MATHS FOUNDED BY SRI SANKARA
SRI sankara founded four Maths (Monasteries) in the four quarters of India to spread the Advaita philosophy. His four chief disciples were the first heads of these Maths, Suresvaracharya at Sringeri in the south, Hasta-malaka at Dwaraka in the west, Totakacharya at Badri in the north and Padmapada at Puri in the east.
TEACHINGS OF SRI SANKARA
There are three main schools of Vedantic thought in Indian philosophy. Advaita, Visishtadvaita and Dvaita. Sri Sankara, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhwa are the chief Acharyas of these schools. Let us try to understand the main principles of Advaita, taught by Sri Sankara.
A real teacher is he who is well versed in the Vedas, sinless, free from desires and is a knower of Brahman.
Worshipping such a teacher with devotion and serving him constantly, the disciple should get self-knowledge.
Childhood is passed lost in play, youth is spent in attachment to the sweet-heart, and old age broods over the past. Alas! None is anxious to attain the Supreme Self.
Give up the desire for amassing wealth. Cultivate good thoughts. Devote your mind to righteousness. Be content with whatever you earn.
Never boast of your wealth, friends and youth. Time may steal away all these in the twinkling of an eye. Giving up attachment to this world which is a pack of illusion, try to realise Brahman soon and merge in it.
When the mind becomes clean like a mirror, knowledge is reflected in it. Care should therefore be taken to purify the mind.
The yogi endowed with complete enlightenment sees through the eye of knowledge the entire universe as his own self and regards everything as the Self.
The result of dispassion is knowledge, that of knowledge is withdrawal from sense pleasures.
This leads to the experience of the bliss of the Self and therefrom comes peace. By the right knowledge that one is not different from Brahman, one becomes perfectly free from the bondage of life and death.
The Atman that is absolute Existence, Knowledge and Bliss cannot be realised without constant practice. So one seeking knowledge should meditate long upon Self or Brahman or Atman for gaining the desired goal.
The mind, the sense organs and so on, are illumined by the Atman alone, g.s a jar or a pot is by a lamp. But these objects cannot illumine their own self.
As a lighted lamp does not need another lamp to show its light, so the Atman being consciousness itself, does not need another instrument to illumineit.
Sri Sankara says, “I shall explain through half a sloka what has been described by innumerable
scriptures: Brahman alone is true, the world is an illusion, and the Jiva is Brahman itself, not different