Adi Shankara (Sanskrit, शंकर, śankara, adi is called “beginning, origin”) called Shankaracharya (acharya is called master) (about 788-820) is a religious teacher and/or. Philosopher of the Hinduismus. It systematized the philosophy of the Advaita Vedanta. According to, developed, later a legend it created four monasteries in India. It was born as a son of a Nambudiri Brahmanen in Kalady in Kerala and wandered through completely India. Much of what was written over its life (Shankara Vijayams) is to rather hagiographischer nature, contains however nevertheless often a historical core. It led many disputes with the Buddhisten and wrote in Benares its Hauptwerk, a comment to the Brahmasutren.

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one of its most important works is called Viveka Chudamani (Kleinod of the distinction). With distinction Shankara means the distinction between reality and non--reality: “Correct distinction shows to us the true of nature of a rope and drives the tormenting fear out, our erroneous acceptance, it is a queue, causes”. By devotion to the right distinction humans will achieve the highest stage of the combination with the Brahman. “So it may save its own soul, which sank in the tides of lives and death (SAM era) ".

The outside world with their feature evaluates Shankara as illusion: “Only who possesses discernment and its thought from all terrestrial joys turns away, which equal courage and the relatives virtues possesses, who requires besides for release (Mukti), is enables Brahman to look for ". The first condition is after Shankara the distinction between the eternal one and the non--eternal. Brahman is real, the universe is unreal. A way to the realization is to be taken off consciousness from all articles, i.e. to replace and into their center withdraw the sensory organs of the perception like the activity from the articles.

On the way after release Shankara of the mirror-image-ritual realization grants the highest value: “One may the holy writings say and to the holy spirit victims bring, one may the rites implement and divinities admire, but as long as humans do not awake for the realization of his identity with the Atman, he can never find release - even not after hundreds of ages ".

Shankara stresses the sole responsibility and the release ability of humans: “By desireful longings and the fruits of our Karmas, nobody can solve the chains, which bind us by our ignorance, except us ". He know also on the fact that intellectual striving without mirror-image-ritual dimension is not sufficient: “The study of the writings is fruitlessly, so long Brahman is not experienced”.

Shankara refers again and again to the importance of the overcoming of the senses: “Who killed, crosses the shark fish of the sense desire with the sword of the true Begierdelosigkeit the sea of this world without obstacle”. He evaluates the connection at bodies, articles or humans as fatal for that, which strives for release.

The fine-material body is regarded as seat of the human longings. The human ignorance covers this fine-material body over the Atman. Under the five coverings, which its own Maya weaves, the Atman remains hidden, “as the water in a pond, which bewachsen closely with algae is”. If all five coverings are distant, illuminating reveals itself its (sows)” after Shankara the “pure Atman, which lives on the inside, as not ending, absolute luck blessedness (ananda), as the highest, itself.


Shankara was the most important Indian philosopher, to who it succeeded to renew the Hinduismus on the basis of Upanishaden philosophy. According to estimate of Swami Sivananda was based his success also on his descriptive, graphic language, by means of those it to it succeeded for complicated circumstances not only intellectual ones, but also laymen accessible to make.

Although Shankara of the binaryistic Samkhya - philosophy did not agree, it adapts different suggestions, like the anthropologische understanding or the theory of the Gunas. At all it knew the philosophical currents of its time in detail, which reflects itself in its works.


  • Helmuth of Glasenapp: “The stage way to the Göttlichen - Shankaras philosophy of the unity”, 1948
  • Shankara: The Kleinod of the distinction, Otto William Barth publishing house, Munich
  • Wilfried Huchzermeyer: The holy writings of India - history of the Sanskrit literature. (edition ISBN 3-931172-22-8

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| | * Literature of and over Shankara in the catalog of the DDB



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