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Shankara (ca. 700–750 ce or 788–820 ce)

The Indian philosopher, theologian, and mystic Shankara, also called Shankaracharya and Adishankaracharya, is acknowledged as the greatest thinker in the Hindu school of religious thought of Advaita Vedanta. Hardly anything is known about his life except for hagiographic matters; neither his date of birth nor the date of his death is known, but common suggestions are either ca. 700 to 750 CE or 788 to 820 CE. A number of texts claim to be biographies of Shankara. The most well-known of them is Vidyaranya's Shankaradigvijaya, written in the 14th century. Shankara was probably born in the village of Kaladi in Kerala. His parents were Nambuderi Brahmans and Vaishnavas, but the later tradition made Shankara into an incarnation of Shiva. His father died when Shankara was ...

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