term for ‘Hinduism’ or the ‘Hindu Religion’. Adi Shankaracharya is said to have revived the Sanatana Dharma when it was severely misunderstood and the country was in a terrible state of darkness and destitution. Adi Shankaracharya was born in Kaladi, which is now in the state of Kerala. He became a ‘sanyasi’ at a very young age and spread his teachings and lessons till he died at the age of thirty-two. He is worshipped and revered throughout the country for the re-creation of the Advaita Vedanta. Here are the ways he revived the Santana Dharma:
5. Adi Shankaracharya Was Born As A Brahmin Unlike Rama And Krishna Who Were Warriors
We all know about Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. They were born at a time when the evils came in the form of physical entities like the demons (‘asuras’). So, they had to be born in the Kshatriya caste to be able to save the Dharma from the hands of the Demons by being fierce warriors who could fight. But during the time of Adi Shankaracharya the evils of the society were more internal than external and therefore did not require physical strength in a large extent. He was therefore born as a Brahmin who was not into wars, but wanted to spread the words of peace. His being born as a Brahmin was a boon to the Indian society as he could rid the evils by being a sanyasi. Her had both physical and mental strength to save dharma or religion.
4. He Got Rid Of Strict Dogmas Inside The Apparently Orthodox Hinduism
A religion becomes orthodox when its rituals and dogmas are performed by saints without making a direct connection with the disciples. Adi Shankaracharya was instrumental in bringing down the use of dogmas in religion and made way for an intellectual, philosophical and religious plane where each mind could function in its own way. His teachings are varied and are as diverse as can be. He taught that the soul is one and that it is one with the Ultimate God, just like the waves of the sea, which have no existence alone. He preaches that God is ‘nirgun’ (without any ‘gun’), ‘nirakar’ (without any form) and is above existence and desire. We must always strive to be one with the Ultimate soul and rise above our petty desires and ambitions.
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3. His Ways of Teaching – He Wrote Pieces Through Which He Taught
The teachings of Adi Shankaracharya are written down in what is known as ‘Bhashya’. He was a person with innumerable capabilities and among them one was that he could write very good verse and poetry. His writings are learnt by many people who want to know about the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Bhagwad Gita. His ways of teaching as professed by his disciples and followers are that he would use practical examples and bring out a greater meaning out of them. He was born in a Brahmin family where his father had died shortly after his birth. He was brought up by his mother alone and became a sanyasi at a very early age. Therefore, there were no short of experiences which could turn the course of thought in a man with him.
2. He Travelled Almost The Whole Country Before His Death
Adi Shankaracharya was not only stuck to the South with his teachings. He travelled northwards with his disciples and laid the foundation of many ‘mathas’ which were later built by his disciples. His death was unexpected at such a tender age and was a great source of sorrow for everyone. It was said to be an act of Black Magic performed by his enemies. There are many ‘mathas’ of Shankaracharya present in our country – ‘Sringeri math’, ‘Jagannath math’, ‘Dwarka math’ and ‘Joshi math’ placed under Adi Shankaracharya’s greatest disciples.
1. His Teachings Are Based On Modern Thoughts
Not to follow religion blindly – do you think this could be uttered by anyone from the 12th or 23th centuries? Well, yes! Sounds like it’s our time when there are no strict religious impositions made on anyone. But this is something – Adi Shankaracharya had taught centuries ago. Whom he worshipped was the Ultimate self and it was the inner self of every soul, every person. So you did not have to follow strict rituals and confusing dogmas – you only had to believe in the capability of your ‘self’. As they say, the Sanatana Dharma is there because of Adi Shankaracharya.