Sri Adi Sankara Charya
Sankara was born in Kaladi in a village in the southern Indian state of Kerala. His parents named him as Sankara “giver of prosperity”. Since childhood he attracted everybody with his intelligence and kindness. At the age of three he was given “Aksharabyas”, i.e., the learning of writing and reading His father passed away when Sankara was four years old. Sankara’s mother initiated him into Brahmacharyam by doing his Upanayanam at the age of five and she took special care to educate him in all the shastras and scriptures by sending him to Gurukul.
Since childhood he was interested in the life of Sannyasa and his mother didn’t allow it. But later with the permission of his mother he left home and went in the search of a Guru to be formally initiated as a Sannyasi. At the banks of the river Narmada, he met his Guru Sri Govinda Bagawathpathar, an ascetic who initiated him as a Sannyasi. Guru Govinda taught him many vedas and the philosophy of Advaita which he himself had learnt from his Guru-Gaudapada Acharya, the principle that every one in this world is the manifestation of God and that God and Atman are one and the same. Sankara learnt all the philosophical tenets from his Guru Govindapada. Guru Govinda asked Sankara to go to Kashi and in Kashi Sankara wrote all his famous commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, the Upanishads and the Gita and successfully met all the criticisms levelled against them. At the age of sixteen he became a master of all the philosophies, theologies and began to propagate his philosophy to the world. Sankara had the greatest esteem for his Guru Govindapada and his Parama Guru (Guru’s Guru) Gaudapada.
Sankara is most known for his systematic reviews and commentaries (Bhasyas) on ancient Indian texts. Sankara’s masterpiece of commentary is the Brahmasutrabhasya (commentary on Brahma Sutra), a fundamental text of the Vedanta school of Hinduism.
His commentaries on ten Mukhya (principal) Upanishads are also considered authentic by scholars. Among the Stotra (poetic works), the Daksinamurti Stotra, the Bhajagovinda Stotra, the Sivanandalahari, the Carpata-panjarika, the Visnu-satpadi, the Harimide, the Dasa-shloki and the Krishna-staka are likely to be authentic.
During his life time he also done diverse journeys, pilgrimages to spread the truth to everyone.
Sankara had a number of disciple scholars during his travels who authored their own literature on Sankara and Advaita Vedanta.
Adi Sankara is believed to have died at the age of 32.