Sri Bhagavatpada Shankaracharya, was not only a great thinker and the noblest of Advaitic philosophers but he was essentially an inspired champion of Hinduism and one of the most rigorous missionary leaders in our country.
Sri Shankara brought his life giving philosophy of non-dual Brahaman of the Upanishads. It can very well be understood what a colossal work it must have been for any one man to undertake in those days, when modern conveniences of mechanical transport and instruments of propaganda were unknown.
He chose to illumine the path of divine in an exemplary manner propounding his wisdom among even the uninitiated common, ordinary people, in a manner suited to the listener’s capacity. He was fully awakened and totally aware of the intricacies of the unknown, yet he was humble and wise, as only the truly great ones can be.
An exquisite thinker, a brilliant intellect, a personality scintillating super think tank with the vision of Truth, a heart throbbing with industrious faith and ardent desire to serve the nation, sweetly emotional and relentlessly logical, Adi Shankara was the fittest Spiritual General to champion the cause of Upanishads.
Before the advent of Sri Shankara numerous ritualistic cults engendered unclear practices which cried for reform. Sri Shankara completed this task. He gave them a new, purer and purposeful outlook.
The message that is contained in elaborate discussions in the Bhashyas of Sri Shankara is often succinctly expressed in a century of verses, in ten verses, in one verse or even half a verse. He has reconciled the seemingly contradictory conclusions of the Upanishads and in the integrated view that He has presented the eternal, impersonal, consciousness Absolute is the Brahman, the one without a second.
He has also declared in many places that even the obligatory works done in Nishkama spirit have punya as the fruit. He said that any karma done, having been dedicated to God may not bear fruit is improper, indeed such dedication should make work non-fruitful besides bestowing the required mental purity. Though Brahman alone is Absolute Truth (Paramarthika), the knowledge of the objective universe – erroneous form the highest stand point – can still be considered as a relative kind of truth for worldly transactions e.g., a mud pot, though a mud, can still be retained for keeping the water in it.