Adi Shankara, aka Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya and Ādi Śaṅkarācārya
Shankara, aka Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya and Ādi Śaṅkarācārya
Indian Yogi, Philosopher, Founder of Advaita Vedanta
What is hell? To live in slavery to others. How is heaven attained? The attainment of heaven is the freedom from cravings. What is a person’s duty? To do good to all beings. What are worthless as soon as they are won? Honor and fame. What brings happiness? The friendship of the holy. What destroys craving? Realization of one’s true self. Who are our enemies? Our sense-organs, when they are uncontrolled. Who are our friends? Our sense-organs, when they are controlled. Who has overcome the world? He who has conquered his own mind.
Both bondage and liberation are the fictions of our ignorance. They do not really exist in the Atman. Just as a piece of rope remains rope, whether or not we mistake it for a snake. The imagined snake does not really exist in the rope. The Atman is infinite, without parts, beyond action... There is neither birth nor death, neither bound nor aspiring soul, neither liberated soul nor seeker after liberation - this is the ultimate and absolute truth.
Who, in this world, can be called pure? He whose mind is pure. Who can be called wise? He who can discriminate between the real and the unreal. Who is the greatest hero? The person who is not terror-stricken by the arrows which shoot from the eyes of a beauty. Who is poor? He who is not contented. What rolls quickly away, like drops of water from a lotus leaf? Youth, wealth and the years of a person’s life.
When a man follows the way of the world, or the way of the flesh, or the way of tradition (i.e. when he believes in religious rites and the letter of the scriptures, as though they were intrinsically sacred) knowledge of Reality cannot arise in him.