Author: Nithin Sridhar

The Garland of Knowledge: A glimpse into Brahmajñānāvalīmālā of Adi Shankaracharya

||Śrī Gurubhyo Namaḥ|| This short work of Brahmajñānāvalīmālā by Adi Shankaracharya is a heartfelt pouring of a Jivanmukta, who is eternally established in the bliss of Atman. This song of the mukta, aptly titled “a garland of long lines of knowledge of Brahman” is an inspiring call to all people to renounce attachments and become mumukshus [1] in the pursuit of brahma-jnana, which alone truly frees an individual. This work also serves as a tool of nidhidhyasa [2] for the mumukshus, who are striving hard to realize their innermost Self. While a detailed examination of the text is beyond the scope of this article, let us try to get a glimpse  of the beauty and depth of this composition. Examining in detail just the opening verse of the text provides an insight into the intellectual and spiritual stature of the revered Acharya. सुकृत् श्रवणमात्रेण ब्रह्मज्ञानं यतो भवेत्‌ । ब्रह्मज्ञानावलीमाला सर्वेषां मोक्षसिद्धये ॥ १ ॥ sakṛt śravaṇamātreṇa brahmajñānaṃ yato bhavet‌ । brahmajñānāvalīmālā sarveṣāṃ mokṣasiddhaye ॥ 1 ॥ Meaning: Just by hearing (श्रवणमात्रेण) which even once (सुकृत्), …

Journey Through Non-Duality: Advaita Academy Completes 8 Years

Boldly proclaiming the philosophy of Advaita as the ultimate conclusion of Vedanta, Adi Shankaracharya writes in his Brahmajnanavalimala that “just as the pot, wall, etc., are all nothing but clay; likewise, the entire universe is nothing but Brahman, so roars the Vedanta”. Vedanta, which is literally the ‘end-part of the Vedas’, is the crown and the zenith of the teachings of the Vedas. It is the ultimate goal of all life, of all paths of philosophy and spirituality. Just as all the rivers, be they originated in the glaciers or are rain-fed ultimately merge into the ocean, so also all spiritual and philosophical paths reach Non-duality at the end. Since, every path ends in non-duality, no path is inferior or superior to the other and Advaita itself has no conflict with any of these paths. Non-duality, in fact, acts as the mother who upholds, protects, and nourishes these diversity of paths of Sanatana Dharma. It is with this vision that 8 years ago in 2010, during the auspicious festival of Deepavali, Advaita Academy(AA) was founded …

Discovering Life’s Purpose

In this journey called life, every person encounters these questions at some point: What is Life? Is Life merely a journey from birth to death? Does Life end with Death? Is there more to Life than just a mechanical process? Is there a purpose and meaning to Life? While the modern worldview owing to its Abrahamic origins considers this life as a onetime event, a journey that ends at death forever, the Indic worldview, which is informed by Hindu philosophy posits life as a perpetual journey of the Jiva-s from one body to another body until this journey finally comes to an end with the realization that this entire cycle of birth and death was merely an appearance, a superimposition which when removed leads to the reality of Atman as one birthless unchanging infinite whole. Death in Indic worldview is not a full stop, but merely a comma, where the Jiva discards the old body and takes up the new. In other words, Life is a journey from unreal to real, from ignorance to knowledge …