There was an 8 Th century Indian philosopher, a great thinker and a theologist who gave immense contributions to the present Indian philosophy and Vedas. To get the clear, picture of the personality, the mention of Advaita Vedanta will helpful. Yes, it is the great spiritual knowledge seeker, Adi Shankaracharya who has devoted his entire life teaching the realm of life to the disciples in various parts of India. He travelled to various parts of India in an effort to spread his philosophy and teachings by adopting the methodology of involving in discourses and debates with other philosophers and thinkers. It is the contribution of his works, the present Hindulogy is based upon. India can take pride in giving birth to a personality like Adi Shankaracharya, he who had divine powers too.There was a concept of Brahma Sutra and on his travels, his main aim was to spread the teachings so that humans understand what the life is about and the ways of leading a meaningful life. Sri Sringeri Mutt is famous in India and its branch in Bangalore is considered to be the holy abode of Adi Shankaracharya, and goddess Sharadamba. He during his travel has decided to establish a mutt which is the current Sringeri Mutt. Worshippers coming there used to participate in prayers and used to read the books in the stall. Interested by the preachings of the great philosopher, the natives of Bangalore has the desire to reach Kerala. The reason why Kerala is, the Gods own country is known to be the birthplace of Adi Shankaracharya and people consider visiting his birthplace as sacred and pleasing. For this reason, Tour packages to Kerala from Bangalore will be added with a visit to the birthplace of Shankaracharya, which is Kallady. His life and decision to adopt a unique life are quoted in his biography and the mention of Kallady is present. Natives find it interesting to behold the locations where his life was nurtured.
Sringeri Mutt in Bangalore is perfect for spiritual awareness and the temple has three parts comprising Adi Shankaracharya temple, Sri Sharadamaba temple and a prayer hall. A guest house and book stall is running inside it. Once you explore the temple gopura you will find that the carvings exhibit the life of Shankaracharya. His life unfolds in Kerala where two Brahmin couples were not blessed with children for a long time and sought refuge to Lord Shiva in Vadakkunatha temple in Thrissur. Pleased in their worship, the Lord himself came into the dream of the couples and conveyed them a boy as his incarnation will be born to them. The boy when born was given the name of Shankara who started showing penchant towards spiritual knowledge and could easily recite difficult prayers, Vedas and Puranas. Slowly, he mastered Vedas. His life took a different turn when he decided to adopt Ascetic life which meant detaching from all worldly pleasures. He lost his father in early age itself and his mother was against his decision to adopt a sanyasi life.
The story behind the crocodile bite
The worshippers in Bangalore were embarrassed to read the story of crocodile bite and while on their tour, the spot presently famous as crocodile Ghat was visited. The story unfolds when, one day Shankara was ready to bath at the shores of Poorna river, the current Periyar while offering prayers to sun God, a crocodile bite him on his legs. After hearing the cries, his mother came at the shore who was reluctant in giving permission to Shankara’s ascetic life. He soon pleaded his mother to give permission for leading an ascetic life then only the crocodile will leave him. At last, his helpless mother had no other option than to sanction permission. Soon after that, the crocodile left him. Thus this places has utter significance in the life of Adi Shankara.
His Ascetic life
After getting the permission, he soon left Kerala and travelled to various parts of India to learn Vedas and at last on the banks of Narmada river, he met his guru, Govinda Bhagavadpadam, who was a great teacher, Under his tutelage, Shankara attained supreme knowledge of Brahma. He mastered Vedas and its meanings. From then, his name came to be known as Adi Shankaracharya. He wrote commentaries on various Puranas, Vedas even Bhagavat Gita. After travelling Gujarat and Kollur Mookambika temple, he reached Sringeri in present Bangalore and established mutt and Sharada Peetam. The mutt conducted teachings on various aspects to pupils and gained a lot of respect from pilgrims. He again travelled and established the branches at Gujarat, Hyderabad and so forth. He is known to the world as who has achieved doctrine in the Advaita vendetta, a sub-school of Vedanta. It is quite significant to understand the Vedas and our children must be impaired the knowledge of life which they cannot get from any schooling. Still, now, various mutt is working and providing teachings on Vedas, Braham sutras to children. It is the responsibility of parents to lead their children through right ways. Realising this, the followers of Adi Shankaracharya and believers of Sringeri Mutt used to visit Kerala with their families. All members of families must witness the Kallady land, which is his birthplace.
His freedom from the embodiment
After his fulfilment and great contributions to Indian philosophy and the present day Hinduism we follow, he gained supreme knowledge. The 6 Hindu religious sects were his contributions for which he debated with many Brahmins, Buddhists and thinkers. Brahma Sutra was something he wished to propagate in India. After 32 years of leading a meaningful, enlightenment and ascetic life, he freed from the embodiment. Still, now, debates are going on regarding his place of departure to heaven. The books say that it was at the holy land of Kedarnath, the famous pilgrimage of Lord Shiva while some say it was at Vadakunnatha temple in Thrissur, Kerala. One may get surprised how he died at tender age. The reason is given in one of the traditional sources of his accounts of his life, Shankara Vijayami which is a hagiography. When the parents of Adi Shankara, Shivaguru and Aryamaba worshipped Lord Shiva for a son, the Lord gave them two choices, a son who is a mediocre child living for long years or an extraordinary son having a short span of life. The couples had chosen the latter one.
Kalady, the birthplace of Adi Shankara still nurturing his wisdom
Kalady is presently a renowned pilgrimage centre in Kerala nurtured by the banks of Periyar river in Ernakulam district. The etymology itself narrates a story revolving around the innocent devotion of Adi Shankaracharya’s’ mother to Lord Shiva. The place was rediscovered by the saint of Sringeri Mutt, and a temple for Adi Shankara was consecrated. Following that various mutt and Ashramam was laid. People from far away places and locations of Sringeri Mutt like those in Bangalore visits Kalady to pay respect to the great philosopher. They come with their families on holidays and advice their kids about the significance of the place and his teachings. Some who come to Kerala as a part of Holiday packages of families in Kerala, would spend one or two days at the location and will devote their mind and body to the ashram environment. Children and youth in that families can lead a positive life if they are ready to understand the teachings.
Some of the structures at Kalady withholding the significance of Adi Shankaracharya are
RAMAKRISHNA ADVAITA ASHRAMAM– This Ashramam runs a school, a library and a charitable dispensary and is a part of Ramakrishna Mutt and Belur Mutt equipped with spacious prayer hall.
SRI ADI SHANKARA KEERTHI STHAMBA MANDAPAM – This shrine is open to people from different religions and there is a stupa which is a must to see making it a must to be visited historical treasure in Kerala. This eight-storeyed structure portrays the life of Adi Shankaracharya on the walls as paintings. This was built by Kanchi Kamakotti Mutt and the entrance is guarded by two elephants and also, there are silver knobs of wooden sandals.
TEMPLE OF SHANKARA– The temple was built in paying respect to Adi Shankaracharya and it houses the samadhi of his mother, Aryamba. The temple is a large structure and is built on the bank of Periyar which is run by Sringeri Mutt.
India and Kerala equally can take pride in giving birth to a great philosopher and thinker, Adi Shankaracharya and still, people, devotees follow his teachings and they come to Kerala to watch the land where his existence was started.