Despite the existence of several legendary biographies of Sankara from medieval times, no critical historical biography of the Master is available. The present work attempts to fill the lacuna.
It attempts to reconstruct the life and thought of Sankara on historical principles, i.e., to determine the age and biography of Sankara and also his original ideas and writings within this framework. It is primarily based on the first-hand study of the corpus of SankaraÍs writings or writings attributed to him, in the original, and on a critical and comparative study of all of his available traditional biographies. The works of his near contemporaries like Dharmakirti and Santaraksita, Kumarila and Mandana, as well as of his disciples like Suresvara and Padmapada have also been fully utilized as also those of others who like Gaudapada, Bhartrhari or Bharuci preceded him or who like Bhaskara, Vacaspati Misra, and Sarvajnatma Muni came later but were not too far removed. The general literary works and epigraphic records of the age have been used where relevant. Traditional and modern interpretations of savants, philosophers, scholars and historians have been duly considered.
The present work, thus, seeks to understand the ideas and achievements of Sankara in the context of perennial spiritual seeking and philosophical enquiry. It seeks to bring out the role of Sankara in the evolution of Indian culture and philosophy and to highlight the logical and spiritual, traditional and original components of his philosophical, religious and social ideas.
This book is an indispensable and enduring source-book for understanding the life and thought of the great Acharya. - Dr.M. Sivaramakrishna, Prabuddha Bharata, Sept.1996
...The author has endeavoured to discover the original Sankara rather than be cont
About the Author(s)
Govind Chandra Pande was a well-known Indian historian of the Vedic and the Buddhist periods. He served as a professor of ancient history and vice-chancellor at Jaipur and Allahabad universities. He was also the chairman of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla for several years, the Chairman of Allahabad Museum Society and the Chairman of Central Tibetan Society, Sarnath, Varanasi.
He edited several volumes of ancient history in the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture. Some of his other works include Life and Thought of Sankaracharya, Bauddha Dharma ke Vikas ka Itihas, Apohasiddhi, Nyayabindu, Mulya Mimamsa, Vaidik Samskriti, and Meaning Process of Culture.