[Advaita-l] Age/History of Sankara

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 4 12:42:22 CDT 2006

>3. Renounce the belief that any great person who lived in India in the past
>would had to have lived before Christ. Countless great men and women have
>lived in India not only in the very distinct past, but also roughly in the
>two millenia after Christ.
>Now while rest of sankaracharya mutts proclaim an age of sankara to be
>before christ (through their guru parampara of more than 70 acharyas),  
>shringeri mutt claim for a post christ dated age for sankara. Now by his
>statement one is asked to open his mind to consider a post christ dated age
>for sankara.

Yes, all I am asking is for you to keep an open mind about the Sringeri 
maTha tradition. I don't know whether that is too much to ask. After all, 
while it may seem as if Sringeri is alone in not saying that Sankara lived 
2500 years ago, the fact remains that Sringeri's important (I would say, 
almost central) place in the tradition is rejected only by a few, for 
whatever reason.

I would also draw attention to the fact that verses giving Sankara's birth 
in a year corresponding to 788 AD, the Kerala tradition linking Sankara's 
life to the founding of the Kollam era, etc are all, the reference in the 
Tamil work, Kongudesa Rajakkal, which has Sankara's birth in the 14th year 
of Vikramaditya - all of these are centuries-old sources for a date that is 
not-5th century BCE. To claim that all traditional institutions accept a 5th 
century BCE date is far-fetched, to say the least.

Unfortunately, Antarkar does not take these other sources into account 
properly. By the way, when I say I have cited and discussed his papers, it 
means precisely only that. It does not mean that I have agreed with his 

>Another example being :
>6. Renounce the beliefs that, if an institution is prominent today, or if
>it's head is worthy of respect, it has been always prominent throughout
>history or that all the historical claims of the said insitution are
>In the general perspective one can take these statements logically but when
>one understands the bais of the writer then one cant help requesting
>restrain from such a seasoned scholar on such sensitive issues. For any
>student, the Guru and the mutt which he heads is the ultimate by whose 
>alone he can even grasp and visualise advaitam.

For whatever it is worth, I would suggest considering the guru to be 
separate from the institution he happens to be associated with. You need the 
grace of the guru, not the institution. The student's relationship with the 
Guru is a personal one. The institution exists only for social, historical 
and other non-personal reasons, and comes with the baggage of people other 
than the guru - the attendants, the administrators, the treasurers, the 
secretaries - most of whom do not merit the status you should give to the 


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