The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, received the first copy of the book Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker, from the author Pavan Varma, at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (April 21, 2018). Among the dignitaries present were Dr Murli Manohar Joshi and D P Tripathi.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said the imprint of Adi Shankaracharya, who was born over 1,200 years ago in Kerala, is still apparent in contemporary India and in fact in all parts of our country. He remains among the most influential personalities in our long and rich history. He was a spiritual leader, a Vedantic philosopher, a monk, a scholar and an explorer. His contributions are not just in the religious or spiritual sphere – they continue to be a guide to everyday life.
The President said that while modern technology expands our knowledge of the universe, it is our ancient wisdom that helps us to reconcile our very existence with today’s cutting-edge inventions and discoveries. That is why 21st century India is a synthesis of both the Upanishads and the Internet. Both are important for the Indian soul.
The President said that Adi Shankaracharya instinctively understood this. Way back in the 8th Century, he combined pride in India’s earliest philosophical traditions with the realities of his age. Adi Shankaracharya instinctively established four peethas – in the north, south, east and west. These peethas were and are different – and at once they were and are the same. That is the beauty of India.
A visit to these peethas, the President said, should not be seen as just a pilgrimage. It is actually a cultural exploration of the frontiers of Indian civilisation and of our diverse society.