• The Prime Minister has unveiled a 12-foot statue of Adi Shankaracharya at Kedarnath.


  • Adi Shankaracharya is generally considered an eighth century religious teacher. But there are differences of opinion about this actual birthday. According to commonly held view, Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788 AD.
  • Adi Shankara, as he is popularly known among his followers, was born in Kalady village -now a small town in the Ernakulam district – situated on the bank of a river of the same name in Kerala.
  • The burning quest for attaining superior knowledge from an early age pushed Adi Shankara to leave his home and set on the search for a guru. His quest ended with GovidBhagvatpad at Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh) on the bank of Narmada River.


  • Adi Shankaracharya championed the Advait branch of philosophy that declared that god and humans were not two. He then set out to spread the message of his guru.
  • From the age of 16 to 32, Adi Shankaracharya travelled across the length and breadth of India with the message of Vedas.
  • He pronounced that ‘Brahman or pure consciousness is the absolute reality that is attainable by human beings and that the material world is an illusion’.
  • He established his supremacy in religion and philosophy in debating duels with experts and chief of ashram after ashram from north to south and east to west.
  • The defeat would end up hitherto expert philosophers accepting young Adi Shankara as their guru ad accepting his interpretation of the scriptures.


  • Having established his superiority among all exponents of religion and philosophy of the time, Adi Shankaracharya founded four ashrams – Badrinath, Puri, Dwaraka and Sringeri – in the four corners of the country.
  • The head disciple was appointed as the head of each of the four ashrams.
  • These were the centres to elucidate the essence of Advaita philosophy.
  • Each ashram was to follow one of the four Vedas – Puri for Rig Veda, Sringeri for Yajur Veda, Dwaraka for Sama Veda and Badrinath for Atharva Veda.
  • The essential duty of these institutions was to impart the teaching mushrooming of innumerable sects during his time due to narrow philosophical interpretation of Vedas and scriptures had led to multiplicity of gods and worship systems.
  • The commoners were to be guided towards the idea of One God.


  • Adi Shankaracharya wrote 18 commentaries on the scriptures including the Brahma Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and 12 major Upanishads.
  • He wrote about two dozen books elucidating the fundamentals of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Some of these books are VivekaChudamani, AtmaBodha, VaakyaVritti and UpadesaSahasri.
  • Adi Shankaracharya is credited to have composed 72 devotional and meditative hymns such as Soundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shalkam, ManeeshaPanchakam.
  • To his ardent followers, Adi Shankaracharya was an incarnation of Lord Shiva, who came to the earth for 32 years.

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