Adi Shankaracharya – UPSC Prelims

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.
Philosophy
  • 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.