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Adi Shankaracharya

Adi Shankara or Adi Shankaracharya was a Hindu philosopher and theologian. He is well known for his Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy. Shankara advocated the greatness of the Vedas and was a great learner of scriptures. He played a vital role in the growth of Hinduism. I his works he discusses the unity of the ātman and Nirguna Brahman. He also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism. He travelled across the sub continent to propagate his philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. He met a number of philosophers and thinkers and discussed his philosophy with them.

Early Life of Adi Sankara

Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788AD in a Brahmin family. He was born in a village named Karati in Kerala. Adi Sankara was a brilliant child from the very beginning. He began learning and writing at the age of three. His father passed away when he was just four. At the age of five, he was initiated in Brahmacharyam and he was sent to Gurukul for learning of scriptures.

Personal Life

He wanted to become a sanyasi but his mother did not approve of it. One day while he was bathing in the river a crocodile attacked him. He shouted for his mother. His mother felt helpless and could not help. To this he said that is going to die but if he becomes a sanyasi, he may live longer. His mother agreed on him becoming a sanyasi after this incident. Sankara travelled with his disciples all over the land, all the while composing philosophical treatises and engaging opponents in debate. It is said that none of his opponents could ever match his intellectual prowess and the debates always ended with Sankara’s victory. No doubt this is true, given the unrivaled respect and popularity that Sankara’s philosophical system enjoys to this day.

Accolades

Adi Shankaracharya was well versed with all the religious Hindi scriptures. While traveling he met a number of Hindu philosopher along with many Buddhists, Jains, Arhatas, Saugatas, and Carvakas. He initiated the building of several maths. Ten monastic orders in different parts of India are inspired by Shankaracharyas travel throughout the country. All of them are based on the Advaita philosophy. Other monasteries that record Shankara’s visit include Giri, Puri, Vana, Aranya, Parvata and Sagara. Adi Shankara is well known for his reviews and commentaries on ancient Indian texts. Among his commentaries, Brahmasutrabhasya is his masterpiece. It is a fundamental text of the Vedanta school of Hinduism.

It is believed that he died at the age of 38 in Kedarnath , Uttarakhand. Some of the texts even mention that he died in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.

Adi Shankaracharya




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