I came here while reading Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi book. In this book I came across a claim that Adi Shankaracharya was defeated in debate by a Kashmiri panditani (priestess). How much of it is true? Is there any recorded history about this incident?

Page no 77,chapter:a valley bloody and beautiful,title: India after Gandhi.

On the first anniversary of Indian independence Abdullah sent a message to the leading Madras weekly, Swatantra. The message sought to unite north and south, mountain and coast, and, above all, Kashmir and India. It deserves to be printed in full:

Through the pages of SWATANTRA I wish to send my message of fraternity to the people of the south. Farback in the annals of India the south and north met in the land of Kashmir. The great Shankaracharya came to Kashmir to spread his dynamic philosophy but here he was defeated in argument by a Panditani. This gave rise to the peculiar philosophy of Kashmir – Shaivism. A memorial to the great Shankaracharya in Kashmir stands prominent on the top of the Shankaracharya Hill in Srinagar. It is a temple containing the Murti of Shiva. More recently it was given to a southerner to take the case of Kashmir to the United Nations and, as the whole of India knows, with the doggedness and tenacity that is sousualto the southerner, he defended Kashmir. We in Kashmir expect that we shall continue to receive support and sympathy from the people of the south and that some day when we describe the extent of our country we shall use the phrase ‘from Kashmir to Cape Comorin’.

  • You cannot assume that everybody has read the book, so can you please give screen shot or a provide a link to the pdf or any other method by which we can access the details of this incident recorded in the book.
    – Yogi
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 17:53
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    A similar claim is also made by Buddhists that someone from their side defeated Adi Shankara. But the truth is that such claims are pure nonsense. Adi Shankara was never ever defeated in his life of 32 years. In fact, those who challenged him or were challenged by him ultimately became his disciples because Adi Shankara defeated them all.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 17:57
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    @Yogi I have edited the question with paragraph. Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 17:57
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    @TriyugiNarayanMani Thanks for helping us out
    – Yogi
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 17:59
  • Kashmiri Shaivism has been existing in written form since the beginning of Kaliyuga. Earlier it was orally transmitted. Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 7:10

1 Answer 1


I read the same book and did some research after coming across this claim - So here's a link I'm providing which (at some extent) was helpful for me on this topic ... https://www.ikashmir.net/saints/shankracharyavisittokashmir.html Also ..he wasn't actually "defeated" , rather ..he accepted the pre-dominance of "shakti-cult" (the greatness of Devi) as was argued by that kashmiri priestess.

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