Shankara (c. 788–820 CE)
First philosopher in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta, a sub-school of Vedanta, to have consolidated its doctrine. His teachings are based on unity of the soul and God, wherein the latter is viewed as being simultaneously personal and attributeless. In the Smarta tradition, he is regarded as an incarnation of Shiva.
Adi Shankara toured India with the purpose of propagating his philosophies primarily through debates with other philosophers. In the process, he founded four mathas (abbeys) which played a key role in the historical development and spread of Hinduism and Advaita Vedanta and continue to do so. Adi Shankara was the founder of the Dashanami monastic order and the Shanmata system of worship.
See also Shankara's Life
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