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Sri Adi Śaṅkarācārya.

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Regarding Śaṅkarācārya, it is understood that he was born in the year 608 of the Śakābda era, in the month of Vaiśākha, on the third day of the waxing moon, in a place in South India known as Kālāḍi. His father’s name was Śivaguru, and he lost his father at an early age. When Śaṅkarācārya was only eight years old, he completed his study of all scriptures and took sannyāsa from Govinda, who was residing on the banks of the Narmadā. After accepting sannyāsa, Śaṅkarācārya stayed with his spiritual master for some days. He then took his permission to go to Vārāṇasī, and from there he went to Badarikāśrama, where he stayed until his twelfth year. While there, he wrote a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, as well as on ten Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad-gītā. He also wrote Sanat-sujātīya and a commentary on the Nṛsiṁha-tāpinī. Among his many disciples, his four chief disciples are Padmapāda, Sureśvara, Hastāmalaka and Troṭaka. After departing from Vārāṇasī, Śaṅkarācārya went to Prayāga, where he met a great learned scholar called Kumārila Bhaṭṭa. Śaṅkarācārya wanted to discuss the authority of the scriptures, but Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, being on his deathbed, sent him to his disciple Maṇḍana, in the city of Māhiṣmatī. It was there that Śaṅkarācārya defeated Maṇḍana Miśra in a discussion of the śāstras. Maṇḍana had a wife named Sarasvatī, or Ubhaya-bhāratī, who served as mediator between Śaṅkarācārya and her husband. It is said that she wanted to discuss erotic principles and amorous love with Śaṅkarācārya, but Śaṅkarācārya had been a brahmacārī since birth and therefore had no experience in amorous love. He took a month’s leave from Ubhaya-bhāratī and, by his mystic power, entered the body of a king who had just died. In this way Śaṅkarācārya experienced the erotic principles. After attaining this experience, he wanted to discuss erotic principles with Ubhaya-bhāratī, but without hearing his discussion she blessed him and assured the continuous existence of the Śṛṅgeri-maṭha. She then took leave of material life. Afterwards, Maṇḍana Miśra took the order of sannyāsa from Śaṅkarācārya and became known as Sureśvara. Śaṅkarācārya defeated many scholars throughout India and converted them to his Māyāvāda philosophy. He left the material body at the age of thirty-three.

Ref >> Srila Prabhupada Vani.


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