Eternal Works of ShriAdiSankara om shri swastik
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     Sri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya’s (509–477) advent marks a defining moment in the annals of our heritage and samskruthi. To appreciate this a brief knowledge about the situation that then prevailed has to be understood. Sanatana Dharma was facing a variety of challenges from within and without. Faiths and beliefs which did not accept the Vedas sprang up and were spreading. They had taken from the Vedic system some valuable principles to be followed for the daily life and started preaching to the neglect of other carefully drawn values enshrined in Vedic practices. These faiths either did not believe in the existence of a godhead or carefully evaded any questions about it. They also did not believe in the concept of rebirth. However, their emphasis on day-to-day good conduct, compassion, etc. attracted some of the petty chieftains and kings and hence their royal patronage too. Added to this, there were some sects which advocated non-Vedic practices and rituals to propitiate some of the Vedic divinities like Lord Shiva. To cite an example, the Kapalikas were one such sect. Their influence was also spreading. There arose another situation where a growing number of people believing in one or other Vedic divinities and scrupulously following Vedic procedures started fighting among themselves. A telling example of these internal quarrels were pitched battles between Shaivites and Vaishnavites. As though these challenges were not enough to weaken a time-honoured system, a group of learning pundits with their large following wrongly interpreted the Karma Yoga. They did not believe that performance of prescribed Vedic rituals was a stepping stone to purification of mind and thence to final liberation. Instead they believed that prescribed Vedic karmas (rites) when scrupulously followed, observing the required procedure and protocol would automatically grant the fruits of their action. In fine, they never bothered about an ultimate force which would grant the result of their action. Their main aim was to achieve their worldly and other worldly desires. The spirit behind the performance of the prescribed Vedic rituals, mainly to attain purification of mind, was totally neglected by these people.

On seeing this great threat coming from several directions due to undesirable attitudinal change, the great seers and saints of the time who firmly stood behind Vedic values and practices might have thought that without a divine intervention Sanatana Dharma would not be restored to its original glory and purity. They strongly believed in the word of the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita that whenever there is a rise in adharma and decline of dharma, He will appear to put everything back in order.

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