adi shankara

of 13 /13
Adi Shankara 1 Adi Shankara Adi Shankara Adi Shankaracharya statue Date of Birth 788 CE Place of birth Kalady, Kerala, India Birth Shankara Date of death 820 CE [1] Place of death Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India Guru/Teacher Govinda Bhagavatpada Philosophy Advaita Vedanta Titles/Honors Introduced Advaita Vedanta, Hindu Revivalism, Founded Dashanami Sampradaya, Shanmata Shankaracharya with disciples, Painting by Raja Ravi Varma. Adi Shankara (Malayalam: ആദി ശങകരൻ, Sanskrit: आदि शङ्करः, IAST: Ādi Śaṅkara, pronounced [aːd̪i ɕaŋkərə]) (788 CE - 821 CE? [2] ), also known as Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya and Ādi Śaṅkarācārya, was an Indian philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. His teachings are based on the unity of the soul and Brahman, in which Brahman is viewed as without attributes. He hailed from Kalady of present day Kerala. Shankara travelled across India and other parts of South Asia to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He founded four mathas ("monasteries"), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organizer of the Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmata tradition of worship. His works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today, concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Nondualism). He also established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. Shankara represented his works as elaborating on

Upload: tripasca

Post on 06-Apr-2015




9 download

Embed Size (px)


Page 1: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 1

Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara

Adi Shankaracharya statueDate of Birth 788 CE

Place of birth Kalady, Kerala, India

Birth Shankara

Date of death 820 CE[1]

Place of death Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India

Guru/Teacher Govinda Bhagavatpada

Philosophy Advaita Vedanta

Titles/Honors Introduced Advaita Vedanta, Hindu Revivalism, Founded Dashanami Sampradaya, Shanmata

Shankaracharya with disciples, Painting by Raja RaviVarma.

Adi Shankara (Malayalam: ആദി ശങ്കരൻ, Sanskrit: आदि शङ्करः,IAST: Ādi Śaṅkara, pronounced [aːd̪i ɕaŋkərə]) (788 CE - 821CE?[2] ), also known as Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya and ĀdiŚaṅkarācārya, was an Indian philosopher who consolidated thedoctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. Histeachings are based on the unity of the soul and Brahman, in whichBrahman is viewed as without attributes. He hailed from Kalady ofpresent day Kerala.Shankara travelled across India and other parts of South Asia topropagate his philosophy through discourses and debates withother thinkers. He founded four mathas ("monasteries"), whichhelped in the historical development, revival and spread ofAdvaita Vedanta. Adi Shankara is believed to be the organizer ofthe Dashanami monastic order and the founder of the Shanmatatradition of worship.

His works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today, concernthemselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita(Nondualism). He also established the importance of monastic lifeas sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time whenthe Mimamsa school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. Shankara represented his works aselaborating on

Page 2: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 2

Adi Guru Shri Gauḍapādāchārya, the grand guruof Shri Adi Shankaracharya and the first

historical proponent of Advaita Vedanta, alsobelieved to be the founder of Shri

Gaudapadacharya Math

ideas found in the Upanishads, and he wrote copious commentaries onthe Vedic Canon (Brahma Sutra, Principal Upanishads andBhagavadgita) in support of his thesis. The main opponent in his workis the Mimamsa school of thought, though he also offers somearguments against the views of some other schools like Samkhya andcertain schools of Buddhism that he was partly familiar with.


Traditional accounts of Adi Shankara's life can be found in theShankara Vijayams, which are poetic works that contain a mix ofbiographical and legendary material, written in the epic style. The mostimportant among these biographies are the Mādhavīya ŚaṅkaraVijayaṃ (of Mādhava, c. 14th century), the Cidvilāsīya ŚaṅkaraVijayaṃ (of Cidvilāsa, c. between 15th century and 17th century), andthe Keraļīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ (of the Kerala region, extant from c.17th century).[3] [4]

Birth and childhood

The birth place of Adi Shankara at Kalady

Shankara was born to Kaippilly Sivaguru Namboodiri and AryambaAntharjanam in or near Kaladi in central Kerala. According to lore, itwas after his parents, who had been childless for many years, prayed atthe Vadakkunnathan temple, Thrissur that Sankara was born under thestar Thiruvathira.[5] [6]

His father died while Shankara was very young. Shankara'supanayanaṃ, the initiation into student-life, was performed at the ageof five. As a child, Shankara showed remarkable scholarship,mastering the four Vedas by the age of eight.[7]


From a young age, Shankara was inclined towards sannyasa, but it was only after much persuasion that his motherfinally gave her consent.[8] Shankara then left Kerala and travelled towards North India in search of a guru. On thebanks of the Narmada River, he met Govinda Bhagavatpada, the disciple of Gaudapada. When GovindaBhagavatpada asked Shankara's identity, he replied with an extempore verse that brought out the Advaita Vedantaphilosophy. Govinda Bhagavatapada was impressed and took Shankara as his disciple.[9]

The guru instructed Shankara to write a commentary on the Brahma Sutras and propagate the Advaita philosophy.Shankara travelled to

Page 3: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 3

Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthampa Mandapam,Kalady, Kerala

Kashi, where a young man named Sanandana, hailing from Cholaterritory in South India, became his first disciple. According to legend,while on his way to the Vishwanath Temple, Sankara came upon anuntouchable accompanied by four dogs. When asked to move aside byShankara's disciples, the untouchable replied: "Do you wish that Imove my ever lasting Ātman ("the Self"), or this body made of flesh?"Realizing that the untouchable was none other than god Shiva himself,and his dogs the four Vedas, Shankara prostrated himself before him,composing five shlokas known as Manisha Panchakam.[10] [11]

At Badari he wrote his famous Bhashyas ("commentaries") and Prakarana granthas ("philosophical treatises").[12]


Meeting with Mandana MishraOne of the most famous debates of Adi Shankara was with the ritualist Mandana Mishra. Madana Mishra's guru wasthe famous Mimamsa philosopher, Kumarīla Bhaṭṭa. Shankara sought a debate with Kumarīla Bhaṭṭa and met him inPrayag where he had buried himself in a slow burning pyre to repent for sins committed against his guru: KumarīlaBhaṭṭa had learned Buddhist philosophy from his Buddhist guru under false pretenses, in order to be able to refute it.Learning anything without the knowledge of one's guru while still under his authority constitutes a sin according tothe Vedas.[14] Kumarīla Bhaṭṭa thus asked Adi Shankara to proceed to Mahiṣmati (known today as MahishiBangaon, Saharsa in Bihar)[15] to meet Maṇḍana Miśra and debate with him instead.After debating for over fifteen days, with Maṇḍana Miśra's wife Ubhaya Bhāratī acting as referee, Maṇḍana Miśraaccepted defeat.[16] Ubhaya Bhāratī then challenged Adi Shankara to have a debate with her in order to 'complete'the victory. She asks the questions in "kamasutra" in which sankaracharya has no knowledge since he is a truecelibate and sanyasi,So he uses the art of "parakaya pravesa" and his soul joins a dead body of a king.And heacquires all the knowledge of "art of love" from the queen from questionnaire.Finally Ubhaya Bhāratī allowedMaṇḍana Miśra to accept sannyasa with the monastic name Sureśvarācārya, as per the agreed rules of the debate.[17]

Page 4: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 4

Missionary tour

Sharada temple at Sringeri Sharada Peetham,Sringeri

Adi Shankara then travelled with his disciples to Maharashtra andSrisailam. In Srisailam, he composed Shivanandalahari, a devotionalhymn in praise of Shiva. The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam says thatwhen Shankara was about to be sacrificed by a Kapalika, the godNarasimha appeared to save Shankara in response to Padmapada'sprayer to him. As a result, Adi Shankara composed theLaksmi-Narasimha stotra.[18]

He then travelled to Gokarṇa, the temple of Hari-Shankara and theMūkambika temple at Kollur. At Kollur, he accepted as his disciple aboy believed to be dumb by his parents. He gave him the name,Hastāmalakācārya ("one with the amalaka fruit on his palm", i.e., onewho has clearly realised the Self). Next, he visited Śṛngeri to establishthe Śārada Pīṭham and made Toṭakācārya his disciple.[19]

After this, Adi Shankara began a Dig-vijaya (tour of conquest) for the propagation of the Advaita philosophy bycontroverting all philosophies opposed to it. He travelled throughout India, from South India to Kashmir and Nepal,preaching to the local populace and debating philosophy with Hindu, Buddhist and other scholars and monks alongthe way.

With the Malayali King Sudhanva as companion, Shankara passed through Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh andVidarbha. He then started towards Karnataka where he encountered a band of armed Kapalikas. King Sudhanva,with his Nairs, resisted and defeated the Kapalikas. They safely reached Gokarna where Shankara defeated in debatethe Shaiva scholar, Neelakanta.Proceeding to Saurashtra (the ancient Kambhoja)[20] and having visited the shrines of Girnar, Somnath and Prabhasaand explaining the superiority of Vedanta in all these places, he arrived at Dwarka. Bhaṭṭa Bhāskara of Ujjayini, theproponent of Bhedābeda philosophy, was humbled. All the scholars of Ujjayini (also known as Avanti) accepted AdiShankara's philosophy.He then defeated the Jainas in philosophical debates at a place called Bahlika. Thereafter, the Acharya establishedhis victory over several philosophers and ascetics in Kamboja (region of North Kashmir), Darada (Dabistan) andmany regions situated in the desert and crossing mighty peaks, entered Kashmir. Later, he had an encounter with atantrik, Navagupta at Kamarupa.[21]

Page 5: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 5

Accession to Sarvajnapitha

Statue of Adi Shankara at hisSamadhi Mandir, behind Kedarnath

Temple, in Kedarnath, India

Adi Shankara visited Sarvajñapīṭha (Sharada Peeth) in Kashmir (now inPakistan-occupied Kashmir).[22] The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam states thistemple had four doors for scholars from the four cardinal directions. Thesouthern door (representing South India) had never been opened, indicating thatno scholar from South India had entered the Sarvajna Pitha. Adi Shankaraopened the southern door by defeating in debate all the scholars there in all thevarious scholastic disciplines such as Mimamsa, Vedanta and other branches ofHindu philosophy; he ascended the throne of Transcendent wisdom of thattemple.[23]

Towards the end of his life, Adi Shankara travelled to the Himalayan area ofKedarnath-Badrinath and attained videha mukti ("freedom from embodiment").There is a samadhi mandir dedicated to Adi Shankara behind the Kedarnathtemple. However, there are variant traditions on the location of his last days. Onetradition, expounded by Keraliya Shankaravijaya, places his place of death asVadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur, Kerala.[24] The followers of the Kanchikamakoti pitha claim that he ascended the Sarvajñapīṭha and attained videha mukti in Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu).

DatesAt least two different dates have been proposed for Shankara:• 788–820 CE: This is the mainstream scholarly opinion, placing Shankara in mid to late 8th century CE. These

dates are based on records at the Śṛṅgeri Śāradā Pīṭham, which is the only matha to have maintained a relativelyunbroken record of its Acharyas; starting with the third Acharya, one can with reasonable confidence date theothers from the 8th century to the present.[25] The Sringeri records state that Shankara was born in the 14th yearof the reign of "VikramAditya", but it is unclear as to which king this name refers. Though some researchersidentify the name with Chandragupta II (4th. c. CE), modern scholarship accepts the VikramAditya as being fromthe Chalukya dynasty of Badami, most likely Vikramaditya II (733–746 CE),[26] which would place him in themiddle of the 8th c.[25] The date 788–820 is also among those considered acceptable by Swami Tapasyananda,though he raises a number of questions.[27] It is also acceptable to Keay.[28]

• 509–477 BCE: This dating, more than a millennium ahead of all others, is based on records of the heads of theShankara Maṭhas at Dwaraka matha and Puri matha and the fifth Peetham at Kanchi.[29] However, such an earlydate is not consistent with the fact that Shankara quotes the Buddhist logician Dharmakirti, who finds mention inHuen Tsang (7th c.).[25] Also, his near-contemporary Kumarila Bhatta is usually dated ca. 8th c. CE. Mostscholars feel that due to invasions and other discontinuities, the records of the Dwarka and Puri mathas are not asreliable as those for Sringeri.[25] Thus, while considerable debate exists, the pre-Christian Era dates are usuallydiscounted, and the most likely period for Shankara is during the 8th c. CE.

Page 6: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 6


विद्याशंकर मंदिर (Vidyashankara temple) at SringeriSharada Peetham, Sringeri

Adi Shankara founded four Maṭhas (Sanskrit: मठ) to guide the Hindureligion. These are at Sringeri in Karnataka in the south, Dwaraka inGujarat in the west, Puri in Orissa in the east, and Jyotirmath(Joshimath) in Uttarakhand in the north. Hindu tradition states that heput in charge of these mathas his four main disciples:Sureshwaracharya, Hastamalakacharya, Padmapadacharya, andTotakacharya respectively. The heads of the mathas trace theirauthority back to these figures. Each of the heads of these four mathastakes the title of Shankaracharya ("the learned Shankara") after the firstShankaracharya. The table below gives an overview of the fourAmnaya Mathas founded by Adi Shankara and their details.[30]

Śishya Maṭha Mahāvākya Veda Sampradaya

Hastāmalakācārya GovardhanaPīṭhaṃ

Prajñānam brahma (Brahman is Knowledge) Rig Veda Bhogavala

Sureśvarācārya Śārada Pīṭhaṃ Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman) Yajur Veda Bhūrivala

Padmapādācārya Dvāraka Pīṭhaṃ Tattvamasi (That thou art) Sama Veda Kitavala

Toṭakācārya Jyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman) AtharvaVeda


Philosophy and religious thought

The Hamsa (Sanskrit: "swan") is an importantmotif in Advaita Vedanta. Its symbolic meanings

are as follows: firstly, upon verbally repeatinghamsa, it becomes soham (Sanskrit, "I am That").

Secondly, even as a hamsa lives in water itsfeathers are not sullied by it, a liberated Advaitinlives in this world full of Maya but is untouchedby its illusion. Thirdly, a monk of the Dashanami

order is called a Paramahamsa ("supremehamsa")

Advaita ("non-dualism") is often called a monistic system of thought.The word "Advaita" essentially refers to the identity of the Self(Atman) and the Whole (Brahman[31] ). Advaita Vedanta says the oneunchanging entity (Brahman) alone exists, and that changing entitiesdo not have absolute existence, much as the ocean's waves have noexistence in separation from the ocean. The key source texts for allschools of Vedānta are the Prasthanatrayi–the canonical textsconsisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the BrahmaSutras.

Adi Shankara was the first in the tradition to consolidate the siddhānta("doctrine") of Advaita Vedanta. He wrote commentaries on thePrasthana Trayi. A famous quote from Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, one of hisprakarana granthas that succinctly summarises his philosophy is:

Brahma satyaṃ jagat mithyā, jīvo brahmaiva nāparah

Brahman is the only truth, the spatio-temporal world is anillusion, and there is ultimately no difference betweenBrahman and individual self.

Advaita Vedanta is based on śāstra ("scriptures"), yukti ("reason") and anubhava ("experience"), and aided bykarmas ("spiritual practices").[32] This philosophy provides a clear-cut way of life to be followed. Starting from

childhood, when learning has to start, the philosophy has to be realised in practice throughout one's life, even up to death. This is the reason why this philosophy is called an experiential philosophy-the underlying tenet being "That

Page 7: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 7

thou art", meaning that ultimately there is no difference between the experiencer and the experienced (the world) aswell as the universal spirit (Brahman). Among the followers of Advaita, as well those of other doctrines, there arebelieved to have appeared Jivanmuktas, ones liberated while alive. These individuals (commonly called Mahatmas,great souls, among Hindus) are those who realised the oneness of their self and the universal spirit called Brahman.Adi Shankara's Bhashyas (commentaries) on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras are hisprincipal works. Although he mostly adhered to traditional means of commenting on the Brahma Sutra, there are anumber of original ideas and arguments to establish that the essence of Upanishads is Advaita. He taught that it wasonly through direct knowledge that one could realize Brahman. "A perception of the fact that the object seen is arope will remove the fear and sorrow which result from the illusory idea that it is a serpent". Cited from Shankara's"Vivekachuudaamani"/ verse #12/translated by Mohini M Chatterji. This metaphor was borrowed from YogacaraBuddhist thinkers, who used it in a different context.[33]

Adi Shankara's opponents accused him of teaching Buddhism in the garb of Hinduism, because his non-dualisticideals seemed rather radical to contemporary Hindu philosophy. However, although Advaita proposes the theory ofMaya, explaining the universe as a "trick of a magician", Adi Shankara and his followers see this as a consequenceof their basic premise that Brahman alone is real. Their idea of Maya emerges from their belief in the reality ofBrahman, as opposed to Buddhist doctrines of emptiness, which emerge from the empirical Buddhist approach ofobserving the nature of reality.

Historical and cultural impact

Part of a series onHindu philosophy


Samkhya · Yoga · Nyaya · Vaisheshika · Purva Mimamsa · Vedanta (Advaita · Vishishtadvaita · Dvaita · Achintya Bheda Abheda)



Gautama · Jaimini · Kanada · Kapila · Markandeya · Patañjali · Valmiki · VyasaMedieval

Adi Shankara · Basava · Dnyaneshwar · Chaitanya · Gangesha Upadhyaya · Gaudapada · Jayanta Bhatta · Kabir · Kumarila Bhatta ·Madhusudana · Madhva · Namdeva · Nimbarka · Prabhakara · Raghunatha Siromani · Ramanuja · Vedanta Desika · Tukaram · Tulsidas ·

Vachaspati Mishra · VallabhaModern

Aurobindo · Coomaraswamy · Dayananda Saraswati · Gandhi · Krishnananda · Narayana Guru · Prabhupada · Ramakrishna · RamanaMaharshi · Radhakrishnan · Sivananda · Vivekananda · Yogananda

Shankara developed a monastic order on the Buddhist model, and also borrowed concepts from Buddhistphilosophy.[34]

Pande (1994: p. 255) identifies the entwined relationship of Buddhism and the view of Shankara:The relationship of Śaṅkara to Buddhism has been the subject of considerable debate since ancienttimes. He has been hailed as the arch critic of Buddhism and the principal architect of its downfall inIndia. At the same time he has been described as a Buddhist in disguise. Both these opinions have beenexpressed by ancient as well as modern authors--scholars, philosophers, historians and sectaries.[35]

Page 8: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 8

While Shankara is given credit for the defeat of Buddhism in Hindu literature, he was in fact active after Buddhismhad almost entirely faded from prominence. In particular, he was not a contemporary of the last great IndianBuddhist philosopher, Dharmakirti. When Shankara came north to the intellectual centers there, he borrowed manyof the ideas that had been formulated by Buddhist philosophers of the past.[36]

In his exposition that the world is an illusion, Shankara borrowed arguments from Madhyamaka and Yogacara,though he disagreed with them on some matters.[37] Despite this, Shankara described the Buddha as an enemy of thepeople.[34]

At the time of Adi Shankara's life, Hinduism was increasing in influence in India at the expense of Buddhism andJainism. Hinduism was divided into innumerable sects, each quarreling with the others. The followers of Mimamsaand Sankhya philosophy were atheists, insomuch that they did not believe in God as a unified being. Besides theseatheists, there were numerous theistic sects. There were also those who rejected the Vedas, like the Charvakas.Adi Shankara held discourses and debates with the leading scholars of all these sects and schools of philosophy tocontrovert their doctrines. He unified the theistic sects into a common framework of Shanmata system. In his works,Adi Shankara stressed the importance of the Vedas, and his efforts helped Hinduism regain strength and popularity.Many trace the present worldwide domination of Vedanta to his works. He travelled on foot to various parts of Indiato restore the study of the Vedas.Even though he lived for only thirty-two years, his impact on India and on Hinduism was striking. He reintroduced apurer form of Vedic thought. His teachings and tradition form the basis of Smartism and have influenced Sant Matlineages.[38] He is the main figure in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He was the founder of the DaśanāmiSampradāya of Hindu monasticism and Ṣaṇmata of Smarta tradition. He introduced the Pañcāyatana form ofworship.Adi Shankara, along with Madhva and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism. These three teachersformed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects even today. They have been the most importantfigures in the recent history of Hindu philosophy. In their writings and debates, they provided polemics against thenon-Vedantic schools of Sankhya, Vaisheshika etc. Thus they paved the way for Vedanta to be the dominant andmost widely followed tradition among the schools of Hindu philosophy. The Vedanta school stresses most on theUpanishads (which are themselves called Vedanta, End or culmination of the Vedas), unlike the other schools thatgave importance to the ritualistic Brahmanas, or to texts authored by their founders. The Vedanta schools hold thatthe Vedas, which include the Upanishads, are unauthored, forming a continuous tradition of wisdom transmittedorally. Thus the concept of apaurusheyatva ("being unauthored") came to be the guiding force behind the Vedantaschools. However, along with stressing the importance of Vedic tradition, Adi Shankara gave equal importance tothe personal experience of the student. Logic, grammar, Mimamsa and allied subjects form main areas of study in allthe Vedanta schools.Regarding meditation, Shankara refuted the system of Yoga and its disciplines as a direct means to attain moksha,rebutting the argument that it can be obtained through concentration of the mind. His position is that the mentalstates discovered through the practices of Yoga can be indirect aids to the gain of knowledge, but cannot themselvesgive rise to it. According to his philosophy, knowledge of brahman springs from inquiry into the words of theUpanishads, and the knowledge of brahman that shruti provides cannot be obtained in any other way.[39] Moreover,Shankara was committed to the caste system.[40] He also believed that the most important access to highest truth wasVedic texts, and that access to these liberating texts should be socially restricted to upper-caste males.[40]

It has to be noted that it is generally considered that for Shankara the Absolute Reality is attributeless and impersonal, while for Madhava and Ramanuja, the Absolute Truth is Vishnu. This has been a subject of debate, interpretation, and controversy since Shankara himself is attributed to composing the popular 8th century Hindu devotional composition Bhaja Govindam (literal meaning, "Worship Govinda"). This work of Adi Shankara is considered as a good summary of Advaita Vedanta and underscores the view that devotion to God, Govinda, is not only an important part of general spirituality, but the concluding verse drives through the message of Shankara:

Page 9: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 9

"Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool! Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is noother way to cross the life's ocean". Bhaja Govindam invokes the almighty in the aspect of Vishnu; it is thereforevery popular not only with Sri Adi Shankaracharya's immediate followers, the Smarthas, but also with Vaishnavasand others.A well known verse, recited in the Smarta tradition, in praise of Adi Shankara is:

श्रुति स्मृति पुराणानामालयं करुणालयं|नमामि भगवत्पादशंकरं लॊकशंकरं ||Śruti smṛti purāṇānāṃālayaṃ karuṇālayaṃ|Namāmi Bhagavatpādaśaṅkaraṃ lokaśaṅkaraṃ||I salute the compassionate abode of the Vedas, Smritis and Puranas known as Shankara Bhagavatpada,who makes the world auspicious.

Adi Shankara begins his Gurustotram or Verses to the Guru with the following Sanskrit Sloka, that has become awidely sung Bhajan:

Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu, Guru Deva Maheshwara. Guru Sakshath Parambrahma, Tasmai Shri GuraveNamaha. (tr: Guru is the creator Brahma, Guru is the preserver Vishnu, Guru is the destroyer Shiva. Guru isdirectly the supreme spirit — I offer my salutations to this Guru.)

WorksAdi Shankara's works deal with logically establishing the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta as he saw it in theUpanishads. He formulates the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta by validating his arguments on the basis of quotationsfrom the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. He gives a high priority to svānubhava ("personal experience") of thestudent. His works are largely polemical in nature. He directs his polemics mostly against the Sankhya, Buddha,Jaina, Vaisheshika and other non-vedantic Hindu philosophies.Traditionally, his works are classified under Bhāṣya ("commentary"), Prakaraṇa grantha ("philosophical treatise")and Stotra ("devotional hymn"). The commentaries serve to provide a consistent interpretation of the scriptural textsfrom the perspective of Advaita Vedanta. The philosophical treatises provide various methodologies to the student tounderstand the doctrine. The devotional hymns are rich in poetry and piety, serving to highlight the relationshipbetween the devotee and the deity.Adi Shankara wrote Bhashyas on the ten major Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. In his works,he quotes from Shveshvatara, Kaushitakai, Mahanarayana and Jabala Upanishads, among others. Bhashyas onKaushitaki, Nrisimhatapani and Shveshvatara Upanishads are extant but the authenticity is doubtful.[41] AdiShankara's is the earliest extant commentary on the Brahma Sutras. However, he mentions older commentaries likethose of Dravida, Bhartrprapancha and others.[42]

In his Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Adi Shankara cites the examples of Dharmavyadha, Vidura and others, who were bornwith the knowledge of Brahman acquired in previous births. He mentions that the effects cannot be prevented fromworking on account of their present birth. He states that the knowledge that arises out of the study of the Vedas couldbe had through the Puranas and the Itihasas. In the Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashya 2.2, he says:[43]

Sarveśāṃ cādhikāro vidyāyāṃ ca śreyah: kevalayā vidyāyā veti siddhaṃ

It has been established that everyone has the right to the knowledge (of Brahman) and that the supremegoal is attained by that knowledge alone.

Among the independent philosophical treatises, only Upadeśasāhasrī is accepted as authentic by modern academicscholars. Many other such texts exist, among which there is a difference of opinion among scholars on the authorshipof Viveka Chudamani. The former pontiff of Sringeri Math, Shri Shri Chandrashekhara Bharati III has written avoluminous commentary on the Viveka Chudamani.

Page 10: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 10

Adi Shankara also wrote commentaries on other scriptural works, such as the Vishnu sahasranāma and theSānatsujātiya.[44] Like the Bhagavad Gita, both of these are contained in the Mahabhārata.

FilmIn 1983 a film directed by G. V. Iyer named Adi Shankaracharya was premiered, the first film ever made entirely inSanskrit language in which all of Adi Shankaracharya's works were compiled.[45] [46]

See also• List of Advaita Vedanta-related topics• Shri Gaudapadacharya Mutt• Adi Shri Gauḍapādāchārya• Shri Govinda Bhagavatpadacharya• Mandukya Upanishad• Advaita

References• Isayeva, Natalia (1993). Shankara and Indian Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press (SUNY).• Keay, John (2000). India: A History. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0.• Mudgal, S.G. (1975). Advaita of Shankara: A Reappraisal. New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass.• Swami, Tapasyananda (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya by

Madhava-Vidyaranya. India: Sri Ramakrishna Math. ISBN 81-7120-434-1.• Greaves, Ron (March 2002). From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara). 27th Spalding

Symposium on Indian Religions, Oxford.

Further reading• Ingalls, Daniel H. H. (1954). "Saṃkara's Arguments Against the Buddhists" [47]. Philosophy East and West

(Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press) 3 (4): 291–306. doi:10.2307/1397287.

External links

Works• Complete Works of Adi Shankara [48]

• Advaita Vedanta Anusandhana Kendra [49]

• Complete works of Adi Shankara [50]

• Advaita Vedanta Library [51] (Archived [52] 2009-10-24)• Some major works of Adi Shankaracharya [53]

• Adi Sankara's Books [54]

• Shastra Nethralaya, Rishikesh [55]

Page 11: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 11

Historical• "Guru Parampara of Sringeri Sharada Peetham" [56]. Archived from the original [57] on 2006-06-19.• Sankara's date supporting the 788–820 CE date [58]

• Material supporting the 509–477 BCE dates [59] (PDF)

Life and teachings• Brief life history of Adi Shankara with informative additional links [60]

• Adi Śańkara [61]—short introduction to his life & philosophy (by Peter J. King)• Biography of Shankara [62] by Swami Sivananda

Mathas• Shringeri Sharada Peetham [63]

References[1] Sharma, Chandradhar (1962). "Chronological Summary of History of Indian Philosophy". Indian Philosophy: A Critical Survey. New York:

Barnes & Noble. p. vi.[2] http:/ / dictionary. reference. com/ browse/ Shankara+ Charya?o=100084& qsrc=2871& l=dir[3] Vidyasankar, S.. "The Sankaravijaya literature" (http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta. org/ avhp/ sankara-vijayam. html). . Retrieved 2006-08-23.[4] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. viii.[5] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 14.[6] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 17.[7] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 28–29.[8] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 40–50.[9] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 51–56.[10] Adi Shankara. "Manisha Panchakam" (http:/ / www. celextel. org/ adisankara/ manishapanchakam. html). . Retrieved 2006-08-04.[11] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 57–62.[12] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 62–63.[13] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 70–73.[14] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 77–80.[15] "Pilgrimages- Maheshwar" (http:/ / www. 1upindia. com/ pilgrimages/ maheshwar. html). . Retrieved 2006-06-26.[16] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 81–104.[17] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 117–129.[18] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 130–135.[19] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 136–150.[20] See Link: (http:/ / www. geocities. com/ advaitavedant/ shankarabio. htm). Archived (http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ 5kmBtzjii)

2009-10-24.[21] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 160–185.[22] "Photos of Sharada Temple (Sarvajna Pitha), Sharda, PoK" (http:/ / closing. photos. yahoo. com/ uk/ photos_closed. php). . Retrieved

2006-06-26.[23] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. 186–195.[24] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Sankara-Dig-Vijaya. xxv-xxxv.[25] Vidyasankar, S.. "Determining Shankara's Date — An overview of ancient sources and modern literature" (http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta.

org/ avhp/ dating-Sankara. html). . Retrieved 2006-06-26.[26] K. A. Nilakantha Sastry, A History of South India, 4th ed., Oxford University Press, Madras, 1976.[27] Tapasyananda, Swami (2002). Shankara-Dig-Vijaya. pp. xv-xxiv.[28] The dating of 788–820 is accepted in Keay, p. 194.[29] "(53) Chronological chart of the history of Bharatvarsh since its origination" (http:/ / encyclopediaofauthentichinduism. org/ articles/ 53. 3.

htm). encyclopedia of authentic hinduism. . This site claims to integrate characters from the epics into a continuous chronology. They presentthe list of Dwarka and Kanchi Acharya's, along with their putative dates.

However, the succession of Acharya's at these two mathas were often disrupted by geopolitical realities, and these records are not considered as reliable as the Sringeri chronology. Also, such an early date would be in conflict with much else in Indian chronology. According to these revisionist models, these are the actual dates, and it is other collateral dates, such as the date of Buddha (which serves as an anchor for modern academic history of India), that

Page 12: Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara 12

need to be moved back.[30] "Adi Shankara's four Amnaya Peethams" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060626233820/ http:/ / www. sringerisharadapeetham. org/

html/ History/ amnaya. html). Archived from the original (http:/ / www. sringerisharadapeetham. org/ html/ History/ amnaya. html) on2006-06-26. . Retrieved 2006-08-20.

[31] Brahman is not to be confused with Brahma, the Creator and one-third of the Trimurti along with Shiva, the Destroyer and Vishnu, thePreserver.

[32] See "Study the Vedas daily. Perform diligently the duties ("karmas") ordained by them" from Sadhana Panchakam (http:/ / www.sankaracharya. org/ sadhana_panchakam. php) of Adi Shankara

[33] Karel Werner, in Karel Werner, ed., The Yogi and the Mystic. Routledge, 1995, page 67.[34] Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism. Cambridge University Press, 1990, page 140.[35] Govind Chandra Pande (1994). Life and thought of Śaṅkarācārya. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 8120811046, 9788120811041. Source:

(http:/ / books. google. com. au/ books?id=xKJCLHc1mAQC& printsec=frontcover& source=gbs_v2_summary_r& cad=0#v=onepage&q=sramana& f=false) (accessed: Friday March 19, 2010), p.255

[36] Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard University Press, 2000, pages 239-240.[37] Randall Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change. Harvard University Press, 2000, page 248.[38] Ron Geaves (March 2002). From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara). 27th Spalding Symposium on Indian

Religions, Oxford.[39] Anantanand Rambachan, The limits of scripture: Vivekananda's reinterpretation of the Vedas. University of Hawaii Press, 1994, pages 124,

125: (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=b9EJBQG3zqUC& pg=PA124& dq=brahma+ as+ opposed+ to+ brahman& lr=#PPA124,M1).[40] Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy: Irigaray to Lushi chunqiu, Volume 5. Taylor & Francis 1998, page 460.[41] Vidyasankar, S. "Sankaracarya" (http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta. org/ avhp/ sankara. html). . Retrieved 2006-07-24.[42] Mishra, Godavarisha. "A Journey through Vedantic History -Advaita in the Pre-Sankara, Sankara and Post- Sankara Periods" (http:/ / www.

ochs. org. uk/ downloads/ classes/ gmishra02mmas04. pdf) (pdf). . Retrieved 2006-07-24.[43] Subbarayan, K. "Sankara, the Jagadguru" (http:/ / www. svbf. org/ sringeri/ journal/ vol1no3/ sankara. html). . Retrieved 2006-07-24.[44] Johannes Buitenen (1978). The Mahābhārata (vol. 3) (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=wFtXBGNn0aUC& pg=PA182&

dq=sanatsujatiya& cd=19#v=onepage& q=sanatsujatiya& f=false). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226846652[45] Adi Shankaracharya (http:/ / www. imdb. com/ title/ tt0085138/ ) at the Internet Movie Database[46] Complete Movie on Youtube (http:/ / www. youtube. com/ watch?v=3ePzneq-Wnk& feature=PlayList& p=41A0CAF8DFA3924F&

playnext=1& playnext_from=PL& index=42), YouTube[47] http:/ / ccbs. ntu. edu. tw/ FULLTEXT/ JR-PHIL/ ew27155. htm[48] http:/ / www. sankara. iitk. ac. in/[49] http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta. org/[50] http:/ / www. shankaracharya. org/[51] http:/ / www. geocities. com/ advaitavedant/ index. htm[52] http:/ / www. webcitation. org/ 5kmBtb1bg[53] http:/ / sanskritdocuments. org/ doc_z_misc_shankara/ doc_z_misc_shankara. html[54] http:/ / www. celextel. org/ adisankara/[55] http:/ / www. Shastranethralaya. org/[56] http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20060619031752/ http:/ / www. sringerisharadapeetham. org/ html/ History/ guruparampara. html[57] http:/ / www. sringerisharadapeetham. org/ html/ History/ guruparampara. html[58] http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta. org/ avhp/ dating-Sankara. html[59] http:/ / www. easterntradition. org/ original%20sankaracarya. pdf[60] http:/ / www. advaita-vedanta. org/ avhp/ sankara-life. html[61] http:/ / users. ox. ac. uk/ ~worc0337/ authors/ shankara. html[62] http:/ / www. dlshq. org/ saints/ sankara. htm[63] http:/ / www. sringerisharadapeetham. org/

Page 13: Adi Shankara

Article Sources and Contributors 13

Article Sources and ContributorsAdi Shankara  Source:  Contributors: 478jjjz, Abecedare, Ahoerstemeier, Akarkera, Aksi great, Alan Au, Alexfiles, Algont, Alpheus,Alren, Amalas, Amartyabag, Ameinias, Amithchandhran, Amitsoni81, Anand v21, Anandg408, Andries, Animesh78, Apnavana, Appaiah, AppleJuggler, Arjun024, Arl123wiki, ArunShanbhag,Aruton, Arvind Iyengar, Arvindn, Ashok Prabhu, Athmaiyer, Auntof6, Auric, B9 hummingbird hovering, Babub, BalajiRamasubramanian, Bang write, Baqu11, Bark4nai, Barticus88, Benne,Bhadani, Bhairava11, Bharatadesam, Bharatveer, Bijee, Blucr0n, BostonMA, Brhaspati, Brianhe, Brighterorange, Bsskchaitanya, Buddhipriya, Butsuri, C21K, CFynn, CNRNair, Casmurthy,Chancemill, Cibu, Colsinghdr, CommonsDelinker, Cribananda, Cyberoger, DaGizza, Dangerous-Boy, Daniel2000, DanielCD, Davidcannon, Daviddariusbijan, Dbachmann, Deeptrivia,Discospinster, Dolive21, Donleavy1, Drmulgund, Dupz, Dwaipayanc, Dysprosia, Editor2020, Editorofthewiki, Ekabhishek, Epabhith, Epolk, Fauncet, Fconaway, FeloniousMonk, Filosofico,Frankly speaking, Fratrep, Fredrik, Gaius Cornelius, Ganeshk, Gaura79, Gdo01, Gimmetrow, Gnanapiti, Goethean, Goposky, Gregbard, Gregory Shantz, Gurubrahma, HPN, Hadal, Hahamhanuka, Hanuman Das, Harishaluru, Harryboyles, Haruo, Health Researcher, Hemanshu, IW.HG, Imc, Imursnikhil, India Gate, IndianCow, Indologistjha, J04n, Jammedfly, Jimbo Quails, Jkelly,JohnOwens, Jossi, Jpxt2000, Kannan91, Karimpuli, Karl-Henner, Kaysov, Kbdank71, Keraunos, Kevin B12, Keynes.john.maynard, Kh7, Kjrajesh, Kkrystian, Knowledge Seeker, Krishgaay,Kwamikagami, Leolaursen, Lestrade, Lightmouse, LordSimonofShropshire, Lostintherush, LyleHoward, Madhava 1947, Magicalsaumy, Maitasti, Makks2010, Mankar Camoran, Mayasutra,MeInsha, Mel Etitis, Mitsube, Mkarja, Mouchoir le Souris, Mporter, Msikma, Mukerjee, Nad, Nataraja, Natarajan Dhandapany, Naveen Sankar, Nharipra, Nichalp, Nicke Lilltroll,Nirmalanarayanan, Nkarty, Omicronpersei8, OneGuy, Oo64eva, OpelC, Open2universe, Optimate, Pannir, Paxse, Piano non troppo, PoccilScript, Poda, Pramukh Arkalgud Ganeshamurthy,Pranathi, Praveenp, Priyanath, Promykg, Raamah, Raj2004, Rama's Arrow, RandomP, Raul654, Ravikiran r, RedHillian, Redtigerxyz, Riana, Rjwilmsi, Robert1947, RobertG, Roland zh,Roland2, Rursus, STGM, Sam Spade, Samir, SandyGeorgia, Sap.prabhu, Satyadev, Schutz, Sethie, Shahab, Sharnak, Shivohum, Shrivathsa, Shyamsunder, Siva1979, Skbhat, Solidentry,SpacemanSpiff, Sri1968, Sridhar Babu, Sriram sh, Srkris, Ssri1983, Sulfis, Swami Vimokshananda, Sweetprashanth, Sydney Ambrose, Syiem, THF, Tarakananda, Template namespaceinitialisation script, The7thmagus, TheMandarin, TheNeon, TheSNB, Thunderboltz, Tom Radulovich, Tommy2010, Tony Sidaway, Tpbradbury, Treisijs, Tripping Nambiar, Tseno Maximov,Ttpaam, Tuxide, Twas Now, Venkkatesh, Vensub 2002, Venu62, Vidyasankar, Vijayanandga, Viswanathbhai, Vivin, Whoami, Wiki5d, Wikijos, Worldwidescout, Writtenright, Wsiegmund,Xaven, Xcentaur, Yogacharya, Zachlipton, Zanimum, Zzuuzz, రవిచంద్ర, 475 anonymous edits

Image Sources, Licenses and ContributorsFile:Adi Shankara Statue.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Babub, GregbardFile:Raja Ravi Varma - Sankaracharya.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Raja RaviVarmaFile:Shri Gaudapadacharya Statue.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors:Ashok Prabhu. Original uploader was Ashok Prabhu at en.wikipediaImage:Kaladi shankarabirthplace.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Original uploader wasThunderboltz at en.wikipediaImage:SankaraSthampaMandapam small.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: KaladianImage:Sringeri Sharadha temple.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: BabubFile:Adi shankara.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Original uploader wasPriyanath at en.wikipediaImage:Vidyasankara.JPG  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Calvinkrishy,Roland zh, 1 anonymous editsImage:SwansCygnus olor.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: BenAveling, Ejdzej,GunnerPoulsen, MPF, 1 anonymous editsImage:om.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: AnonMoos, BRUTE, Bdk, Davin7, Editor at Large, Exact, Gregory Orme,Herbythyme, Marshie, Mystical Sadhu, Nilfanion, Nishkid64, Rugby471, The Evil IP address, Toyboy84, Wutsje, Xhienne, 47 anonymous edits

LicenseCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unportedhttp:/ / creativecommons. org/ licenses/ by-sa/ 3. 0/