The Vishwakarmas, aka the Kammalars, are a community of metalworkers and craftsmen. Many people consider them to be low-caste, but they claim that they're actually Brahmanas, descended from the divine architect Vishwakarma, aka Tvashta. In any case, this excerpt from the Journal of the Andhra Historical Research Society quotes a work by the Vishwakarmas, where they justify their claims of Brahmana heritage by referring to an incident involving Adi Shankaracharya:

The name "Jagadguru" teacher of the world, the teacher of the world is a distinction to which the people of Vishvakarma Caste alone are entitled (Wilson Dictionary). When the world-famous Shankaracharya of Travancore, the founder of the Avaita School of Philosophy ... halted at Masulipatam he styled himself "Jagadguru". The Devakammalars of South India, who were very jealous of their title were incensed at an apparent impostor trying to assume what was their own exclusive propert, questioned his right to the distinction, when the philosopher sang the following lines:

"Acharya Sankaro nama
"Twashta putro nasanyasa,
"Viprakula gurordiksha,
"Visvakarmantu Brahmana"

"My name is Shankaracharya, I am a descendant of Twashtar, I have come here to teach the Vipras the right of wearing the sacred thread, I am a Brahmana of the Vishvakarma Caste." (Shankaracharya Vijaya)

This is irrefutable proof that the people of the Vishvakarma Caste are Brahmans.

Whether it's irrefutable is another matter, but my question is, which Shankara Vijaya does this quote come from? For those who don't know, the Shankara Vijayas are the traditional biographies of Adi Shankaracharya. The most famous one is the Madhaviya Shankara Digvijaya, but that doesn't seem to have the quote I'm looking for.

By the way, assuming that Adi Shankaracharya is a Vishwakarma Brahmana, what would his Gotra Pravara be? As I discuss in my question and answer here, Vishwakarma had a three-headed son named Trisiras who was killed by Indra. Was Adi Shankaracharya a descendant of Trisiras?

Also, other people believe Adi Shankaracharya was a Namboothiri Brahmana. So what do they believe about Adi Shankaracharya's Gotra?

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    This is incorrect. Shankaracharya was a namboodiri Brahman. There are certain sudra castes that take their kula vritti as sacred and even don the sacred thread. Some of these castes are carpenters, weavers and goldsmiths. However, they are not dwijas. What purpose does this question serve? – user1195 Oct 15 '15 at 11:01
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it serves no purpose than to create doubts about religious figures, the caste system, accepted history, etc. It does not enhance the quality of the site and sounds like it is designed with an ulterior motive to covertly undermine what is held sacred. – user1195 Oct 15 '15 at 11:05
  • @moonstar2001 Well, the Vishwakarma community claims that they are Dvijas, and that too Brahmanas. In any case, there's no ulterior motive here - I'm a strong believer in the caste system and despite being a Sri Vaishnava I still have a great deal of respect for Adi Shankaracharya. I was just looking for Adi Shankaracharya's gotra, and a lot of websites websites listed his gotra as Tvastar or Vishwakarma, so I investigated more and found a supposed quote from a Shankara Vijaya. So I want to find out if it's authentic quote. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 15 '15 at 23:44
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    @moonstar2001 Thanks! If you want to post an answer with the quotes from those two links, I'm happy to accept it, at least until I come across information to the contrary – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 18 '15 at 3:26
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    I'm voting yet again to close this question as off-topic because it serves no purpose than to create doubts about religious figures, the caste system, accepted history, etc. It does not enhance the quality of the site and sounds like it is designed with an ulterior motive to covertly undermine what is held sacred. Even though an authoritative answer is provided, there is still speculation and flow of incorrect answers. This questions serves no purpose. – user1195 Feb 7 '17 at 4:58

I am posting an answer because spurious accounts and half-baked , mostly ignorant theories are being offered as answers.

Sankaracharya was a Nambudiri Brahmin and this is stated in Madhaviya Sankara Vijayam, a translation of which is provided on Sringeri's website. I quote from this website and the bold emphasis is mine.

The Madhaviya Shankara Vijayam, the most popular and widely accepted account of Sri Adi Shankara’s life, describes the advent of Sri Adi Shankara thus – ‘The One sitting under the banyan tree, Lord Dakshinamurti (Shiva), the Teacher of the Supreme Truth through the medium of silence, left his place of meditation. He is now moving about in the form of Shankaracharya, imparting his precious advice of knowledge to the world, which has been caught in the boundless dense forests of ignorance and is threatened seriously by the approaching flames of the forest fires of family bondage.’ –

अज्ञानान्तर्गहनपतितान् आत्मविद्योपदेशैः त्रातुम् लोकान् भवदवशिखातापपापच्यमानान् । मुक्त्वा मौनं वटविटपिनो मूलतो निष्पतन्ती शंभोर्मूर्तिः चरति भुवने शंकराचार्यरूपा ॥

Shankara was born to Aryamba and Shivaguru, a Nambudri Brahmana who belonged to the Vedic branch of Krishna Yajur Veda. Shankara’s birthplace was Kalady in Kerala, on the banks of the Poorna river.


The Kanchi Kamakoti website states his gotram as Atri and also re-affirms that he was a Yajurvedi Nambudiri brahmin.

Acharya's Gotra was Atri and he was a Krishna Yajurvedi. He is known to be a Nambudari Brahmana by birth.


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