The birth anniversary of Shankaracharya is observed on Panchami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month or in the month between April and May. His teachings and philosophy influenced and revived when Hindu culture was on decline. It is said that Shankaracharya, along with Madhava and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism.
Born: 788 CE (according to Scholars)
Place of Birth: Kaladi, Kerala, India
Also known as: Adi Shankaracharya/ Adi Sankaracharya
Died: 820 CE
Place of Death: Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, India
Teacher: Govinda Bhagavatpada
Disciples: Padmapada, Totakacharya, Hasta Malaka, Sureshvara
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta
Founder of: Dashanami Sampradaya, Advaita Vedanta
As we know that Shankaracharya is best remembered for his remarkable reinterpretations of Hindu scriptures and his sayings on the Vedic canon whether Brahma Sutras, principal Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. His philosophical teachings have deeply influenced various sects of Hinduism and also contributed to the development of the thought of modern India.
Do you know at a very young age, he was inclined towards spirituality and religion? With the help of his guru, he mastered all the Vedas and the six Vedangas. Also, while travelling he spread spiritual knowledge and the tenets of Advaita Vedanta. He died at a very young age of 32, despite of it he left an indelible mark on the people, methods of teaching of Vedas and development of modern thought.
Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Early Life
According to some scholars, he was born on 788 circa in a poor Brahmin family in Kaladi, Chera Kingdom, present day Kerala, India. His father was Sivaguru and mother was Aryamba. Let us tell you that his parents were childless for a long time and had prayed a lot to Lord Shiva to bless them with a baby. Soon, they became parents of Shankaracharya. No doubt he proved to be an intelligent boy who have mastered all the Vedas and six Vedangas form the local gurukul. As mentioned above from the young age he was more inclined towards religion and spirituality and was not interested in the worldly affairs. He was not interested in marriage and so he remained unmarried whole lifetime.
Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Later Life
He wants to take Sanyasa and want to learn under guru who can show him right path. Once he met Swami Govindapada Acharya in a hermitage in Badrinath in the Himalayas. He told his life story nad asked him to accept him as a pupil. He was pleased and initiated him into the sacred order of Sanyasa. Then he taught Shankaracharya the philosophy of Advaita which he had learned from his guru Gaudapada Acharya.
Shankaracharya went to Kashi and there he wrote his commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, the Upanishads and the Gita. He travelled a lot in his life, usually he participate in public philosophical debates with religious scholars, preached his teachings and founded several "matha' or monasteries. He is regarded as a founder of the Dasanami Sampradaya of Hindu monasticism.
Shankaracharya/Adi Shankaracharya: Works
He has written spectacular commentaries on ancient texts.
- Shankaracharya review of 'Brahma Sutra' is known as 'Brahmasutrabhasya’ and is the oldest surviving commentary on Brahma Sutra.
- He wrote commentaries on Bhagavad Gita.
- He also wrote commentaries on ten principal Upanishads.
- He is also well-known for his "stotras' or poems. He had composed several poems, praising gods and goddesses. One of his stotras one is dedicated to the Lord Shiva and Krishna and is considered most important.
- He also composed 'Upadesasahasri’ which means 'thousands teachings'. This is his one of the most important philosophical works.
We can't ignore the fact that his teachings played a pivotal role in the development of Hinduism over the centuries.
Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Philosophy
His philosophy was simple and straightforward. He advocated the existence of the soul and the Supreme Soul. He believed or told that the Supreme Soul alone is real and remains unchanged or can't be changed but the soul id a changing entity and so it does not have any absolute existence.
Shankaracharya/ Adi Shankaracharya: Mathas
Let us tell you that as per the scholars he has founded four mathas or monasteries namely Sringeri Sharada Peetham, Dvaraka Pitha, Jyotirmatha Peetham and Govardhana Matha.
So, now we come to know that Shankarachraya teachings and philosophy not only paved an impact on the people or Hinduism but at such a young age he had learnt all the Vedas, six Vedangas which itself is commendable. We can’t forget that his methods of teaching of Vedas have contributed to the development of the modern Indian thought.