Sri. Adi Sankaracharya

Page updated on : 7 November 2017 (Revision 1.0)

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  1. Birth Date : The popularly accepted as first half of 8th century CE.

    The Sringeri records state Shankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of "VikramAditya" (it is unclear as to which king this name refers. Though some researchers identify the name with Chandragupta II (4th century CE), modern scholars accepts the VikramAditya as being from the Chalukya dynasty of Badami, most likely Vikramaditya II (733–746 CE).

    • Other dates proposed :

    • 509–477 BCE : This dating, is based on records of the heads of the Shankara's cardinal institutions Maṭhas at Dvaraka Pitha, the Govardhana matha and Badri and the Kanchi Peetham. This conforms to the chronology calculated based off the Puranas.

    • 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.

    • 788–820 CE: This was proposed by early 20th scholars and was customarily accepted by scholars such as Max Müller, Macdonnell, Pathok, Deussen and Radhakrishna, and others. The date 788–820 is also among those considered acceptable by Swami Tapasyananda, though he raises a number of questions.

    • 700-750 CE: late 20th century scholars questioned 788-820 CE dates, placing Adi Shankara's life of 32 years in the first half of the 8th century.

    • 805–897 CE : Venkateswara 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.

  2. Birth place : Most likely born in 'Kaladi' (Kerala, India)

    Some texts suggest birthplace as Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu)

  3. Death : Believe died at age 32 or 33, Most likely death happened at Kedarnath (Pilgrimage site in Himalayas - Uttarakhand, India)

    Some texts locate death at alternate locations such as Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)

    Some locate death in some where in Kerala (India)

  4. Biographies : The major biographies :

    There are at least 14 different known biographies of Adi Shankara's life. All were written many centuries to thousand years after Sankara's death, in Sanskrit and non-Sanskrit languages. Each biographies are filled with legends and fiction, often mutually contradictory.

    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 Sankaracarya or also referred to as Shankara but likely meaning more ancient scholars with names such as Vidya-sankara, Sankara-misra and Sankara-nanda. Some biographies are probably forgeries by those who sought to create a historical basis for their rituals or theories.

    • Sankara Vijaya (Too many text on same name.)

    • Guru Vijaya

    • Sankarabhyudaya

    • Shankaracarya Carita

    • Brhat Sankara Vijaya (by Citsukha, oldest but only available in excerpts)

    • Sankara Digvijaya (by Vidyaranya, most cited)

    • Sankara Vijaya (by Anandagiri, most cited)

    • Madhaviya Sankara Vijayam (by Madhava, 14th century)

    • Cidvilasiya Sankara Vijayam (of Cidvilasa, 15th - 17th century)

    • Keraliya Sankara Vijayam (of the Kerala region, extant from 17th century)

  5. Works and Contributions

    Note : Shankara's works are foundation of Advaita Vedanta from which main currents modern Indian thought are derived. Over 300 texts are attributed to his name, includingBhaṣya,Prakaraṇa grantha andStotra. However most of these are not authentic works and are likely to be works of his admirers or scholars whose name was also Shankaracharya.

    • Bhashya (Commentary or exposition on principal, primary or secondary texts of Indian tradition that explains the structure and scale for understanding.)

      • Authentic

        • Brahma Sutra (Considered as fundamental text of the Advaita Vedanta. He is not considered one who write bhashya on brahma sutra first, because in his commentary, he also mentions older commentaries like those of Dravida, Bharti Prapancha and others which are either lost or yet to be found.)

        • Bhagavad Gita (One of sankara's original work.Considered as fundamental text of modern Indian thought and philosophy.)

        • Upanishads (Considered as fundamental text of modern Indian thought and philosophy)

          • Authentic (Currently considered as authentic works of sankaracharya, afterward known as Mukhya (principal) Upanishads.)

            1. Isavasy Upanishad (Shukla Yajurveda)

            2. Kena Upanishad (Samaveda)

            3. Katha Upanishad (Krishna Yajurveda)

            4. Prasna Upanishad (Atharvaveda)

            5. Mundaka Upanishad (Atharvaveda)

            6. Mandukya Upanishad (Atharvaveda)

              (Actually a commentary on Mandukya Karikas by Gaudapada)

            7. Taittiriya Upanishad (Krishna Yajurveda)

            8. Aitareya Upanishad (Rigveda)

            9. Chandogya Upanishad (Samaveda)

            10. Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (Shukla Yajurveda)

          • Not Authentic : Bashyam on these upanishads were credited for long time and rejected afterwards. However, in Brahmasutra Bhashya, 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.

            • • Shveshvatara Upanishad (Krishna Yajurveda)

            • • Kaushitaki Upanishad (Krishna Yajurveda)

            • • Maitreya Upanishad (Samaveda))

            • • Kaivalya Upanishad (Krishna Yajurveda)

            • • Paramahamsa Upanishad (Shukla Yajurveda))

            • • Sakatayana Upanishad (Post Vedic)

            • • Mandala Brahmana Upanishad (Post Vedic)

            • • Maha Narayana Upanishad (Post Vedic)

            • • Gopalatapaniya Upanishad (Post Vedic)

      • Not Authentic

        • • Gayatri bhasya

        • • Lalita trisati bhasya

        • • Vishnu sahasranāma

        • • Uttara gita

        • • Siva gita

        • • Brahma gita

        • • Lalita shasranama

        • • Sandhya bhasya

        • • Hastamalakiya bhasya (Consider work of Shankara's student.)

    • Prakarana grantha

      1. Vivekacudamani (Crest-Jewel of Wisdom)(doubtful authenticity long time)

      2. Upadesasahasri (A thousand teachings)

      3. Satasloki

      4. Dasasloki

      5. Ekasloki

      6. Pancikarana

      7. Atma Bodha

      8. Aparoksanubhuti

      9. Sadhana Pancakam

      10. Nirvana Satkam

      11. Manisa Pancakam

      12. Yati Pancakam

      13. Vakyasudha

      14. Tattva Bodha

      15. Vakya Vrtti

      16. Siddhanta Tattva Vindu

      17. Nirguna Manasa Puja

      18. Prasnottara Ratna Malika (The Gem Garland of Questions and Answers, Satasloki)

      19. Prabodhasudhakara

      20. Svatma Prakasika

    • Vivarana : (Tertiary notes, Commentaries on bhashya)

      1. Yoga Sutras (Veda Vyasa bhasya)

      2. Apastamba Dharma sutras (Adhyatma patala bhasya)

    • Upadesasahasri("a thousand teachings")

    • Stotra

      • Authentic

        1. Dakshinamurthy Stotram

        2. Sivanandalahari

        3. Visnu-satpadi

        4. Harimide

        5. Dasa shloki

        6. Krishna staka

        7. Bhaja Govindam. (Mohamudgara, Shri Charpata Panjarika Stotram)

      • Authenticity Doubtful

        1. Ganesha Pancharatnam.

        2. Annapurnashtakam.

        3. Kalabhairavashtakam.

        4. Krishnashtakam.

        5. Saundaryalahari.

        6. Sri Laksminrsimha Karavalamba Stotram.

        7. Sarada Bhujangam.

        8. Kanakadhara Stotram.

        9. Bhavani Astakam.

        10. Siva Manasa Poja.

        11. Pandurangashtakam.

        12. Subramanya Bhujangam.

        13. Kashi Panchakam.

        14. Suvarnamala.

        15. Mahishasura Mardini Stotram.

    • Other Doubtful Authenticity works.

      • • Nrisimha Purvatatapaniya

      • • Aparoksha Anubuti (Prakarana grantha)

      • • Atmabodha (Prakarana grantha)

      • • Sarva darsana siddhanta Sangraha

      • • Suta samhita

      • • Sānatsujātiya



Please note : Some potions like Dashanami Sampradaya of monasticism, Sankara's Disciples and Monasteries are not included now. This portions will be updated soon.



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