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 attain salvation.
Ans. Teachings of Baba Guru Nanak
i. He emphasized the importance of the worship of one God.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.
iv. His teachings underline the importance of right belief and worship, honest living, and helping others.
Ans. Major beliefs and practices of the Sufis
i. Sufis were Muslim mystics. They rejected outward religiosity and emphasised love and devotion to God and compassion towards all fellow human beings.
ii. The Sufis often rejected the elaborate rituals and codes of behavior demanded by Muslim religious scholars.
iii. 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 way.
iv. 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.
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