Question: Would you tell us about the souls of Ramanuja, Shankara and Madhava? Did they realise God?

Sri Chinmoy: They were all intellectual giants. At the same time, they had great aspiration. Some people are of the opinion that Shankara was an incarnation of the Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is a great spiritual Being; he is one of the gods in our Hindu Trinity. But in terms of realisation, Shankara cannot be placed on the same footing as a real spiritual Master or a Yogi. According to some spiritual giants, he was not a God-realised soul. And Ramanuja and Madhava were far below him. But all of them spoke on Vedanta philosophy, and they actually established three different paths. Ultimately, these three paths have only one aim. When we enter into each path, we feel that at the end of the journey, they reach the same goal.

Shankara lived in the eighth century A.D. Today in India, Shankhara is considered as a saint, a spiritual giant, but it is not absolutely correct. Realised souls are in a different category. And Madhava and Ramanuja were far from God-realisation in the strict sense of the term.