Universal unity or universalism is an undeniable reality. The universe is thoroughly governed by one order –one rule. That very order –rule is the universal rule, the universal order. Nothing is beyond the ambit of this order or the rule. Universalism is, undoubtedly, the basis of the entire unity.
The Vedic philosophy or the view of life, generally known as the Hindu philosophy or the view of life now, is fully dedicated to the universal unity in theory and practice, both. For the proper conduction and continuity of an order, and to maintain unity on the basis of it, there is always inevitability and necessity of a conductor or the director. Therefore, to conduct, maintain and accord continuity to the universal order, a manager or the director always exists and that is Brahman –God. He is called by so many names such as Prabhu, Parameshwara, Paramatman, Parabrahman, Ishwara, Bhagawan, the Supreme Being and the Highest Authority –Sarvashaktiman. He is unborn, self-sovereign and self-illuminated, manifested as well as un-manifested Brahman. He is changeless and the Absolute.
The whole of the Vedic-Hindu philosophy, its chief treatises like Vedas, Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita in particular are committed to this reality. In the centre of teachings of all of these scriptures is Brahman –God. For, they focus on a matchless and great idea and call for acquiring knowledge pertaining to it, which is also known as the Brahmavidya, so that life could be made worthy and meaningful while passing through the inevitable process of karmas –actions.
Adi Shankaracharaya, who rightly earned fame as the Shankara Bhagavadpada and the Jagadguru all over the world, presented the above reality wisely, in a beautiful and adaptable manner before the world on the basis of his intensive analysis and realization. For this, sound arguments and minute observation remained the part and parcel of his critical analysis in particular. Especially, through his commentaries on Brahmsutra, Upanishads, the Ishopanishad –Ishavasya-Upanishad and theKathopanishad in particular, and Shrimad Bhagavad-Gita, he categorically established the supremacy of Brahman, His rule over all –movable or immovable, and truly declared Him to be the basis of universal unity. For, he called for overcoming of all superfluous suspicions or doubts.
In his commentary on the Brahmasutra, he emphatically stated Brahman to be the only and ultimate truth and the source of theVedas. He proclaimed that the soul in the body, which is made of the Maya –illusion, is, in fact, the revelation of Brahman Himself, and there is no separate authority of soul at all, “Brahma satyam jagan-mithya jivo brahmaiva na aparah.”
Moreover, he asserted that the whole Jagat –universe is created by Him –Brahman, He is an Indivisible Whole, and along with Vedas He is the nucleus of the Vedanta –the Upanishads, which straightforwardly call for acquiring knowledge by wisdom. In this very perspective, the second foremost and long memorable contribution of Adi Shankaracharaya, in my opinion, should be observed in his manifestation of monotheism –belief in the existence of One God or in the Oneness of God, to repeat again as anIndivisible Whole. His commentaries of the Ishopanishad and the Kathopanishad in particular well prove this fact. The Vedic-Hindu Triumvirate consisting of Brahma –the Creator, Vishnu –the Protector or the Up-bringer and Shiva –the Destroyer is, in fact, the three great attributes of Brahman –the Supreme Himself. All the three are the symbolic of His active state, and even Brahmin-Kshatriya etc. are the part and parcel of His own dynamic process as is revealed in the Kathopanishad [1/2/25].
Hence, Adi Shankaracharaya through this truth-based unique, lucid, comprehensive and unprecedented ideas pertaining to monotheism left an exemplary impression directly-indirectly, more or less, or in one way or the other upon almost all spiritual-religious philosophies of the world. Along with this, through his ideas pertaining to the supremacy of Brahman and affirming the reality of monotheism by taking the course of critical analysis and arguments, the Jagadguru accorded an unprecedented strength to the Vedic-Hindu philosophy and the view of life. He accorded the best and a unique dimension to it.
On the basis of his high wisdom Adi Shankaracharaya emerged as such an influential spiritual-religious philosopher of the Indian tradition, who left great impression of his ideas on crores of people all over the world in general and the Sub-continent of India in particular. The influence of his exemplary ideas still remains intact. Especially, his exclusive analysis and review of the Vedic philosophy and view of life on the strength of wisdom [which essentially includes the judgment], knowledge and arguments, propagation of reality of universal unity while having the Brahman –God as the nuclei, and its acceptance by crores of people itself proves the significance of the extraordinary viewpoint of Adi Shankaracharaya and the great contribution made by him in this regard.
Shankaracharaya’s views, particularly pertaining to the Brahmavidya and monotheism have for centuries been nuclei of studies and research of thousands of people around the world. Many of them may not agree to his ideas or the analysis, which he made about the supremacy of Brahman or monotheism, but no one of them can deny the fact that he was a matchless propounder and propagator of universal unity, and he is perhaps the only great philosopher of India who still impresses the most by his viewpoint the life of people of the Sub-continent directly, and so many others in the world indirectly by his spiritual-religious thoughts pertaining to the Advaitism. For his matchless contribution towards illuminating the reality of universal unity on the basis of the supremacy of Brahman, and for this calling people to act accordingly, Adi Shankaracharaya remains unparalleled, and it will be so in times to come. His glory will remain intact for a long.