Showing posts with label Adisankara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adisankara. Show all posts

Dravida Sishu between Sankara and Sambandhar

Soundaryalahari stanza is given below. It contains world Dravida sisu. Now who is sankara referring to as dravida Sissu is the debate. Is it Sankara or Sambandhar. Let us see.

Dravida Sishu in Soundaryalahari

tava stanyam manyE tuhinagirikanyE hrdayata:

paya:pArAvAra: parivahati sAraswatamiva I

dayAvatyA dattAm dravidasisurAsvAdya tava yat

kavInAm praud’AnAm ajani kamanIya: kava yithA II

The Milk of your Breasts, O daughter of the Mountain, I think is as if from heart there flowed an ocean of the milk of poesy, when the Dravida child tasted this as you gave it to him in compassion, He became the poet laureate of the master poets. (Norman Brown’s translation)

Now the question is who is this dravida Sisu, There is various theories on who this is. Let us see them.

This is the legendary story of about Sankara when he was a kid. Sankara's father Sivaguru worshipped Manikyamangalam Sri Katyayani Devi, who was his Ishta Devata. Sivaguru offered milk as naivedyam to this Devi and brought home a small quantity of this milk as prasadam every day. Sivaguru used to give this prasadam to the child Sankara which he thought that it was the remnant left over by the Deity.

Once, Sivaguru had to proceed to a distant place. Hence, Aryamba, Sankara’s mother took care of the poojas on his behalf. Sankara, a child of four years also assisted her during the poojas. One day, Aryamba directed Sankara to do the poojas , since she was not well.

Sankara went to the temple and placed the pail of milk before the Godddess and prayed her to drink the milk. After some time, seeing that the Goddess did not consume the milk, the child started to weep loudly on disappointment.

Immediately, She appeared before Sankara and drank all the milk in the vessel in order to console him. Sankara stopped weeping and looked into the pail. He again started weeping!...

The Devi was surprised and asked him the reason. Sankara asked Her to give him his share! With a smile Devi placed him on her lap and fed him with the milk from Her breast. It is said that because this divine blessing, Sankara became a celebrated poet.

Sambandar was born to Sivapada Hrudiyar and his wife Bhagavathiar who lived in Sirkazhi in what is now Tamil Nadu. They were Saivite brahmins. When Sambandar was three years old his parents took him to the Shiva temple where Shiva and his consort Parvati appeared before the child. His father saw drops of milk on the child's mouth and asked who had fed him, whereupon the boy pointed to the sky and responded with the song Todudaya Seviyan, the first verse of the Tevaram. His father impressed named in Ganan Sambandhar. He later was called Thiru Gnana Sambandhar.

Dravida Sissu is Sambandhar
Now the debate is Dravida Sissu mentioned by Sankara Soundharya Lahiri is Sambandhar according to Dravidian Scholars. Let us see.

Shankara is Dravida Sishu
Most scholars think it refers to himself. The story suggest same.

Jaya Jaya Sankara
Appar Contemproary of Sambandhar used Jaya Jaya Sankara in his thevarm poem. Now we all know he is referring to Shiva. But we can also say he is referring to Adi sankara. Such word play cannot form basis for historical debate.

Adi Sankara combined 72 sects to establish six streams of  Hindu Diety Worship. Vishnu, Shiva, Devi(Shakti), Surya , Ganesh, Shanmuga (Skanda). Now this concept is called Shanmatha. Sambandhar refers to shanmatha in his padigam.

Sankara ParamaGuru (Guru of Guru Govindapadacharya) Gaudapadacharya is knows as Dravidacharya in North. Shankara praises him as the ultimate authority of his philosophies. Dravida can be a reference to him.

Date of Sambandhar
Now we already seen in another article on Date of Devaram Trio, date of Sambandhar is atleast 1200 AD or later. Dravidian Scholars claim the date to be 7th century AD.

Date of Adi Sankara
Official accepted date is 8th century AD. But there are many claims such as 5th Century BC etc.

Chola Statues
There are some temples dedicated to thevaram trio and some have a statue of a child. Usually statue of child eating butter is Krishna. But due to Sambandhar legend, there are Sambandhar statues as well. Dravidian scholars are of the view that all the child statues are sambandhar. Now when do these statues start apprearing, After 1100AD.

Shankara dates come before Sambandhar. The Sambandhar references to Adi Shankara are often ignored by Dravidian scholars, only Dravida Zizzu in Soundarya Lahiri spoken about. So the Dravida sishu refers to Adi Sankara and not Sampandar

Sources and References:
Speaking Tree
India Divine


Related Posts
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Date of Devaram Trio
Divine Tamil
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Is Gautama Buddha Avatar of Vishnu

Why does Purana and Buddhist Chronology does not synchronize with each other. While they seem to be saying about the same person. When Analyzing this question. It becomes apparent that we have merged two Buddhas. The Adi Buddha or Avatar Buddha of Vishnu and Shakya Buddha  or Gautama Buddha into One. Let us Analyze

Let us  summarize what we have regarding each Buddha

Adi Buddha
Adi Buddha is avatar of Vishnu was born on 1887BC to Mother Anjana in Kikata (Bodh Gaya).
The Adi Buddha Established the Philosophy of Ahimsa, Non Violence. He preached against ritual Animal Sacrifices that has crept into Vedic Hinduism. He emphasized the divine in all beings and divinity of all souls arousing compassion for all.

Gautama Buddha
Siddhartha was was born around 560BC in Royal Family of Suddhodana and Mayadevi in Lumbini in Nepal. Siddhartha received his name Gautama from his spiritual Master Gautama Muni, who belongs to Kapila dynasty(as per Sundarananda Charita). He left home his royal comforts to find enlightenment. He went to Bodh Gaya to meditate and got enlightenment.
Gautama Buddha philosophy that is Monist (the God, is inert, nonactive and without any characteristic) and that reaching the same inert and non-active state through Nirvana is the goal. For attaining freedom from all suffering and end cycle of rebirths, one should attain Nirvana. Gautama Buddha is the propagator of Bahyatmavada, Jnanatmavada and Sunyavada, three pillars of Atheism. He Went to Bodhgaya to medidate because of its spiritual potency as the birthplace of Adi Buddha.

Buddhist Texts
Threvada Texts refer to six Preceding Buddhas (Those who have been awakened) as Vipasyin, Sikin, krakuccanda, Konagamara and Kashyapa, also they say Maitreya as the Buddha of the future.

Amara Simha Buddhist scholar, who wrote Amarakosha gives eighteen names of Vishnu avatara including the name Sugato (Which Shankara calls Buddha) and seven names of Shakya Simha Buddha without any mention of Sugato. So we can even argue that Shankara talks about avatar Buddha not Shakya Buddha. Amarakosha states the Lord Buddha is also known as Samanta Bhadra, whereas Gautama Buddha is a human being.

In Lalita Vistara, it is described how Gautama Buddha medidated on the same spot as the predecessor Buddha. The original name of Bodhgaya is Kikata, after Gautama attained enlightment there, it came to be known as Buddha gaya. Even today the rituals of worship is preformed by sannyasis of Shankaracharya sect.

Lankavatara Sutra, the famous buddhist work says that Ravana King of Lanka first worshipped Vishnu incarnation Buddha then successive and future Buddha.

Analysing Buddhist texts like Prajna-Paramita sutra, Astasahastrika prajna- paramita sutra, Sata-Shastrika Prajna, Pramita Sutra, Lalita Vistara shows three categories of Buddha namely

Human Buddhas: Like Gautama, who came to be known as Buddha after enlightment.
Bodhisattva Buddhas: Personalities like Samanta Bhadraka who were born enlightened.
Adi(Original-First) Buddha: the Avatar of Vishnu.

Hindu Texts
Bhagavata Purana says "At the commencement of the Kāli-yuga will Vishnu become incarnate in Kikata, under the name of Buddha, the son of Jina, for the purpose of deluding the enemies of the gods."

Puranas say that Adi Buddha was born in Ikshvaku Dynasty.

How Two were merged.
Adi Shankara, in discussion with others treated both of them as one person and did not discriminate between the two. Shankara Sunya philosophy is similar to Buddhist Nirvana. With his Mayavadha philosophy he not only stopped rise of Buddhism in India, but also started its decline.  However acharyas who came after him did not agree and they came with corrections for clear vedic View
Vishnuswami -Suddha Advaitha
Ramanuja - Vasistadvaitha
Nimbarka - Dvaita Advaita
Madhva - Dvaitha
Chaitanya - Acintaya Bheda Bheda

Historical Accounts
Adi Buddha is contemproary of Srenika(Sunika) whose father was Hemajit or Kshemajit or Kshetroja or Ksetrauja. Son of Srenika is Kunika. His son is Dharshaka.

Gautama Buddha is contemproary of Bimbisara(Son of Bhatiya or Bhattiya), King of Magadha with Capital at Rajgirh. Bimbisara made married alliances with many kings of India. His first wife Kosaladevi was the princess of Kosala, daughter of king Mahakoshal and sister of Pasendi or Prasenjit. The marriage ended the hostility between Kosala and Magadha. Ajatsatru was Kosaladevi`s son. Bimbisara conquered Anga and send Ajatsatru as the ruler there. Champa was the capital of Anga. Bimbisara was assasinated by his son Ajathashatru. Gautama Buddha then went to sravasti, Capital of Kosala ruled by Prasenjit. Most of the teachings come from Sravasti. Buddhist, Puranic and Jain Accounts confirm Gautama Buddha to be the contemproary of Bimbisara.

Jain scriptures, described King Bimbisara as a disciple of Mahavira who frequently sought his teachings. As per Jain texts, he is referred to as King Shrenika of Rajgriha (being the possessor of a large army). Bimbisara sent Jivaka to Ujjain for medical treatment of King Pradyata, the king of Avanti.

Mahavamsa traces the Shakya dyansty to Ikshvaku dynasty and starts the dynasty with Ikshvaku.

Let us see the list of Contemproary kings as various religious texts 

Puranas List
Shishunaga(40yrs)(Desposed Pratyodya)
Khastrojas (40yrs)
Bimbasara (28yrs)
Ajatashatru (25yrs)
Udayin (33yrs)
Nandivardhana (40rys)
Mahanandin (43yrs)

Buddhist List
Kalashoka (Sons Bhadrasena, Korandavarna, Mangura, Sarvanjaha, Jalika, Ubhaka, Sanjaya, Koravya, Nandivardhana and Panchamaka)
All 10 sons ruled simultaneously.

How Reliable is Buddhist Historical sources

Indologists have been saying Puranas are not reliable, let us see how unreliable Buddhist texts are. It is from Buddhist texts that Indologists arguments come. There two schools of sources. Tibetan and Sinhala. There is Chinese source, which comes later.
Let us take the kings around Buddhas time

Lankan Tradition

Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Nagadasa (24yrs)
susunaga (10yrs)
Ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Bimbisara (52yrs)
Ajatasattu (32yrs)
Udayabhadda (16yrs)
Anuruddha, Munda (8yrs)
Nagadasaka (8yrs)
Susunaga (18yrs)
Kalasoka (28yrs)
ten sons of Kalasoka (22yrs)
Nine Nandas (22yrs)
Candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (28yrs)
Asoka (37yrs)

Burmese Tradition
Ajatasattu (35yrs)
Udayabhadda (15yrs)
Aururddha, Munda (9yrs)
Nagadasaka (4yrs)
Susunaga (32yrs)
Kalasoka 28yrs
bhaddasena and 8 brothers (33yrs)
Uggasenananda and 8 brothers (21yrs)
candagutta (24yrs)
Bindusara (27yrs)

Tibetan Tradition
Ujayain or Udayibhadda

Jain Tradition
(Total 60yrs)
Nine Nandas


Buddhist dates
1)Sources of Buddhist: First Where do Buddhist sources come from, they are not there from time immemorial like Purana or Jain sources. They are from definite time frame that is after Gautama Buddha. Mainly after the state patronage of Buddhism. Now how does Buddhist dates start from Ikshvaku dynasty. They should have got from some source. where else Purana. These Buddhist chronologies before Buddha are from Purana sources. If Puranas are the source of many Buddhist dates, how can Indology scholars choose to reject Puranas and take Buddhist sources.

2)Indian Dates: Dates from Purana or Buddhist or Jain are all Indian dates. Indologists are just playing one against other.

3)Not the Same Kings: Jain and Purana Chronology names does not tally with Buddhist Chronology names on contemporary kings

4) Differences within Buddhist: There are two main dates for Buddhists. One from Sinhala Buddhist and other Tibetan sources. There are two sources from Sinhala. That is Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa. There are differences between the two dates, but let us not overplay the differences.

The Tibetan Buddhist dates are more closer to Puranas date. But there are major differences. Such as when did Buddha lived. Date of Ashoka etc.

There is also Burma (Myanmar), though based on Lankan sources has a mind of its own because it has direct contact with puranic sourcse.

Chinese and Japanese follow Lankan, though they also have direct contact with puranic, so there are differences.

Indology Confusions
By Combining two Buddhas Indology scholars have discredited the Purana accounts and thus Indian History. Whenever the Puranas refers Adi Buddha they will cite Gautama Buddha to discredit and vice verse.

Colonel Kennedy, argues that the Buddha of the Purana and Buddha the founder of the Buddhist system of religion have nothing in common but the name, and that the attempted identification of these two is simply the work of European scholars, who have not been sufficiently careful to collect information, and to weigh the evidence they have had before them.

Jacobi Believes that Kakavarna(Puranas) = Kalashoka (Sinhalese Buddhist Literature) = Udyain (Jain Literature)

The Cambridge and Oxford histories of India accept 483 B.C as the date of Buddha’s nirvana. But, William Jones, on the basis of Chinese and Tibetan records infers that Buddha lived in the 11th century B.C. Historian Fleet, who makes a study of ‘Rajatarangini’, thinks that Buddha lived in the 17th century B.C. Chinese monk Fa-Hien puts Buddha’s Nirvana at 1050 B.C. These contradictory theories may confuse one altogether.

Indology scholars just pick and choose to discredit Purana sources. The history that Buddha lived in the 5th century B.C was propounded by E.J Rapson who writes that the exact date of Buddha’s Nirvana is not known and hence the popularly accepted year of Buddha’s Nirvana is imaginary. Sastry states that Western scholars arbitrarily skipped 12 centuries of Indian history because their ‘hypothesis’ about Alexander’s invasion did not match with centuries-old Indian chronology.

We see that Early Buddhist texts distinguishes the two Buddhas, while the later ones seem to ignored the former. The Rock Edicts of Piyadasi teachings are of Adi Buddha not Gautama Buddha. This clarification actually synchronizes the Buddhist and Purana Chronology and there seems to be no problem in merging the two once we take as two persons. The key is not play puranic , Jain, Buddhist chronology against each other, but synchronize them. The Conclusion is that : Gautama Buddha is not avatar of Vishnu. Avatar of Vishnu is Adi Buddha.

Were There Two Buddhas By Stephen Knapp
Modern Buddha and Vishnu Avatar Buddha are Different by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja
Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic, by W.J. Wilkins
Index to all Chronology Pages from Indic Studies Foundation
Saisunaga Dynasty- The Third Dynasty of Magadha after the great war. from Kota Venkata Chelam - Ancient Indian History
Buddhist India
Lord Mahāvīra and His Times By Kailash Chand Jain
History of Ancient India: From 4250 BC to 637 AD By J.P. Mittal
The dates of the Buddha

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Myths of Kanchi kamakoti Peetam

If you have ever gone to to websites of Kanchi Komakoti Peetam or Wiki or websites related to Kanchi Mutt you will come across the following claims and much more. We will see the following claims.

Claims made
  • Shankara established the Kanchi mutt
  • Kumbakonam mutt is branch of Kanchi mutt
  • Kanchi Mutt is 2500 years old
  • Adi Shankara spent last days of his life in Kanchi mutt He is buried in the premises of the mutt
  • Kanchi mutt was established as the controlling centre of other mutts.
  • Suresvara was appointed as the successor to Shankara at Kanchi mutt.
  • Kanchi mutt was shifted to Kumbakonam in 18th century AD due to opposition from the Local kings in Kanchi
Is Kanchi Mutt 2500 years old?
First we have to fix the date of Adi Shankara to know the date of Kanchi mutt as it is claimed to have been established by him. Date of Shankara , We have already seen in another article about dating Shri Adi Shankara. His date is fixed to 8th century AD not 500BC as claimed by Kanchi Mutt. So the question of Kanchi Mutt being 2500 years old do not arise.

No Tamil or Sanskrit literature before 19th century Speaks of Kanchi Mutt , which shows there was no mutt during that period.

Did Adi Shankara established Kanchi Mutt?
Every other Mutt or religious work mentioning Shankara have told there are only four mutts established by Shankara , independent of the other. Each mutt was allotted Upanishads to focus on

Saraswati, Bharati and Puri -------------Shringeri (South)
Tirtha and Ashrama-----------------------Dwarka (West)

Giri, Parvata and Sagara-----------------Jyotir (North)

Vanam and Aranyam----------------------Govardhan (East)

Except Kanchi Mutt and its associates all the Other mutts say that Shankara died in Himalayas. His final days are said like this: Setting off from the Jyotir Ashram (Badrinath) in the Himalayan he headed toward the nearby Mountainous region of Kedarnath, the place that was destined to be his final resting place. His four chief disciples accompanied him part of the way, but then Shankara insisted they go no further as the final part of his journey was to be completed alone.

Kanchi Mutt Chronicles , claim that Adi Sankaracharya had spent the last days of his life in Kanchipuram where he attained samadhi, and not in the Himalayas as is generally believed. A mandapam named after the father of the school of advaita philosophy, seen in the Kamakshi temple premises, is cited as his samadhi. It was originally called `Sankaracharya samadhi', but when it was pointed out there could not be a samadhi inside a Devi temple, the mandapam was renamed `Sankaracharya sannidhi' - sanctum, not a tomb.

So we can see that the Shankara cannot have come to kanchi in the final moments of his life and established the Kanchi mutt.

Kumbakonam mutt is branch of Kanchi mutt
According to the Kanchi chronicles, the math in Kanchipuram had to be shifted in the 18th century AD, in the face of opposition from local kings and hence the shift to Kumbhakonam. (One does not know of any Hindu-hating king near Kanchipuram from the 18th century.)

"Historians, however, hold that the Kumbhakonam math is a branch of the Sringeri math established in 1821 AD by the famous Maratha monarch of Tanjore, Pratap Singh Tuljaji. It is the date of the oldest inscription found in the Kumbhakonam math building. The Inscription is in Kannada. The math refers itself as sarada math. The diety of Sringeri mutt. If the mutt has anything to do with kanchi, it should have been diety kamakshi , the goddess of kanchi not sarada. Kumbakonam Mutt Independence Kumbhakonam math proclaimed independence from Sringeri and established itself as the " Kamakoti peetham.". In addition to denying the historical truth of its origin as a branch of the Sringeri math, the story propagated was that it was originally established by Adi Sankaracharya himself at Kanchipuram, with control over the recognized four maths. Worse, a wholly fictitious story that Adi Sankaracharya ascended a sarvagna-pitha at Kanchi and attained samadhi at Kanchi is propagated as "tradition." The real problem though was that in the course of this campaign, someone with more enthusiasm than scholarship, "fixed" the date of Adi Sankaracharya as 477 B.C. and wrote up a continuous list of gurus of the math from 477 B.C. to the present! This guru parampara is filled with names of sannyasis taken at random, with no thought to chronology.

Kanchi Mutt origin
In 1839 AD, the head of the Kumbhakonam math applied for permission to the English Collector to perform the kumbhabhishekam of the Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram. In 1842 AD, he was appointed sole trustee of the Kamakshi temple by the English East India Company Government. This is well documented because the original priests of the Kamakshi temple, who were thereby deprived of their rights, complained to whomever they could possibly complain to. Numerous petitions, counter petitions, letters, and other suchdocuments are available from this period.

Thus the Kanchi math as an institution dates from 1842 AD. The headquarters continued to be at Kumbhakonam but the sannyasi head would periodically visit Kanchipuram to assert his rights over the Kamakshi temple.This math originally had a limited following in the Tanjore and Kanchipuram areas, but soon embarked on a massive propaganda campaign that ensured it prominence. The Kumbhakonam math shifted to Kanchipuram in accordance with its new story.
Suresvara was appointed as the successor to Shankara at Kanchi mutt. The Kanchi chronicles explain that before his demise, Shankaracharya established a fifth math at Kanchi which he intended to be a controlling centre of all the other maths. Sri Sureswaracharya, Sankara's prime disciple was placed in charge of it. Interestingly, the Sringeri math also claims Sureswaracharya as their first pontiff. If Sankaracharya did not establish the Kanchi math at all, where was the need to appoint a successor there?!! It is the Kanchi math that "claims" Sureswara. The Sringeri math does not "claim" so. In fact, a very old structure that is reputed to be Sureswara's samadhi is still preserved outside the Sarada temple at Sringeri.

We can see that the Mutt is anything but lies one after another. Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, who lifted a math disintegrating in Kumbhakonam and re-established it in Kanchipuram, according it a position of pre-eminence. But the chronicles are just out of this world. So many lies left, right and centre. Not surprising that the math has such scandalous history. The Mutt is known for More political connections then spirtual quests. To conclude Here is an institution
  • A mutt Not even 200 years old claiming as 2500 years old.
  • Kanchi Mutt is a branch of kumbakonam mutt, which inturn is the branch of Sringeri Mutt. What kanchi mutt claims is the other way around, brushing aside all the historical facts.
Real History of Kanchi Mutt by Vidyasankar Sundaresan

The Truth about the Kumbhakonam Math, Sri R. Krishnaswamy Aiyar and Sri K. R. Venkatraman, Sri Ramakrishna Press, Madurai,1977.

Kanchi Kamakoti Math - a Myth - Sri Varanasi Raj Gopal Sarma, Ganga Tunga Prakashan, Varanasi, 1987.

The Illustrated Weekly of India, "The Weekly Cover Story" - K. P. Sunil, September 13, 1987.

Related Posts 
Date of Shankara
Is Gautama Buddha Avatar of Vishnu 
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Date of Sriharsa

The Famous Philosopher Sriharsa date has been quite a contentious issue, Let us analyze

According to Buhler on the strength of account about sriharsa given by Rajasekhara, Sriharsa was a protege of King Jayacandra who ruled Banaras between 1163AD and 1194AD. Sriharsa should have lived in his era.

K.T Telang
Telang disagrees with this date and forwards argument on the following points:
  1. The Naisadhiya(by Sriharsa) is quoted in sarasvatikanthabharana(11th century AD)
  2. Madhavacarya 's Sankaravijaya mentions sriharsa as one of the poets vanquished by Shankara. Madhvacarya account is before 14th century , so it more reliable than later.
  3. Vacaspatimisra(11th century) wrote refutation of Khandana
By above arguments Telang comes to the conclusion, the date should be earlier by two centuries ,so9th to 10th centuries.

F.S .Growser
Hindu bard Chanda (12th century AD) , regarded Naisadha as poem of considerable antiquity. The persons mentioned are
  1. sesa-naga
  2. visnu
  3. vyasa,
  4. sukhdeva
  5. sriharsa
  6. kalidasa
  7. Dandamali
  8. jayadeva
He assumes that the names are in chronological order, thus he supports Telang.

Growse is Challenged by Sen. He points out flaws in Chanda versus prithviraja , dismissing chronological order

P N. Purania
Purania identifies sahasanka of sriharsa's Navasahasankacarita with candradeva of Gadhipura(kanauj) Later part of 10th century to early 11th century.

  1. Sriharsa quoted in sarasvatikanthabharana (first half of 11th century)
  2. Vacaspati misra(11th century) refuted Khandana
  3. Sriharsa contemporary of Shankara according to Madhva
  4. Chanda(12th century) placed Sriharsa before Kalidasa
Dr.Buhler Reply
  1. No Quotation of sriharsa in Sarasvatikanthabharana
  2. Vacaspati is later one not of 11th century
  3. Madhva work do not have any historical value
  4. Chanda is not the author of Prithviraja Rosa, the work is a compilation in 14th century , so quoating sriharsa is not surprise
So Buhler Arguments seems to have the upper hand for now, let us see

Source : Sriharsa

Date of Shankara

Date of Shankara the great saint of Hinduism is always been controversial. Dates ranging from 5th century BC to 9th century AD. Let us analyze the dates.

Internal Evidence
The most important internal evidence comes from Sankara's verbatim quotation of Dharmakirti, the buddhist logician. Hsuan Tsang , the Chinese pilgrim, who visited India in the time of Harshavardhana, king of Thanesar (606 - 647 CE), gives clues to Dharmakirti's date. He also mentions Bhartrhari , but not of Sankara. It follows that Sankara is post-Dharmakirti, and possibly post-Hsuan-Tsang also.

Astronomical Details
Various Sankara-vijaya texts are not of much use. The details in one work contradict those in another. Dates ranging from the 5th cent BCE to 8th cent CE have been calculated on the basis of such astronomical details. One further complication is that some astronomical information is said to have been obtained from works which are not available anywhere in India. So no firm conclusion can be drawn based on this.

Records of Mutts
Whether Sankara established any Mutts at all has been questioned. Paul Hacker attributes the tradition of four amnaya-maths at Sringeri, Puri, Dvaraka and Joshimath to Vidyaranyasvamin. The native oral tradition, takes the history of these four Mutts,each associated with one of the four geographical directions and one of the four vedas, to Sankaracarya himself. The dasanami sannyasi-sampradaya, with its various akhadas in northern India, accepts affiliation only with these four mutts. There historical evidence for the existence of the oldest dasanami akhadas as early as the 9th cent. CE. It is immaterial whether Sankara established them himself or whether these four mutts developed naturally at the places where the four famous disciples of Sankara lived and taught. Of these four mutts, the Joshimath title had long been vacant, till it was revived in 1940 CE. So, it does not have many ancient records. The Dvaraka and Puri mutts have, in the past, claimed a date of 5th century BCE for Sankara. This is partly based upon a dating of a grant by a king named Sudhanva who is supposed to have been a contemporary of Sankara. Nothing else is known about this king, and the grant itself has not been dated with any accuracy.And Dvaraka and puri mutts have patchy histories, with periods when there were no presiding Sankaracaryas.

Sringeri Mutt
Sringeri mutt in karnataka has been the only mutt of the original four which has had an unbroken succession of mathadhipatis, as southern India has not experienced as many political upheavals as the north. The Sringeri mutts record states that Sankara was born in the 14th year of the reign of Vikramaditya. The record does not give any clue about the identity of this king. Some 19th century researchers identified this king with the famous Vikramaditya of the Gupta dynasty, thereby postulating a date of 44 BCE for Sankara. Gap of 700 years was then assigned to Suresvara. The later successors in the Sringeri list can all be dated reasonably accurately from the 8th century downwards. If one identifies the Vikramaditya as a member of the Western Chalukya dynasty, which ruled from Badami in Karnataka. The Chalukya dynasty reached its greatest fame in the time of Pulakesin II, who defeated Harshavardhana. There were two kings named Vikramaditya in this Chalukya dynasty - Vikramaditya I ruled in the late 7th century CE, while Vikramaditya II ruled in the early 8th century. It is more reasonable to identify the Vikramaditya of the Sringeri record with one of these two Chalukyan kings, who ruled from Karnataka, rather than the northern gupta king, whose empire did not include southern India. This interpretation of the Sringeri record is also consistent with the internal evidence from Sankara's works.

Mutt Politics
In addition to these four original mutts, a number of other advaita mutts have come into being over the centuries, some of which are quite well-known. These mutts either started out as branches of the original institutions, or were set up as independent monasteries by notable sannyasis of the dasa-nami order. With the proliferation of such mutts came a number of "traditions," many of them conflicting with one another in details. some of these mutts also claim to have been established by Sankara himself., Some of them also claim 5th century BCE to be the date of Sankara.

The intimate connection of the founders of the Vijayanagara empire with the Sringeri mutt, and the competition by other mathadhipatis in the south for similar honors as traditionally accorded to the Sringeri Mutt. Every southern Mutt with a claim to be the "original" one wants to deny Sringeri's chronological primacy. This denial only has the effect of reinforcing the fact that Sringeri has been the most important advaita mutt for centuries. As such, their conflicting claims about Sankara's date have to be evaluated in the context of their political motivations in putting forth such dates.

Kanchi Mutt
Fifth advaita mutt at Kanchipuram is very active today, does not mean that it has always been so, nor does such activity lend any special credibility to its claims to antiquity. The political influence and prestige that a Mutt enjoys today also do not confer any legitimacy to such claims. It is inconceivable that the dasa-nami-sampradaya would have overlooked a fifth mutt in choosing its affiliations. Claims to historicity that are made in a spirit of political one-upmanship seldom stand up to serious scrutiny. There is no necessary correlation between the modern activity of an advaita mutt and its claimed antiquity.


Gaudapada is ParamaGuru of Shankara. Guru Govinda was Shankara's guru. So if we find the date of Guru, we can arrive at the date of Shishya. Gaudapada lived after the major Buddhist writers especially, Vasubhandhu, Nagarjuna, aryadeva (disciple of Nagarjuna) whose work he clearly reflects. In the 6th century work of Bhavaviveka, there is a direct quotations from Guadapada. Bhavaviveka was junior contemproary of Dharmapala whose date is confirmed by Chinese travellers in 5th century AD. So he has to be earlier than that, that is 5th century AD.  Traditional advaitha list Gaudapada is student of Shukdeva who in turn was student of Ved Vyasa of Mahabharata. We can even argue bhavaviveka and Gaudapada are arguing from same source. Many also argue that Gaudapada is a institution not a person. To cut short the discussion, we can say that Gaudapada lived around 5th century AD. When shankara says Gaudapada to be his paramaguru, we have to take the context. Guru Govinda padacharya was shankara's guru and his guru greatest Guru is Guru Gaudapada. In this context we can see shankara comes around 800 AD date.

The official date accepted currently is 788-820 CE, and the Government of India celebrated the 1200th anniversary of Sankara's birth in 1988. This date is largely based upon one traditional view prevalent in India.