Adi shankaracharya was one of the most influential philosophers of India. He founded the Advaita Vedanta, one of the sub schools of Vedanta. He believed in the concept of the Vedas completely however also supported being against the rituals and religious practices. He thought that it was over exaggerated. He also started monastic order which is called as Dashanami and the Shanmata way of worship.
Adi shankaracharaya was born in a simple Brahmin family in the early 8th century A.D in Kaladi, Kerela. It is said that Shankaracharya’s mother Arambya had a vision where Lord Shiva told her that he would be reincarnated into the world as her first born. Early in his childhood, he showed a proclivity toward spiritual knowledge. During his schooling, he memorized the Puranas and Epics and gained mastery over the Vedas.
It is said that one day while having a bath, he was attacked by a crocodile. Though his mother saw the crocodile and wished to rescue him, she couldn’t. Seeing this, Shankaracharaya asker his mother’s permission to renounce the world and she agreed. However as soon as he recited the mantra, the crocodile left him alone. From that day onward, he began his life as an ascetic. Soon he met a man named Govinda Bhagvatpada, an accomplished spiritual man himself. Due to Shankaracharya’s strong knowledge of spirituality, Govinda agreed to be his spiritual teacher. Under his guidance, Shankaracharaya became an expert in different types of Yoga including Hatha,Raja and Jhana Yoga.
Adi Shankaracharya belaived in the philosophy of “non-dualism”. He stated that every individual has a divine existence and identity, which can be connacted to the absolute cosmic power. So, even if the bodies are numerous and diverse, the soul is one. When someone believes that the concept of life is finite, they are abandoning an entirely greater power and complex dimension of life and understanding. Thus, self-realization is the way to attain Moksha and be one with this absolute power.
Though he died young, he left an invaluable treasure of spiritual knowledge for future generations.