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Short Biography of Adi Shankaracharya in English


Short Biography of Adi Shankaracharya in English

Short Biography of Adi Shankaracharya in English

Adi Shankaracharya was the pioneer of religious reform movement in ancient India. Being a prominent theologist and philosopher, he presented the fundamental principles of Hindu religion through Upanishads. His childhood name was Shankara. He was born in 788AD at Kaladi in Kerala. His father Shivaguru was a Yajurvedin Brahman. After his father’s death, Shankara’s mother arranged the education for Shankara. He earned profound knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures. He became an ascetic at an early age of eight. Soon Shankara turned out to be a great Hindu theologist and philosopher at a very young age. Having completed his study of Hinduism, he started preaching his philosophy and principles across India. He established his authority as a great theologist and Hindu philosopher through victories over many other scholars in religious debates. It was Shankara’s immense knowledge that he easily explained many enigmatic doctrines and philosophical puzzles of Hinduism substantiated by holy scriptures in these debates.

Shankara is chiefly remembered for his philosophy of ‘Advaita’ (Non-dual). He claimed ‘Brahma’, the absolute and only reality is non-dual. He strongly backed the concept of the unification of the soul (Atman) with the supreme soul (Brahma). This philosophy of Shankara got huge respect in Hinduism and highly spiritual domain but failed to touch the devotional chords of common people due to being highly philosophical and lacking in Bhakti feelings.

Shankara also founded four mathas (religious centres) in four directions of the country with an objective of bringing religious unity and integrity at pan-India level. These mathas are Jyotirmatha at Badrinath in the north, Sharadapitha at Dwarka in the west, Goverdhanamatha at Puri in the east and Shringerimatha in the south. Adi Shankaracharya, in brief made relentless efforts for the glory and spread of true religion. He passed away at a very young age of 32 in 820 AD.

Some Important Points

No:1. Shankaracharyaji accepted the Vedas and Upanishads as the only and actual source of Knowledge. He rejected ‘Mimansa School of Philosophy’ for its ritual practices.

No:2. Adi Shankaracharya penned commentaries on the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita. He also wrote a book named ‘Brahmasutrabhashya’ to illustrate his religious philosophy.

No:3. He also founded ‘Dashanami Sampradaya’ with an objective to lay down the principles and rules of monastic life. He also organized ten branches of Advaita school of Shaivism, known as Dashnamis.

No:4. He organized the ascetics or the monks in 10 orders. The order is Giri (hills), Puri (city), Bharati (learning), Vana (wood), Aranya (forest), Parvata (mountain), Sagara (ocean), Tirtha (temple), Ashrama (hermitage) and Saraswati (true knowledge).

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