Sankara's Advaita reconciled popular Hinduism with the philosophy of the Upanishads. By offering worship to
Siva, Vishnu and other gods of the Hindu pantheon without any difference, Sankara condemned the narrow sectarianism of his contemporaries, and re-affirmed the truth of the
Vedic mantra, "Ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti -, the reality is one, the sages call it variously. A popular form of worship, which Sankara established, is Shanmata-the
worship of Surya, Ganapati, Kumara or Subrahmanya, Siva, Vishnu and Devi. His stotras or Slokas in praise of the various deities have given the learned as well as the illiterate a form of prayer at once simple, consoling and exhilarating.
Rich Heritage of Temples
Small wonder Hindu religious activity received a great impetus under Sankaracharya and before long became a predominant religion in Kerala. "And the fervors imagination of passionate saints, poets and people" as Mulk Raj Anand put it, "created a rich heritage of unique temples, built like domestic houses, with ample courtyards and tiled conical roofs." The accompanying ritualistic arts of dance-drama, such as Kathakali, Kutiyattam, Mohini
attam, and the folk styles, like Theyyam and Ottan Thullal, were rehearsed generation
after generation. The walls of the shrines were painted in large-scale adumbrations of the
legends of the gods, in vivid colors to offset the greens of the earth.