Bhagavad-Gita (With the Commentary of Sankaracarya (Shankaracharya))
by Trans By. Swami Gambhirananda
Hardcover (Edition: 2003)
Size: 7.4" X 5.0"
Our Price: $16.50
From the Jacket:
Krishna in the guise of a charioteer to Arjuna
. urges him not to be
sorrowful, not to fear death, since he knows he is immortal, that
nothing which changes can be in the real nature of man.
- Swami Vivekananda
( Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. VIII)
O sinless one, this most secret scripture has thus been uttered by Me;
understanding this, one become wise and has his duties fulfilled.
- Gita, XV. 20
The publication of this edition of the Bhagavadgita by us fulfils a
long-felt need, namely, to make available to the public interested in
Advaita Vedanta a faithful English translation of Sankaracarya's
commentary on this sacred scripture. It is well known that the Gita is
one of the constituents of the prasthana-traya, three source-books, of
the Vedanta Darsana. It is called the smrti-prasthana, as it forms a
part of the great epic, the Mahabharata.
The translator, Swami Gambhirananda, one of the Vice-Presidents of the
Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, needs no introduction to
those who have studied his Eight Upanisads (in two volumes, each of
which is also separately published), his Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya of
Sankaracarya, published nearly two decades back, and his Chandogya
Upanisad, published recently-all by the Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati. He
now offers this translation of the bhasya of Sankaracarya on this very
important scripture, Bhagavadgita, which, as the translator remarks in
his valuable Introduction, 'is ranked among the greatest religious
books of the world'. In this informative and scholarly Introduction,
he has discussed in brief such subjects as the date of the Mahabharata
war, which provided the occasion for the birth of the Gita, the
historicity of the Gita on other countries, the date of Sankaracarya-
well documented and fortified by the views of several savants, both of
the East and the West, and by referring to inscriptions.
The method followed in translating this bhasya is the same as in his
translation of the Upanisads. With the publication of this book, the
present translator has done the monumental work of rendering into
English Sankaracarya's bhasya on the entire gamut of the prasthana-
traya, with the only exception of the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, the
commentary on which by Sankara was translated by Swami Madhavananda of
revered memory and first published by us in July 1934.
It may be noted that, while the slokas are in devanagari, only the
English rendering of such expressions as Sribhagavanuvaca, Arjuna
uvaca, etc. are given in the book. A very useful feature of this
edition of the Bhagavadgita is the inclusion of a 'Word Index' to the
entire text, apart from an Index to the first words of the slokas,
which, we believe, will be found helpful to both scholars and students
alike. It is our earnest hope that this edition of the Gita will be
warmly welcomed and received by those interested in Sankaracarya's
commentary on it.
The scene of the delivery of the Bhagavadgita (The Song Divine), also
known briefly as the Gita, by Sri Krsna to Arjuna is laid on the
battlefield of Kuruksetra where the Pandavas and the Kauravas had
assembled their armies for war. Scholars differ as regards the date of
this battle, though they are inclined to think that it was a
historical event. According to tradition the battle was fought at the
end of the Dvapara-yuga. The next yuga, viz the Kaliyuga, is believed
to have started on 18 February 3102 B.C., when Pariksita, grandson of
Arjuna ascended the throne of the Kauravas at Hastinapura. (The
History and Culture of the Indian People, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, vol.
I, p. 308) Karandikar says that the battle was fought in 1931 B.C.,
while Prof. Sengupta argues that it was fought in 2566 B.C. C. V.
Vaidya holds that the was fought in 3102 B.C.
As Dhrtarastra was born blind, he could not rule the kingdom. So his
younger brother Pandu became the Ruler. When Pandu died his sons were
too young as also were Duryodhana, the eldest son of Dhrtarastra, and
his younger brothers. Hence, Bhisma, the oldest member of the family,
managed the affairs of the State. When the young boys came of age
Duryodhana wanted to become the King by ousting Yudhisthira through
foul means. But public opinion was in favour of Yudhisthira. So, in
order not to antagonize the officials and the people, Bhisma advised
Dhrtarastra to divide the kingdom between his sons, referred to as the
Kauravas, and Pandu's sons called the Pandavas. This advice was
followed. Accordingly the former ruled from Hastinapura and the latter
from Indraprastha for thirty-six years. But Duryodhana was jealous of
the prosperity of the Pandavas, and to ruin them he invited
Yudhisthira to a game of dice, which resulted in the banishment of the
Pandavas under the condition of living in the forest for twelve years
and one year incognito. After the stipulated period Yudhisthira
claimed his portion of the kingdom, but Duryodhana refused, and this
led to the battle of Kuruksetra. Yudhisthira had four brothers Bhima,
Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva, Arjuna was considered the mightiest among
the contemporary warriors. Sri Krsna, though Himself a formidable
warrior and regarded as an Incarnation of God, vowed not to take up
arms on either side, but agreed to become the charioteer of Arjuna.
Through the political sagacity and able advice of Sri Krsna the result
of the battle went in favour of Yudhisthira, who ascended the throne.
The battle is described in all its details in the great epic
Mahabharata. And the Gita which forms chapters 23 to 40 of the
Bhismaparva of this epic must be as old; Radhakrishnan points out that
the Mahabharata contains references to the Gita. (Indian Philosophy,
vol. I, p. 523.) Scholars are at variance about the date of this
voluminous epic. They ascribe to it a date much later than that of the
battle, and opine that it underwent many additions and alterations in
subsequent ages. According to them the Gita also suffered the same
fate. R.C. Dutta thinks that the Mahabharata was first written in the
twelfth century B.C. Buhler and Kriste in their book, Contributions to
the Study of the Mahabharata assign the present form of the epic to
the third century A.D. But according to Radhakrishnan the epic took
its present form at least in the fifth century B.C., whereas it might
have been first written in the eleventh century B.C. (lbid p. 480).
Some of the western thinkers were of the opinion that the Gita was
written after Jesus Christ and the idea of devotion was borrowed from
him. But the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics remarks, 'it is not
certain that portions of this poem, in which the doctrine of bhakti,
or fervent faith, is taught, are pre-Christian, and therefore itself
is of indigenous Indian origin.' (Vol. vi, p. 696.) Not merely the
devotional portions but the book as a whole is not only pre-Christian,
it is pre-Buddhistic as well.
That the Gita is pre-Buddhistic follows from the fact that it does not
refer to Buddhism. Some scholars believe that the mention of nirvana
six times in the Gita is a clear indication of its post-Buddhistic
origin. But the word nirvana in the Gita occurs compounded either with
brahma as Brahma-nirvanam-meaning identified with or absorbed in
Brahman-, or with paramam as nirvana-paramam, which means culminating
in Liberation. The Buddhistic nirvana, on the other hand, is used in
the sense of being blown out or extinguished. This word also occurs
elsewhere in the Mahabharata in the sense of extinction. So, the
conclusion is that the Buddhists borrowed the word nirvana from the
earlier Hindu literature. Furthermore, the construction of many
sentences as also archaic forms of words in the Gita does not follows
the grammatical rules of Panini (c. sixth century B.C.). Besides, the
word yoga is used in the Gita in a much wider sense than it is in the
Yoga-Sutras of Patanjali, who followed Panini 100 or 150 years later.
Telang is of the opinion that the Gita was written earlier than 300
B.C., while R.J. Bhandarkar holds that it must have been written
earlier than the fourth century. (Vaisnavism and Saivism, p. 13)
Radhakrishnan, however, goes further backward to fifth century B.C.
According to Dr. Dasgupta it must have been composed earlier than
Buddha's advent, but in no case later than that. Noticing the
similarity of language among the Mundaka Upanisad, Svetasvatara
Upanisad and the Gita, some scholars have concluded that the Gita
belongs to the later Upanisadic age. In fact, the colophons in the
Gita mention that it is an Upanisad (bhagavad gitasu-upanisatsu).
Though, as suggested by some scholars, Krsna of the Rg-veda
(8.96.13-15), who lived on the banks of Amsumati (Yamuna) and fought
against Indra, might have been a tribal god, the Krsna of the
Mahabharata, otherwise known as Vasudeva (son of Vasudeva and Devaki),
must have been a historical person, honoured as an incarnation of
Visnu or Narayana. Megasthenes (320 B.C.), the Greek. Ambassador to
the court of Chandragupta, mentions that Heracles was worshipped by
Sourasenoi (Surasenas) in whose land were two great cities-Methora
(Mathura) and Kleisobora (Krsnapura). Scholars identify Heracles
(Harikulesa) with Krsna. The Kausitaki Brahmana refers to Him as a
descendant of Angirasa (30.9), and the Chandogya Upanisad (3.17.6)
says that Krsna, son of Devaki, was taught by Ghora Angirasa. Some
scholars find a similarity between the teaching of Krsna (Gita,
16.1-3) with Ghora's teaching: 'Then, these that are austerity,
charity, straightforwardness, non-injury and truthfulness are the
payments made to the priests' (Ch. 3.17.4). Besides, Ghora's use of
the word yajna (sacrifice) in a metaphorical sense finds its echo in
the fourth chapter of the Gita (verses 24-33). Finally, Ghora's
conclusion of his teaching with, 'At the time of final departure one
should think, "Thou art the indestructible, Thou art the Immovable,
Thou art the essence of the Vital Force", has similarity with the
verses 11 to 13 of the eighth chapter of the Gita. In time, Vasudeva
became the central figure of the Bhagavata cult. His name is mentioned
in Panini's grammar (4.3.98). The Besnagar (Vidisa) inscription (180
B.C.) mentions the erection of a column with a Garuda's image on it,
in honour of Vasudeva by Heliodorous, a Bhagavata and a resident of
Taxila. In the Buddhist book Niddesa (fourth century B.C.) included in
the Pali Canon, there is a reference to the worshippers of Vasudeva
and Baladeva among others. Old Jaina literature also refer to Krsna
(Kanha). All these facts go to prove that Krsna was a pre-Buddhistic
According to the recension of the Gita commented on by Sankaracarya,
the number of verses is 700. But there is evidence to show that some
old manuscripts had 745 verses. The Gita published in Srinagar,
Kashmir, with the annotation of Abhinavaguptacarya, contains the same
number of verses. Other manuscripts have been discovered with
variations both in the number of verses and the readings. Pusalker is
of the opinion that 'the additional stanzas effect no material
addition; nor do they create any differences in the teaching or
argument. (Studies in Epics and Puranas, p. 144) He further remarks
that 'Sankaracarya's testimony for the text of the Bhagavadgita is
earlier than that of any other MS or commentator.' (ibid. p. 147.)
However that may be, after sankaracarya wrote his Commentary, the Gita
has taken a definite form with 700 verses, so far at least as the
general public is concerned.
The Gita is ranked among the greatest religious books of the world,
and in India it occupies a position next only to the Upanisads. In
fact, it is considered as a summing up of the Upanisads; in certain
places it quotes from them almost verbatim. There is a commonly known
verse which says, 'All the Upanisads are cows, the milker is Sri
Krsna, the calf is Arjuna, the enjoyers are the wise ones and the milk
is the fine nectar that the Gita is.' The book has been translated
into all the widely spoken languages in India as also into the
principal languages, of the world. As early as the time of Akbar
(1556-1605) the book was translated into Persian separately by Abu-'1-
Fazl and Faizi.
About the Bhagavad-Gita, the Encyclopaedia Britannica (vol. viii, pp.
937-8) writes: 'The influence of the Bhagavad-Gita has been profound.
It was a popular text open to all who would listen and fundamental for
all later Hinduism.
The importance of the Gita for the Hindu public is proved by the fact
that almost all the religious leaders following Sankaracarya have
interpreted the Gita according to their own schools of thought. Among
them Ramanujacarya (1199-1276), Vallabhacarya (1479), Kesava Kasmiri,
a follower of Nimbarkacarya (1162), Vijnana Bhiksu, Jnaneswar and
Tukaram wrote commentaries or elucidations on the Gita. In modern
times also, such annotations have been written by B.G. Tilak, Mahatma
Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo among others.
About the influence of the Gita on other counties and religions
Radhakrishnan writes, 'The Gita has exercised an influence that
extended in early times to China and Japan, and lately to the lands of
the West. The two chief works of Mahayana Buddhism, Mahayana-
sraddhotpatti (The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana) and Saddharma-
pundarika (The Lotus of the True Law) are deeply indebted to the
teaching of the Gita. It is interesting to observe that the official
exponent of the "German Faith", J.W. Hauer, a Sanskrit scholar who
served for some years as a missionary in India, gives to the Gita a
central place in the German faith.' (Bhagavadgita, p. 11.) Dara Shuko
was enamoured of the Gita. We have already indicated that the Gita
traveled to Persia during the Mughal Age. In recent times it has been
appreciated by eminent men and scholars like Dr. L.D. Barnett, Warren
Hastings, Charles Wilkins (who translated the Gita into English in
1758), Carlyle and Aldous Huxley.
It is not necessary to present here the gist of the Gita, for this
will be apparent to those who read it as also the present translation.
Suffice it to say that although many western scholars believe that the
Gita is a loose collection of thoughts of different schools,
Madhusudana Saraswati divides the Gita into three sections of six
chapters each, dealing successively with Karma-yoga, Bhakti-yoga and
Jnana-yoga, the first leading to the second and the second to the
third. But Ananda Giri holds that the three sections are concerned
with the ascertainment of the true meaning of the great Upanisadic
saying, 'Thou art That'. His view has been presented in the footnotes
of the present work. Sankaracarya makes no such division, but says
that spiritual unfoldment proceeds along the following stages:
practice of scriptural rites and duties with a hankering for results;
practice of the same as a dedication to God without expecting rewards
for oneself; purification of the mind or moral excellence along with
upasana (devotion to and meditation on the qualified Brahman);
acquisition of knowledge from a teacher and the scriptures, followed
by renunciation of all rites and duties (monasticism), which makes one
fit for steadfastness in that knowledge; steadfastness in that
knowledge; removal of ignorance and self revelation of the supreme
Brahman, which is the same as Liberation. (See Sankaracarya's
Commentary on 5.12; his introduction to 5.27, 18.10; and Commentary on
18.46 and 18.49.) He thus reveals a unity of purpose of the book as a
In the preparation of this book we have been helped by Swamis
Gabhirananda and Atmaramananda. In general, we have followed the Gita
Press (Gorakhpur) edition of the text and the Commentary. Important
variations in reading have been pointed out in the footnotes. Other
footnotes on the text and the Commentary are based on Ananda Giri,
unless and otherwise stated.
Introduction by the Translator xiii
Introduction by Sri Sankaracarya 2
Chapter 1: The Melancholy of Arjuna 9
Chapter 2: The Path of Knowledge 30
Chapter 3: Karma-Yoga 122
Chapter 4: Knowledge and Renunciation of Actions 175
Chapter 5: The Way to Renunciation of Actions 232
Chapter 6: The Yoga of Meditation 270
Chapter 7: Jnana and Vijnana 315
Chapter 8: Discourse on the Immutable Brahman 341
Chapter 9: The Sovereign Knowledge and Mystery 367
Chapter 10: The Divine Glory 397
Chapter 11: Revelation of the Cosmic Form 428
Chapter 12: Bhakti-Yoga 473
Chapter 13: Discrimination between Nature and Soul 494
Chapter 14: The Classification of the Three Gunas 567
Chapter 15: The Supreme Person 591
Chapter 16: The Divine and the Demoniacal Attributes 615
Chapter 17: The Three Kinds of Faith 634
Chapter 18: Monasticism and Liberation 656
Index to First Words of the Slokas 773
Index to Words 786
Life of Shankaracharya - The Adventures of a Poet Philosopher
Article of the Month - February 2005
PDF (Acrobat) - 449 kb
The Boon of Shiva
In the south Indian state of Kerala there once lived a learned
Nambudiri brahmin couple. Even though this pious duo enjoyed all the
blessings of life - fertile fields, abundant milch cows, plentiful
wealth, well-built mansions and hosts of loving relatives - all this
failed to give joy to them for the simple reason that even after many
years of conjugal bliss, they were still not blessed with a symbol of
their affection - an offspring. In their distress they called upon
Lord Shiva for mercy. It is said that the great god himself appeared
in the husband's dream and asked his desire. Shiva gave the distressed
scholar two choices: an all-knowing talented but short-lived son, or
one who would live very long but without any special virtue or
greatness. The childless man, instead of declaring his preference,
replied, "What do you think? Please do whatever is best for humanity."
Though this story may or may not be accurate in the modern
'historical' sense, it does hold a significant moral. When confronted
with a choice, one can learn from this incident that if the person
giving the choice is much greater than oneself, the best option would
appear to be to defer the decision to the boon giver.
In due course the worthy wife became pregnant. That she carried within
herself an exceptional foetus was evident and is glorifyingly
described in the traditional biographies: "as her pregnancy advanced,
her whole body became lustrous like a blazing sun difficult to look
at. What wonder is there if in course of time it became difficult for
her to move about, bearing within, as she did, the energy of Shiva who
is the support of all the worlds. She began to feel the contact of
even tender and sweet smelling flowers a burden. What then to speak of
ornaments? A general lassitude gradually crept on her, making
everything burdensome to her. Another psychological change,
characteristic of women in pregnancy, came over her. Whatever was rare
she would like to have, but on obtaining it, would immediately lose
all interest in it. Thus the relatives brought many delicacies to
please the expectant mother, but her interest would abate as soon as
she had tasted them. Well, the life of a pregnant mother is indeed
full of ordeals. The line of her abdominal hair, resembling the mossy
growth in the rivulet of radiance that flowed to the navel after
encircling her hillock-like bosom, shone as the staff carried by
accomplished yogis, placed there by the creator himself for the use of
the divine child within - as if to declare that he was a sannayasi,
even in his pre natal state. In the guise of hr two breasts for
suckling the child, the creator had verily made two jars filled with a
new type of nectar that was enlightenment (mukti) itself. It looked as
if the two breasts of the mother stood for the theory of difference
and the thinness of the middle region for the doctrine of Shunyata
(nothingness), and the child within was refuting and correcting these
by causing the enlargement of the breasts and the abdomen."
The newborn was named Shankara, which is but another epithet for Lord
Shiva It means the bestower (kara) of happiness (sam) to all. Shankara
grew up as a precocious child and exhibited exceptional talent in
imbibing the ancient Vedic texts. His parents thus naturally had high
hopes from him. Unfortunately, his father wasn't around to witness the
full flowering of his talents and passed away when Shankara was just
three. It fell to the lot of his mother to care for the child and
bring him up single-handedly. The dutiful mother performed his
upanayanam ceremony (sacred thread ritual of the twice born) when he
turned five, after which he was packed off to a gurukula for his
primary education. The lad was blessed with prodigious powers of
retention and it was said that he could remember anything once he had
heard it. He thus quickly mastered all the required branches of
learning, including logic, philosophy of yoga and grammar. Even at
that young age however, the perceptive Shankara showed a marked
preference for the non-dualistic (Advaita) doctrine laid down in the
ancient texts known as the Upanishads.
After finishing his studies, Shankara returned home and continued to
lead a life devoted to learning, and serving his mother. During this
time Shankara's reputation as an extraordinary child traveled far and
wide, so much so that the king of Kerala desiring to see him sent a
minister with a large retinue to invite him to the royal palace.
Shankara, however, was not enamored by the regal splendor and politely
refused the invitation saying "I am a brahamchari (celibate monk), who
should not leave his studies lured by the luxury of riding an elephant
and the chances of being honored at a king's court. It is therefore
difficult for me to comply with the request and I am sorry I have to
send you back home disappointed." On hearing this the king, who
himself was an accomplished poet, visited Shankara and enjoyed with
him many hours of enlightened discussion.
Though Shankara lived a regular life at home, his ascetic tendencies
were obvious to those around him. This caused much distress to his
mother, for he was her sole emotional anchor. Shankara, the devoted
son that he was, thought within himself: "I have not the least liking
for this worldly life. But mother does not permit me to leave it. She
is a guru unto me and I must not do anything without her consent."
Shankara becomes a Sannayasi
Life went on this manner, until one day when Shankara went to bathe in
the river. No sooner had he entered the stream than a crocodile caught
hold of his leg and began to drag him to deeper waters. Shankara
shouted to his mother on the bank: "Mother, this alligator is pulling
me to imminent death. If I die with an unfulfilled desire in my heart,
my soul will not find release. Thus do give your consent to my
becoming a sannayasi so that I can at least fulfill my wish in
principle and leave this world peacefully." The lamenting mother
consented to her son's appeal. Just then some fishermen nearby threw
their nets on the crocodile who thus intimidated, released Shankara's
The young lad now started preparations for leaving the house of his
mother since as a sannayasi the whole world was now his home. The
mother's grief knew no bounds but having given her word she could in
no way retract it. Perceiving her despair, Shankara said: "All knowing
mother, you are yourself aware that this world is but an inn where we
are together for a meager time only. One day, on the eternal road, all
souls are destined to unite with the One Absolute Reality. For your
material comforts, you have with you all our ancestral property and I
will make arrangements that our near and dear ones will care for you
in my absence." He also promised her that he would be present to
perform her last rites when the situation arose. Thus ensuring the
well being of his mother, Shankara left his abode in the search of an
accomplished guru who could initiate him into sannayas (monkhood),
embarking on a way of life which has solitude for one 's pleasure
garden, chance-obtained food for banquet and the indwelling Shiva as
Moving northwards, he passed through various lands, rivers, cities,
mountains, animals, men and the rest until he came to the banks of the
river Narmada, thousands of kilometers away from his native place. The
shade of the tall trees on the riverside and the cool breeze blowing
through them assuaged his bodily exhaustion very soon. He then
observed bark clothes hanging from the branches and realized that he
had reached a hermitage. His curiosity aroused, he asked the ascetics
residing there the name of the spiritual preceptor of the ashram. It
belonged to Govindapada.
Shankara was then led to the cave where the sage resided. He
respectfully went round the cavern three times, then prostrated before
its entrance and entreated the guru to make him his disciple. Coming
out of his samadhi (super conscious state), Guru Govindapada asked him
the following question: "Who are you?" Shankara there and then
composed a composition of ten verses, the gist of which is as follows:
"I am neither the earth, nor water, fire, air or sky (the five subtle
elements), nor composed of their properties. I am not the sense organs
nor the mind. I am but the Supreme Consciousness underlying all, known
as Shiva." Hearing these words, which betrayed an extraordinarily high
comprehension of metaphysical principles, the guru was transported
into the realms of ecstasy and recognizing Shankara's talent,
initiated him into sannayasa.
Govindapada instructed Shankara on the nuances of Vedic philosophy. He
also introduced his pupil to the Brahma Sutra penned by sage Vyasa
(author of the epic Mahabharata). The Brahma Sutra is so called
because its theme is Brahman (the Ultimate Reality). It is also called
Shaririksutra (bodily, since it is concerned with the embodied soul);
Bhikshusutra, because those who are competent to study it are the
sannayasins; Uttaramimamsasutra (Uttara - final; mimamsa - enquiry) as
it is an enquiry into the final sections of the Vedas. This sacred
text, dealing with the ultimate questions of philosophy, consists of
552 propositions or aphorisms (known as sutras), each tersely worded
and brief enough to leave the first time reader perplexed. This factor
coupled with its undisputed authority among ancient texts has ensured
that it has been commented on by almost every major figure in the
Indian philosophic tradition. In fact, it would be possible to trace
much of the history of Indian philosophy by examining the commentaries
on this work alone.
At the particular moment when Shankara was studying under Govindapada,
there was no unanimity amongst scholars regarding the interpretation
of the Brahma Sutra. His guru therefore directed Shankara to repair to
the holy city of Varanasi, which even then, as today, was a great seat
of learning and education, and write a commentary on the text, which
would clarify matters and put an end to the prevailing confusion.
It is well known that all learning and knowledge in the ancient times
had to be tested at Varanasi, in front of its learned pundits, for
which the city was justly famous. Shankara thus started his mission of
the grand unification of the various strands of the Indian ethos,
which were then moving in divergent directions. It is interesting to
note here the sense of unity that pervaded the thinking of all
scholars throughout the history of ancient India known as Bharatadesha
at the time. Scholars from the east, west, north or south, all had to
prove themselves at this great center of scholarship and spirituality.
While the concept of a nation-state in a political sense may have been
alien to early Indian thought it was alive to the much more enduring
and stable ideas of spiritual unity of this land extending from the
Himalayas in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. It is this idea of
being one country which prompted Shankara and many others, even in
times when there was no easy access through any means of transport, to
travel to the four corners of the land. In this regard, the situation
of many pilgrim centers located throughout the country at strategic
points seems to be a deliberate exercise aimed at bringing all
spiritually inclined pilgrims in contact with one another and
reinforcing the concept of unity as a nation. Shankara thus settled
down at Varanasi, and derived great satisfaction and inspiration from
this holy city. Over a period of time, many young people were
attracted to his radiant presence and became his disciples.
Confrontation with an Untouchable
One scorching day of summer, the worthy saint and his followers were
going to bathe in the river Ganges at the Manikarna ghat. On their
way, the party encountered a chandal (keeper of cremation grounds) who
is considered the lowest amongst lowest in the hierarchy of Indian
castes. Accompanying the outcaste were his four repulsive dogs.
Addressing the untouchable, Shankaracharya asked him to move away and
make way for them. The hunter then raised some interesting questions:
"You are always going about preaching that the Vedas teach the non
dual Brahman to be the only reality which is immutable and
unpollutable. If this is so how has this sense of difference overtaken
you? There are hundreds of yogis going around indulging in high
sounding philosophical talk, donning the ochre robe and exhibiting
other insignia of holy life like the water pot and staff. But not even
a ray of knowledge having found entrance into their hearts, their holy
exterior serves only to dupe householders. You have asked me to move
aside and make way for you. To whom were your words addressed O
learned Sir? To the body which comes from the same source and performs
the same functions in the case of both a brahmin (the highest caste)
and an outcaste? Or to the atman (soul), which too is the same in all,
unaffected by anything material like the body? How do such differences
as 'this is a brahmin, or this is an outcaste,' arise in the
essentially non-dual world, which is the philosophy you preach. O
revered teacher, is the sun changed in the least, if it reflects in
the liquor pot or in the holy Ganga? How can you indulge in such false
sentiments as 'Being a brahmin I am pure; and you, dog-eater, must
therefore give way for me,' when the truth is that the one universal
and unblemishable bodiless spirit is shining alike in each of our
physical forms. Forgetting, due to false attachment, one's own true
nature as the material-less spirit - beyond thoughts and words,
unmanifest, beginningless, endless and pure - how indeed have you come
to identify yourself with the body which is but unsteady like the ears
of an elephant."
Saints of India - Shankaracharya
It is believed that the chandala was none other than Lord Shiva in
disguise, and the four canines the four Vedas. The sage immediately
fell to the feet of the outcaste and composed there a quintad of
scintillating verses, called the 'Manishapanchakam,' summing up the
absolute truth as follows:
From the standpoint of the body, O Shiva, I am thy servant; from the
standpoint of the soul, O Thou with three eyes, I become a part of
Thine; and O the Self of all, from the standpoint of the Self, I am
verily Thou: This is my settled conclusion reached with the help of
In a fortunate turn of events, the date for the auspicious Kumbha mela
at Prayag (Allahabad of today), fell concurrent with his sojourn in
Varanasi, eighty kilometers from the site of the fair. His discourses
on the banks of the Ganga there attracted many pilgrims and spiritual
seekers who felt exceptionally blessed on partaking the nectar of his
Meeting with a Philosopher Committing Suicide
During the time of Shankaracharya, the school of Purvamimamsa, which
believed in the strict and theoretical observance of rituals, reigned
supreme. Shankara realized that unless he was able to win over this
powerful rival, his goal of spiritually re-unifying India would remain
difficult to fulfill. The foremost proponent of this sect was the
great scholar Kumarila Bhatta, who lived in Prayag itself.
When Shankara reached Kumarila's place he saw a strange and horrific
sight. Placed in a courtyard was a huge pyre lighted with slow burning
rice-husk. At the center of the flames could be discerned the head of
a radiant figure, draped in white. This was none other than the great
philosopher Bhatta himself.
Kumarila Bhatta, in order to equip himself with the nuances of
Buddhist philosophy, so that he could better counter its onslaught
against the Vedic ethos, had once studied at a monastery pretending to
be a Buddhist. He was committing self-immolation as an expiation for
his sins, which included the pretension of being a Buddhist and
learning their doctrines at the feet of a guru, and then, the
impropriety of all improprieties, challenging his own guru to debate
and defeating him (guru-droha). These unworthy acts not befitting one
who 'practiced what he preached,' an ocean of guilt overwhelmed
Kumarila, and to atone for his sins resorted to this fatal, drastic
Shankara's appeal to step down from the flames proved to be of no
avail. Before succumbing however, Kumarila advised him to go and meet
his disciple Mandana Mishra, who was the most renowned protagonist of
the Purvamimamsa School.
Mandana Mishra resided in the town of Mahishamati (Madhya Pradesh).
When Shankara reached the city and asked for directions from some
maids on the way, he was told: "You will find nearby a house at whose
gates there a number of parrots in cages, discussing topics like: 'Do
the Vedas have self validity or do they depend on some external
authority for their validity? Are karmas capable of yielding their
fruits directly, or do they require the intervention of god to do so?
Is the world eternal, or is it a mere appearance?' Where you find this
strange phenomenon of caged parrots discussing such abstruse
philosophical problems, know that to be the gate of Mandana's place."
Shankaracharya and Mandana Mishra debate while Bharati looks on
These precise and unique instructions made it easy for Shankara to
locate the house and it was not long before he challenged Mandana
Mishra to debate. By mutual consent it was decided to make Bharati,
the wife of Mandana Mishra, the judge of this contest. Indeed, the
wise and sagacious Bharati was renowned all over as a veritable
incarnation of Goddess Saraswati herself. Before the debate formally
began, Bharati put a garland of fresh flowers round the neck of each
philosopher and declared that whose wreath faded first would be the
loser. The propriety of such an action is questionable since a Hindu
woman will garland with her own hands no man except her husband. Such
a ceremony forms an integral ritual at Indian weddings. Is it that
Saraswati (incarnated as Bharati) had already chosen Shankara as her
suitor, thus symbolically crowning him with victory before the debate
even began? The precise answer we will never know.
The dialogue between the two stalwarts is said to have gone on for a
number of days and renowned scholars from all around came in droves to
witness this extraordinary event. It is interesting to note here that
while the debate was on, Bharati would invite them both at noon for
food, first inviting the ascetic for his alms (bhiksha) and then the
householder (Mandana) for his meal. The verbal duel encompassed the
entire gamut of Vedic philosophy covering all its various
manifestations and subtle elements. As time progressed however,
Mandana's necklace of flowers began to fade. His wife Bharati thus
declared her verdict in favor of the sannayasi. Then, unlike other
days, she invited both of them for bhiksha, since it had been already
agreed that the defeated philosopher would adopt the stage of life
(asharama) practiced by the victor. Thus the householder (grihastha)
became a renunciant (sannayasi) and it was appropriate to invite both
of them for alms. To his credit, Mandana accepted his defeat
gracefully and became a disciple of Shankaracharya, who rechristened
him as Sureshvara.
An Ascetic Discusses the Science of Love
The transformation of her husband into a sannayasi distressed Bharati
to no end. Wise and prudent as she was, she kept her counsel and
addressed Shankara thus: "You do know that the sacred texts enjoin
that a wife forms one-half of a husband's body (ardhangini: ardha-
half; angini - body). Therefore, by defeating my lord, you have but
won over only half of him. Your victory can be complete only when you
engage in debate with me also, and manage to prove yourself better."
The entire congregation sat agape at the unexpected turn of events.
Shankara spoke with folded hands: "Mother that is not possible. It is
not advisable for a man and a woman to engage in verbal duel." "But
why?" retorted Bharati. "How come a wise philosopher like yourself
holds such an erroneous view? Is not our tradition replete with
examples where talented women have engaged in constructive debate with
accomplished saints and yogis? Recall the verbal duel between king
Janaka and his worthy opponent Sulabha. A debate is undertaken keeping
a firm belief in one's faith. How then can a difference of gender be
of any consequence?"
Speechless against the soundness of her argument, Shankara reluctantly
agreed to the contest. Seventeen days passed in this intellectual
exercise before Bharati realized that Shankara was invincible in Vedic
lore and philosophies. She thus gave a new strategic direction to the
whole discussion saying: "O wise one, discuss with me the science and
art of love between the sexes. Enumerate the number of positions
envisaged in our ancient erotic manuals? How do the preferences of the
two genders manifest and vary with the bright and dark fortnights?"
Shankaracharya gave a calm reply to her missives: "Holy mother, here
we are discussing the shastras (scriptures)."
"Has not the science of love too been deified as a scripture? It has
indeed been granted the status of a shastra (Kamashastra: kama -
desire; shastra - canon). A sannayasi is supposed to have conquered
all his physical desires, and there is no scope for any debilitating
thought to ever enter his mind. Thus, if you feel that a mere
discussion on the science of love will distract and titillate you,
there definitely is some fundamental gap in your knowledge. How then
can you be a guru to my husband?"
Shankaracharya contemplated for a moment and then replied: "Mother, I
will indeed reply to your questions. However I have two requests.
First, I need a month's time to prepare myself and secondly, I will
submit the answers in writing only." Bharati accepted both his pleas.
It is said that Shankara, making use of his yogic powers, entered the
dead body of a king, granting it a new lease of life. Thus embodied,
Shankaracharya then traversed the perfumed gardens of love, gaining a
first hand experience in the practical aspects of the ancient Kama
Sutra. Texts indicate that Shankara became so engrossed in these
amorous activities that he forgot his original purpose and his
disciples had to come to the court and sing hymns extolling the
virtues of non-dualist Vedic philosophy before he regained his
composure and reverted back to his old body. Having successfully
answered all of Bharati's queries, Shankaracharya was now the
uncrowned king of the spiritual regeneration of India. What remained
was his formal crowning, but before that a telling incident of his
life must be narrated.
The Philosopher as a Dutiful Son
Places visited by Shankaracharya based on seven biographies
Shankaracharya then continued southwards, engaging the spiritual heads
of various sects, winning them over with erudite discussions and
debates. He also restored the spiritual and physical vitality of many
important temples on his way. The places he graced with his lotus feet
include Shrishaila, Gokarna, Mukambika, Shribali, Rameshwaram and
Shringeri amongst many others.
One day suddenly, Shankara felt the flavor of his mother's milk on his
tongue. He realized that she was beckoning him. He rushed to his
native village to be on his mother's side. She was on her deathbed.
The sight of her beloved son relieved her of all agony and she came to
terms with the inevitable. The end thus came peacefully. As per his
promise, Shankara decided to perform her obsequies with his own hands,
even though such activities are prohibited for the ascetic (sannayasi)
who has renounced the life of a householder. He called upon relatives
and neighbors of the family for help in this matter. They laughed at
him scornfully, and questioned his right to perform the last rites of
his deceased mother. Shankara had to then single-handedly do the
needful. The traditional sources of his life say that he made a pile
of banana leaves in the backyard of his mother's house, cut up the
corpse to be able to carry it all alone by himself and then consigned
her to flames. Since then, as a legend goes, a curse descended on the
Nambudiris, and to this day many families still do cremate their dead
in their own gardens using some banana stems as a symbol and also
mutilate their dead a little before lighting the pyre.
Shankaracharya's Himalayan Odyssey
The holy shrine of Badarinath
Shankaracharya also undertook a journey to the pilgrimage sites of the
Himalayas in the north, including Haridvar, Badarinath, Kedaranath and
Gangotri. In Badarinath, he was distressed to observe that instead of
an image, the priests there worshipped a sanctified piece of stone
(Shaligram). On enquiry it was revealed that when iconoclastic
invaders from across the borders had cast their ominous shadow on this
holy spot, the distressed priests had submerged the idol in a nearby
water body (Narada-kunda). After the circumstances had normalized
however, they had been unable to retrieve the sacred image; hence its
substitution by the formless stone.
Seeing the despair of the devotees present there, the acharya became
engrossed in deep thought. It was only after a long time that he came
out of his reverie and before the congregation had time to react, he
rushed to the pond where the sacred icon lay hidden and jumped into
it. This water body was full of vicious whirlpools and when Shankara
did not appear even after a long time had elapsed, there was turmoil
all around. And lo, when all had lost hope, out emerged the cynosure
of all eyes, unscathed, and carrying on his shoulders, the figurine
embodying the essence of 'Narayana.' He also established the idol in
the sanctum sanctorum and performed the necessary prescribed rituals.
The tradition lives to this day and the daily ceremonies at Badarinath
are still carried out by Nambudiri brahmins from Kerala.
The Crowning of Shankaracharya in the Crown of India
The lush valley of Kashmir was in those days, an important seat of
learning, as is testified by Hsuan-Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim in 631
AD. It was considered the Kashi (Varanasi) of north India. In this
region there was a temple dedicated to Mother Sharada, this being the
popular name for Saraswati in Kashmir. It had four doors, and at the
center of the shrine was a high throne, known as the seat of
omniscience, which was reserved for one with an infallible knowledge.
Before Shankara, scholars and philosophers from east, west and north
had unsuccessfully attempted to enter the sacred precincts by their
respective gates. No one till now had however tried to enter by the
south gate, which is what Shankara resolved to do. At each step he was
accosted by the leaders and followers of various sects including the
Samkhyas, Mimamsakas, Buddhists, Shvetambers, Digambers and Shaktas.
Each put forward their point of view and thoroughly interrogated
Shankara regarding his own beliefs. They all had to retreat under the
spell of his well thought out logical replies, delivered in a sweet
speech underlined with a self-assured dignity and decorum. When each
and every query had been addressed, all the four gates opened. He was
requested to enter the temple and grace the throne. No sooner had he
placed the first step inside, than the shrine reverberated with the
voice of Saraswati herself, challenging him thus: "That you are all-
knowing is an already proven fact. For this throne however, one should
not only be knowledgeable but also pure in conduct (charitra). Do not
commit the grave impropriety of ascending this throne, without
reflecting on whether you have been absolutely pure in life. In spite
of being an ascetic, in order to learn the secrets of erotic love, you
lived in physical relationship with women. Was it proper for you to do
so? To gain the status of omniscience, perfect purity of life is as
much important as all-round learning." To this Shankaracharya replied:
"From birth, I have done no sin with this body. What was done with
another body will not affect this body of mine."
Significant Episodes in the Life of Shankaracharya
The voice of Saraswati became silent, accepting his explanation. Hence
was Shankara crowned the supreme philosopher of all ages. It is said
that such a profusion of flowers was showered on him that day that
even Shachi, the wife of Indra the king of gods, had to make do
without blossoms for her hair.
The scenic Kashmir valley forms the crown of the Indian subcontinent,
and it is befitting that Shankaracharya was felicitated with this
supreme honor here.
It was perhaps the sensuous beauty of this place that inspired him to
create the poetic masterpiece "Saundaryalahari," or the "Waves of
Beauty." This delightful collection of verses extols the glory of the
Mother Goddess in highly endearing and intimate terms. At one point
the poet philosopher says:
O Daughter of the king of mountains! Great men say that the closing
and opening of thy eyelids marks the dissolution and creation of this
universe. Therefore it must be to prevent this universe, that has
sprung at the opening of thy eyes, from going into dissolution that
thou dost not wink But keepest thy eyes always open.
The above verse takes upon the popular belief that divinities do not
wink or blink and their eyes are always open. The poet finds a cosmic
purpose in this feature of the mother's eyes.
At another place he speculates:
O Daughter of the mountain-king! I fancy that thy breast milk is the
ocean of poetic inspiration, emerging from your heart For, it was by
drinking it, So graciously given by thee, That the child of the
Dravida country became a noted poet among great composers.
Some scholars believe this to be an autobiographical reference, with
Shankara, born in Kerala, calling himself the child of the Dravida
(southern) region, drinking at the breasts of the divine mother the
milk of poesy. The joyous use of such rich imagery reveals that
Shankaracharya was not a 'dry' preacher from the arid realms of
philosophy, but also a bhakta of the highest order, capturing his
emotions in highly sensitive expressions.
Merging into the Infinite - The Death of a Philosopher
Quem di diligunt, adolescens moratur (Whom the gods love, die young)
In addition to composing numerous texts and verses delineating the
essential principles of non-dualistic Vedic philosophy, a significant
contribution of Shankara is his commentary on the principal Upanishad
texts and the Bhagavad Gita as also the Brahma sutras mentioned above.
His serious discussions on the central problems of philosophy
envisaged in these texts proceeds without the use of arcane
terminology, unexplained references or convoluted arguments.
Shankara'a purpose is not to intimidate the reader with abstract
technical jargon; but rather provide him/her with spiritual insight.
It is indeed a blessing that these three commentaries have survived
down the ages and are available for the contemplation of contemporary
Another significant contribution, which enriched the spiritual life of
common man, was the establishment of a pilgrimage site and seat of
learning in each of the four directions (chaar-dham). Such a network
both celebrates and solidifies regional identities and without
journeying to these four spots, no Hindu's sacred itinerary is deemed
complete. The four are:
a). Badarinath in the north.
b). Puri in the east.
c). Rameshvaram in the south.
d). Dwarka in the west.
His life purpose accomplished, the acharya then retired to Kedaranath
(experts differ on the exact place of his demise), and gave up his
physical body. He was all of thirty-two years of age.
For men like Shankara, there can however be no end in the real sense.
As an exponent of Advaita, he lives as the ever-present non-material
Brahman in each of us.
Conclusion: Was Shankara a Philosopher?
Shankaracharya's philosophical outlook can be summed up in one word
Advaita, 'Dvaita' meaning duality and the prefix 'A' negating it. The
goal of Advaita is to make an individual realize his or her essential
(spiritual) identity with the supreme realty Brahman. What
significance does it have for the everyday life of an ordinary
individual? Advaita teaches us to see the face of our own child in
that of our neighbor's offspring; to perceive our brother in the
parking lot attendant shivering in the freezing night and also to view
the lady traveling in the bus without a seat as our own mother.
Advaita is more a way of life than an abstract philosophical system.
Thus the appropriation of Shankara 's legacy by the staid philosopher
and the reduction of his creative output to abstract niceties is
indeed a grave betrayal of his contribution. Such an approach
transforms what is essentially a way to redemption into mere
intellectual speculation, while the truth remains that Shankaracharya
is, in every way, our guru and guide, who leads us to the experience
of the ultimate truth (atmanubhava) which resides not anywhere
'outside,' but is present within each of us. If we wish to understand
the true meaning of Shankara's teachings, we have to follow India's
rich tradition of sages and seers and not learned philosophers who
have changed what was a cure for the malady called life, into a
complex system of philosophy. Studying Shankara as if he were a mere
philosopher, even 'the greatest of all philosophers,' is a sure way of
not understanding him - the one whose 'style' always was both analytic
and participatory at the same time.
Shankara's life demonstrates that one is not a philosopher by great
discourses; rather, it is the way one lives and experiences life,
soaking in all its adventures, that shows our level of perception and
understanding. In this context, it may also be stressed that Shankara
was not the founder of the theory of Advaita, which is eternal like
the Veda itself. What he however did was to bring all the various
streams of Indian thought, diverging in his time in different
directions, under the common roof of Advaita, thus resolving the
widespread confusion arising out of the multiplicity of opinion.
References and Further Reading
Audi, Robert. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy: Cambridge,
Bader, Jonathan. Conquest of the Four Quarters - Traditional Accounts
of the Life of Sankara: New Delhi, 2000.
Collinson et al. Fifty Great Eastern Thinkers: New Delhi, 2004.
Date, V.H. Vedanta Explained (Samkara's Commentary on the Brahma-
sutras) 2 vols: New Delhi, 1973.
Founders of Philosophy (Many Contributors): New Delhi, 2001.
Goenka, Harikrishendas. Vedanta Darshan (Brahma Sutra): Gorakhpur.
Grimes, John. A Concise Dictionary of Indian Philosophy (Sanskrit -
English): University of Madras, 1988.
Grimes, John. The Vivekacudamani of Sankaracarya Bhagavatpada (An
Introduction and Translation): Delhi, 2004.
Gupta, Som Raj. The Word Speaks to the Faustian Man:(A translation and
interpretation of the Prasthanatrayi and Sankara's Bhasya for the
participation of contemporary man) Volume One: Delhi, 1991.
Hinnells, John R. The Penguin Dictionary of Religions: London, 1997.
King, Peter J. One Hundred Philosophers - A Guide to the World's
Greatest Thinkers: Sussex, 2004.
Leaman, Oliver. Eastern Philosophy Key Readings: New Delhi, 2004.
Leaman, Oliver. Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy: New Delhi, 2004.
Madhava - Vidyaranya. Sankara Digvijaya - The Traditional Life of
Sankaracharya (Trans. by Swami Tapasyananda): Chennai.
Mishra, Jairam. Adi Shankaracharya Jeevan aur Sandesh (Hindi):
Rao, Sridevi. Adi Sankaracharya - The Voice of Vedanta: New Delhi,
Rukmani, T.S. Shankaracharya: New Delhi, 2000.
Sankaracharya, Sri. Saundarya Lahari (Tr. by Swami Tapasyananda):
Shyamla, Kamla Sharma. Divya Purusha Adi Shankaracharya (Hindi): New
Subramanian, V.K. Saundaryalahari of Sankaracharya: Delhi, 2001.
Victor, P. George. Life and Teachings of Adi Sankaracarya: New Delhi,
We hope you have enjoyed reading the article. Any comments or feedback
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This article by Nitin Kumar
This article by Nitin Kumar is a wonderful effort
to give the readers a glimpse of the Divine Personality - "SHANKARA
SHANKARASCHAIVA".Well done and keep it up !
- poorna yogi
well, thanx but you need to do more research to write authentic
articles , i know you are just amateur one !! cheers buddy!
DETAILS ABOUT HIS SAMAADHI ALSO SHOULD BE INCLUDED
- MANOJ KP
Superb article. It gave and information and perspective that is almost
impossible to find anywhere else.
Article is good, well written in simple Englsh and I thorougly enjoyed
Howere, there are scope for improvement. one among them is about the
reference of a Kerala King, which is not correct. In fact there was no
Kerala king at all in the history of Kerala (Keralam). I don't know
the exact details, hence please do some research and include the
correct details that would enhance the authenticity.
- Santhosh Kumar Ramachandran (***@eim.ae)
Thank you, Nitin Kumar, for your beautifully written and very
informative article about the life the Jagadguru Shankaracharya. Until
yesterday I did not know of the saint's existence. I thank God for his
Mercy in sending us shining lights in this difficult age of darkness
and ignorance, confusion and despair. Nitin Kumar is to be commended
for his tender reverence and manifest gratitude to the Jagadguru.
Thank you for your work.
- Annemarie Pierce
suberb and unforgettable
- TOYIN (***@yahoo.com)
I thoughrly enjoyed reading the article. thanks to Mr. Nitin Kumar. I
have one doubt. abt the four mattta's the Jagadguru established i
believe one is in Sringeri in the sosuth and not in Rameswaram. Please
clarify. Thank you
NANDA KUMAR GADANG
- NANDA KUMAR GADNG
No words can describe my joy while reading your well written essay. I
am very grateful to the author Mr. Nitin Kumar. I go through this
article again and again , still find it more enjoyable than my
Nice article. Need more articles like this.
- Naveen Sundar G.
Good article about our Guru Shankaracharya. But I am bit consider so
as to why the Shringeri Matha was left in the whole article which
forms the vital part of the Shankaracharya's life. Kindly do some more
research on Shringeri matha and include in the article.
- Maruth Banavar
- Sitaram Inguva
Very informative. I was surprised to see the author mention
Rameshwaram as one of the Amanya Peethas established by Adi shankara.
Adi Shankara had established his monastery in the South in Sringeri,
- Shreyas Atreya
Well Written - Excellent Article, however few points were missing like
Childhood story during Upannayna, Shringeri Shirine. At few points I
felt like electric vibes going through my body. Thanks a lot for such
an informative article.
- Abhijeet Sen (***@tcs.com)
Brilliant Article! While it seems to capture in a concise manner the
life of Adi Shankaracharya it is highly perplexing that there is no
mention of Shringeri Shirine that Adi Shankaracharya established as
one of the four peethas and the story surrounding its choice. This
parts needs further research on the part of the author.
- Jai Belagur
We are very grateful to Nitin Kumar for his brilliant article on
Sankaracharya all the important points about Sri Sankara's life in a
consise and readable and understandable manner.
May God bless him a long life to contribute like this to the humanity.
- Dr.Kurri Pakirareddy
Thank you so much for this beautiful article. I look forward to each
one that you write for us.
I recently was given the book, God Lived With Them, about Sri
Ramakrishna and 16 of his beloved devotees. It so ran together with
this article weaving a rich history of my Hindu beliefs.
Each year I come to India for pilgrimage and I believe that you have
sparked my journey for this year.
Thank you again for the service that you do and may you always be
blessed because of that service.
With Warm Regards,
- Jan Frederick (Parvati)
Thank you for such a wonderful and interesting article. I found great
pleasure in reading it from the first to the last word. I look forward
to receiving more of these enlightening articles that help me get an
insight of the Indian culture with a different approach.
- Hortensia Gibbs
I was thrilled to recieve this recent article on Shankaracharya. I am
a yoga practitioner in Australia. My Indian guru is from the
Shankaracharya lineage and it was wonderful to read such a well
written, informative article about this great sage.
It was a thrill and soul searching article. I enjoyed and liked it
very much. It gave much information regarding gurudev's works and
The author should have gone deep on shankaracharya's works,writings
Review this article
...and I am Sid Harth