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 (, ),), Shankara Bhagavatpadacharya () or simply Shankaracharya, sometimes spelled Sankaracharya.}} was an Indian Vedic scholar and teacher (''acharya''), whose works present a harmonizing reading of the ''sastras'', with liberating knowledge of the self at its core, synthesizing the Advaita Vedanta teachings of his time.
Due to his later fame, over 300 texts are attributed to his name, including commentaries (''Bhāṣya''), introductory topical expositions (''Prakaraṇa grantha'') and poetry (''Stotra''). However most of these are likely to be by admirers or pretenders or scholars with an eponymous name. 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 postulation of Shankara's writings is the identity of the Self (Ātman) and ''Brahman'', defending the liberating knowledge of the Self, taking 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, but his influence on Hindu intellectual thought has been questioned. Until the 10th century Shankara was overshadowed by his older contemporary Mandana-Misra, and there is no mention of him in concurring Hindu, Buddhist or Jain sources until the 11th century. The popular image Shankara started to take shape only in the 14th century, centuries after his death, when Sringeri ''matha'' started to receive patronage from the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire and shifted their allegiance from ''advaitic'' Agamic Saivism to Brahmanical Advaita orthodoxy. Hagiographies dating from the 14th-17th centuries deified him as a ruler-renunciate, travelling on a digvijaya (conquest of the four quarters) across the Indian subcontinent to propagate his philosophy, defeating his opponents in theological debates These hagiographies portray him as founding four mathas ("monasteries"), and Adi Shankara also came to be regarded as the organiser of the Dashanami monastic order, and the unifier of the Shanmata tradition of worship. Provided by Wikipedia