Who is my favourite Advaita Acharya?

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha

Someone asked this question on Quora. Felt intrigued by this and wrote a free-flowing answer

Prasad.

______________

I don’t understand what is meant by “favourite”.

  1. Is it the one I would ever spend my life bowing to and never be satiated by it, whose sandals I would keep on the top of my head and consider it to be the greatest boon of all, whose commentaries I consider are the greatest literature available, and whose memory I ever feel blessed to have ? – Then it is Shankaracharya definitely, but so it is for all traditional Advaitins.
  2. Is it one whose nididhyaasana (meditation on the Atman) seems ever one pointed and never seems to be removed from the Atman at any time? – Then it has to be the Jagadguru Chandrashekara Bharati Mahaswamiji of Sringeri, Ramana Maharshi, Annamalai Swami. Sri Sadashiva Brahmendra, and few other such.
  3. Is it the Acharya who I learnt from, who by his fantastic and single-pointed teaching conveyed to us the beauty, joy, purpose, greatness, of Human life, and convinced us of the values of spiritual life by word and example and showed how to understand Vedanta? – Then it is Swami Paramasukhananda of Ramakrishna Order.
  4. Is it the Acharya whose teaching style is awesome and conveys Vedanta brilliantly and effectively, who has unleashed upon this divine earth several great teachers of Vedanta? – Then it is Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arsha Vidya Gurukulam, from whom my Acharya learnt Vedanta from.
  5. Is it the Guru who I look up to for all saadhana, vairaagya, Ishwara-bhakti, vinaya, Guru-bhakti, shama-dama (sense/mind mastery), Vedanta-jnaana, Yoga-jnaana, Mantra-jnaana, whose word I would obey without question or second thought ? – Then it is the Jagadguru(s) of Sringeri, Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha and Jagadguru Sri Vidhushekara Bharati Mahaswamijis, the 36/37th Acharyas of Sringeri.
  6. Is it the Acharya who being a perfect Jivanmukta and a spectacular master of Yoga-maarga, still engaged in the activities as a Peethadhipati, stimulating all in their own way, their own style, to lead a grand spiritual life – Then it is the Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidya Tirtha, the 35th Acharya of Sringeri.
  7. Is it the one who ever uplifted the minds of mine and some of my friends, whose single-minded focus on spiritual life uprooted the desire for routine humdrum of eat-sleep-work-enjoy, whose insistence of vairaagya and bhakti stimulated me deeply, whose regular sessions I so often recall and ruminate upon, – then it is our dear Vivekananda Study Circle mentor at IISc – Gokulmuthu Narayanaswamy.
  8. Is it the boy-wonder, who was so moved in his compassion towards to weak and trodden, who instilled social justice and uplifted the masses by the message of Bhakti and Swadharma and Jnaana, all the while staying in his divine abode of Atma-jnaana, leaving behind his wonderful deep works of Jnaana-bhakti, – then it is the great Marathi saint, Jnanadeva.
  9. Is it the one who incessantly spoke of Ishwara and his greatness, the one who Vairaagya was so great that even touching money would hurt, whose mind was merged with Ishwara more often than not, who appeared in this earth as a poor Brahmana but was indeed the Advaitic Brahman in human form, – then it is Sri Ramakrishna.
  10. Is it the one who covered the entire living beings by her love, who would go down to the bottom most depths to uplift her spiritual children, who never turned anyone away though being of questionable character, who was love, love and Love alone, in human form – then it is Mother Sharada Devi.
  11. Is it the great master whose name and form inspire a great spiritual force, who is responsible for the entire modern Indian-dharmic outlook to a large extent, whose every breath was filled with Guru-bhakti and love for the masses, who was like the fire of Divine knowledge lighting up the entire country and even the world, – then it is Swami Vivekananda.

How many more this nation has to offer! All of them fill my heart with divine love and gratitude and are essential fuel for my spiritual journey. All are most dear, most favourite. I couldn’t be who I am without even one of the masters.

Sadguro-sharanam!

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