Welcome to Advaita Vedanta

International Conference

Oneness is the most sought after in the variously divided contemporary world. The thought and practice that contributed and has potential to contribute further to oneness is Advaita, the non- dualism. The word Advaita has been variously translated into English so far. Among these 'Non-dualism’ is closer to the etymological meaning of the word 'not being two, but oneness or singularity is the essence of every thing'. Adi Shankara, the fountain-head of the spread of the Advaita school of Vedanta is a great integrator. He integrated the two branches of Mimamsa, the discipline of Vedic hermeneutics. Dharma-oriented or Karma(duty/action/ritual)-oriented branch is k n o w n a s P u r v a M i m a m s a o r M i m a m s a . M o k s h a (consciousness/essence)-oriented branch is known as Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta. Both of the systems interpret Vedic statements from worldly as well as transcendental point of view respectively. His philosophy of the unity of four Vedantika key concepts Jiva (the individual self), Ishvara (the all-controlling Principle), Brahman (the cosmic essence) and Jagat (the world), known as Advaita, the non- dualism represents the state of integration. His commentaries on Prasthanatrayi, the three foundational texts of Vedanta Schools, i.e. the Upanishads, Brahmasutras and the Bhagavadgita became instrumental to establish Non-dualism and created an academic environment for other Vedanta Schools to establish their views on above-mentioned issues. He dissolves the apparent contradiction between Para (Spiritual) and Apara (the worldly) knowledge by giving each its due place in the overall scheme of the knowable reality in the true spirit to the tradition of Upanishads. In this way he resolves the contradiction between rational and intuitive states of wisdom. From the foundations laid by him, Acharyas of his lineage developed the concept of the layers of truth /existence. For example Jagat, the world that was believed and explained by the other schools of Vedanta as non-truth, false or illusion, Acharyas of Advaita understood and explained it as not a non-truth or false but a relational truth, a certain aspect of truth or a result of application of certain parameters to the ultimate truth.

Taking help from this seed ideas provided by him, these Acharyas showed that in the framework of Advaita, even the positions of the other schools of Vedanta negating the position of Advaita are not negated but are viewed as relatively valid positions forming special cases of the position of Advaita. He is hagiographically credited with the integration of the six different sectarian traditions Saurya (Sun- supremacist), Ganapatya (Ganesha-supremacist), Kaumara (Subrahmanya-supremacist), Shakta (Shakti/Devi- supremacist), Vaishnava (Vishnu-supremacist) and Shaiva (Shiva- supremacist) into a group of six mutually inclusive traditions encompassing almost whole Indian subcontinent. His founding of four Pithas (Jnana and Dharma Leadership Centres) in four different corners of the vast Indian geo-cultural landscape is viewed as a project of geo-cultural unity. The construction and renovation of huge number of shrines of various deities including those in the remotest corners across the length and breadth of the country is another evidence of his role in the geo-cultural unity of the Indian landscape. He organized various ascetic traditions and mystic practices into a coherent tradition of ascetic-mystic life-style. or non-dual Advaita ism as a school of Vedanta has been widely discussed in contemporary academic writings and gatherings. is not just an academic endeavour Advaita but a practice followed by truth seekers and guided by realized sages. This conference intends to highlight these issues by bringing all categories of -practitioners on the same platform through this Advaita international event