Adi Shankara

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Adi Shankara
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{{About|an Indian philosopher|Youtube personality and film producer|Adi Shankar|title used in the Advaita traditions|Shankaracharya}}{{redirect|Adi Shankaracharya|the 1983 Indian film|Adi Shankaracharya (film)}}{{pp-semi-indef}}{{short description|8th-century Hindu philosopher and theologian}}{{EngvarB|date=February 2015}}{{Use dmy dates|date=March 2013}}

Kalady>Kaladi present-day Kochi, Kerala, India|birth_name = ShankaraSharmap=vi}} (aged 32)Indian people>Indian|death_place = Kedarnathpresent-day Uttarakhand, India|guru = Govinda Bhagavatpada|philosophy = Advaita Vedanta|honors = Jagadguru|known_for = Expounded Advaita Vedanta|founder = Dashanami SampradayaAdvaita Vedanta


}}{{Advaita}}{{Hindu philosophy}}Adi Shankaracharya (Sanskrit: आदि शङ्कराआचार्य {{IPA-sa|aːdɪ ɕɐŋkɐɽɐ|}}) was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologianWEB,weblink Shankara | Indian philosopher, Encyclopedia Britannica, who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.{{sfn|Sharma|1962|p=vi}}{{sfn|Comans|2000|p=163}}{{refn|group=note|Modern scholarship places Shankara in the earlier part of the 8th century CE (c. 700–750).{{sfn|Comans|2000|p=163}} Earlier generations of scholars proposed 788–820 CE.{{sfn|Comans|2000|p=163}} Other proposals are 686–718 CE,{{citation needed|date=March 2013}} 44 BCE, or as early as 509–477 BCE.}} He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.Johannes de Kruijf and Ajaya Sahoo (2014), Indian Transnationalism Online: New Perspectives on Diaspora, {{ISBN|978-1-4724-1913-2}}, p. 105, Quote: "In other words, according to Adi Shankara's argument, the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta stood over and above all other forms of Hinduism and encapsulated them. This then united Hinduism; (...) Another of Adi Shankara's important undertakings which contributed to the unification of Hinduism was his founding of a number of monastic centers."Shankara, Student's Encyclopedia Britannia – India (2000), Volume 4, Encyclopaedia Britannica Publishing, {{ISBN|978-0-85229-760-5}}, p. 379, Quote: "Shankaracharya, philosopher and theologian, most renowned exponent of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy, from whose doctrines the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived.";David Crystal (2004), The Penguin Encyclopedia, Penguin Books, p. 1353, Quote: "[Shankara] is the most famous exponent of Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy and the source of the main currents of modern Hindu thought."Christophe Jaffrelot (1998), The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, Columbia University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-231-10335-0}}, p. 2, Quote: "The main current of Hinduism – if not the only one – which became formalized in a way that approximates to an ecclesiastical structure was that of Shankara".His works in Sanskrit discuss the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman "brahman without attributes".Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Sringeri Sharada Peetham, India He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis.WEB,weblink How Adi Shankaracharya united a fragmented land with philosophy, poetry and pilgrimage, Devdutt, Pattanaik,, His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara's publications criticised the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism.Shyama Kumar Chattopadhyaya (2000) The Philosophy of Sankar's Advaita Vedanta, Sarup & Sons, New Delhi {{ISBN|81-7625-222-0|978-81-7625-222-5}} He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism, stating that Hinduism asserts "Atman (Soul, Self) exists", while Buddhism asserts that there is "no Soul, no Self".Edward Roer (Translator), {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction|page=3}} to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad at p. 3, {{oclc|19373677}}KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0619-1}}, p. 246–249, from note 385 onwards;Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-2217-5}}, p. 64; Quote: "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence.";Edward Roer (Translator), {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction|pages=2–4}}]Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist 'No-Self' Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now;John C. Plott et al. (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0158-5}}, p. 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism".Shankara travelled across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He established the importance of monastic life as sanctioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra, in a time when the Mīmāṃsā school established strict ritualism and ridiculed monasticism. He is reputed to have founded four mathas ("monasteries"), which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of Advaita Vedanta of which he is known as the greatest revivalist.The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Yoga, Deepak Chopra, John Wiley & Sons, 2006, {{ISBN|81-265-0696-2|978-81-265-0696-5}} Adi Shankara is believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and unified the Shanmata tradition of worship. He is also known as Adi Shankaracharya, Shankara Bhagavatpada, sometimes spelled as Sankaracharya, {{IAST|(Ādi) Śaṅkarācārya}}, {{IAST|Śaṅkara Bhagavatpāda}} and {{IAST|Śaṅkara Bhagavatpādācārya}}.



There are at least fourteen different known biographies of Adi Shankara's life.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}} Many of these are called the Śankara Vijaya, while some are called Guruvijaya, Sankarabhyudaya and Shankaracaryacarita. Of these, the Brhat-Sankara-Vijaya by Citsukha is the oldest hagiography but only available in excerpts, while Sankaradigvijaya by Vidyaranya and Sankaravijaya by Anandagiri are the most cited.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}}{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–82}} Other significant biographies are the {{IAST|Mādhavīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ}} (of Mādhava, c. 14th century), the {{IAST|Cidvilāsīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ}} (of Cidvilāsa, c. between the 15th and 17th centuries), and the {{IAST|Keraļīya Śaṅkara Vijayaṃ}} (of the Kerala region, extant from c. the 17th century).WEB,weblink The Sankaravijaya literature, 2006-08-23, Vidyasankar, S., BOOK, Tapasyananda, Swami, 2002, Sankara-Dig-Vijaya, viii, true, These, as well as other biographical works on Shankara, were written many centuries to a thousand years after Shankara's death,{{sfn|Pande|2011|p=35}} in Sanskrit and non-Sanskrit languages, and the biographies are filled with legends and fiction, often mutually contradictory.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}}The hagiographies of Shankara mirror the pattern of synthesizing facts, fiction and legends as with other ancient and medieval era Indian scholars. Some biographic poems depict Shankara as a reincarnation of deity Shiva, much like other Indian scholars are revered as reincarnation of other deities; for example, Mandana-misra is depicted as an embodiment of deity Brahma, Citsukha of deity Varuna, Anandagiri of Agni, among others. See {{harvtxt|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–72}}.Scholars note that one of the most cited Shankara hagiography by Anandagiri includes stories and legends about historically different people, but all bearing the same name of Sri Shankaracarya or also referred to as Shankara but likely meaning more ancient scholars with names such as Vidya-sankara, Sankara-misra and Sankara-nanda.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–82}} Some biographies are probably forgeries by those who sought to create a historical basis for their rituals or theories.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–82}}{{sfn|Pande|2011|p=35}}Adi Shankara died in the thirty third year of his life,{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=83–87}} and reliable information on his actual life is scanty.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–82}}


File:Kaladi shankarabirthplace.jpg|thumb|The birthplace of Adi Shankara at KaladyKaladyThe Sringeri records state that Shankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of "VikramAditya", but it is unclear as to which king this name refers.K.A. Nilakantha Sastry, A History of South India, 4th ed., Oxford University Press, Madras, 1976. Though some researchers identify the name with Chandragupta II (4th century CE), modern scholarship accepts the VikramAditya as being from the Chalukya dynasty of Badami, most likely Vikramaditya II (733–746 CE),Several different dates have been proposed for Shankara:{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=83–87}}
  • 509–477 BCE: This dating, is based on records of the heads of the Shankara's cardinal institutions {{IAST|Maá¹­ha}}s at Dvaraka Pitha, the Govardhana matha and Badri and the Kanchi Peetham. According to their records, these monasteries were founded in Kali 2593 (509 BCE) by a person named Adi Shankara. The successive heads of the Kanchi and all other major Hindu Advaita tradition monasteries have been called Shankaracharya leading to some confusion, discrepancies and scholarly disputes. The chronology stated in Kanchi matha texts recognizes five major Shankaras: Adi, Kripa, Ujjvala, Muka and Abhinava. According to the Kanchi matha tradition, it is "Abhinava Shankara" that western scholarship recognizes as the Advaita scholar Adi Shankara, while the monastery continues to recognize its 509 BCE chronology.BOOK, Roshen Dalal, Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide,weblink 2010, Penguin, 978-0-14-341421-6, 376, T.S. Narayana Sastry (1916, republished 1971), The Age of Sankara
  • 44–12 BCE: the commentator Anandagiri believed he was born at Chidambaram in 44 BCE and died in 12 BCE.
  • 6th century CE: Telang placed him in this century. Sir R.G. Bhandarkar believed he was born in 680 CE.
  • {{Circa|700|750}} CE: Late 20th-century and early 21st-century scholarship tends to place Adi Shankara's life of 32 years in the first half of the 8th century.Adi Shankara, Encyclopedia Britannica (2015)BOOK, N.V. Isaeva, Shankara and Indian Philosophy,weblink 1993, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-1281-7, 84–87 with footnotes, According to the Indologist and Asian Religions scholar John Koller, there is considerable controversy regarding the dates of Shankara – widely regarded as one of India's greatest thinkers, and "the best recent scholarship argues that he was born in 700 and died in 750 CE".BOOK, John Koller, Chad Meister and Paul Copan, Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-136-69685-5, 10.4324/9780203813010-17, 2019-08-20,
  • 788–820 CE: This was proposed by early 20th scholars and was customarily accepted by scholars such as Max Müller, Macdonnel, Pathok, Deussen and Radhakrishna,Y. Keshava Menon, The Mind of Adi Shankaracharya 1976 pp. 108 and others.The dating of 788–820 is accepted in Keay, p. 194.Madhava-Vidyaranya. Sankara Digvijaya – The traditional life of Sri Sankaracharya, Sri Ramakrishna Math. {{ISBN|81-7823-342-8}}. Source: weblink (accessed: Sep 14, 2016), p. 20 The date 788–820 is also among those considered acceptable by Swami Tapasyananda, though he raises a number of questions.BOOK, Tapasyananda, Swami, 2002, Shankara-Dig-Vijaya, xv–xxiv, Though the 788–820 CE dates are widespread in 20th-century publications, recent scholarship has questioned the 788–820 CE dates.
  • 805–897 CE: Venkiteswara not only places Shankara later than most, but also had the opinion that it would not have been possible for him to have achieved all the works apportioned to him, and has him live ninety two years.
The popularly accepted dating places Adi Shankara to be a scholar from the first half of the 8th century CE.{{sfn|Comans|2000|p=163}}{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}}


File:Adi shankara.jpg|thumb|upright|Idol of Adi Shankara at his Samadhi Mandir, behind Kedarnath Temple, in KedarnathKedarnathFile:Adi Sankara at SAT Temple.jpg|thumb|Murti of Adi Shankara at the SAT TempleSAT TempleShankara was born in the southern Indian state of Kerala, according to the oldest biographies, in a village named KaladiBOOK, Students' Britannica India,weblink 2000, Popular Prakashan, 978-0-85229-760-5, 379–, {{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}} sometimes spelled as Kalati or Karati,BOOK, Narasingha Prosad Sil, Swami Vivekananda: A Reassessment,weblink 1997, Susquehanna University Press, 978-0-945636-97-7, 192, this may be the present day Kalady in central Kerala. He was born to Nambudiri Brahmin parents.Joël André-Michel Dubois (2014). The Hidden Lives of Brahman: Sankara's Vedanta Through His Upanisad Commentaries, in Light of Contemporary Practice. SUNY Press.Roshen Dalal (2010). The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin Books India. His parents were an aged, childless, couple who led a devout life of service to the poor, they named their child Shankara, meaning "giver of prosperity".BOOK, East Meets West, Adago, John, Program Publishing; 2 edition, 2018, 978-0692124215, UK, His father died while Shankara was very young.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}} Shankara's {{IAST|upanayanam}}, the initiation into student-life, had to be delayed due to the death of his father, and was then performed by his mother.Y Keshava Menon 1976, The Mind of Adi Shankara p. 109{{full citation needed|date=April 2015}}Shankara's hagiography describe him as someone who was attracted to the life of Sannyasa (hermit) from early childhood. His mother disapproved. A story, found in all hagiographies, describe Shankara at age eight going to a river with his mother, Sivataraka, to bathe, and where he is caught by a crocodile.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=74–75}} Shankara called out to his mother to give him permission to become a Sannyasin or else the crocodile will kill him. The mother agrees, Shankara is freed and leaves his home for education. He reaches a Saivite sanctuary along a river in a north-central state of India, and becomes the disciple of a teacher named Govinda Bhagavatpada.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=74–75}}{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=31–32, also 6–7, 67–68}} The stories in various hagiographies diverge in details about the first meeting between Shankara and his Guru, where they met, as well as what happened later.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=74–75}} Several texts suggest Shankara schooling with Govindapada happened along the river Narmada in Omkareshwar, a few place it along river Ganges in Kashi (Varanasi) as well as Badari (Badrinath in the Himalayas).{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=31–32, also 6–7, 67–68}}The biographies vary in their description of where he went, who he met and debated and many other details of his life. Most mention Shankara studying the Vedas, Upanishads and Brahmasutra with Govindapada, and Shankara authoring several key works in his youth, while he was studying with his teacher.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=76–77}} It is with his teacher Govinda, that Shankara studied Gaudapadiya Karika, as Govinda was himself taught by Gaudapada.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}} Most also mention a meeting with scholars of the Mimamsa school of Hinduism namely Kumarila and Prabhakara, as well as Mandana and various Buddhists, in Shastrarth (an Indian tradition of public philosophical debates attended by large number of people, sometimes with royalty).{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=31–32, also 6–7, 67–68}} Thereafter, the biographies about Shankara vary significantly. Different and widely inconsistent accounts of his life include diverse journeys, pilgrimages, public debates, installation of yantras and lingas, as well as the founding of monastic centers in north, east, west and south India.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=69–82}}{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=31–32, also 6–7, 67–68}}

Philosophical tour and disciples

While the details and chronology vary, most biographies mention Adi Shankara traveling widely within India, Gujarat to Bengal, and participating in public philosophical debates with different orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, as well as heterodox traditions such as Buddhists, Jains, Arhatas, Saugatas, and Carvakas.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=5–36}} During his tours, he is credited with starting several Matha (monasteries), however this is uncertain.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=5–36}} Ten monastic orders in different parts of India are generally attributed to Shankara's travel-inspired Sannyasin schools, each with Advaita notions, of which four have continued in his tradition: Bharati (Sringeri), Sarasvati (Kanchi), Tirtha and Asramin (Dvaraka).{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=82–91}} Other monasteries that record Shankara's visit include Giri, Puri, Vana, Aranya, Parvata and Sagara – all names traceable to Ashrama system in Hinduism and Vedic literature.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=82–91}}Adi Shankara had a number of disciple scholars during his travels, including Padmapada (also called Sanandana, associated with the text Atma-bodha), Sureshvara, Tothaka, Citsukha, Prthividhara, Cidvilasayati, Bodhendra, Brahmendra, Sadananda and others, who authored their own literature on Shankara and Advaita Vedanta.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=5–36}}{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=71–82, 93–94}}


Adi Sankara is believed to have died aged 32, at Kedarnath in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, a Hindu pilgrimage site in the Himalayas.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=82–91}}{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=6–7}} Texts say that he was last seen by his disciples behind the Kedarnath temple, walking on the Himalayas until he was not traced. Some texts locate his death in alternate locations such as Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu) and somewhere in the state of Kerala.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=31–32, also 6–7, 67–68}}


{{Details|Adi Shankara bibliography}}Adi Shankara's works are the foundation of Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism, and his doctrine, states Sengaku Mayeda, "has been the source from which the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived".{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=6–7}} Over 300 texts are attributed to his name, including commentaries (Bhāṣya), original philosophical expositions (Prakaraṇa grantha) and poetry (Stotra).{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=6–7}}{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=2–3}} However most of these are not authentic works of Adi Shankara and are likely to be works of his admirers or scholars whose name was also Shankaracharya.Paul Hacker, Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta (Editor: Wilhelm Halbfass), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-2582-4}}, pp. 30–31W Halbfass (1983), Studies in Kumarila and Sankara, Studien zur Indologie und Iranistik, Monographic 9, Reinbeck Piantelli has published a complete list of works attributed to Adi Sankara, along with issues of authenticity for most.M Piantelly, Sankara e la Renascita del Brahmanesimo, Indian Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Apr. 1977), pp. 429–435

Authentic works

Adi Shankara is most known for his systematic reviews and commentaries (Bhasyas) on ancient Indian texts. Shankara's masterpiece of commentary is the Brahmasutrabhasya (literally, commentary on Brahma Sutra), a fundamental text of the Vedanta school of Hinduism.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=6–7}}His commentaries on ten Mukhya (principal) Upanishads are also considered authentic by scholars,{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=6–7}} and these are: Bhasya on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Chandogya Upanishad, the Aitareya Upanishad, the Taittiriya Upanishad, the Kena Upanishad,Kena Upanishad has two commentaries that are attributed to Shankara – Kenopnishad Vakyabhasya and Kenopnishad Padabhasya; scholars contest whether both are authentic, several suggesting that the Vakyabhasya is unlikely to be authentic; see {{harvtxt|Pande|2011|pp=107}}. the Isha Upanishad, the Katha Upanishad, the Mundaka Upanishad, the Prashna Upanishad, and the Mandukya Upanishad.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=93–97}}{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}} Of these, the commentary on Mandukya, is actually a commentary on Madukya-Karikas by Gaudapada.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}}Other authentic works of Shankara include commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita (part of his Prasthana Trayi Bhasya).A Rambachan (1991), Accomplishing the Accomplished: Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in Sankara, University of Hawaii Press, {{ISBN|978-0-8248-1358-1}}, pp. xii–xiii His Vivarana (tertiary notes) on the commentary by Vedavyasa on Yogasutras as well as those on Apastamba Dharma-sũtras (Adhyatama-patala-bhasya) are accepted by scholars as authentic works of Adi Shankara.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=93–97}} Among the Stotra (poetic works), the Daksinamurti Stotra, the Bhajagovinda Stotra, the Sivanandalahari, the Carpata-panjarika, the Visnu-satpadi, the Harimide, the Dasa-shloki, and the Krishna-staka are likely to be authentic.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=93–97}}{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=351–352}}Shankara also authored Upadesasahasri, his most important original philosophical work.Wilhelm Halbfass (1990), Tradition and Reflection: Explorations in Indian Thought, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-0362-4}}, pp. 205–208John Koller (2007), in Chad Meister and Paul Copan (Editors): The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-1-134-18001-1}}, pp. 98–106 Of other original Prakaranas (प्रकरण, monographs, treatise), seventy six works are attributed to Adi Shankara. Modern era Indian scholars such as Belvalkar as well as Upadhyaya accept five and thirty nine works respectively as authentic.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=113–115}}Shankara's stotras considered authentic include those dedicated to Krishna (Vaishnavism) and one to Shiva (Shaivism) – often considered two different sects within Hinduism. Scholars suggest that these stotra are not sectarian, but essentially Advaitic and reach for a unified universal view of Vedanta.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=351–352}}Adi Shankara's commentary on the Brahma Sutras is the oldest surviving. However, in that commentary, he mentions older commentaries like those of Dravida, Bhartrprapancha and others which are either lost or yet to be found.WEB,weblink A Journey through Vedantic History – Advaita in the Pre-Sankara, Sankara and Post-Sankara Periods, Mishra, Godavarisha, 2006-07-24,weblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2006,

Works of doubtful authenticity or not authentic

Commentaries on Nrisimha-Purvatatapaniya and Shveshvatara Upanishads are attributed to Adi Shankara, but their authenticity is highly doubtful.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}}WEB,weblink Sankaracarya, Vidyasankar, S, 2006-07-24,weblink" title="">weblink 16 June 2006, live, Similarly, commentaries on several early and later Upanishads attributed to Shankara are rejected by scholars to be his works, and are likely works of later scholars; these include: Kaushitaki Upanishad, Maitri Upanishad, Kaivalya Upanishad, Paramahamsa Upanishad, Sakatayana Upanishad, Mandala Brahmana Upanishad, Maha Narayana Upanishad, Gopalatapaniya Upanishad. However, in Brahmasutra-Bhasya, Shankara cites some of these Upanishads as he develops his arguments, but the historical notes left by his companions and disciples, along with major differences in style and the content of the commentaries on later Upanishad have led scholars to conclude that the commentaries on later Upanishads were not Shankara's work.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}}The authenticity of Shankara being the author of {{IAST|Vivekacūḍāmaṇi}}Adi Shankaracharya, Vivekacūḍāmaṇi S Madhavananda (Translator), Advaita Ashrama (1921) has been questioned,{{sfn|Grimes|2004}}{{sfn|Shah-Kazemi|2006|p=4}} though it is "so closely interwoven into the spiritual heritage of Shankara that any analysis of his perspective which fails to consider [this work] would be incomplete."{{sfn|Shah-Kazemi|2006|p=4}}{{refn|group=note|See also, Authorship of Vivekachudamani and, Sri Sankara's Vivekachudamani, pp. 3–4, The Question of Authorship of Vivekachudamani}} According to Grimes, "modern scholars tend to reject its authenticity as a work by Shankara," while "traditionalists tend to accept it."{{sfn|Grimes|2004|p=23}} Nevertheless, does Grimes argue that "there is still a likelihood that Śaṅkara is the author of the Vivekacūḍāmaṇi," {{sfn|Grimes|2004|p=23}} noting that "it differs in certain respects from his other works in that it addresses itself to a different audience and has a different emphasis and purpose."{{sfn|Grimes|2004|p=13}}Aparoksha Anubuti and Atmabodha are also attributed to Shankara, as his original philosophical treatises, but this is doubtful. Paul Hacker has also expressed some reservations that the compendium Sarva-darsana-siddhanta Sangraha was completely authored by Shankara, because of difference in style and thematic inconsistencies in parts.Paul Hacker, Sankaracarya and Sankarabhagavatpada: Preliminary Remarks Concerning the Authorship Problem', in Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta (Editor: Wilhelm Halbfass), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-2582-4}}, pp. 41–56 Similarly, Gayatri-bhasya is doubtful to be Shankara's work.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}} Other commentaries that are highly unlikely to be Shankara's work include those on Uttaragita, Siva-gita, Brahma-gita, Lalita-shasranama, Suta-samhita and Sandhya-bhasya. The commentary on the Tantric work Lalita-trisati-bhasya attributed to Adi Shankara is also unauthentic.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}}Adi Shankara is also widely credited with commentaries on other scriptural works, such as the Vishnu sahasranāma and the Sānatsujātiya,Johannes Buitenen (1978). The Mahābhārata (vol. 3). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. {{ISBN|978-0-226-84665-1}} but both these are considered apocryphal by scholars who have expressed doubts.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}} Hastamalakiya-bhasya is also widely believed in India to be Shankara's work and it is included in Samata-edition of Shankara's works, but some scholars consider it to be the work of Shankara's student.{{sfn|Pande|2011|pp=105–113}}


Using ideas in ancient Indian texts, Shankara systematized the foundation for Advaita Vedanta in 8th century CE, one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism founded many centuries earlier by Badarayana. His thematic focus extended beyond metaphysics and soteriology, and he laid a strong emphasis on Pramanas, that is epistemology or "means to gain knowledge, reasoning methods that empower one to gain reliable knowledge". Anantanand Rambachan, for example, summarizes the widely held view on one aspect of Shankara's epistemology before critiquing it as follows,Sengaku Mayeda concurs, adding Shankara maintained the need for objectivity in the process of gaining knowledge (vastutantra), and considered subjective opinions (purushatantra) and injunctions in Śruti (codanatantra) as secondary. Mayeda cites Shankara's explicit statements emphasizing epistemology (pramana-janya) in section 1.18.133 of UpadesasahasriNote: some manuscripts list this verse as 2.18.133, while Mayeda lists it as 1.18.133, because of interchanged chapter numbering; see Upadesa Sahasri: A Thousand Teachings, S Jagadananda (Translator, 1949), {{ISBN|978-81-7120-059-7}}, Verse 2.8.133, p. 258; Karl H Potter (2014), The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Volume 3, Princeton University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-691-61486-1}}, p. 249 and section 1.1.4 of Brahmasutra-bhasya.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=46–47}}Brahmasutra-bhasya 1.1.4, S Vireswarananda (Translator), p. 35 According to Michael Comans (aka Vasudevacharya), Adi Shankara considered perception and inference as a primary most reliable epistemic means, and where these means to knowledge help one gain "what is beneficial and to avoid what is harmful", there is no need for or wisdom in referring to the scriptures.{{Sfn|Michael Comans|2000|p=168}} In certain matters related to metaphysics and ethics, says Shankara, the testimony and wisdom in scriptures such as the Vedas and the Upanishads become important.{{Sfn|Michael Comans|2000|pp=167–169}}Adi Shankara cautioned against cherrypicking a phrase or verse out of context from Vedic literature, and remarks in the opening chapter of his Brahmasutra-Bhasya that the Anvaya (theme or purport) of any treatise can only be correctly understood if one attends to the Samanvayat Tatparya Linga, that is six characteristics of the text under consideration: (1) the common in Upakrama (introductory statement) and Upasamhara (conclusions); (2) Abhyasa (message repeated); (3) Apurvata (unique proposition or novelty); (4) Phala (fruit or result derived); (5) Arthavada (explained meaning, praised point) and (6) Yukti (verifiable reasoning).George Thibaut (Translator), Brahma Sutras: With Commentary of Shankara, Reprinted as {{ISBN|978-1-60506-634-9}}, pp. 31–33 verse 1.1.4{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=46–53}} While this methodology has roots in the theoretical works of Nyaya school of Hinduism, Shankara consolidated and applied it with his unique exegetical method called Anvaya-Vyatireka, which states that for proper understanding one must "accept only meanings that are compatible with all characteristics" and "exclude meanings that are incompatible with any".Mayeda & Tanizawa (1991), Studies on Indian Philosophy in Japan, 1963–1987, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 529–535Michael Comans (1996), Śankara and the Prasankhyanavada, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 24, No. 1, pp. 49–71Hacker and Phillips note that this insight into rules of reasoning and hierarchical emphasis on epistemic steps is "doubtlessly the suggestion" of Shankara in Brahma-sutra, an insight that flowers in the works of his companion and disciple Padmapada.Stephen Phillips (2000) in Roy W. Perrett (Editor), Epistemology: Indian Philosophy, Volume 1, Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0-8153-3609-9}}, pp. 224–228 with notes 8, 13 and 63 Merrell-Wolff states that Shankara accepts Vedas and Upanishads as a source of knowledge as he develops his philosophical theses, yet he never rests his case on the ancient texts, rather proves each thesis, point by point using pramanas (epistemology), reason and experience.Franklin Merrell-Wolff (1995), Transformations in Consciousness: The Metaphysics and Epistemology, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-2675-3}}, pp. 242–260Will Durant (1976), Our Oriental Heritage: The Story of Civilization, Simon & Schuster, {{ISBN|978-0-671-54800-1}}, Chapter XIX, Section VIAdi Shankara, in his text Upadesasahasri, discourages ritual worship such as oblations to Deva (God), because that assumes the Self within is different from the Brahman.Shankara, himself, had renounced all religious ritual acts; see Karl Potter (2008), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Vol. III, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0310-7}}, p. 16; For an example of Shankara's reasoning "why rites and ritual actions should be given up", see Karl Potter on p. 220;Elsewhere, Shankara's Bhasya on various Upanishads repeat "give up rituals and rites", see for example Shankara's Bhasya on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad pp. 348–350, 754–757 The "doctrine of difference" is wrong, asserts Shankara, because, "he who knows the Brahman is one and he is another, does not know Brahman".Sanskrit:Upadesha sahasriEnglish Translation: S Jagadananda (Translator, 1949), Upadeshasahasri, Vedanta Press, {{ISBN|978-81-7120-059-7}}, pp. 16–17; {{oclc|218363449}}Karl Potter (2008), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Vol. III, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0310-7}}, pp. 219–221 However, Shankara also asserts that Self-knowledge is realized when one's mind is purified by an ethical life that observes Yamas such as Ahimsa (non-injury, non-violence to others in body, mind and thoughts) and Niyamas. Rituals and rites such as yajna (a fire ritual), asserts Shankara, can help draw and prepare the mind for the journey to Self-knowledge.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=92–93}} He emphasizes the need for ethics such as Akrodha and Yamas during Brahmacharya, stating the lack of ethics as causes that prevent students from attaining knowledge.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=92–93}}Karl Potter (2008), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Vol. III, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0310-7}}, pp. 218–219Adi Shankara has been varyingly called as influenced by Shaivism and Shaktism. However, his works and philosophy suggest greater overlap with Vaishnavism, influence of Yoga school of Hinduism, but most distinctly his Advaitin convictions with a monistic view of spirituality.{{sfn|Mayeda|2006|pp=3–5}}{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=3, 29–30}}

Philosophy and practice

}}Without hate, without infatuation, without craving, without greed;Neither arrogance, nor conceit, never jealous I am;Neither dharma, nor artha, neither kama, nor moksha am I;I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.Without sins, without merits, without elation, without sorrow;Neither mantra, nor rituals, neither pilgrimage, nor Vedas;Neither the experiencer, nor experienced, nor the experience am I,I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.Without fear, without death, without discrimination, without caste;Neither father, nor mother, never born I am;Neither kith, nor kin, neither teacher, nor student am I;I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.Without form, without figure, without resemblance am I;Vitality of all senses, in everything I am;Neither attached, nor released am I;I am Consciousness, I am Bliss, I am Shiva, I am Shiva.|source =—Adi Shankara, Nirvana Shatakam, Hymns 3–6
  • Original Sanskrit: Nirvanashtakam Sringeri Vidya Bharati Foundation (2012);
  • English Translation 1: K Parappaḷḷi and CNN Nair (2002), Saankarasaagaram, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, {{ISBN|978-81-7276-268-1}}, pp. 58–59;
  • English Translation 2: Igor Kononenko (2010), Teachers of Wisdom, {{ISBN|978-1-4349-9898-9}}, p. 148;
  • English Translation 3: Nirvana Shatakam Isha Foundation (2011); Includes translation, transliteration and audio.}}

Knowledge of Brahman

Adi Shankara systematised the works of preceding philosophers.{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=680}} His system marks a turn from realism to idealism.{{sfn|Sharma|2000|p=64}}{{sfn|Scheepers|2000|p=123}} His Advaita ("non-dualism") interpretation of the sruti postulates the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman{{refn|group=note|Brahman is not to be confused with the personalised godhead Brahma.}}). According to Adi Shankara, the one unchanging entity (Brahman) alone is real, while changing entities do not have absolute existence. The key source texts for this interpretation, as for all schools of {{IAST|Vedānta}}, are the Prasthanatrayi–the canonical texts consisting of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.


Advaita Vedanta is based on {{IAST|śāstra}} ("scriptures"), yukti ("reason") and anubhava ("experiential knowledge"), and aided by karmas ("spiritual practices")."Study the Vedas daily. Perform diligently the duties ("karmas") ordained by them", Sadhana Panchakam of Adi Shankara Starting from childhood, when learning has to start, the philosophy has to be a way of life. Shankara's primary objective was to understand and explain how moksha is achievable in this life, what it is means to be liberated, free and a Jivanmukta. His philosophical thesis was that jivanmukti is self-realization, the awareness of Oneness of Self and the Universal Spirit called Brahman.Shankara considered the purity and steadiness of mind achieved in Yoga as an aid to gaining moksha knowledge, but such yogic state of mind cannot in itself give rise to such knowledge.Anantanand Rambachan, The limits of scripture: Vivekananda's reinterpretation of the Vedas. University of Hawaii Press, 1994, pp. 124–125: weblink. To Shankara, that knowledge of Brahman springs only from inquiry into the teachings of the Upanishads.{{harvnb|Isaeva|1993|pp=57–58}}. Quote: "Shankara directly identifies this awakened atman with Brahman and the higher knowledge. And Brahman, reminds the Advaitist, is known only from the Upanishadic sayings". The method of yoga, encouraged in Shankara's teachings notes Michael Comans (aka Vasudevacharya), includes withdrawal of mind from sense objects as in Patanjali's system, but it is not complete thought suppression, instead it is a "meditative exercise of withdrawal from the particular and identification with the universal, leading to contemplation of oneself as the most universal, namely, Consciousness".Michael Comans (1993), The question of the importance of Samādhi in modern and classical Advaita Vedānta, Philosophy East & West. Vol. 43, Issue 1, pp. 19–38 Describing Shankara's style of yogic practice, Comans (aka Vasudevacharya) writes:the type of yoga which Sankara presents here is a method of merging, as it were, the particular (visesa) into the general (samanya). For example, diverse sounds are merged in the sense of hearing, which has greater generality insofar as the sense of hearing is the locus of all sounds. The sense of hearing is merged into the mind, whose nature consists of thinking about things, and the mind is in turn merged into the intellect, which Sankara then says is made into 'mere cognition' (vijnanamatra); that is, all particular cognitions resolve into their universal, which is cognition as such, thought without any particular object. And that in turn is merged into its universal, mere Consciousness (prajnafnaghana), upon which everything previously referred to ultimately depends. Shankara rejected those yoga system variations that suggest complete thought suppression leads to liberation, as well the view that the Shrutis teach liberation as something apart from the knowledge of the oneness of the Self. Knowledge alone and insights relating to true nature of things, taught Shankara, is what liberates. He placed great emphasis on the study of the Upanisads, emphasizing them as necessary and sufficient means to gain Self-liberating knowledge. Sankara also emphasized the need for and the role of Guru (Acharya, teacher) for such knowledge.

Shankara's Vedanta and Mahayana Buddhism

Shankara's Vedanta shows similarities with Mahayana Buddhism; opponents have even accused Shankara of being a "crypto-Buddhist," a qualification which is rejected by the Advaita Vedanta tradition, given the differences between these two schools. According to Shankara, a major difference between Advaita and Mahayana Buddhism are their views on Atman and Brahman.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=60, 145–154}} According to both Loy and Jayatilleke, more differences can be discerned.David Loy (1982), Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?, International Philosophical Quarterly, 23(1), pp. 65–74KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0619-1}}, pp. 246–249, from note 385 onwards



According to Shankara, Hinduism believes in the existence of Atman, while Buddhism denies this.Gerald McDermott and Harold A. Netland (2014), A Trinitarian Theology of Religions: An Evangelical Proposal, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-19-975182-2}}, p. 131 Shankara citing Katha Upanishad, asserted that the Hindu Upanishad starts with stating its objective as, RJ Tatya, Bombay Theosophical Publication}}Buddhists and Lokāyatas, wrote Shankara, assert that soul does not exist.Edward Roer (Translator), to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad. {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction|pages=3–4}}{{refn|group=note|Shankara (?): "(...) Lokayatikas and Bauddhas who assert that the soul does not exist. There are four sects among the followers of Buddha: 1. Madhyamicas who maintain all is void; 2. Yogacharas, who assert except sensation and intelligence all else is void; 3. Sautranticas, who affirm actual existence of external objects no less than of internal sensations; 4. Vaibhashikas, who agree with later (Sautranticas) except that they contend for immediate apprehension of exterior objects through images or forms represented to the intellect."}}There are also differences in the understanding of what "liberation" means. Nirvana, a term more often used in Buddhism, is the liberating realization and acceptance that there is no Self (anatman). Moksha, a term more common in Hinduism, is liberating realization and acceptance of Self and Universal Soul, the consciousness of one's Oneness with all existence and understanding the whole universe as the Self.Thomas McFaul (2006), The Future of Peace and Justice in the Global Village: The Role of the World Religions in the Twenty-first Century, Praeger, {{ISBN|978-0-275-99313-9}}, p. 39

Logic versus revelation

Stcherbatsky in 1927 criticized Shankara for demanding the use of logic from Madhyamika Buddhists, while himself resorting to revelation as a source of knowledge.{{refn|group=note|Shcherbatsky: "Shankara accuses them of disregarding all logic and refuses to enter in a controversy with them. The position of Shankara is interesting because, at heart, he is in full agreement with the Madhyamikas, at least in the main lines, since both maintain the reality of the One-without-a-second, and the mirage of the manifold. But Shankara, as an ardent hater of Budhism, could never confess that. He therefore treats the Madhyamika with great contempt [...] on the charge that the Madhyamika denies the possibility of cognizing the Absolute by logical methods (pramana). Vachaspati Mishra in the Bhamati rightly interprets this point as referring to the opinion of the Madhyamikas that logic is incapable to solve the question about what existence or non-existence really are. This opinion Shankara himself, as is well known, shares. He does not accept the authority of logic as a means of cognizing the Absolute, but he deems it a privilege of the Vedantin to fare without logic, since he has Revelation to fall back upon. From all his opponents, he requires strict logical methods."BOOK, The Conception of Buddhist Nirvana, Fyodor Shcherbatsky, 44–45, 1927, }} Sircar in 1933 offered a different perspective and stated, "Sankara recognizes the value of the law of contrariety and self-alienation from the standpoint of idealistic logic; and it has consequently been possible for him to integrate appearance with reality."Mahendranath Sircar (1933), Reality in Indian Thought, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 249–271Recent scholarship states that Shankara's arguments on revelation are about apta vacana (Sanskrit: आप्तवचन, sayings of the wise, relying on word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).Aptavacana Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Cologne University, Germany It is part of his and Advaita Vedanta's epistemological foundation.Arvind Sharma (2008), The Philosophy of Religion and Advaita Vedanta, Penn State Press, {{ISBN|978-0-271-02832-3}}, pp. 70–71 Advaita Vedanta school considers such testimony epistemically valid asserting that a human being needs to know numerous facts, and with the limited time and energy available, he can learn only a fraction of those facts and truths directly.M. Hiriyanna (2000), The Essentials of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-1330-4}}, pp. 42–44 Shankara considered the teachings in the Vedas and Upanishads as apta vacana and a valid source of knowledge. He suggests the importance of teacher-disciple relationship on combining logic and revelation to attain moksha in his text Upadeshasahasri.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=219–223 with footnote 34}} Anantanand Rambachan and others state Shankara methodology did not rely exclusively on Vedic statements, but included a range of logical methods, reasoning methodology and pramanas.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=210–221}}Anantanand Rambachan (1991), Accomplishing the Accomplished: The Vedas as a Source of Valid Knowledge in Sankara, University of Hawaii Press, {{ISBN|978-0-8248-1358-1}}, Chapters 2–4


Despite Adi Shankara's criticism of certain schools of Mahayana Buddhism, Shankara's philosophy shows strong similarities with the Mahayana Buddhist philosophy which he attacks. According to S.N. Dasgupta,}}According to Mudgal, Shankara's Advaita and the Buddhist Madhyamaka view of ultimate reality is compatible because they are both transcendental, indescribable, non-dual and only arrived at through a via negativa (neti neti). Mudgal concludes therefore that

Historical and cultural impact

{{See also|History of Hinduism}}(File:SankaraSthampaMandapam.jpg|thumb|right|Adi Sankara Keerthi Sthampa Mandapam, Kalady, Kerala)

Historical context

{{further|History of India|History of Hinduism}}Shankara lived in the time of the great "Late classical Hinduism",{{sfn|Michaels|2004|p=41–43}} which lasted from 650 till 1100 CE.{{sfn|Michaels|2004|p=41–43}} This era was one of political instability that followed Gupta dynasty and King Harsha of the 7th century CE.John Koller (2012), Shankara in Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion (Editors: Chad Meister, Paul Copan), Routledge, {{ISBN|978-0-415-78294-4}}, pp. 99–108 It was a time of social and cultural change as the ideas of Buddhism, Jainism, Islam and various traditions within Hinduism were competing for members.BOOK, On Hinduism, Doniger, Wendy., 9780199360079, Oxford, 858660095, March 2014, TMP Mahadevan (1968), Shankaracharya, National Book Trust, pp. 283–285, {{oclc|254278306}}Frank Whaling (1979), Śankara and Buddhism, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 1–42 Buddhism in particular had emerged as a powerful influence in India's spiritual traditions in the first 700 years of the 1st millennium CE.Karl Potter (1998), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Advaita Vedānta up to Śaṃkara and his pupils, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0310-7}}, p. 1–21, 103–119 Shankara, and his contemporaries, made a significant contribution in understanding Buddhism and the ancient Vedic traditions, then transforming the extant ideas, particularly reforming the Vedanta tradition of Hinduism, making it India's most important tradition for more than a thousand years.

Influence on Hinduism

Shankara has an unparallelled status in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He travelled all over India to help restore the study of the Vedas.Per Durst-Andersen and Elsebeth F. Lange (2010), Mentality and Thought: North, South, East and West, CBS Press, {{ISBN|978-87-630-0231-8}}, p. 68 His teachings and tradition form the basis of Smartism and have influenced Sant Mat lineages.JOURNAL, Ron Geaves, March 2002, From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara), 27th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, Oxford, He introduced the {{IAST|Pañcāyatana}} form of worship, the simultaneous worship of five deities â€“ Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. Shankara explained that all deities were but different forms of the one Brahman, the invisible Supreme Being.Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-7082-4}}, p. 40Benedict Ashley credits Adi Shankara for unifying two seemingly disparate philosophical doctrines in Hinduism, namely Atman and Brahman.BOOK, Benedict Ashley, O.P., The Way toward Wisdom, 978-0-268-02028-6, 609421317, 395, Benedict Ashley, Isaeva states Shankara's influence included reforming Hinduism, founding monasteries, edifying disciples, disputing opponents and engaging in philosophic activity that, in the eyes of Indian tradition, help revive "the orthodox idea of the unity of all beings" and Vedanta thought.BOOK, Shankara and Indian Philosophy, 24953669,weblink N.V. Isaeva, 1992, 2, 978-0-7914-1281-7, State University of New York Press, Prior to Shankara, views similar to his already existed, but did not occupy a dominant position within the Vedanta.{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=690}} According to Nakamura, it was only after Shankara that "the theologians of the various sects of Hinduism utilized Vedanta philosophy to a greater or lesser degree to form the basis of their doctrines,"{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=691}} whereby "its theoretical influence upon the whole of Indian society became final and definitive."{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=693}}

Critical assessment

Some scholars doubt Shankara's early influence in India.Paul Hacker, Philology and Confrontation: Paul Hacker on Traditional and Modern Vedanta (Editor: Wilhelm Halbfass), State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0-7914-2582-4}}, pp. 29–30 The Buddhist scholar Richard E. King states,}}According to King and Roodurmun, until the 10th century Shankara was overshadowed by his older contemporary Mandana-Misra, the latter considered to be the major representative of Advaita.{{sfn|King|2011|p=128}}{{sfn|Roodurmun|2002|p=33–34}} Other scholars state that the historical records for this period are unclear, and little reliable information is known about the various contemporaries and disciples of Shankara.Karl Potter (2008), Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Advaita Vedānta up to Åšaṃkara and his pupils, Vol 3, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0310-7}}, pp. 346–347, 420–423, Quote: "There is little firm historical information about Suresvara; tradition holds Suresvara is same as Mandana Misra". For example, Advaita tradition holds that Mandana-Misra is the same person as Suresvara, a name he adopted after he became a disciple of Shankara after a public debate which Shankara won.{{sfn|Roodurmun|2002|p=31}}{{harvnb|Isaeva|1993|pp=79–80}}. Quote: "More plausible though was an Advaita conversion of another well known Mimamsaka â€“ Madanamisra; ... Vedantic tradition identifies Mandana Misra as Suresvara".Some scholars state that Maṇḍana-MiÅ›ra and SureÅ›vara must have been two different scholars, because their scholarship is quite different.{{sfn|Sharma|1997|p=290–291}}{{sfn|Roodurmun|2002|p=31}} Other scholars, on the other hand, state that Mandana-MiÅ›ra and Shankara do share views, because both emphasize that Brahman-Atman can not be directly perceived, rather it is discovered and defined through elimination of division (duality) of any kind.{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=63–65}} The Self-realization (Soul-knowledge), suggest both Mandana Misra and Shankara, can be described cataphatically (positive liberation, freedom through knowledge, jivanmukti moksha) as well as apophatically (removal of ignorance, negation of duality, negation of division between people or souls or spirit-matter).{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=63–65}} While both share core premises, states Isaeva, they differ in several ways, with Mandana Misra holding Vedic knowledge as an absolute and end in itself, while Shankara holds Vedic knowledge and all religious rites as subsidiary and means to the human longing for "liberation, freedom and moksha".{{sfn|Isaeva|1993|pp=63–65}}Several scholars suggest that the historical fame and cultural influence of Shankara grew centuries later, particularly during the era of Muslim invasions and consequent devastation of India.R. Blake Michael (1992), The Origins of VÄ«raÅ›aiva Sects, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-81-208-0776-1}}, pp. 60–62 with notes 6, 7 and 8 Many of Shankara's biographies were created and published in and after 14th century, such as the widely cited Vidyaranya's Åšankara-vijaya. Vidyaranya, also known as Madhava, who was the 12th Jagadguru of the Åšringeri Åšarada PÄ«tham from 1380 to 1386,Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mādhava Ä€chārya". Encyclopædia Britannica. inspired the re-creation of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire of South India in response to the devastation caused by the Islamic Delhi Sultanate.Cynthia Talbot (2001), Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra, Oxford University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-19-513661-6}}, pp. 185–187, 199–201 He and his brothers, suggest Paul Hacker and other scholars, wrote about Åšankara as well as extensive Advaitic commentaries on Vedas and Dharma. Vidyaranya was a minister in Vijayanagara Empire and enjoyed royal support, and his sponsorship and methodical efforts helped establish Shankara as a rallying symbol of values, and helped spread historical and cultural influence of Shankara's Vedanta philosophies. Vidyaranya also helped establish monasteries (mathas) to expand the cultural influence of Shankara. It may be these circumstances, suggest scholars,James G. Lochtefeld (2004), The Construction of the Kumbha Mela, South Asian Popular Culture, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 103–126; {{doi|10.1080/1474668042000275707}} that grew and credited Adi Shankara for various Hindu festive traditions such as the Kumbh Mela – one of the world's largest periodic religious pilgrimages.Roshan Dalal (2011), The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths, Penguin, {{ISBN|978-0-14-341517-6}}, see Kumbh Mela entry


{{See also|Dashanami Sampradaya}}File:Vidyashankara Temple at Shringeri.jpg|thumb|(Vidyashankara temple) at Sringeri Sharada Peetham, ShringeriShringeriShankara is regarded as the founder of the {{IAST|Daśanāmi Sampradāya}} of Hindu monasticism and {{IAST|Ṣaṇmata}} of Smarta tradition. He unified the theistic sects into a common framework of Shanmata system.Various Papers: Śaṅkarācārya, Conference on Sankara and Shanmata (1969), Madras, {{oclc|644426018}}, Reprinted by HathiTrust Digital Library Advaita Vedanta is, at least in the west, primarily known as a philosophical system. But it is also a tradition of renunciation. Philosophy and renunciation are closely related:Shankara, himself considered to be an incarnation of Shiva, established the Dashanami Sampradaya, organizing a section of the Ekadandi monks under an umbrella grouping of ten names.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, Sankara Acarya Biography – Monastic Tradition, 8 May 2012, Several other Hindu monastic and Ekadandi traditions remained outside the organisation of the Dasanāmis.Karigoudar Ishwaran, Ascetic CultureWendy Sinclair-Brull, Female AsceticsAdi Sankara organised the Hindu monks of these ten sects or names under four {{IAST|Maṭhas}} (Sanskrit: ) (monasteries), with the headquarters at Dvārakā in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Sringeri in the South and Badrikashrama in the North. Each math was headed by one of his four main disciples, who each continues the Vedanta Sampradaya.Yet, according to Pandey, these Mathas were not established by Shankara himself, but were originally ashrams established by Vibhāņdaka and his son Ŗșyaśŗnga.{{sfn|Pandey|2000|p=4–5}} Shankara inherited the ashrams at Dvārakā and Sringeri, and shifted the ashram at Śŗngaverapura to Badarikāśrama, and the ashram at Angadeśa to Jagannātha Purī.{{sfn|Pandey|2000|p=5}}The advaita sampradaya is not a Saiva sect,{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=782–783}} despite the historical links with Shaivism:Nevertheless, contemporary Sankaracaryas have more influence among Saiva communities than among Vaisnava communities. The greatest influence of the gurus of the advaita tradition has been among followers of the Smartha Tradition, who integrate the domestic Vedic ritual with devotional aspects of Hinduism.According to Nakamura, these mathas contributed to the influence of Shankara, which was "due to institutional factors".{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=680}} The mathas which he built exist until today, and preserve the teachings and influence of Shankara, "while the writings of other scholars before him came to be forgotten with the passage of time".{{sfn|Nakamura|2004|p=680–681}}The table below gives an overview of the four Amnaya Mathas founded by Adi Shankara, and their details.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 26 June 2006, Adi Shankara's four Amnaya Peethams, 2006-08-20, {| class="wikitable"!Shishya(lineage)!Direction!{{IAST|Maṭha}}!{{IAST|Mahāvākya}}!Veda!{{IAST|Sampradaya}}Padmapāda}}!EastGovardhana Pīṭhaṃ}}Prajñānam brahma (Consciousness is Brahman)}}|Rig Veda|BhogavalaSureśvara}}!SouthSringeri Śārada Pīṭhaṃ}}Aham brahmāsmi (I am Brahman)}}|Yajur VedaBhūrivala}}Hastāmalakācārya }}!WestDvāraka Pīṭhaṃ}}Tattvamasi (That thou art)}}|Sama Veda|KitavalaToṭakācārya}}!NorthJyotirmaṭha Pīṭhaṃ}}Ayamātmā brahma (This Atman is Brahman)}}|Atharva Veda|Nandavala

Smarta Tradition

Traditionally, Shankara is regarded as the greatest teacher{{sfn|Doniger|1999|p=1017}}{{sfn|Popular Prakashan|2000|p=52}} and reformer of the Smarta.{{sfn|Rosen|2006|p=166}}{{sfn|Popular Prakashan|2000|p=52}}According to Alf Hiltebeitel, Shankara established the nondualist interpretation of the Upanishads as the touchstone of a revived smarta tradition:}}

Brahmin groups following Adi Shankara


See also

{{Div col}} {{div col end}}






Printed sources

  • JOURNAL, Comans, Michael, 2000, The Method of Early Advaita Vedānta: A Study of Gauḍapāda, Åšaá¹…kara, SureÅ›vara, and Padmapāda, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, harv,
  • BOOK, Cousins, L.S., 2010, Buddhism. In: "The Penguin Handbook of the World's Living Religions", Penguin,weblink 978-0-14-195504-9,
  • BOOK, Doniger, Wendy, 1999, Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions, Merriam-Webster, harv,weblink 978-0-87779-044-0,
  • BOOK, Fort, Andrew O., 1998, Jivanmukti in Transformation: Embodied Liberation in Advaita and Neo-Vedanta, SUNY Press,
  • BOOK, Fuller, C.J., 2004, The Camphor Flame: Popular Hinduism and Society in India, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 978-0-691-12048-5,
  • JOURNAL, Greaves, Ron, March 2002, From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara), 27th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, Oxford, Ron Geaves,
  • {{Citation | last =Grimes | first =John | year =2004 | chapter =Introduction | title =The Vivekacudamani of Sankaracarya Bhagavatpada: An Introduction and Translation | isbn =978-0-7546-3395-2}}
  • {{citation |last=Hiltebeitel |first=Alf |authorlink=Alf Hiltebeitel |year=2002 |title=Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture" |publisher=Routledge |url=|isbn=978-1-136-87597-7 }}
  • BOOK, Isaeva, Natalia, Shankara and Indian Philosophy, 1993, State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, 978-0-7914-1281-7, harv, Some editions spell the author Isayeva.
  • BOOK, Keay, John, India: A History, 2000, Grove Press, New York, 978-0-8021-3797-5,
  • BOOK, Keshava Menon, Y, 1976, The Mind of Adi Shankaracharya, Jaico, India, 978-81-7224-214-5,
  • BOOK, King, Richard, 2001, Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East", Taylor & Francis e-Library, harv,
  • BOOK, Larson, Gerald James, 2009, Hinduism. In: "World Religions in America: An Introduction", Westminster John Knox Press,weblink 978-1-61164-047-2,
  • BOOK, Mayeda, Sengaku, 2006, A thousand teachings : the UpadeÅ›asāhasrÄ« of Åšaá¹…kara, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-2771-4, harv,
  • BOOK, Michaels, Axel, 2004, Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, harv,
  • BOOK, Minor, Rober Neil, 1987, Radhakrishnan: A Religious Biography, SUNY Press,
  • BOOK, Morris, Brian, 2006, Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge University Press,
  • BOOK, Mudgal, S.G., Advaita of Shankara: A Reappraisal, 1975, Motilal Banarasidassisbn=,
  • JOURNAL, Nakamura, Hajime, 2004, A History of Early Vedanta Philosophy. Part Two, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited (Reprint of orig: 1950, Shoki No Vedanta Tetsugaku, Iwanami Shoten, Tokyo), harv,
  • BOOK, Narayana Sastry, T.S, 1916, The Age of Sankara,
  • JOURNAL, Nath, Vijay, March–April 2001, From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition, Social Scientist, 29, 3/4, 19–50, 10.2307/3518337, 3518337,
  • BOOK, Pande, G.C., 2011, Life and Thought of Åšaá¹…karācārya, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1104-1, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Pandey, S.L., 2000, Pre-Sankara Advaita. In: Chattopadhyana (gen.ed.), "History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization. Volume II Part 2: Advaita Vedanta", Delhi, Centre for Studies in Civilizations, harv,
  • BOOK, Popular Prakashan, 2000, Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1–5, Popular Prakashan, harv,weblink 978-0-85229-760-5,
  • BOOK, Pradhavananda, Isherwood, Christopher, 1978, Shankara's Crest-Jewel of Discrimination, Vedanta Press, USA, 978-0-87481-038-7,
  • BOOK, Roodurmun, Pulasth Soobah, 2002, BhāmatÄ« and Vivaraṇa Schools of Advaita Vedānta: A Critical Approach, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, harv,
  • {{citation |last=Rosen |first=Steven |year=2006 |title=Essential Hinduism |publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group |url=|isbn=978-0-275-99006-0 }}
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  • BOOK, Scheepers, Alfred, 2000, De Wortels van het Indiase Denken, Olive Press, harv,
  • JOURNAL, Shah-Kazemi, Reza, 2006, Paths to Transcendence: According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi & Meister Eckhart, World Wisdom,
  • BOOK, Sharma, Chandradhar, 1962, Indian Philosophy: A Critical Survey, Barnes & Noble, New York, harv,
  • BOOK, Sharma, C., 1997, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-0365-7, harv,
  • BOOK, Sharma, B.N. Krishnamurti, 2000, History of the Dvaita School of Vedānta and Its Literature: From the Earliest Beginnings to Our Own Times, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, harv,weblink 978-81-208-1575-9,
  • JOURNAL, Shetty, V.T. Rajshekar, 2002, Caste, a nation within the nation: recipe for a bloodless revolution, Books for Change,
  • JOURNAL, Singh, N., Barauh, B., 2004, Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Pali Literature, Volume 1, Global Vision,
  • BOOK, Tapasyananda, Tapasyananda, 2002, Sankara-Dig-Vijaya: The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya by Madhava-Vidyaranya, Sri Ramakrishna Math, India, 978-81-7120-434-2,
  • BOOK, White (ed.), David Gordon, 2000, Introduction. In: Tantra in practice, Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press,



Further reading

  • JOURNAL, Ingalls, Daniel H.H., Åšaṁkara's Arguments against the Buddhists, Philosophy East and West, 3, 4, 291–306, 1954,weblink 10.2307/1397287, 1397287,
  • Mishra, Parameshwar Nath (2003), "Era of Adi Shankaracharya 507 B.C.–475 B.C.", Howrah Samskriti Rakshak Parishad, West Bengal.
  • Mishra, Parameshwar Nath, "Amit Kalrekha", 3 vols. (in Hindi), Howrah Samskriti Rakshak Parishad, West Bengal.
  • Succession of Shankaracharyas (a chronology) (from Gaudapada onwards)
  • JOURNAL, Reigle, David, 2001, The Original Sankaracarya, Fohat, 5, 3, 57–60, 70–71,weblink
  • Frank Whaling (1979), Åšankara and Buddhism, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 1–42
  • "Sri Shankaracharya in Cambodia..?" by S. Srikanta Sastri
  • JOURNAL, 10.2307/2104222, 2104222, Sankara and the Vedic Tradition, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 17, 2, 248–255, 1956, Navone, J.J.,
  • JOURNAL, 10.1007/BF00218430, Åšankara and the Buddhists, Journal of Indian Philosophy, 6, 4, 1978, Biderman, Shlomo,
  • JOURNAL, 10.7825/2164-6279.1295, Dr. Richard de Smet and Sankara's Advaita, Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, 16, 2003, Rukmani, T.S., free,
  • A Questioning Approach: Learning from Sankara's Pedagogic Techniques, Jacqueline Hirst, Contemporary Education Dialogue, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 137–169

External links

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  • {{Curlie|Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/Hinduism/Gurus_and_Saints/Adi_Sankaracharya/}}
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  • Majors works of Adi Sankara Volumes 1–20, (Sanskrit and English Translations)
  • A Note on the date of Sankara (Adi Sankaracharya) by S. Srikanta Sastri
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