It was in the holy city of Kasi that Adi Samkaracarya was chased by a rogue elephant on prowl, diverted towards him by some envious Pundita-s. Since he happened to be a proponent of Advaita Vedanta Philosophy all his life, he was taunted by one among those who had hustled the beast towards him –
“Kim Palayanam ? Gajopi Mithya !” i.e. Why are you running away like this ? This elephant too is unreal.
While scampering away, the Great Seer replied –
“Mum Palayanum Api Mithya !” i.e. My running away too, is unreal.
Reply of Adi Samkaracarya is replete with mysticism of the highest order. Moreover, he revealed a glimpse of The Theory of Relativity that was re-searched by Albert Einstein 20th century. Theory of Relativity enunciated by Albert Einstein almost two thousand years later, too, is hidden in his response. The Theory is applicable involving two domains of existence i.e. real as well as unreal.
One more instance of his life shall illustrate practical Vedanta in action better.
When Adi Samkaracarya was staying at Srisailama, a Kapalika named Rudra-Bhairava approached him to agree to be the 108th human sacrifice to be performed by him at the feet of Sakti. It was the last of 108 sacrifices required by the heinous ritual that the Kapalika had vowed to undertake. Adi felt compassionate to the entreaties of the Kapalika though he himself was vociferously against such rituals. What was agreed upon between Adi Sankaracarya and the Kapalika was that the sacrifice would be carried out at midnight when his disciples would be deep in slumber.
Principle of Advaita enunciated by Adi Samkaracarya smiled and his disciple Padmapada came to know about it from his Ista, Nrsimhadeva. As destiny would have it, before Kapalika could sacrifice Adi Samkaracarya at the alter at midnight, he was attacked by a tiger and killed.
He affirmed again quite interestingly, Advaita alone is supreme philosophy. Apart from Advaita, everything else is Maya i.e. non-existent and Mithya i.e. unreal, in terms of mortality. However, Maya and Mithya cannot be ignored just like that unless one is truly a realised Soul. Within the domain of Maya / Mithya, everything is real albeit temporarily. However, in absolute terms, it is unreal. His enigmatic response beckons Jijnasu-s and Mumuksu-s to enlighten themslves by striving to attain the highest abode of spirituality by transcending themselves entire Maya and Mithya.
When he was barely eight years old, his Guru Sri Govindapada asked him, “Who are you ?” The little lad answered in chaste Samskrita now part of ‘Atma Satakama’ or ‘Nirvana Satakama’, “I am not mind, nor intellect, nor ego, nor reflections of the inner self. I am not the five senses, beyond that I am. I am not the five elements – neither Akasa, nor Prthvi, nor Vayu not Agni. I am indeed, that Eternal knowing and bliss, eternal love, pure consciousness….”
After receiving his Upanayana-Samskara, he went to the woman in his village who used to sweep the entire village every dawn and prayed for his first Bhiksa instead of his mother. He had been extra-ordinary right since his birth. He was an intellectual giant, a profound philosopher and the greatest spiritual reformer. His erudition and exposition earned profound applause all over the world.
Prior to his incarnation, there was complete religious anarchy prevailing in the country. There were some 72 sects viz. Carvaka-s, Lokayatika-s, Kapalika-s, Sakta-s, Samkhya-s, Bauddha-s, Madhyamika-s etc. vying for superiority over others and striving senselessly to expand followings. With so many frequent scuffles and no peace around, Deva-s implored Siva to incarnate to redeem the mankind. He was born in Kalady of the state of Keralama and survived only 32 years of glorious life on this planet. He became expert in all the four Veda-s by eighth year of his life, master of all scriptures by twelfth year and enunciated all his commentaries by sixteenth year of his deeply intense life. He recast rituals to establish six major orders of adoration, Ganapatyama i.e. worshipping Ganesa, Kaumarama i.e. worshipping Subramanyama, Saurama i.e. worshipping the sun, Saktama i.e. worshipping of Sakti, Vaisnavama i.e. worshipping Visnu and Saivama i.e. worshipping Siva. Owing to this feat, his legend is also known as Sanmata Sthapakacarya too.
Like a cataclysmic thunderstorm, he swept away the entire nation demolishing several age-old prophesies, heresies and restored pristine glory of Veda-s. He deeply established his precepts of Advaita from Himalaya-s in north to Dwarka in west, to Puri in east and Sringeri in south. He raised monasteries in all the four corners of the nation, then settled down at Kamakoti Pithama in Kanchipurama established and presided over by him. He dis-incarnated himself in presence of Kamaksi, an erudite scholar of Upanisad-s in this Pithama in his 32nd year of mortal existence. He was the greatest unifier of all sects, faiths and Kingdoms into a composite nation. Had he lived longer, he would have certainly succeeded in transforming the Adhyatmika unity thus attained, into a unfied mighty political power that would have possibly guarded the nation from foreign invasions.
He unified and re-grouped all the sects in vogue in six main streams of pursuits –
Vaisnava for pursuit of Visnu,
Saiva for pursuit of Siva,
Sakta for pursuit of Sakti,
Saura for pursuit of Surya,
Ganapatya for pursuit of Ganesa and
Kaumara for pursuit of Kartikeya.
Here is the complete catalogue of his literary works completed in a life-span of mere 32 years –
Brahma Sutra, Mandukya-Karida, Srimadbhagvadgita, Sri Visnu Sahasranama, Sanat Sujatiyama, Lalita Tri-Sati, Hastamamalakiyama and Isavasya, Kena, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Mundaka, Aitareya, Taittiriya, Chhandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Sri Narsimha Tapaniya Upanisad-s.
Viveka Cudamani, Aparoksanabhuti, Upadesa Sahasri, Vakya Vritti, Svatma Nirupanama, Atma Bodha, Sarva Vedanta Sara Samgraha, Prabodha Sudhakarama, Svatma Prakasika, Advaita Anubhuti, Brahma Anucintanama, Prasnottara Ratnamalika, Sadacara Anusandhanama, Yaga Taravali, Anatmasri Vigarhanama, Svarupa Anusandhanama, Panchikaranama, Tattva Bodha, Proudha Anubhuti, Brahma Jnanavali, Laghu Vakyavritti, Bhaja Govindama, Prapanca Sarama.
Bhajana, Strotrama, Kavyama, Astakama
Sri Ganesa Pancaratnama, Ganesa Bhujangama, Siva Bhujangama, Devi Bhujangama, Bhavani Bhujangama, Sri Rama Bhujangama, Visnu Bhujangama, Sarada Bhujangama, Sivananda Lahari, Saundarya Lahari, Ananda Lahari, Sivapapadadi Kesanta Varnana, Siva Kesadi Padanta Varnana, Sri Visnu Padadi Kesanta, Uma Mahesvara Stotrama, Tripurasundari Vedapada Stotrama, Tripurasundari Manasapuja, Tripurasundari Astakama, Devi Sasti Upacara Puja, Mantra Matruka Puspamala, Kanakdhara Stotrama, Annapurna Stotrama, Ardhanarisvara Stotrama, Bhramanamba Astakama, Minaksi Stotrama, Minaksi Pancaratnama, Gouri Dasakama, Navaratna Mallika, Kalyana Vrististavama, Lalitha Pancaratnama, Maya Pancakama, Suvarna Mala Stuti, Dasa Sloki, Veda Sara Siva Stotrama, Siva Pancaksara Stotrama, Sivaparadha Ksamapana, Daksinamurthy Astakama, Daksinamurthy Varnamala, Mrityunjaya Manasa Puja Stotrama, Siva Namavali Astakama, Kala Bhairava Astakama, Satpadi Stotrama, Siva Pancaksara Naksatra Mala, Dvadasa Linga Stotrama, Kasi Pancakama, Hanumat Pancaratnama, Laxmi Nrsimha Pancaratnama, Laxmi Nrsimha Karunasara Stotrama, Panduranga Astakama, Acyuta Astakama, Sri Krsna Astakama, Hari Stuti, Govinda Astakama, Bhagavat Manasa Puja, Prataha Smarana Stotrama, Jagannatha Astakama, Guruvastakama, Narmada Astakama, Yamuna Astakama, Ganga Astakama, Manikarnika Astakama, Nirguna Manasa Puja, Eka Sloki, Yati Pancakama, Jivana Mukta Ananda Lahari, Dhanya Astakama, Upadesa Pancakama, Sata Sloki, Manisa Pancakama, Advaita Pancaratnama, Nirvana Satakama, Devyaparadhaksamapana Stotrama.