An early 8th-century Indian Philosopher and theologian, Adi Shankaracharya is credited for consolidating the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He unified and established the current thoughts in Hinduism. Here are the 10 important things to know about Adi Shankaracharya:
1. Renounced Worldly Pleasures At Young Age
Adi Shankaracharya renounced worldly pleasures at a very young age and amalgamated the ancient Advaita Vendata ideologies. He also explained the basic ideology behind the Upanishads and advocated the oldest concept followed by Hinduism explaining the union of soul or atman with the Supreme Soul (Nirguna Brahman).
Explained Key Differences Between Hinduism And Buddhism
Shankaracharya gave a major insight into how Buddhism is different from that of Hinduism. He stated that Hinduism supports and accepts the concept of Atman which means soul or self exists. Buddhism believes that there is no self or soul.
Traveled Across Indian Subcontinent
Shankara traveled across the Indian subcontinent for propagating his philosophy that supported Hinduism. He did that through debates and discourses with thinkers of those times.
Established Importance Of Monastic Life
Adi Shankaracharya established the importance of monastic life as mentioned in the Upanishads and Brahma Sutra. His work is all the more credible because in those times Mimamsa school that was based on strict ritualism and considered monasticism ridiculous was at the helm.
Founder Of Four Mathas
He founded four mathas or monasteries that helped to revive the spread of Advaita Vedanta. That is why he is considered the greatest revivalist of Advaita Vedanta.
The four mathas founded by Adi Shankaracharya are Sringeri Sharada Peetham along the banks of Tunga formed on the basis of Yajurveda, Dvaraka Pitha in Western India formed on the basis of Sama Veda, Jyotirmatha Peetham located in northern India formed on the basis of Atharva Veda, and Govardhan Matha in eastern India formed on the basis of Rig Veda.
Synthesized Six Sub-sects
One of the most important works of Shankaracharya is the synthesis of the six sub-sects or the Shanmata which means six religions that worshipped six different deities. Shankaracharya put across the thought that there is only one Supreme Being (Brahman) and all these six supreme deities are part of this Brahman or one divine power.
Renowned For Commentaries On Ancient Texts
Adi Shankaracharya is renowned for his in-depth and insightful commentaries on ancient texts. The review of Brahma Sutra that he wrote is famous as Brahmasutrabhasya and is the oldest commentary on Brahma Sutra. He also wrote views and commentaries on the 10 principles of Upanishads and Bhagvad Gita.
Well Known For Stotras
Adi Shankaracharya also composed many poems praising gods and goddesses. Some of the most famous ones are those dedicated to Shiva and Krishna. One of his most famous literary works is Upadesasahasri which means a thousand teachings.
14-Known Biographies Of Shankaracharya
At least there are 14 known biographies of Adi Shankaracharya that depicts his life. Most of these biographies are called the Sankara Vijaya or Guruvijaya, Shankarabhyudaya, and Shankaracaryacarita.
Mystery About Shankaracharya’s Death
Many believe that Shankaracharya went to Samadhi at the young age of 32 at Kedarnath in the Uttarakhand. According to texts, he was last seen walking behind the Kedarnath temple by his disciples towards the Himalayas and could not be traced after that. Some say that he took Samadhi in alternate locations such as Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu or at some place in Kerala.