Hindu Monism

Branch of Hinduism based on Sankaracharya

Research Paper

By. Rev. Mani Koirala


In this study, the Monism branch of Hinduism based on Sankaracharya’s thought will be studied. Sankaracharya’s life and works, his concept of Brahman and self, problem and goal of life will be examined briefly. Finally, I have attempted to show its impact in Nepal, how it devalues the existence of human beings and results in fatalism, and therefore extreme groups resist any kind of changes including Christianity. This study may be helpful for those who want to serve the Lord in Hindu contexts and for believers who wants to share faith with their Hindu neighbors.

  1. Introduction

Shankara (ca.788-820 C.E.), the most important figure in the history of Indian philosophy, is credited with restoring the study of Vedas.[1] He is also widely regarded as an accurate expounder of the Upanishads,[2] and one of the greatest Indian philosophers.[3] Shankara developed the school of monism (Advaita) in Hinduism and it has made an impact in the religious imagination of India and Nepal. “Monism is the doctrine that only one kind of thing really exists and that basic reality is consciousness.”[4] The principle teaching of Monism in Hinduism is that one’s true nature (atman) is identical with the Brahman.[5] Advaita is etymologically the negation of all duality and the ultimate reality is not two.[6]  Brahma alone is real. Therefore, it is a mistake if we think that there are any real individual entities or the external world.[7] The non-duality of Brahman, the non-reality of the world, and the non-difference of the soul from Brahman—these constitute the teaching of Advaita.[8] Shankara’s non-dualistic interpretation of Upanisadic ideas became very influential, primarily by the activism of nineteenth-century reformers, or rather, renovators.[9] According to Radhakrishnan (1888-1972), the non-dualistic school of Vedanta is an ideal of universal brotherhood, homogenous humanity, harmony, and social service.[10]

Despite the influence of the Advaita school, Shankara and his non-dualistic interpretation has not been without its critics. From within the Vedanta[11] tradition, the most trenchant critiques of the advaitic outlook came from the followers of Yamunacarya (950-100CE) and Ramanuja (1050-1139).[12] For them, if the world is not real, then neither is that experience. Klaus K. Klostermair records that Shankara created the distinction between a “higher” and a “lower” brahamna, and his identification of the latter with the lord worshipped by the pious as creator, sustainer and redeemer, offended many Hindus. He was accused of being “Crypto-Buddhist”, bringing “emptiness” into Hinduism via his teaching of the illusory nature of the world.[13] At the same time, ironically, Buddhist scholars criticized Shankara as a “born enemy of Buddhists” due to his relentless attack on their tradition by his speech and writings.[14] But interestingly, S.G. Mugdal argues that the Monism of Shankara has impacted Buddhism and Samkhya.[15] In contrast, one of Shankara’s followers Prem Lata writes that Shankara respected other religions, and worshipped the truth wherever he found it but at the same time he converted many to his religion.[16]

Non-dualistic Hinduism claims tolerance and universality,[17] and Nepal has been under the influence of Hinduism for centuries, since its earliest origins in India. Nepal has traditionally had close relations since ancient times with India because of its geographical location and cultural identities. John Whelpton writes, “It was in India that Nepalese were most likely to encounter new ideas, whether religious or political.”[18] It’s been said that Shankara had visited Nepal[19] in the 8th century and the Kings of Nepal had special reverence for him as their Guru.[20] But from the seventeenth century onward, Hinduism seems to reserve its greatest intolerance for the person who becomes a Christian in Nepal. Extreme Hindu groups oppress, cast out, force idol worship upon, and even ban the burial of Christians.

Even though Hinduism claims tolerance, why do these groups so devalue other people and their belief system? Even several rites of reconversion and purification have been observed forcefully. Why do they just want to maintain the old status quo?

Through a study of Shankara’s thought on creation and anthropology and their influence in Nepal, I argue that the Advaita concept of humanity in Hinduism devalues the existence of a human being, resulting in fatalism and maintenance of the old status quo. To substantiate this argument, this paper will focus primarily Sankaracharya’s concept of

Humanity based on his work: A Thousand Teachings.  Furthermore, to support the argument, I will analyze some principles from The Bhagavat Gita, The Upanishads and some thoughts from other secondary sources.


  1. The Creation and Concept of Man in Hindu Scriptures

The Rig Veda[21]  records the first man, named Manu, who is also called the ancient priest, ancestor of the human race, and the first sacrificer. The Vedic hymns refer to him as “our father” who presented the first offering to the gods.[22] Manu was saved in a ship from a flood by a fish and, “subsequently became the progenitor of mankind through his daughter Ida, who produced from offering.”[23] In another account, the macrocosmic man, purusha with a thousand heads and a thousand-feet, performed a sacrifice. “The primeval Man is conceived as a victim of sacrifice. His head became the sky, his navel the air, his feet the earth, while from his mind sprang the moon, from his eye the sun, his breath the wind.”[24] In another story, it is said that the man was hatched off from the golden egg by the desire of the waters. His name was Prajapati, which means the father of all the generations. When he was found alone, and afraid, he sacrificed himself and died.[25] The world existed because of his sacrificial work. This man later on called him Brahman. Again, in another creation story in Rig Veda, it is recorded that the Brahma created mainly four original caste groups; Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. [26]

The Upanishads deal with the eternal problems of humankind, that is: where do we come from, why are we here, where do we go? In other words, they deal with the nature of body and soul, their fate after death, and their position in the universe.[27] The Upanishads claim that the man’s spirit is the world-spirit. The self of man is part of the universal being and identical with it.  Joseph writes, “Indian civilization, religion, and philosophy are deeply rooted in the assumption that man is a cosmic being in the sense that man is a part of nature. He is not the lord of nature nor is he its slave; man is essentially one with nature.”[28] Further the Upanishads record that the Purusha is said to abide in the individual self,[29] “ignores the gods, and becomes God.”[30]

In Gita, [31] Krishna says that a particle of myself, as the eternal individual soul in the order of soul pulls on the sense and mind that are part of Prakrti, the master who takes on a body and again escapes it, transmigrating out of it with these senses as the wind moves on with the scents it has taken from their sources.[32] Therefore, man is not distinguished from animal, nature, living beings and even from god. Radhakrishnan says, “The idea of the unity of man and God is the fundamental thesis of the great philosophy and its tradition.”[33] There is no distinction between animals and man as well as grasses and plants, because man is part of Brahman himself. Man is considered and equated to be one of the creations in the universe. Indian civilization, religion, and philosophy are deeply rooted in the assumption that man is a cosmic being in the sense that man is a part of nature.[34] Man in his essence is a purely spiritual self without any connection whatsoever with the material body. This spiritual reality is either totally identical with the Absolute Being or a part or attribute existing in god, the supreme personal being.[35]


  • Shankara’s Life and Works
  1. Life

Tradition says that Shankara was born into a pious Brahmin family in Kerela, South India. There is a lot of controversy about the dates of Shankara’s birth and death not only because he is one of the greatest Indian philosophers, but all because a solution is inseparable from the correct understanding of one of the most important and critical periods of the history of Indian thought.[36] There are different theories on it, but scholars favor the view that he was born in the year 788 and died in 820.[37]  Shankara received the traditional Vedic instruction and the knowledge of advaita Vedanta from Govinda who was a pupil of Gaudapada,[38] and “he was still a youth when he completed his training.”[39] Then he started to communicate Vedantic philosophy chiefly among ascetics, intellectuals in the villages, and he gradually won the respect of Brahmins and feudal lords.[40] He denied the performance of ordained duty and the Vedic rituals but regarded the knowledge of Brahman as the only means to ultimate liberation.  He enjoyed the great support from local kings and developed his career as a public debater and teacher. His fame spread far and wide, and a number of disciples flocked to him to be instructed in advaita Vedanta.[41]

Shankara is said to have travelled extensively throughout India to propagate his doctrine. He went around India three times to preach the advaita, which was beyond superficial ritualism. He didn’t aim to destroy religious or philosophical systems of India but wished to unite them with the correct teaching. To preserve the correct Vedanta teaching, he founded four monasteries in four directions. The monasteries have played a significant role in making his philosophy the leading philosophy of India. He visited Nepal in his last years where he received the patronage from the King.[42] Worship of the famous Pashupati shrine[43] had declined because Buddhism was the dominant religion of that time. He put life into the declining Vedic religion by proper arrangements for the worship of the shrine with Vedic rites. His philosophy has been always leading in the learned circles of Hindus in India and in Nepal.


  1. Works

Securing the authentic works of Shankara is not an easy task because more than three hundred works—commentaries, expositions, and poetries—are attributed to him.[44] Prem Lata further indicates, “There are more than two hundred works which bear the name of Shankaracharya as their author, but it is doubtful how many belong to Shankara himself.”[45] It was impossible that he was author of all the works because of his short life of thirty-two years.  On the basis of a detailed analysis of Samkara’s use of the terms, Paul Hacker, in 1950, set down a reliable criteria for determining the authenticity of any given work attributed to Samakara.[46] The authenticity of the commentaries on the Brahma Sutra and on the Brhadaranyaka, Isa, Aitareya, Katha Prasna and Upanishads are not questioned by the vast majority of authorities.[47]


  1. Shankara’s Conception on Brahman and Man
  2. Brahman

Brahman is the omniscient and omnipotent cause of the origin, persistence, and passing away of the world.[48] Shankara holds that Brahman is Atman and Atman is Brahman. For him, Brahman is the ultimate cause of the universe, ultimate reality and the supreme self.[49] He is characterized by pure existence (sat), pure consciousness (chit, cit), and pure bliss (ananda), which constitute the sat-chit-ananda relationship.[50] However, these three characteristics are not really characteristics; rather, they are Brahman’s essence. He is pure existence-consciousness-bliss as one essence without any distinction between them. Ultimately, Brahman is devoid of all qualities and distinction. Therefore, from a philosophical standpoint, Shankara states that Brahman cannot be described at all. The description of Brahman as sat-chit-ananda only serves to direct the mind toward Brahman by denying of him nonexistence, unconsciousness, and misery.[51]

  1. Man

There are two factors, which constitute the universe. The first factor is an inorganic nature consisting of space, air, fire, water, and earth. The second is an organic nature consisting of souls that have entered into elements and wander as plants, animals, men, and gods.[57] What is man? One of Shankara’s pupils answers, “It is inappropriate to refer to the body, to its faculties and potentialities, or to events in which it is involved.”[58] The atman is self and it is not the body but it is identified with Brahman. The self is essentially free and it doesn’t exist for the sake of things but things exist for its sake. The body is temporary and instrumental. The empirical self is known as the sarira, the physical body of a human.[59]  One of the main teachings of the Upanishads is to “know thyself.” [60] The philosophical implication of this teaching is that the essential of real self (atman) is different from the empirical self (jiva), and that true philosophical knowledge consists in not confusing the one with the other.


2.1 Essential or Real Self

R.N. Dandekar says, “the essential self is not identical with either the body or the mind and is, therefore, free from all the limitations, changes and experiences to which the body and the minds are subjected.”[61] Atman is eternal, unchanging, and indestructible.[62] The concept of atman shows that one should not mourn when a person dies because the atman is still alive but takes a different form for the physical body.[63] Furthermore the atman is not defined by space and time. In fact, the atman is illustrated in the Upanishads as smaller than a grain of rice, yet it is also greater than the earth and all the worlds.[64] According to his understanding of Gita, Shankara believes that the atman and the Supreme Reality are the same.[65] Brahman is everything and everything is Brahman. Therefore there is no duality within the universe and no diversity. The real Self is actually one. It is neither the doer nor the experiencer, and is in no way involved in the changes of the phenomenal world, not governed by the laws of time, space, and causality.[66] Upon analysis of the Upanishad, it is identified with the Supreme Reality, and the nature is satchitananda.[67]


2.2 Empirical Self

The empirical self is that the experience in this changing world of the sense comes into being, when through the operation of original ignorance, the essential self falls from its serene aloofness, thereby forgetting, so to say, its identity with the Supreme Being.[68] It is described as the body; the empirical self is referred to as sarira, while the word deha describes it as the covering for the atman. Jiva is also another name which compares the body to the earth; the bodily fluids are compared to the waters of the rivers and seas, the bones are compared to the earth itself, and the breath is compared to the air or wind.[69] Jivas are different from one another. They are non-substantial and have no reality of their own. Their reality comes from, and is reducible to, the Absolute.[70]

Stroup states that the body is not a single entity but consists of three parts, each of which contains an atman; the gross body, sign body and casual body.[71] The gross body is said to be composed of five basic elements: air, earth, ether, fire, and water. It serves as the abode of all the experiences relating to the external world and as the basis of consciousness in the state of wakefulness. At death, all the elements return to their original state or dissolve. Therefore, death affects only the physical or gross body. The second body contains the soul of man, which is the home of the vital, mental, and intellectual function.[72] This body is not entirely destroyed when a person dies. A part of it survives death and forms the basis for the birth-death-rebirth cycle of human existence. [73] Although the physical body perishes at death, individuality does not end. The surviving part, however, is not eternal, for it returns to its original nature when the person attains final liberation. The casual body is indicated in the condition of dreamless sleep when both the physical and subtle bodies temporarily cease to function. [74] Moreover, the casual body seems to absorb and give rise to the physical and subtle body.


  1. Problem of Life: Samsara and Karma

The basic problem of human beings is that the experience of the finite and the satisfaction of desires for wealth and pleasure leave us wanting.[75] There are three basic factors; raga (desire), dvesa (aversion) and moha (delusion) that perpetuate bondage within the cycle of reincarnation.[76] According to Billington, the term samsara literally means, “journeying,” which refers to the journey that the atman must undergo through many incarnations and rebirth.[77] It is the consequence of desire and ignorance. Shankara makes most evident that transmigration is explicitly understood as bondage within the body. If bondage is understood as forced habitation in the body, conversely, it follows that liberation is freedom from the body.[78] In conclusion, “Rebirth is inevitable for one who through ignorance is desirous of worldly goals and performs actions directed toward those goals.”[79] It is as bondage within the cycle of rebirth generated by karma.

According to the doctrine of karma, everyone is as a jiva in bondage to the world, is conditioned and determined by his conduct, as this is enacted over a period of innumerable births, deaths and rebirths.[80] It is also known as the law of moral causation as well as the law of retribution in Indian philosophy. It is a result or outcome of the actions.[81] Bruce views, “According to the law of karma, like causes produce like effects. Right actions produce good consequences, wrong actions bad consequences.”[82] The law of karma presupposes that any person will have to pass through various lives before he/she obtains liberation.

Human karmic acts result in merits and demerits since unconscious things generally do not move except when caused by an agent, and since the law of karma is an unintelligent and unconscious law. Shankara argues that there must be a conscious God who knows the merits and demerits which persons have earned by their actions, and who functions as an instrumental cause in helping individuals reap their appropriate fruits.[83]  Advaitins assume that karma is a “convenient fiction”; a theory that is indemonstrable but useful in interpreting experience.[84] Although samsara and karma are the two main problems of human life, the cause of these problems is primarily avidya (ignorance) and maya (illusion). Because of ignorance, one assumes that the material world is the only reality, but in reality, it is an illusion.


  1. The Ultimate Goal of Life: Moksha or Mukti (Liberation)

The main goal of the Hindus is to be liberated from the cycle of rebirths or of samsara, which is known as Moksha or Mukti.[85] For Advaitins, liberation is an awakening to one’s eternal nature because liberation brings about no essential change in the knower, who is atman. Therefore, liberation is not something to be achieved, as if one did not already possess it.[86] Moksha is not to be reached, created, or received as a result of some modification or change. “It is an already existing state of one’s being that needs to be realized as such.”[87] Similarly, Morgan says, “Again, moksha does not imply that the atman gains something that it does not already possess; moksha is the process by which an individual realizes his/her own true self, which is and has always been there, but has not been realized because of original ignorance.”[88] Knowledge is the way to moksha. Moksha is self-realization or the experience of unity of Brahman and atman. It is a state of fearlessness, deathlessness, and freedom from all sorrows.[89] Brahman is said to be the ultimate goal of human existence as well as the means of its attainment.[90]

For monists, the cessation of ignorance alone is commonly called liberation. The attainment of Moksa is meaningful only with reference to the removal of false conclusions about the nature of the self. Bondage is essentially an erroneous idea in the mind, and liberation is its removal.[91] Self or atman is not differentiated from Brahman. Therefore, the self is perfect, pure, and free from sin so that there is no need of cleansing. “To be liberated is to know oneself and to be what one really is. It is not to do or to become something.”[92] The conditions of ignorance or knowledge in the mind do not imply change in the self. When moksha is finally reached, a human being becomes one with the pure being, consciousness, and bliss and, “the liberated becomes everything.”[93]


  1. Application to Nepal

Various opinions have been expressed about the origin and development of Hinduism in the country of Nepal. Although Hinduism is the major religion of Nepal, Buddhism has existed even longer in Nepal and continues to have a major influence in the life of its people because the founder of Buddhism, Siddartha Gautam was born in Nepal in 560 BCE.[94] Nepalese Hinduism is similar to Indian Hinduism because the source of the basic doctrines, belief systems, and teachings are the same. But there are some unique characteristics of Hinduism in Nepal, including tribal festivals and traditions.  Nepal is a place where different cultures have mingled together. Tribal influence has been greatly experienced in the country.[95] Hinduism in Nepal has accepted and assimilated ancestor and nature worship and shamanism from the beginning of its religious practices. Religious syncretism can be found all over in Nepali societies. The inter-relation between Buddhism and Hinduism is another special feature of Nepal. Hindus and Buddhists have for centuries respected and honored each other’s religion in a way found nowhere else in the world. Unfortunately, this respect and honor has not included those who were Christian.[96]

Shankara had visited Nepal and the Kings of Nepal had special reverence on him as their Guru.[97] During his visitation, he did not just spread his thought among many religious groups in Nepal, but he also made adequate arrangements for the worship of the Pashupati Shrine according to Vedic rites. The worship of the Pashupati was declined because Buddhism was the prominent religion at that time.  He appointed particular Brahmins to serve the temple and even now that custom still exists. He converted many Buddhists and other Hindus in his faith.[98] The elite groups and Royal family, the leading forces of religious, socio-cultural lives, adopted his teachings.

Many attempts have been done to reform Vedantic Hinduism since then, some to tackle intellectualism, and some to denounce the rise of Christianity by reaffirming Hindu values.[99] Brahma Samaj, Aryan Samaj and Theosophy society were established to revive Hinduism and to spread Hinduism to the West.[100] It is very clear from the above evidence that this Hinduism, which has been revived under the stimulus of Hindu nationalism, is not the old Hinduism, but a modernized religion, which has incorporated much from western science and Christian morality.[101] That revival continues in India and in Nepal. A historical “World Hindu Conference” was held in Nepal in 1998. The conference decided to eradicate the caste system and untouchability, as they were considered as the evils of Hinduism. It stressed the need to translate values of life such as love, benevolence, and humanity, into action-oriented programs to serve families, communities, and nations in areas of need.[102]

Despite the doctrinal statement above, Nepal is struggling with poverty, under-development and with other social evils and customs; child marriage, polygamy, slavery, castes, illiteracy, gender discrimination and so on under Hinduism. All the misery and privileges come because of the institutionalized Karma. Under the Hindu system, Bista, says that, “one’s fate is written on one’s forehead at birth and there is nothing that can be done to alter it.”[103] He further states that responsibility is continually displaced outside, typically to the supernatural under fatalism. The individual does not have control of anything (education, job, caste, work, time, etc.) and so lacks a proper work ethic for progress and therefore maintains the status quo.[104] Further, the cast system is a direct manifestation of an essential and natural social order. It is the embodiment of an absolute truth, decreed and protected by deity. It is inflexible and intolerant of experimentation and change. Authority is derived from spiritual necessity and from deity, and is bestowed and ultimately administered by the priests for social regulation. There are very few rules and regulations to those who violate the social norms. “Punishment is rare,” writes Bista, “and tends to be in the form of social exclusion. Therefore, people from higher social or political levels can violate laws and commit offences with impunity.”[105] Therefore, Hinduism was always a resistant force of Christianity from the beginning.


  1. Conclusions

In this paper, I have shown that the monism concept devalues the existence of human beings and results in fatalism. The concept teaches that the human being is equal to an animal. God did not create the world for a good purpose but it is just an illusion and a playful act of god (lila). There is no hope and grace in Hinduism because lives are determined by previous acts. All the misery and privileges come because of Karma. Human beings have no control over education, job, caste, gender, work, or time. Humans receive all by fate. So the system lacks a proper work ethic for progress but teaches to remain in the same status quo. The system therefore aggressively resists if any individual decides to have a new belief system and tries to reconvert such individuals by purification ceremonies. The main purpose of life is just to be released from the cycle of birth. This is a view of the system that is still very much alive in both India and Nepal.



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[1] The oldest and most authoritative group of Hindu sacred texts, according to tradition, these texts were not composed by human beings, but are based in the primordial vibrations of the cosmos itself. See more details on James G. Lochtefeld, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism (New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2002), 744.


[2] Kencho Tenzin, “Shankara: A Hindu Revivalist or a Crypto-Buddhist?” (2006): 1, accessed November 4, 2014, http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/rs_theses/4/. Upanishads are late Vedic Sanskrit texts composed and transmitted orally by anonymous sages, see details on Bruce M. Sullivan, The A to Z of Hinduism (London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2001) 228.


[3] Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings: The Upadeśasāhasrī of Śaṅkara, trans. and edited by Sengaku Mayeda (Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press, 1992), 3.


[4] Knut A. Jacobsen et al., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 719.


[5] Brahman or Brahma, is pre-eminent in Hindu mythology as the god who created the universe out of pre-existing primeval matter, see further on Denise Cush, Catherine A. Robinson, and Michael York, Encyclopedia of Hinduism (London: Routledge, 2008), 274.


[6] Arvind Sharma, Advaita Vedanta: An Introduction (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2007), 13.


[7] A.J. Alston, Samkara on the Absolute, A Śamḳara Source-Book (London: Shanti Sadan, 1980), 42–43.


[8] Sharma, Advaita Vedanta: An Introduction, 111, quoting from T.M.P. Mahadevan, Outlines of Hinduism (Bombay: Chetana Limited, 1971), 141.

[9] Encyclopedia of Hinduism, 759. These innovators include Ram. M. Roy (1772-1833), B. C. Chatterjee (1838-1894), Vivekananda (1863-1902) and Aurobindo Ghose (1872-1950).


[10] S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy, vol. 2 (Dehli: Oxford University Press, 1996), 445-446.


[11] The Term Vedanta means the end of the Veda, a term used to refer to the Upanishads as the concluding portion of the Vedic literature. For more details see Sullivan, Hinduism, 238.


[12] Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, 730.


[13] Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Short Introduction to Hinduism (Oxford, England: Oneworld, 1998), 113.


[14] Tenzin Kencho, “Shankara: A Hindu Revivalist or a Crypto-Buddhist?” accessed November 10, 2014, http;//scholarworks.gus.edu/rs_these/4.


[15] For more details see, S.G. Mugdal, Adavita of Sankara—A Reappraisal: Impact of Buddhism and Samkhya on Sankara’s Thought (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1974)


[16] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya: Mystic saints of India (Delhi: Sumit Publications, 1982), 28.


[17] Douglas R. Groothuis, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2011), 575.


[18] John Whelpton, A History of Nepal (Cambridge University Press, 2005), 80.


[19] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 29.


[20] See online edition of one of the leading newspaper of India, Swati Chopra, “Nepal King Seeks Shankarachray’s Blessing,” The India Times, June 27, 2002, accessed October 21, 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nepal-King-seeks-Shankaracharyas-blessings/articleshow/14201738.cms.

[21] The first collection of Vedic (Knowledge) poems, probably compiled between 1200 and 1000 B.C.E. See details on Sullivan, Hinduism, 182.


[22] Rig Veda 4.37.1, 10.63.7, on which see Ralph T. H. Griffith, trans., Hinduism: The Rig Veda, Vol. 5 (New York: Book-of-the-Month Club, 1992), 255 and 576.


[23] Dhavamony, Mariasusai and Lopez-Gay, eds., Man, Culture and Religion: Studies in Religious Anthropology, vol. 19 (Rome: Gregorian University Press, 1970), 103.


[24] Rig Veda, 10.90.8-11 and 104.


[25] Robert O. Ballou, World Bible (New York: The Viking Press, 1944), 39.


[26] Rig Veda, 10.90.12, See more on Robin Rinehart, ed., Contemporary Hinduism: Ritual, Culture and Practice (California: ABC-ClO, Inc., 2004), 243.


[27] Gavin Flood, ed., The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing ltd., 2003), 83.


[28] Joseph M. Kitagawa, Religions of the East (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), 40.


[29] Mukunda Upanishad II.ii.5 (The Upanishads, ed. and trans. Swami Nikhilanand [New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1964], 114).


[30] This Spirit (breath) is guardian of the world, the lord of the world; he is my spirit or myself (sa ma atma), Dhavamony quotes from Kaushitaki Brahmana Upanishad 3.8, see Study Missionalia, 114.


[31] The most widely known Hindu religious text and literal meaning is the Song of the Blessed One, See details on Sullivan, Hinduism, 36.


[32] Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 15, see on The Bhagavat Gita, translated by J.A.B Van Buitenen (Rockport, MA:  Element, Inc., 1997), 69.

[33] S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy (G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 1923), 628.


[34] Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa, Religions of the East (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 118.


[35] Dhavamony, Mariasusai and Lopez-Gay, Man, Culture and Religion, 19:121.


[36] Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings: The Upadeśasāhasrī of Śaṅkara, trans. and ed. Sengaku Mayeda (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 3.


[37] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 4.


[38] A.J. Alston, A Śamḳara Source-Book, vol. 1 (London: Shanti Sadan, 1980), 43.


[39]  Malkovsky, Soteriology of Samkaracaray, 11.


[40] Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings, 4.


[41] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 10.


[42] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 29.


[43] It is one of the oldest, the most sacred Hindu shrine in Kathmandu, Nepal. The area of this temple is the most popular pilgrimage site in for Hindus, and even Buddhists from South Asia.


[44] Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings, 6.


[45] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 35.


[46] Malkovsky, Soteriology of Samkaracaray, 16.  See also Wilhelm Halbfass, “Introduction An Uncommon Orientalist: Paul Hacker’s Passage to India,” accessed November 6, 2014, http://www.sunypress.edu/pdf/53259.pdf.


[47] Alsont, A., Śamḳara Source-Book, 48. For more details see on Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 36–54.


[48] Satya Vrat Shastri, ed., The System of the Vedanta (Delhi: Oriental Publishers, 1972), 123.


[49] Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings, 18.


[50] Kenneth W. Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus (Ronald Press Co., 1953), 83, for more detail information on satchitananda, see on Deutsch, Advaita Vedanta, 9.


[51] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 239.


[52] It is an early exposition of the Upanishads. For more details, see Malkovsky, The Role of Divine Grace in the Soteriology of Samkaracaraya, 20.


[53] Karl H. Potter, ed., Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Advaita Vedanta up to Samkara and His Pupils (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1981), 84. For more on Saguna and nirguna, see S. RadhaKrishnan, trans., The Brahma Sutra: The Philosophy of Spiritual Life (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1960). See also, Brahmasutrabhasya 1.1.11, 2.1.25, 4.3.14 on Eliot Deutsch and Buitenen, A Source Book of Advaita Vedanta (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawai, 1971).


[54] Anantanand Rambachan, The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity (New York: State University of New York Press, 2006), 84–85.


[55] Karl H. Potter, ed., Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Advaita Vedānta up to Śaṃkara and His Pupils (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1981), 76.


[56] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 106.


[57] Shastri, The System of the Vedanta, 285.


[58] Upadesasahasri I. 12 and 13 reads: If he answers: “I am different from the body. The body is born, dies, is eaten by birds, turns into earth, is destroyed by weapons, fire and so forth, and suffers from disease and so on. I have entered this body as a bird enters a nest, by force of the merit and demerit and accumulated by myself…the teacher should say: you are right.” On Mayeda, see Śaṅkarācārya, A Thousand Teachings, 214-215.


[59] Chandogya Upanishad 8.12.1, see George C. O. Haas, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, trans. Robert Ernest Hume (London: Oxford University Press, 1931), 272.


[60] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 117–118.


[61] Morgan, The Religion of Hindus, 120.


[62] Bhagavat Gita 2:12, 17 and 20, see Easwaran Eknath, tran., The Bhagavad Gita (California: Nilgiri Press, 2007), 89–97.


[63] Bhagavad Gita 2:20-25, see W.J. Johnson, trans., The Bhagavad Gita (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 8-9.


[64] S. Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy (G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 1923), 391–392.


[65] Gita 15:7, see Eknath, The Bhagavad Gita, 223.


[66] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 121–122.


[67] Klostermaier, A Short Introduction to Hinduism, 255.


[68] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 122.


[69] Herbert Hewitt Stroup, Like a Great River: An Introduction to Hinduism, [1st ed.]. (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 130.


[70] Śyā Go Mudgala, Advaita of Śaṅkara, a Reappraisal: Impact of Buddhism and Sāṁkhya on Śaṅkara’s Thought, 1st ed. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975), 13.


[71] Stroup, Like a Great River, 130.


[72] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 123.


[73] Stroup, Like a Great River, 131.


[74] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 125.


[75] Anantanand Rambachan, The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2006), 31.


[76] John J. Thatamanil, The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), 38.


[77] Ray Billington, Understanding Eastern Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1997), 38.


[78] Thatamanil, The Immanent Divine, 42.


[79] Thomas J. Hopkins, The Hindu Religious Tradition (California: Dickenson Pub. Co., 1971), 66.


[80] Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV, 4, 5 and Svetasvatara Upanishad, V. 12 quoted by Deutsch, Advaita Vedānta: A Philosophical Reconstruction, 67.


[81] Chandogya Upanishad 5.10.7, see Haas, Upanishads, 233.


[82] Bruce R. Reichenbach, “The Law of Karma and the Principle of Causation,” Philosophy East and West 38, no. 4 (October 1, 1988): 399–410, accessed November 14, 2014, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1 399118.


[83] Bruce R. Reichenbach, “Karma, Causation, and Divine Intervention,” Philosophy East and West 39, no.2 (April 1989): 146, accessed November 14, 2014, http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/reiche2.htm.


[84] Deutsch, Advaita Vedānta, 69.


[85] Mukunda Upanishad 3.2.6, see Haas, Upanishads, 376.


[86] Brahmansutrabhasya, I.1.4, quoted by Malkovsky, Soteriology of Samkaracarya, 76.


[87] Eliot Deutsch and J.A.B. Van Buitenen, A Source Book of Advaita Vedanta (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawai, 1971), 312.


[88] Morgan, The Religion of the Hindus, 126.


[89] Malkovsky, The Role of Divine Grace in the Soteriology of Samkaracarya, 76–77.


[90] Eric Lott, Vedantic Approaches to God (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1980), 191.


[91] Rambachan, The Advaita Worldview, 100-101.


[92] Govind Chandra Pande, Life and Thought of Śaṅkarācārya (New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1994), 226.


[93] Prasana Upanishad 4.10-11, see F. Max Muller, ed., The Sacred Books of The East, vol. XV (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1884), 281.


[94] Norma Kehrberg, The Cross in the Land of the Khukuri (Kathmandu: Ekta Books, 2005), 78–79. For more details see, Bal Krishna Sharma, The Origin of Caste System in Hinduism and Its Relevance in the Present Context (Samdan Publishers, Nepal, 1999), 91.


[95] Sharma, The Origin of Caste System, 95.


[96] Kehrberg, The Cross in the Land of the Khukuri, 87.


[97] See Swati Chopra, “Nepal King Seeks Shankarachray’s Blessing,” The India Times, June 27, 2002, accessed October 21, 2014, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Nepal-King-seeks-Shankaracharyas-blessings/articleshow/14201738.cms.


[98] Prem Lata, Shankaracharya, 29.


[99] See an article by Reid B. Locklin, “Up, Over, Through: Rethinking ‘Conversion’ as a Category of Hindu-Christian Studies” (n.d.), accessed November 18, 2014, http://www.academia.edu/3650546/Up_Over_Through_Rethinking_Conversion_as_a_Category_of_Hindu-Christian_Studies and see Maharjan, Hinduism and Christianity in Nepal.


[100] Jacobsen et al., Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, 760–764.


[101] Horace L. Friess and Herbert W. Schneider, Religion in Various Cultures (H. Holt, 1932), 117.


[102] Mangal Man Maharjan, Comparative Study of Hinduism and Christianity in Nepal (Ekta Books, 2002), 39.


[103] Dor Bahadur Bista, Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernization (Orient Blackswan, 1991), 76–77.


[104] Bista, Fatalism and Development, 78.


[105] Bista, Fatalism and Development, 87.