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self-Inquiry is the process of uncovering the ultimate reality which is apparently clouded by thoughts. We cannot investigate into the Self. It is a process of negating thought clouds which are causing apparent clouding of consciousness and preventing us from seeing things “as they really are”. Self is oneness and a unitary whole. The ignorant mind cannot investigate into the Self. It is enough if we set aside the ignorant mind so that Self is uncovered; self-inquiry is not a search for truth. The search for truth is merely a fulfillment of belief. self-Inquiry is the process of understanding how thought works and the nature of the thinker. It explores what the thinker is and his thoughts. Without understanding this self isolation process which we commonly call the “thinker or ego” the ultimate reality is not uncovered. Merely getting caught in a dogma is not uncovering the beauty of Self which is life, existence, truth.
Sage Sri Sankaracharya, the great Indian Philosopher and social reformer who lived in the 8th century, was born in a tiny village Kalady in Ernakulam District of Kerala, India, on the banks of famous River Periyar. In his short lifespan of thirty-two years, he became one of the greatest teachers of the Vedas..The only weapon he used for this achievement was pure knowledge and spirituality. Sankara is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva.
His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes. Shankara travelled across India and other parts of South Asia to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers.
He was a major proponent of the Vedanta tenet that 'Lord Brahma and men are of one essence and every individual should try to develop this vision of oneness'.
He founded four Shankaracharya peethas (monasteries) called ‘mathas’, in the four corners of India, to uphold his spiritual teachings. They are -
Sarada Peetham at Sringeri (Karnataka),
Kalika Peetham at Dwaraka (Gujarat),
Jyotih Peetham, Badarikashrama (Uttarakhand/Uttaranchal) and
Govardhana Peetham in Jagannath ,Puri (Orissa).
These peethas are amongst the most revered pilgrim destinations in the country.
The teachings of Sankara can be summed up in half a verse: “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah—Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; this world is unreal; and the Jiva or the individual soul is non-different from Brahman.” This is the quintessence of his philosophy.
Adi Sankara Acharya travelled widely in India and preached his Advaita philosphy wherever he went. He taught supreme Brahman is Nirguna (without the Gunas), Nirakara (formless), Nirvisesha (without attributes) and Akarta (non-agent). He is above all needs and desires. Brahman alone is real, this world is unreal; the Jiva is identical with Brahman.
Sankara's teachings will continue to live as long as the sun shines.