Vedanta Philosophy of
Shankaracharya (509-477 BCE) was the originator and main teacher of advaita vedanta or (non-dualism).
His philosophy forms the basis for the teachings of the path of jnana.
Shankaracharya was the very first or "Adi" Jagadguru. In all his writings he stated that the soul and maya are not separate powers. The soul is God.
He described God as formless, without attributes, a non-performer of action and without any kind of internal or external distinctions. God has only one kind of nature. He is eternal and pure existence, unlimited knowledge and Divine bliss.
The world is just an indescribable illusion. The individual soul is the radiance or reflection of God and is also the same as God. In the state of ignorance, the soul is the combined effect of brahm (God) and maya (illusion). After the soul attains liberation, it realizes its original nature as brahm.
To illustrate the soul's relationship to God, he used the example of the space in a clay pot.
If the space inside a pot represents the soul, the space outside the pot represents God.
If the pot is broken, the internal space merges with the external space, and the distinguishing and separating characteristics of the mind end. At this point the soul becomes God.
To attain this nondual realization, he advised reflecting on "Tatvamasi" - A Vedic mantra which means, "You are that (God)." According to his teachings, true understanding of this comes from listening to (shravan) and repeatedly reflecting on this statement (manan) and absorbing oneself in meditation through its practical experience (nididhyasan).
Eventually, in the ultimate stage of gyan, this evolves into "Aham brahmasmi," or "I am God."
His philosophy became the base for the philosophy and teachings of the path of jnana, and also were the preceding proposition for the other Jagadgurus to reveal a more complete and reconciled description of God, soul and maya.