This is an online address by Poojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha at the “Global festival of Oneness-2020” organized by Advaita Academy, Silicon Valley.
Swamiji speaks about Shankara's towering personality, his sterling qualities and his eternal relevance to humanity. He was a man of Supreme Knowledge and he also had a lot of fondness for society. He had a spirit of adventure, dedication and exclusiveness to accomplish whatever he set his mind on.
Swamiji speaks about how his growing-up years were influenced by Shankara’s spirit of renunciation. Introspecting over Shankara’s life, Swamiji would often wonder what motivated the young Shankara to leave his widowed mother and take to renunciation.
Swamiji describes the journey of Shankara to meet his Guru Govindapada who asked him to restore and revive the glory of Vedandic Knowledge. Following his Guru’s instructions, Shankara took up the mission of travelling and writing extensively.
Speaking about our great spiritual legacy, Swamiji says that the entire world with all its plurality is in the object sphere. The subject is only one, the 'I'. Chanting verses from Mundakopanishad Swamiji explains that all things are perishable and the one imperishable factor is the 'I' in us.
Speaking about absorption/meditation, Swamiji says that we may be absorbed for a while, but the rest of our wakeful hours are spent interacting with the world. We have to be vibrant and actively interacting and coursing freely and joyously through life. Shankara portrayed this jeevan mukthi very beautifully in his life.
Swamiji concludes by saying that the most inspiring qualities of Shankara are a dominant quest for knowledge, strength of resolve and dedication. These qualities will benefit anybody in any walk of life, says Swamiji.
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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.
Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.