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Śaṅkara (early 8th century)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-F033-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Śaṅkara has been a highly influential figure in Hindu philosophy and religion from his lifetime (early eighth century; traditionally 788–820) to the present day. He is the most renowned teacher of nondualist (Advaita) Vedānta, which emphasizes realizing the nondual reality, Brahman, through hearing and contemplating the Upaniṣads, sacred knowledge which reveals the nature of human existence and the cosmos. Unlike many Western thinkers, who consider themselves forward-looking individuals putting forth new insights, Śaṅkara is self-consciously part of an ongoing tradition committed to scriptural exegesis. He honours prior teachers (such as Gauḍapāda), and his own writings are primarily explanatory commentaries on sacred Vedānta texts. Śaṅkara also requires certain purifying qualifications to pursue liberation, and vigorously contests other views prevailing in his time.

Citing this article:
Fort, Andrew O.. Śaṅkara (early 8th century), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-F033-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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