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Adi Shankara Advaita Vedanta

May 20, 2007 05:45 AM
by plcoles1

"Adi Shankara consolidated the Advaita Vedanta which was already 
inherent in Vedic scriptures and was approved and accepted by 
Gaudapada and Govinda Bhagavatpada siddhânta (system). Continuing the 
line of thought of some of the Upanishadic teachers, and also that of 
his own teacher's teacher Gaudapada, (Ajativada), Adi Shankara 
expounded the doctrine of Advaita ? a nondualistic reality.

He wrote commentaries on the Prasthana Trayi. A famous quote from 
Vivekacûḍâmaṇi, one of his Prakaraṇa graṃthas (philosophical 
treatises) that succinctly summarises his philosophy is:[2]
Brahma satyaṃ jagat mithyâ, jîvo brahmaiva nâparah ? Brahman is the 
only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no 
difference between Brahman and individual self
This widely quoted sentence of his is also widely misunderstood.
In his metaphysics, there are three tiers of reality with each one 
sublating the previous. The category illusion in this system is 
unreal only from the viewpoint of the absolutely real and is 
different from the category of the Absolutely unreal. 

His system of vedanta introduced the method of scholarly exegesis on 
the accepted metaphysics of the Upanishads, and this style was 
adopted by all the later vedanta schools. 

Another distinctive feature of his work is his refusal to be literal 
about scriptural statements and adoption of symbolic interpretation 
where he considered it appropriate. 

In a famous passage in his commentary on the Brahmasutra's of 
Badarayana, he says "..For each method of knowledge has a valid 
domain. The domain of the scriptures is the knowledge of the Self. 

If the scriptures say something about another domain - like the world 
around us - which contradicts what perception and inference (the 
appropriate methods of knowledge for this domain) tells us, then, the 
scriptural statements have to be symbolically interpreted..."

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