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Date of Adi Sankara

Date of Adi Sankara

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Published by: Murali on Jun 25, 2012
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Date of Adi SankaraViswanatha SastryDecember 2002Adi Sankara - National and Cultural IntegrationSri Adi Sankara Bhagavatpadacharya is one of the greatest philosophers andspiritual thinkers of the world. His importance in the religious history of Sanatana Dharma is unparallelled. His achievements during a very shortlife-span of 32 years has astounded observers. Naturally, he has beenregarded as incarnation of the divine. People who are ignorant of Indianreligious history may call him, merely, a logician. The fact remains that heis the greatest consolidator of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal ethic andcosmic order that sustains. He gave a comprehensive exposition on Vedantaand will always be identified with the spiritual tradition of Upanishads. NoHindu school of thought is foreign to his central doctrine, Advaita. In facthe treated all schools of Hindu philosophical thought as complementary tohis treatise and drew inspiration from all schools of thought. In hiscommentary on Mandukya Karika (3-17) he states that the doctrines of Kapila,Kanada, Buddha and Arhata who differ among themselves may treat Advaita asopposed to their doctrines, but Advaita treats them as it's own.Adi Sankara strived for religious harmony and National integration. Heaccepted all religious paths, doctrines such as Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya,Vaiseshika, Purva Meemamsa and contributed to refine such paths enabling theinquirers to reach the goal safely on the Vedic path. While accepting allthe innumerable forms of God that were being worshipped by people, hegrouped the divinities into six, viz,, Siva, Vishnu, Sakthi, Ganapathi,Surya and Subrahmanya. He met the leaders who adored these divinities andconvinced them that ultimate truth can be worshipped in many forms and thatchoice of the divinity worshipped should not become a contentious issue. He
was the earliest philosopher to recognize that temples could unify theHindus, a tradition that was later extolled by the Nayanars. He travelledall over Bharat and visited several temples, sung hymns, refined andprescribed traditions of worship. He appointed a Gokarna priest atKathmandu, a Nambudiri at Badri and a north-Indian at Rameswaram todemonstrate that the tradition of Hindu Dharma was uniformly followed in allparts of Bharat.The greatness Sri Sankara can be seen in the fact that while he was achampion of Vedic Dharma, he was not opposed to the paths of Baudha orArhata. Commenting on the common belief that Adi Sankara is responsible forthe decline of the path of the Buddha, Sri Chandrasekhara SaraswatiSankaracharya of Kanchi said: " This is not true. There are very fewpassages in Acharya's commentaries critical of that religion (path of theBuddha), a religion that was opposed to the Vedas. He was more critical of the doctrines of Samkhya and Mimamsa which respect the Vedic tradition.TwoAcharyas (Kumarila and Udayana) were mainly responsible for the decline of Budhism in our land and not Sankara Bhagavadpada. What we are taught on thesubject in our text books is not true."Akhila Bharateeya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana had organized, in Bombay, inOctober 2002, a seminar to discuss the dates of three great personalitiesBuddha, Chanakya and Sankara - three great thinkers who crystallized thepurusharthas. While scholars expressed different views on Dates of Buddhaand Chanakya, there was unanimity on the date of Adi Sankara. All the eightpapers submitted by scholars pointed only at 2631 Yudhishthira Sakha (Y.S.)equaling to 507-509 BCE (Before Common Era). Dr. S. Kalyanaraman and Prof.Y. Sudarshana Rao jointly chaired the session of scholars which deliberatedon the date of Adi Sankara. Sri P. S. Mishra, spokesperson of Puri Matha,Sri Ch. Viswanatha Sastry, Sri Satyanarayana Sarma and Sri Ramakrshna Raowere among those who submitted their research monographs.The following paragraphs summarise the main points to support the date of 
Adi Sankara as 507-509 BCE.1. Tradition of Sankara MathasFortunately, we do have the evidence of tradition sustained by the SankaraMathas, to determine the date of Adi Sankara; the tradition which has beencarefully preserved and passed on to us by an un-broken line of reveredAcharyas. We cannot neglect the traditional dates prevailing at variousSankara Mathas while fixing the date of Adi Sankara. Even though there arecontroversies concerning the number of Mathas established by Adi Sankara, weare able to glean the evidence of tradition from five important Mathas,viz., Kanchi, Dwaraka, Puri, Badri and Sringeri.Acharyas of vast learning, great piety, mighty intellect and widelyrespected Sanyasins who are well versed not only with Advaita, but also withthe Darshanas presided over these Mathas, from time to time. They arerepositories of valuable information passed on to them from generation togeneration, by their preceptors. Unfortunately, foreign historians did notattach proper importance to the tradition of the Mathas while determiningthe Date of Adi Sankara. It is remarkable that the tradition of all Mathasis consistent and provide corroborative evidence to determine the date of Adi Sankara.Kanchi Kamakoti Matha: Adi Sankara established this Matha on VaisakhaPoornima of Sidhardhi year in 482 B.C. According to the tradition of KanchiMatha, Adi Sankara's birth date is 509 B.C (Nandana nama samvatsara VaisakhaSukla Panchami) and date of siddhi (death) is 477 B.C (Raktakshi namasamvatsara Vaisakha sukla Ekadasi)Kanchi Matha provides a list of 69 Acharyas from Adi- Sankara to Jayendrasaraswathi Swami .It is said that 56th Acharya of this Matha, Sri Sarvagnya Sadasiva Bodha has

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