Explained: Life, work and legend of Adi Shankara, Advaita master, philosopher nonpareil

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated a 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath, Uttarakhand. This was because it is believed that at this place Adi Shankaracharya has attained samadhi at the age of 32 in the ninth century.

Who is Adi Shankaracharya?

Adi Guru Shankaracharya was an 8th-century Indian spiritual leader and philosopher. He is said to have been born in Kaladi village on the bank of the Periyar, the largest river in Kerala.


Advaita Vedanta: Adi Shankaracharya propounded the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta which articulates a philosophical position of radical non dualism, a revisionary worldview which it derived from the ancient Upanishadic texts. 

According to the philosophy, the whole world is a manifestation of the one and only God (brahman) and all diversity we see is delusion (maya) as the result of ignorance (advidya). 

Established Mathas: Shankaracharya established Mathas in Sringeri, Dwaraka, Puri, and Joshimath for the spread of Advaita Vedanta.

Major Works of Adi Shankaracharya

He authored 116 works. Among them, the celebrated commentaries (bhashyas) are on Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra, and the Gita.His famous poetic works include  Maneesha Panchakam and Saundaryalahiri.

He authored the Vivekachudamani. It spells out the qualifications required in a student of Vedanta.

He also composed the Kanakadhara Stotram, following which there was a rain of golden amlas which brought prosperity to the household.

Further, he also composed texts like Shankara Smrithi which seeks to establish the social supremacy of Nambuthiri Brahmins.

Source:  This post is based on the articleExplained: Life, work and legend of Adi Shankara, Advaita master, philosopher nonpareilpublished in “Indian Express” on 5th November 2021.

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