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Adi Shankaracharya ( 788 - 820 )  Category ( Religious_Leaders_Figures ) [suggest a correction]

Shankaracharya, also known as the Master Shankara, was an Indian philosopher, saint, mystic, poet and religious reformer. Born into a scholarly Namburdri subcaste of a Malabar Brahman family, Shankara was a prodigious student of the Vedas, the oldest writing of the Indo-Aryan people.

To reconcile the standards of knowledge and the socio-religious beliefs of this time with ancient traditions, Ahnkara reinterpreted the Verdic literature. He composed commentaries onthe Bhagavad-Gita, the Upanishads, and the Brahmaasutra. He also propounded the philosophical system known as Pedanta, based upon his commentaries. He wrote all his works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today.

In the Vedanta, the ultimate real is One, and so Shankara's philosophy is known as Advaita, nondual, or monism. Mokasha, liberation, or salvation, can be attained by the individual by discarding ignorance, or avidya. Knowing the true nature of reality leads to realization of the identity of the individual soul, atman, with brahman, the cosmic soul.

A monk adept in yogic practices, Shankara founded four monastic orders and established four mathas, or monasteries, in the four directions if India, Shringeri is in the south; Badrinath in the north; Puri in the east, and; Dvarika in the west.

He opposed the atheistic philosophy of Buddhism, which was prevalent in India at that time. Among intellectual Hindus, Ahnkara's Vedantic philosophy has remained in vogue.

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