Shankara’s Advaitavada and Unity.

Adi Shankaracharya is considered to be one of the greatest philosophers India has ever got. His key philosophy is called Advaitavada or Non-dualism. 

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Adi Shankaracharya

 

Adavaitavada or Non-dualism:

A verse which summarised the whole philosophy of Shankara goes like this:

Brahma Satyam Jagat Mithya, Jivo Brahmaiva Naparah “.

Decoding it:

  • Brahma Satyam, that is, Brahman is the only(ultimate) reality.
  • Jagat Mithya: The material world is mithya or illusion.
  • Jivo Brahmaiva Naparah: There is no difference between soul and Brahman and thus, soul is identical to Brahma.

Our focus would be on the first and the third. We will talk about the illusionary nature of the world in an article to come later.

So,we know that :

  • Brahman is the only reality and
  • There is no difference between Brahman and soul(Jiva).

Understanding the soul

  • Now, if we try to identify some common characteristics among the human beings, it would not just be the body but also the essence of our life.
  • It is a dominant opinion(especially in the Indian philosophy) that consciousness is the essential characteristic of the soul.  
  • Thus, presence of consciousness in all human beings points to the presence/existence of a soul in all human beings.

Shankaracharya and Unity:

  • Now ,according to Shankaracharya, there is no difference between Brahman and Soul(Jiva) .
  • So, all the souls are identical to Brahman –> (S1=S2=S3=S4= Brahman) . Here, S represents Soul.
  • This implies that all souls are identical and are equivalent to an ultimate reality called Brahman.
  • This way Shankaracharya’s philosophy unifies the whole human race together.

Significance:

  • In a world where intolerance(even on very trivial matters) is on a rise, Shankara’s philosophy can bind them together.
  • Countries which are adorned with immense diversity can establish unity in diversity with this kind of a thought.
  • In an age of moral hypocrisy, a practical philosophy propagating unity can induce truthfulness and empathy.
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