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The Kanchi Kamakoti mutt has given ample proof of Adi Shankara belonging to the 5th - 6th century BCE. There are many other historical evidences from different phases of his life, in support of such a date, like the Jina Vijaya referring to his meeting with Kumarila Bhatta (477 BC), the Nepalaraja Vamshavali (487 BC), Shankaracharya Kashmir temple made after him in (417 BC) and the dating of the Kalady river to 2500 years ago.

However, the mlecchas dated him to 788 AD, in regard to which, the mutt while giving the list of the peethadhipatis, has stated this to refer to Abhinava Shankara, the 38th peethadhipati and one of the 5 most famous Shankaras who came 1300-1400 odd years after Adi Shankara. In regard to this Abhinava Shankara, I came across a comment on the site, as per which many works currently attributed to Adi Shankaracharya may actually be the works of Abhinava Shankara. This sounds pretty much plausible for the reasons below mentioned.

Upon short miscellaneous reading, there appear many contradictions between some works, for example,

  • His very sober and sensible commentary on Brahma Sutra 1.4.16, encouraging performance of Nitya Karmas for knowledge, the mutts advocating yajna and Agnihotra performance vs. The vehement advocation of abandoning karma (eg. Ishopanishad commentary).
  • His respect towards and acceptance of both, Mandana Mishra and his wife as disciples vs. the view held in Vivekachudamani (not considered Adi Shankara’s) of preference of males.
  • Puri Shankaracharya’s reiteration that Maya is not illusion but jada Prakriti vs the Svetasvatara Upanishad 1.6 (Bheda Shruti) Bhashya (not considered Adi Shankara’s) with extensive stress on Aham Brahmasmi.

It is further stated that Adi Shankara has drawn reference to the Bodhayana Vritti for the purposes of his commentary on the Brahmasutras, for which even Sri Ramanujacharya did and hence a difference in interpretation is not likely, unless we surmise that entire works or parts thereof are those of Abhinava Shankara, who possibly misinterpreted the philosophy 1400 years later, such as those portions with excess emphasis on Maya and Aham Brahmasmi. There has to be some reason why Abhinava is among the foremost, for which I ask:

Question:
Which are these entire works or parts thereof that are attributable to Abhinava Shankara?

It is not necessary to say an entire work is attributable to him, it’s possible that over time (1400 years), some lost portions may have been filled up at the time of Abhinava with extensive stress on karma abandonment, Maya and Aham Brahmasmi.

Please give views of authentic acharyas, peethas and other sources, with their records showing those works having been written by Abhinava or a non-biased analysis of why some portions (eg. Excess stress on Maya and Aham Brahmasmi) of certain works are or are not Adi Shankaracharyas. OR upon reading through contradictions, which portions can one consider as attributable to either of the Shankaras?


Please note there is no insult or disrespect intended to Adi Shankaracharya. I’m merely asking which works are not attributable to him.

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    Good Question! That post mentions a work called "Sankara Vilasa" (biography of Abhinava Shankara) by Vakpati Bhatta. May be we can get some information from that text?
    – Pandya
    Oct 6, 2021 at 16:26
  • @Pandya sorry which post?:D There are many and i forgot what each one has. I don’t think The comment wala post and Bodhayana vritti post have it?? Then will check in that
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:17
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    I mean this list
    – Pandya
    Oct 8, 2021 at 17:30

1 Answer 1

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According to Kanchi mutt and also many indological researches there are several inauthentic dubious works which are attributed to Adi Shankaracharya by later day people, the main reason for this is because during the time period of Adi Shankara (500 CE to 800 CE), there were 4 other notable scholarly people with the same name of 'Shankara' who are as follows:-

  1. Kripa Shankara.
  2. Abhinava Shankara.
  3. Ujjvala Shankara.
  4. Mukha Shankara.

So it's highly doubted that those works which are available today in the name of Adi Shankara are supposed to be penned by any one among these '4 Polymathic Shankaras'.

Some of the highly inauthentic works which have no authenticity are:-

  1. Shivananda Lahari, Bhaja Govindam and many other stotras, they have no proof at all for their authenticity.

  2. Lalita trishati bhashya in the name of Adi Shankaracharya is dubious and inauthentic.

  3. Vishnu Sahasranama Bhashya which is attributed to Adi Shankara's name and is little famous is also an inauthentic work which have no reference prior to 15th CE.

  4. Prabodha Sudhakara, a bogus work attributed to Adi Shankara in later centuries.

  5. Shvetashvatara Upanishad bhashya and Narasimha Upanishad bhashya. A famous Vedāntic scholarly commentator Anandagiri has penned tikas on entire 'Prastana traya bhashya' of Adi Shankaracharya where these two Upanishad bhashyas find no existence.

  6. Other works like Aparokshanubhuti, Tattva Bodha, Brahmanuchinthanam etc: which have no authentication are dubious.

Authentic and standard works of Adi Shankaracharya.

  1. Prasthana traya bhashya, it has commentary by more than 20 Vedantins prior to 13th Century AD.

  2. Prapancha Sara tantra, it's one of the highly underrated and unknown work of Adi Shankaracharya which talks about several worshipping methodologies to different devatas. It has been commented by Padmapada (direct disciple of Shankara himself) as Vivaranam, mention by Narayanashrama (13 CE), Amalananda (12-13 CE) and Sayanacharya (13 CE) in their Dipikas, Vedanta Kalpataru and Parashara smriti bhashya respectively.

  3. Upadesha Sahasri, condensed and reiterated by Sureshvaracharya as 'Naishkarmya siddhi'. Naishkarmya siddhi also has numerous sub-commentaries prior to 12th CE.

  4. Sarva Vedanta Siddhanta Sara Sangraha, it has been condensed and explained by Totakacharya as 'Sruti Sara Samuddharana'.

  5. Soundarya Lahari, it has been translated to Tamil by Kaviraja Panditar in 11 CE itself, few tenets of Devi worshipping ideology in Saundarya Lahari has been quoted by Padmapada in Vivaranam (commentary on Prapancha Sara tantra).

  6. Shiva Panchakshara stotram, among numerous stotras which are attributed to Adi Shankara's name, this is the only authentic stotram penned by him as it has commentary by Padmapadacharya as 'Sri Panchakshari Vidya'.

  7. Dakshinamurthi stotram, it is said that Dakshinamurthi stotram is the conclusive essence of Vedanta according to Shankara and it has been confirmed by Sureshvaracharya himself in the form of 'Manasollasa Vartika' and it has sub-commentaries by Anandagiri and Ramatirtha who were ancient Advaita Vedantins prior to 14th CE.

Hence we can conclude that only above listed works are authentically penned by Adi Shankaracharya himself as they have strong proofs, remaining works are 99% likely to be inauthentic and are not penned by Adi Shankaracharya.

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  • Thank you very informative. Also can the commentaries by Padmapadacharya be called authentic? Because sometimes I have observed, there are works penned by modern acharyas and attributed to old ones in the Sampradaya.
    – Adiyarkku
    Aug 18 at 13:46

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