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‘Statue of Oneness’

  • Category
    Art and culture
  • Published
    29th Sep, 2023

Context

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan unveiled a 108-foot-tall statue of the 8th-century spiritual leader Adi Shankaracharya naming it as ‘Statue of Oneness’ in Omkareshwar.

About the Statue:

  • The ‘Statue of Oneness’, depicts Shankaracharya as a 12-year-old child when he is said to have visited Omkareshwar, which is one among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines.
  • The statue weighs 100 tonnes and was conceptualised by an Indian team of artists, a sculptor and engineers.
  • The metal casting was done in China’s Nanchang city and shipped to Mumbai in several batches.
  • The idol, installed on a 75-foot platform, is made up of bronze that contains 88% copper, 4% zinc and 8% tin.
  • Its internal structure is made-up of high-quality steel.
  • The design for the statue was conceptualised founding inspiration in Raja Ravi Verma’s depiction of Shankaracharya.

Who was Adi Shankaracharya?


  • Adi Shankaracharya is generally considered an eighth-century religious teacher.
  • According to a commonly held view, Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788 AD.
  • Adi Shankara, as he is popularly known among his followers, was born in Kalady village -now a small town in the Ernakulam district - situated on the bank of a river of the same name in Kerala.
  • He was an exceptional child as Adi Shankara had become fluent in Sanskrit by the age of two. By four, he was comfortably reciting scriptures including Vedas.
  • The burning quest for attaining superior knowledge from an early age pushed Adi Shankara to leave his home and set on the search for a guru.
  • His quest ended with Govind Bhagvatpad at Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh) on the bank of the Narmada River.
  • Adi Shankara excelled under the tutelage of Govind Bhagvatpad, who instructed him to write commentaries on scriptures on completion of his learning. Adi Shankara was just 12 at the time.
  • Following his guru's command, Adi Shankara wrote commentaries explaining the subtle meanings hidden in scriptures.
  • To his ardent followers, Adi Shankaracharya was an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who came to the earth for 32 years.

Jyotirlinga

Location

State

Somnath

Veraval, Saurashtra

Gujarat

Mallikarjuna

Srisailam

Madhya Pradesh

Mahakaleshwar

Ujjain

Madhya Pradesh

Omkareshwara

Khandwa

Madhya Pradesh

Kedarnath

Kedarnath

Uttarakhand

Bhimashankar

Khed Taluka, Pune

Maharashtra

Vishweshwara

Varanasi

Uttar Pradesh

Trayambakeshwar

Trimbak

Maharashtra

Nageshwara

Jamnagar

Gujarat

Baidyanath

Deoghar

Jharkhand

Rameshwaram

Rameshwaram

Tamil Nadu

Grishneshwar

Ellora

Maharashtra

Religion and Philosophy:

  • Adi Shankaracharya championed the Advait branch of philosophy that declared that god and humans were not two. He then set out to spread the message of his guru.
  • From the age of 16 to 32, Adi Shankaracharya traveled across the length and breadth of India with the message of Vedas.
  • He pronounced that 'Brahman or pure consciousness is the absolute reality that is attainable by human beings and that the material world is an illusion.
  • He established his supremacy in religion and philosophy in debating duels with experts and chief of ashram after ashram from north to south and east to west.
  • The defeat would end up hitherto expert philosophers accepting young Adi Shankara as their guru ad accepting his interpretation of the scriptures.

Important Literary work

  • Adi Shankaracharya wrote 18 commentaries on the scriptures including the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and 12 major Upanishads.
  • He wrote about two dozen books elucidating the fundamentals of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy.
  • Some of these books are Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Vaakya Vritti, and Upadesa Sahasri.
  • Adi Shankaracharya is credited to have composed 72 devotional and meditative hymns such as Soundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shalkam, Maneesha Panchakam.

Important Ashram founded by Adi Shankaracharya

  • Having established his superiority among all exponents of religion and philosophy of the time, Adi Shankaracharya founded four ashrams in the four corners of the country–
    • Badrinath for Atharva Veda.
    • Puri for Rig Veda
    • Dwaraka for Sama Veda
    • Sringeri for Yajur Veda
  • These were the centres to elucidate the essence of Advaita philosophy.

What is the Kedarnath Connection?

  • It is believed Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at Kedarnath.
  • It is said he was seen last by his disciples walking into the Himalayan woods at Kedarnath. He was not seen thereafter.
  • It was in the memory of Adi Shankaracharya, who is also addressed as Jagatguru (the universal teacher).

Verifying, please be patient.

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