Adi Shankaracharya (आदि शङ्कराचार्य)

Adi Shankaracharya is an eighth century religious teacher and Philosopher. According to commonly held view, Adi Shankaracharya was born in 788 AD.

Adi Shankara consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta. He is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism. He wrote commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.


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 in Kerala. He was an exceptional child as Adi Shankar had become fluent in Sanskrit by the age of two. By four, he was comfortably reciting scriptures including Vedas.

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 Govid Bhagvatpad at Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh) on the bank of Narmada river.

Adi Shankara excelled under the Govind Bhagvatpad, who instructed him to write commentaries on scriptures on completion of his learning. Adi Shankara was just 12 at the time.

Following his guru’s command, Adi Shankara wrote commentaries explaining the subtle meanings hidden in scriptures. He finished the task by the age of sixteen, after which Adi Shankaracharya is said to have stopped writing as he had completed writing all the major treatises on religion and philosophy.


Adi Shankaracharya popluarised the Advaita branch of philosophy that declared that god and indivual 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 and 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.

Establishment of Ashrams

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.

Work of Adi Shankara

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 spreading the fundamentals of the Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Some of these books are Viveka Chudamani, Atma Bodha, Vaakya Vritti and Upadesa Sahasri.

Adi Shankaracharya is credited to have composed 72 devotional and meditative hymns such as Soundarya Lahari, Sivananda Lahari, Nirvana Shatakam, Maneesha Panchakam.


It is believed Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at Kedarnath. It is said he was seen last by his disciples walking into the Himalayan woods at Kedarnath. He was not seen thereafter.

Complete work of Adi Sankaracharya

Following is the list of works by Shri Adi Shankaracharya which are widely accepted to be his works :


  1. Brahma Sutras
  2. Isavasya Upanishad
  3. Kena Upanishad
  4. Katha Upanishad
  5. Prasna Upanishad
  6. Mundaka Upanishad
  7. Mandukya Upanishad
  8. Mandukya Karika
  9. Aitareya Upanishad
  10. Taittiriya Upanishad
  11. Chandogya Upanishad
  12. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
  13. Sree Nrisimha Taapaneeya Upanishad
  14. Bhagavad Gita
  15. Vishnu Sahasranama
  16. Sanat Sujatheeyam
  17. Lalita Trishati
  18. Hastamalakeeyam


  1. Vivekachudamani
  2. Aparokshanubhuti
  3. Upadesasahasri
  4. Vaakya Vritti
  5. Swatma Nirupanam
  6. Atma bodha
  7. Sarva Vedanta Sara Samgraha
  8. Prabodha Sudhakaram
  9. Swaatma Prakasika
  10. Advaita Anubhuti
  11. Brahma anuchintanam
  12. Prashnouttara Ratnamaalika
  13. Sadachara anusandhanam
  14. Yaga Taravali
  15. Anatmasree Vigarhanam
  16. Swaroopa anusandhanam
  17. Pancheekaranam
  18. Tattwa bodha
  19. Prouda anubhooti
  20. Brahma Jnanavali
  21. Laghu Vakyavritti
  22. Bhaja Govindam
  23. Prapancha Saaram


  1. Sri Ganesa Pancharatnam
  2. Ganesa Bhujangam
  3. Subrahmanya Bhujangam
  4. Siva Bhujangam
  5. Devi Bhujangam
  6. Bhavani Bhujangam
  7. Sree Rama Bhujangam
  8. Vishnu Bhujangam
  9. Sarada Bhujangam
  10. Sivananda Lahari
  11. Soundarya Lahari
  12. Ananda Lahari
  13. Sivapaadaadi kesaanta varnana
  14. Siva kesaadi padaanta varnana
  15. Sree Vishnu-paadaadi-kesanta
  16. Uma maheswara Stotram
  17. Tripurasundari Vedapada Stotram
  18. Tripurasundari Manasapooja
  19. Tripurasundari Ashtakam
  20. Devi shashti upachara-pooja
  21. Mantra matruka Pushpamaala
  22. Kanakadhara Stotram
  23. Annapoorna Stotram
  24. Ardhanareshwara Stotram
  25. Bhramanaamba Ashtakam
  26. Meenakshi Stotram
  27. Meenakshi Pancharatnam
  28. Gouri Dasakam
  29. Navaratna Malika
  30. Kalyana Vrishtistavam
  31. Lalitha Pancharatnam
  32. Maaya Panchakam
  33. Suvarna Mala Stuti
  34. Dasa Sloki
  35. Veda Sara Siva StotramHara
  36. Siva Panchaakshara Stotram
  37. Sivaaparadha Kshamapana
  38. Dakshinamoorthy Ashtakam
  39. Dakshinamoorthy Varnamala
  40. Mrutyunjaya Manasa Pooja Stotram
  41. Siva Namavali Ashtakam
  42. Kaala Bhairava Ashtakam
  43. Shatpadee Stotram
  44. Siva Panchakshara Nakshatra Mala
  45. Dwadasa Ling Stotram
  46. Kasi Panchakam
  47. Hanumat Pancharatnam
  48. Lakshmi-Nrisimha Pancharatnam
  49. Lakshmi-Nrisimha Karunarasa Stotram
  50. Panduranga Ashtakam
  51. Achyuta Ashtakam
  52. Sree Krishna Ashtakam
  53. Hari Stuti
  54. Govinda Ashtakam
  55. Bhagavat Manasa Pooja
  56. Praata Smarana Stotram
  57. Jagannatha Ashtakam
  58. Guruvashtakam
  59. Narmada Ashtakam
  60. Yamuna Ashtakam
  61. Ganga Ashtakam
  62. Manikarnika Ashtakam
  63. Nirguna Manasa Pooja
  64. Eka Sloki
  65. Yati Panchakam
  66. Jeevan Mukta Ananda Lahari
  67. Dhanya Ashtakam
  68. Upadesa (Sadhna) Panchakam
  69. Sata Sloki
  70. Maneesha Panchakam
  71. Advaita Pancharatnam
  72. Nirvana Shatakam
  73. Devyapara-dha kshamapa stotra


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