Guru charanam, bhaja charanam,
Satguru charanam, bhava haranam.
Maanasa bhajare, guru charanam,
Dustara bhava saagara taranam.
Guru maharaaj guru jaya jaya,
Para brahma satguru jaya jaya
RELIGION IS realisation; it is not mere learning—this is the divine message which stands deeply in the minds of every Hindu. This is not a mere fancy. This is not a mental conception. This is not a stretch of imagination. It is not a coinage of the brain. Nor is it a decision arrived at by vehement vituperation and incongruent argumentation promulgated by an ordinary intellectual prodigy.
This is the assertion of Shankara, India’s greatest philosopher-saint, the incarnation of Lord Shiva, reverently known as Srimath Adi Shankaracharya.
What can we take him for except the Lord Himself, who proclaims authoritatively and undauntedly: “I am the Self of all; I am the all; I am transcendent; I am one without a second; I am the Absolute; I am the infinite Consciousness; I am homogeneous bliss”.
Shankara is our Vedanta Guru. He was God incarnate. He was born at a time when Indian thought and culture were decaying; when they underwent sore distraction; when ethical glory and the widespread influence of the Buddhistic cult was gradually dying; when there was complete chaos and confusion; when innumerable sects sprang up and, with their own individual doctrines, confounded the masses; when evil social influences and blind superstitions, garbed falsely in the clothes of religion, attracted the credulous masses into a frenzy, and ambushed them into complete ignorance of the ultimate Reality. There were no less than seventy-two cults and sects of this type which carried away people from the right path.
The advent of Lord Krishna rejuvenated Hindu religion and saved many a soul from complete ruin, souls which would otherwise have subjugated themselves to passivism due to the misinterpretation of the Vedas and the Upanishads. In the same way, Shankara appeared on earth to deliver very many struggling souls. He set them free, and enlightened them through his peaceful, unostentatious persuasion and loving propaganda. Through his irresistible logic, he planted the triumphant banner of unique intellectual conquest over all other schools of philosophy. Before him, all other theories proved to be phantoms and fallacies.
It was only Shankara who gave the unshakable concrete form to Hinduism and established the unity and purity of enlightened Hindu thought and culture. Superstitions and corrupt practices melted away in no time.
The age-long six systems of theism which were suppressed by the prattlers re-emerged in their original glory only through the concerted efforts of Shankara.