Paths to the Divine
Q45. Write a short note on Shankara.
Ans. Shankara, one of the most influential
philosophers of India, was born in Kerala in the eighth century. He was an
advocate of Advaita or the doctrine of the oneness of the individual soul and
the Supreme God which is the Ultimate Reality. He taught that Brahman, the only or Ultimate
Reality, was formless and without any attributes. He considered the world around
us to be an illusion or maya, and preached renunciation of the world and
adoption of the path of knowledge to understand the true nature of Brahman and
Q46. What were the major teachings of Baba Guru Nanak?
Teachings of Baba Guru Nanak
He emphasized the importance of the worship
of one God.
He insisted that caste, creed or gender was
irrelevant for attaining liberation. His idea of liberation was not that of a
state of inert bliss but rather the pursuit of active life with a strong sense
of social commitment.
He himself used the terms nam, dan and
isnan for the essence of his teaching, which actually meant right worship,
welfare of others and purity of conduct.
His teachings underline the importance of
right belief and worship, honest living, and helping others.
Q47. What were the major beliefs and practices of the Sufis?
Major beliefs and practices of the Sufis
Sufis were Muslim mystics. They rejected
outward religiosity and emphasised love and devotion to God and compassion
towards all fellow human beings.
The Sufis often rejected the elaborate
rituals and codes of behavior demanded by Muslim religious scholars.
They sought union with God much as a lover
seeks his beloved with a disregard for the world. Sufis
too believed that the heart can be trained to look at the world in a different
They developed elaborate methods of
training using zikr (chanting of a name or sacred formula), contemplation, sama
(singing), raqs (dancing), discussion of parables, breath control, etc. under
the guidance of a master or pir.