Adi Shankaracharya

Definition - What does Adi Shankaracharya mean?

Adi Shankaracharya (788 - 820 C.E.), also known as Adi Shankara or Shankara Bhagavatpada, was a famous Indian philosopher who had a great influence on the development and unification of Hinduism, its thoughts and principles. He is known for consolidating the Hindu philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and writing commentaries on the important Vedic texts such as the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and the "Brahma Sutras." The keystone of the Advaita Vedanta is that the inner Self, or the Atman, is the same as the Universal Reality, or Brahman.

During his life, Adi Shankaracharya traveled through India to spread his philosophy and meet other philosophers. His teachings included the principles of yoga and accepted that yoga can help to achieve spiritual liberation, but he rejected the total supression of thoughts and believed that only practicing yoga is insufficient for gaining the knowledge of Brahman.

Yogapedia explains Adi Shankaracharya

Stories tell that young Adi Shankaracharya showed a great intelligence and talent as a child, and even wanted to live as a hermit already. Some sources state that he left home to search for his guru at the age of eight and started to write commentaries on the Vedic texts when he was 16. One of his most famous works, and one of the most important texts of the Vedanta school of Hinduism, is the commentary on the "Brahma Sutras," titled the "Brahmasutrabhasya."

Adi Shankaracharya is considered a jnana yogi, raja yogi and bhakti yogi. He taught that knowledge is the right path in attaining spiritual liberation, but he also taught Raja yoga, revealing the secrets of pranayama, mantra, meditation, concentration and the chakras. He composed several chants to various Hindu deities. Some sources state that he rejected yoga, but, in fact, he just did not agree with the dualistic principle of purusha and prakriti and declared a supreme reality instead.

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