Sringeri mutt had guru paramapara and history of Shankara dating to 8th century CE. But Govardhan peeta goes 400BC. What are three timelines of. Sri Shankaracharya?
Summary: Adi Shankaracharya belonged to the 5th century BC only and this has been corroborated by various authentic records. As discussed here, the person dated to the 8th century is Abhinava Shankara. The main research is contained in a book, the ‘Age of Sankara’ by T.S. Narayana Sastri, of which I’ve given few extracts which were relevant in my opinion.
1. Adi Shankaracharya’s biographies
The birth of Adi Shankara- From Vyasachala’s Sankara Vijaya 4.20-21:
अब्दे कलेरनलवर्षशराक्षिसंख्ये श्रीनन्दने दिनमणा वुदगध्वभानि।...... [Have quoted only the year portion]
In the auspicious Nandana year corresponding to 2593 of Kali Yuga (509 BC), the chaste wife of Shivaguru gave birth to a son.
-Age of Sankara by TS Narayana Sastri Page 246
There’s another work called the Brihat Shankara Vijaya which gives a famous shloka giving the same date (509 BC) as above. I’m not able to locate it right now.
As far as his death goes, From Kamakoti the Prachina Shankara Vijayam of Anandagiri:
कल्यब्दैश्च शरेक्षणाध्वनयनैः (२६२५) सत्कामकोटिप्रथे पीठे न्यस्य सुरेश्वरं समवितुं सर्वज्ञसंज्ञं मुनिम् । कामाक्ष्याः सविधे स जातु निविशन्नुन्मुक्तलोकस्पृहो देहं स्वं व्यपहाय देह्यसुगमं धाम प्रपेदे परम् ॥
In the year Kalyabda 2625, Sri Sankaracharya placed his serene disciple Sarvagna at the famous Sri Kamakoti Peetham, with Sureswaracharya as his guardian. Having abandoned all desire to continue life on earth, he left his body in the Sannidhi of Sri Kamakshi and attained the supreme state, unattainable to mortals.
From Punya shloka manjari of Sadashivendra Sarasvati:
The Great Guru, who, born as an incarnation of the great God Siva Himself, reformed the six systems of orthodox religion by establishing the Advaita system of Philosophy which reconciled all other systems, and who shone like the radiant sun by driving out the darkness of ignorance from all quarters, passed away from the world by entering into his own essence at the age of 32 on the 11th day (Ekadasi) of the bright half (Sukla Paksha) of the month of Vaisakha, of the year Raktakshi in 2625 of the Kaliyuga.
Kaliyuga year 2625 corresponds to about 477 BC
The same corroboration of his death day is given in opponents works (who are unlikely to provide an earlier date), such as the Jina Vijaya:
ऋषिर्बाणस्तथा भूमिर्मर्त्याक्षौ वाममेळनात्। एकत्वेन लभेताङ्कस्ताम्राक्षस्तत्र वत्सरः॥
When we calculate the figures Rishi (7) Rana (5) Bhumi (1) and Martyaksha (2) in the reverse order and obtain the total number of years 2157 in the Yudhishthira Saka, we arrive at the year Tamraksha (Raktakshi) as the year of Sankara's death.' It is therefore plain from this that Sankara died in the year Raktakshi corresponding to the year 2157 of Yudish-thira Saka (2157 468 or 2625 of Kaliyuga) corresponding to 477 B.C. which is exactly the date given of Sankara's death in the various Sankara Vijayas.
-*the ‘Age of Sankara’ by TS Narayana Sastri, Page 232
Thus we can see biographies of Shankaracharya and accounts of his opponents too are synchronous with each other, leaving no scope for doubt about him belonging to the 5th century BC.
2. Records of mutts
The birth of Adi Shankara is given unanimously as 509 BC by the various mutts, except Sringeri:
While all the other mathas established by Sankara, count from him 67 to 142 Acharyas and assume Sankara to have been born ore Sunday the 5th day (Panchami) of the bright half (Sukla pakaha) of the month Vaisakha (Tamil month Children, to the spring season (Vasanta Ritu), Uttarayana, Nandana 5 samvatsara, of the year 2493 of the Kaliyuga, 2631 of the Yudhisthira Saka, corresponding to 509 B.C. under the constellation of Punarvasu and under the ascending sign of Dhanur lagna, it is extremely strange to find that the Sringeri Mutt should count only 34 Acharyas upto the present day including Adi Sankara himself as its first Acharya, and should have placed Sankam's birth contrary to all the various Sankara Vijayas, Punyaslokamanjaria and other written records and oral traditions
-The ‘Age of Sankara’ by TS Narayana Sastri, Page 209
The establishment date of all mutts as given variously by them has been summarised very well in the ‘Age of Sankara’ by T. S. Narayana Shastri, after thorough research of records of even Sringeri mutt:
There have here many Sankaracharyas all over the Avaitic Mathas in India, and many of tham have been famous writers of works on the Advaita Philosophy and Religion. Of these Advaitic Mathas, five have been established by Adi Sankara or Sankara Bhagavatpada himself, the Founder of the Advaita Philosophy and author of the Advaita Bhashyas on the Prasthanatraya and they are (I) the Sarada Pitha at Dwaraka established on Magha Sala Saptami of the year Sadharaoa in the 2611 of the Kaliyuga, corresponding to the year 2649 of the Yudhisthirasaka (490 B.C.)... (2) the Jyotir Matha at Badarikasrama established on Pausha Sukla Purnima of the year Rakshasa in the year 2616 k. y. corresponding to 2654 y. (485 B.C.),...(3) the Govardhana Matha of Jagannatha, -established on Vaisakha Sukla Dasami of the year Nala in 2617 k. y, corresponding to 2655 y. s. (484 B C.)...(4) the Sarada Pitha at Sringeri, established on Pausha Sukla Purnima of the year Pingala in 2618. k.y. correspending to 2656 y.s. (483 B.C.)... and (5) the Karnakoti Piths at Kanchi established on Vaisakha Sukla Purnima of the year Siddharti in 2620 k.y. corresponding to 2658 y.s. (481 B.C.) with Sri Sankara Bhagavatapada himself as its first Acharya.
-* ‘Age of Sankara’ by T. S. Narayana Shastri, Page 198
The following is the official Guru parampara as given by the:-
For why the discrepancies exist in the Sringeri mutt’s records, a portion has been given in T.S. Narayana Sastri’s book. It may also be noted that Sringeri mutt has connections with indologists, like Sheldon Pollock, who, as I discuss here have been trying to obfuscate truth and sabotage the ancientness of Indian History. One can therefore understand the discrepancy.
From even the records of the mutts, the very surviving remnants of Adi Shankara’s time, we see unanimity with the date as the 5th century BC.
It is also to be noted, the Kalady river supposed to have been created by Adi Shankaracharya too has been scientifically dated to 2500 years ago or about 500BC. Thus even ‘science’ is in agreement with these historical records.
3. Dating of Buddhism as per the Puranas
Indologists date Buddhism to the 4th-5th century BC, but here we will look at traditional dates. Many Puranas provide the list of future kings of Kaliyuga, which are roughly consistent. I’m using the Matsya Purāṇa list, in very brief from 271.20 to 272.9:-
The first ruling dynasty is that of Jarasandha’s grandson Somadhi :-
Somadhi- 58, Śrutaśravā- 64, Ayutāyu- 36, Niramitra- 40, Sukshatra- 56, Brihatkarma- 23, Senājit- 50, Śrutanjaya- 40, Vibhu- 28, Śuci- 64, Kshema- 28, Suvrata- 64, Sunetra- 25, Nivritti- 58, Trinetra- 28, Dyumatsena- 48, Mahinetra- 33, Chanchala- 32, Ripunjaya- 50. = 825 years for 20 named kings. If we take 825 it will place the kings 200 years earlier therefore we should consider 1000 years and 32 kings of which few are unnamed.
After Ripunjaya, the dynasty changes to son of Pulaka- 23, Palaka- 28, Viśakhayūpa- 50, Suryaka- 21, Nandivardhana- 30 = 152 years, after which the dynasty changed to Śiśunāga.
Śiśunāga- 40, Kshemadharma- 36, Kshemajit- 24, Bimbisara- 28, Ajatashatru- 25 = 153 years. (Total 10 kings ruled for 360 years, above we have 5 and hence can average it to 180)
From the above we can see that Ajatashatru would be roughly (1000+150+155 years= 1305 years from the start of the Kaliyuga) which is about 3102 BC - 1305 ≈ 1800 BC. We know that Gautama Buddha was a contemporary of Ajatashatru and hence Buddhism too should be dated to about 1800 BC. This clearly makes it plausible for Adi Shankaracharya to belong to 500BC, about 1300 years thereafter.
For more information, one can have a look at List of Magadha Kings till Ajatashatru.
Seeing the numerous biographies of Adi shankara as well as records of even his opponents, records of mutts and dating as given in the Puranas, we can safely and rightly conclude that Adi Shankaracharya did not belong to the 8th century AD but was actually from the 5th century BC. All records are in agreement with each other except the indologists and the Sringeri Mutt.