Online Encyclopedia

SANKARA ACHARYA (c. 789-820)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 151 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SANKARA ACHARYA (c. 789-820), Hindu theologian, was born about the year 789, probably at the village of Kaladi in Malabar. He belonged to the Nambudri class of Brahmins. He wandered far and wide, and engaged in much philosophical and theological debate. He taught the existence of the Supreme God and founded the sect of the Smarta Brahmins. His great achievement was the perfecting of the Mimansa or Vedanta philosophy. So great were his learning and piety that he was regarded as an incarnation of Siva, and his works (commentaries on the Vedanta Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads) exercised a permanent influence on Hindu thought. He died at Kedarnata in the Himalayas when only 32 years of age. See Sri Sankaracharya, by C. N. Krishnasurami Aiyar and Pandit Sitanath Tattvabhushan (Madras, 1902).
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