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Know about Guru Shankaracharya -The 8th century saint whose statue was unveiled by PM Modi today

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Dehradun: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kedarnath on Friday morning and unveiled a 12-foot statue of Adi Guru Shankaracharya at the 8th century seer’s rebuilt samadhi – after it was damaged in the 2013 Uttarakhand floods.

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“There was a time when spirituality and religion were linked to only stereotypes, however Indian philosophy talks about human welfare and looks at life in a holistic way, PM Modi said in Kedarnath adding that Adi Shankaracharya did the work of making the society aware of this truth. 

The unveiling of the statue was streamed live at 12 jyotirlingas, four mathas (monasteries) established by Adi Guru Shankaracharya, his birth place and a number of prominent temples across the country.

A learned man, Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who is believed to have written more than 300 works in Sanskritan, is an 8th-century spiritual leader and a philosopher born in Kaladi (present day Kerala). His works had a strong impact on the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and he gave us masterpiece like the Brahma-sutra-bhashya (the commentary on the Brahma-sutra) which is a fundamental text of the Vedanta school. He was the exponent of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy. He is believed to have died in the year 820 CE at the young age of 32 at Kedarnath in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, a Hindu pilgrimage site in the Himalayas.

Adi Shankara, travelled the breadth of the land and went on to connect holy spots of India such as the 12 jyotirlingas, 18 shakti-peethas and four Vishnu-dhaams to create pilgrim routes. He set up four mathas in India, at Badrikashram in the north, Dwaraka in the west, Puri in the east and Sringeri in the south.

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From a young age, he was interested in the life of Sannyasi (hermit), though, his widowed mother was against it. Once while bathing, a crocodile caught his leg and he told his mother that it would leave Adi only when she let him be a monk. He became an ascetic at an early age of eight.

Adi Shankaracharya, along with Madhava and Ramanuja, played an important role in the revival of Hinduism. They formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects to date. Three of them are considered the most powerful figures in the history of Hindu philosophy.

His birth anniversary is observed as Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti and this year it was celebrated on May 17. However, there are several discrepancies regarding the year of his birth.

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