Adi Shankaracharya / आदि शंकराचार्य
Adi Shankara (788 CE - 820 CE), also known as Shankar Bhagavatpadacarya and Adi Shankaracharya, was an Indian philosopher who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta. He was born to Kaippilly Sivaguru Nambudiri and Aryambya Antharjanam in the region of Kalady, in central Kerala. His father died while Shankara was very young. Shankara's upanayanaṃ, the initiation into student-life, was performed at the age of five. As a child, Shankara showed remarkable scholarship, mastering the four Vedas by the age of eight. Shankara travelled across India to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers. He founded four mathas [monasteries], which helped in the historical development, revival and spread of post-Buddhist Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta. These are at 'Sringeri' in Karnataka in the south, 'Dwaraka ' in Gujarat in the west, 'Puri' in Orissa in the east, and 'Jyotirmath' (Joshimath) in Uttarakhand in the north. Adi Shankara is believed to be the founder of the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata tradition of worship. His works in Sanskrit, all of which are extant today, concern themselves with establishing the doctrine of Advaita (Nondualism). Adi Shankara quotes extensively from the Upanishads and other Hindu scriptures in support of his philosophy. Also, his works contain arguments against opposing schools of thought like Samkhya (Sankhya) and Buddhism .