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Gaudapada – Foremost Teacher of Advaita

Gaudapada was on the foremost teachers of the Advaita Philosophy. He was the spiritual guide and teacher of Govinda, who was the Guru of Adi Shankaracharya. Gaudapada is believed to have lived during the 5th century AD. The philosophy of Gaudapada may be characterized as absolute non-dualism and establishes this doctrine both by the method of affirmation and negation.

He commented on the Upanishads. The scattered knowledge of Advaita philosophy were gathered and its principles were explained in a systematic way first by Gaudapada.

His main ideas can be found in the ‘karika’ of Brahma Sutras, which is divided into four parts. Adi Shankaracharya further elaborated his teachings and ideas.

Some important teachings of Gaudapada

Gaudapada states that both waking and dreaming states are similar, as the objects seen in both are unreal. Only the subject, the constant witness that is the Self, can be real.

That which is complete in itself, inborn and never ceases to be itself, is the only reality, as something subject to change, cannot be real.

The world of duality is nothing but a vibration of the mind.

The knowledge of non-difference between the individual and the supreme soul alone leads to liberation.

As per Dr S Radhakrishnan, Gaudapada accepted many Buddhist teachings that were not in conflict with his ideas. These teachings were added and adjusted to the Advaita philosophy.

Source - Hinduism an alphabetical guide Roshen Dalal
            - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy