The faith of Hinduism is imbibed with and built of such a wide number of aspects, that it has given rise to a numerous sects of beliefs, followers, propitiators and theologies. There are many philosophies and their different interpretations that may leave an ordinary person clueless. Out of the many contributors, who survived to find the very essence of this multitheistic faith, Adi Shankaracharya’s name remains quite prominent. The currents of thought and belief that run in the stream of Hinduism are unified and intact to an extent due to this personality. Since, we live in an age where we even Buy Panchapatra Online, we can hardly imagine the thought process that the ancient scholar like him nurtured and developed over the years. It is more difficult to imagine that a person can dedicate himself fully to establish a theory of spirituality, being born in an ordinary family like many of us.
The Early Life of the Great Scholar:
It is believed that before Shankaracharya was born, her mother got a vision that Lord Shiva would incarnate in form of her child and so she named the baby after the Lord as ‘Shankara’. His family was that of the Brahmins and his parents got a reason to be extra joyous when he was born after a long phase of childlessness. He was conferred with the title of Eka-Sruti-Dara for his capacity to memorise what he heard once. Although his education was delayed due to the demise of his father at an early age, he turned out to be quite a phenomenal student, mastering Vedas, Vedangas and Puranas seamlessly.
The Step towards Sainthood:
There are many stories that mention about his unrealistic powers like the one of enriching a poor lady by invoking Lakshmi with Kanaka Dhara Stotram. Some hagiographies also mention that he was attracted to sainthood at an early age and left the home at an age of eight to pursue studies. In relation to this, there is tale of him being gripped by a crocodile and freed only when his mother permitted him to become a Sanyaasi. Apparently, he was noticed by his Guru, when he was releasing the confined Narmada River from his Kamandal to restrain floods.
The Journey of the Sanyaasi:
While gaining substantial knowledge as a disciple of Sri Govinda Bhagawathpathar, Shankara travelled many places, indulged in Shashtrarth with many scholars of other schools of Hinduism, authored many works to gain fame. What his notion conveyed was that it is not the use of Puja Kalash and Samagri that invokes Divinity. It is the enlightment which favours us in our search of the Supreme. Then he went on to propound the theory of Advaitawad or non-duality in order to abolish the many anomalies that had swept into the Hindu Puja customs. He emphasised that the only reality in life is Brahman (god) and others are illusion and that one should concentrate on finding the pathway to unite with Him. While teaching the core tenets of Vedanta, he laid extra focus on understanding the crux of worshipping mentioned in the Vedas and reforming the oddities or superstitions and the evil practises influenced by them. It is said that he happened to meet Lord Shiva in form of an ‘untouchable’ when he went to Kashi on a tour.
It is up to the followers to agree or not agree with the philosophy of the Sanyaasi. However, while the worshippers order Puja Thali online, they should not forget or compromise with the indispensability of a pure devotion or true feeling towards the Creator, since it the main Samgri.