Jagadguru Sri Adi Shankaracharya was a great teacher and master of the divine Vedas. He is believed to be an incarnation of Sri Lord Shiva, who appeared on the planet to spread the message of the Vedas and to instill harmony among mankind.
According to scholars and pandits Shankaracharya was born in 788 CE, in the hindu month of Vaishaka shuklapaksha panchami in the city of Kaladi, Kerala. The day falls in May – June according to Gregorian calendar. This year it will fall on May 18th, 2010.
He was born in a Brahmin family. God has gifted Sri Sankara with divine qualities.
After his father’s death, Adi Sankaracharya kept himself aloof from the worldly things and adopted sanyasa to become the follower of Govinda Bhagavadpada Acharya. He learned ancient Vedas, purans and scriptures to quench his thirst of spiritual knowledge.
To heal the bifurcation between the followers of Sanatana Dharma Sri Sankaracharya held discussions with vedic scholars and gurus all through India. The philosophy of Sri Sankaracharya became known as the Advaita school of thought. He spreaded the teachings of the Advaita school and wrote explanation of Hindu scripture. Sri Sankara also founded the Jagadguru mathas; namely,
• Uttaramnaya matha, or northern matha at Joshimath
• Purvamnaya matha or eastern matha, the Govardhana matha, at Puri
• Dakshinamnaya matha, or the Sringeri Sharada Peetham, the southern matha, at Sringeri
• Paschimamnaya matha, or the Dwaraka Pitha, the western matha, at Dwarka.
These mathas were led by his disciples Sureshwaracharya, Hastamalakacharya, Padmapadacharya, and Totakacharya respectively.
Adi Sankaracharya Jayanti is celebrated every year to obtain the blessings of Sri Sankaracharya. His works are read with great devotion and special pooja is offered to Adi Shankaracharya.
Shankaracharaya was known as Adi Shankaracharya because he was responsible to spread the Brahma Sutras all over the world.
Adi Shankara also founded the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata tradition of worship. He wrote explanations on Brahma Sutra, Principal Upanishads and Bhagavadgita.
Sri Sankaracharya attained mukti at the age of 32.