Shankracharya – Biography

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Poems of Shankaracharya

 

Biography of Shankracharya

Shankracharya was one of India’s foremost philosophers, his exact birth date is uncertain but was thought to have lived during the 8th Century AD.

Shankara interpreted Vedanta philosophy in a strictly Advaita (non dual, monistic) spirit. In essence this philosophy involves attaining the Supreme Transcendental Consciousness (Brahman) by detaching oneself from the material plane (also know as Maya or illusion.)

Despite teaching about the essential unreality of the world Shankara lived a life of great energy and action.  In his short life span of 32 years he travelled to every corner of India spreading his advaita philosophy.  Shankaracharya left a profound legacy on the spirituality of India. By the end of his life the Vedas were looked upon in a new light helping to unify the spiritual beliefs of India. He also reorganised the ancient monastic Swami order, which still continues to this day.

Shankaracharya engaged in many epic discussions with renowned scholars about the Veda’s. Shankaracharya would invariably win these debates. It is said that many of his adversaries later became his followers because they were so impressed with his wisdom. Shankaracharya also had many disciples and he selected the best of these to be bestowed with the title “Acharya” These disciples were sent to different parts of India to propagate the teachings of Advaita and Shankaracharya.

After only a life of 32 years Shankaracharya embarked on his last journey to the Himalaya’s. His last resting place was Kedarnath where Shankaracharya is said to have merged into Mahasamadhi. Many consider Shankaracharya to be a reincarnation of Lord Shiva.

By: Richard

 

Other Resources on Shankracharya

Literary Study on Shankracharya
- Satyam Yoga Centre – 2001 (Sannyasi Mantrabindu)

Madhava-Vidyarana, ‘Sankara Digvijaya, The Traditional Life of Sri Sankaracharya’, (1986), Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, India

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati, ‘Sannyasa Darshan’, (1993), Sri Panchdashnam Paramahamsa Alakh Bara, Rikhiadham ~ Deoghar, Jharkhand, India

Swami Mumukshananda (1991), ‘Vedanta – Voice of Freedom’, Advaita Ashram, India

Swami Nikhilananda, (1967) ‘Self Knowledge of Sri Sankaracarya’,Sri Ramakrishna Math, Madras, India