Adi ShankaraAdi Shankara (8th cent. CE), Earlier generations of scholars proposed 788–820 CE. Other proposals are 686–718 CE, 44 BCE, or as early as 509–477 BCE.}} also called Adi Shankaracharya (; , ),) or Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya () or simply Shankaracharya, sometimes spelled Sankaracharya.}} was an Indian philosopher and theologian whose works synthesized and systematized the Advaita Vedanta teachings of his time.
Over 300 texts are attributed to his name, including commentaries (''Bhāṣya''), original philosophical expositions (''Prakaraṇa grantha'') and poetry (''Stotra''). However most of these are not authentic works of Shankara and are likely to be by his admirers or scholars whose name was also Shankaracharya. Authentic are the ''Brahmasutrabhasya'', his commentaries on ten Mukhya (principal) Upanishads, his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upadesasahasri. The authenticity of Shankara being the author of has been questioned.
The central concern of Shankara's writings is the identity of the Self (Ātman) and ''Brahman'', and defending the liberating knowledge of the Self, and the Upanishads as an independent means of knowledge, against the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism. Shankara's Advaita shows influences from Mahayana Buddhism, despite Shankara's critiques; and Hindu Vaishnavist opponents have even accused Shankara of being a "crypto-Buddhist," a qualification which is rejected by the Advaita Vedanta tradition, highlighting their respective views on ''Atman'', ''Anatta'' and ''Brahman''. Shankara has an unparallelled status in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, and also had a strong influence on the Vedanta-tradition in general. Yet, while the main currents of modern Indian thought may have been derived from his doctrines, his influence on Hindu intellectual thought has been questioned, and the historical fame and cultural influence of Shankara may have grown centuries later after his death. Hagiographies dating from the 14th-17th centuries present him as a folk-hero he travelling across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy through discourses and debates with other thinkers, from both orthodox Vedic (Āstika) traditions and heterodox non-Vedic (Nāstika) traditions, including Buddhism, defeating his opponents in theological debates. According to tradition, he founded four mathas ("monasteries"), which are believed to have helped in the historical development, revival and propagation of Advaita Vedanta. The factual correctness of his foundership is doubtfull, and the mathas may have been established as late as the 14th century. Adi Shankara is also believed to be the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order and unified the Shanmata tradition of worship. Provided by Wikipedia