Adi Shankara's Sanskrit/Languages Adi Sankara's bashyas are a cerebral delight for any scholar, poet, logician, grammarian, and so on. His grasp of the Sanskrit language, as well as his lyrical abilities, will enchant any connoisseur. Even when he digs into the esoteric ideas of the Upanishads and Vedas, he guides the reader via reasoning and reason. He uses simple words but makes them count by explaining their various meanings and usages.
Shankara was born in 788 AD in India. His father was a wealthy chieftain named Govinda Dikshitar who served as an adviser to the kings of Dakshina (now known as Karnataka) and Tamrapatra (now known as Manipur). Govinda Dikshitar had several other children from different mothers which made Adi Shankara an uncle. When he was seven years old, his family moved to a new town called Talakad where he grew up among scholars and poets. There he met many teachers who influenced him greatly; some were Digambar Jains, Brahmans, and Buddhists. He also received religious training from monks belonging to various schools-Jain, Buddhist, and Brahman. In 822 AD at the age of 28, he traveled to Kerala to meet with famous scholars including Parashara Hetu, a teacher of logic; and Rama Bhatta, a mathematician and astronomer. It was during this trip that he first encountered the teachings of Gaudiya Vaishnavism which would later become his own brand of Hinduism.
Shankaracharya combined the beliefs of old "Advaita Vedanta" and articulated the fundamental concepts of the Upanishads. He pushed for Hinduism's earliest idea, which describes the unity of the soul (atman) with the Supreme Soul (Nirguna Brahman). This led to his being called the "first atheist in history".
In addition to composing many poems and songs, he developed a system of thought known as "Deductive Analysis", which has been used by many philosophers since then.
He also introduced several new ideas that would later on be adopted by other philosophers including:
- The concept of anumana (reflection) where the understanding of something is aided through another understanding or precedent instance.
- Anutara (afterwards) where after analyzing and understanding a topic thoroughly, one should proceed to new topics.
- Vairagya (dispassion) where one should avoid emotional attachments with people, places or things so as not to influence one's judgment.
Adi Shankaracharya founded several centers of learning across India, some of which still function today.
Shankaracharya was an early eighth-century Indian philosopher who codified Advaita Vedanta theory. It is a Hindu philosophy that concentrates on the concepts of Brahman, atman, vidya (knowledge), avidya (ignorance), maya, karma, and moksha. It refers to the belief that the soul, or Atman, is identical to Brahman. Shankara was a major exponent of this school of thought.
In his own words, he stated that his aim was "to set forth the principles of wisdom in order to destroy the work of the evil doer". He laid out his views in several works including the brahma-sutra-bhasya, which is considered one of the greatest works of Sanskrit literature.
Shankara's teachings have had a tremendous influence on Hinduism and are widely accepted as the definitive commentary on the text of the Upanishads by many modern scholars.
He founded four monasteries for the preservation of Vedic literature and created a comprehensive system of education called "Vedanta School" that became very popular among Rajput kings.
Shankara has been described as the most important philosopher of ancient India after Aristotle. His ideas were particularly influential on South Asian philosophers such as Ramanuja (eleventh century) and Ananda Coomaraswamy (nineteenth century).