Adi Shankaracharya


    In News

    • The Prime Minister unveiled a 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath, where the acharya is believed to have attained samadhi at the age of 32 in the ninth century.


    • Reincarnation of Lord Shiva: He is called as a reincarnation of Lord Shiva.
    • The Adi Shankara story: is a remarkable saga of travel and adventure, philosophical inquiry, conflicts in faith, exegesis, the establishment of lineage, organisation and mobilisation, etc.

    Adi Shankara

    • Birth: Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788 AD. Adi Shankara is said to have been born in Kaladi village on the bank of the Periyar, the largest river in Kerala.
    • Sanyasi life: He left home very early in search of learning and to become a sanyasi.
    • Visited all the important spiritual centres: In a lifespan of just 32 years, he is said to have visited all the important spiritual centres of the time — from Kanchi (Kancheepuram) to Kamrup (Assam), and Kashmir and the Kedar and Badri dhams, as well as Sringeri, Ujjain, Kashi, Puri, and Joshimath.
    • Rituals: He is believed to have established the ritual practices at the Badri and Kedar dhams, and to have debated with tantrics in Srinagar.
    • Literary Works of Adi Shankaracharya: Adi Shankaracharya wrote 18 commentaries on the scriptures including the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and 12 major Upanishads.
      • He wrote about two dozen books elucidating the fundamentals of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Some of these books are Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Vaakya Vritti and Upadesa Sahasri.
      • Adi Shankaracharya is credited to have composed 72 devotional and meditative hymns such as Soundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shalkam, Maneesha Panchakam.
    • Composition of texts: Adi Shankara composed texts like Shankara Smrithi, which seeks to establish the social supremacy of Nambuthiri Brahmins.
    • Master of Advaita Vedanta: Adi Shankaracharya championed the Advait branch of philosophy that declared that god and humans were not two. He then set out to spread the message of his guru.
      • Advaita Vedanta articulates a philosophical position of radical nondualism, a revisionary worldview which it derives from the ancient Upanishadic texts.
      • According to Advaita Vedantins, the Upanishads reveal a fundamental principle of nonduality termed ‘brahman’, which is the reality of all things.
      • Advaitins understand brahman as transcending individuality and empirical plurality.
      • They seek to establish that the essential core of one’s self (atman) is brahman.
      • The fundamental thrust of Advaita Vedanta is that the atman is pure non-intentional consciousness.
    • Political appropriation: The mathas Shankara is believed to have been established in Sringeri, Dwaraka, Puri, and Joshimath for the spread of Advaita Vedanta.
    • Travelled across the Indian subcontinent: to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers, from both orthodox Hindu traditions and heterodox non-Hindu-traditions, including Buddhism defeating his opponents in theological debates.
    • Death and last days: He is believed to have attained samadhi at Kedarnath; however, Kanchi and Thrissur are also talked about as places where Adi Shankara spent his last days.

    Source: IE