Sankara, or Sankaracharya
Sankara, Or Sankaracharya, The name of one of the most renowned theologians of India. The time in which he flourished is unknown, tradition placing him at about B.C. 200, but H.H. Wilson assigns him to the 8th or 9th century after Christ. Most accounts agree in making him a native of Kerala or Malabar, and a member of the caste of the Namburi Brahmans. In Malabar he is said to have divided the four original castes into seventy-two, or eighteen subdivisions each. Towards the close of his life he repaired to Cashmere, and finally to Kedarnath, in the Himalaya, where he died at the early age of thirty-two years. In the course of his career he founded the sects of the Dasnami- Dandins. His principal works, which are of considerable merit, and exercised a great influence on the religious history of India, are his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras, on the Bhaga-vadgita, and the principal Upanishads. A number of works are current in the south of India relating to his life, among them the Sankara-dig-vijaya, or the conquest of the world by Sankara. See Wilson, Sketch of Religious Sects of the Hindus.