Important: Government wrong on Adi Sankara’s birth year – Kanchi Periyava

Not sure how many read this article in Hindu that came few days back. It is very important for all of us to know that we should protest hard to ensure that the truth and facts are not changed. I heard that few groups are influencing the central government for their own benefits. Celebrating Adi Sankara Jayanthi as a “Philosopher’s Day” is fine but not with the wrong date. Periyava’s both the points are pretty solid and it would be hard for anyone to debate about this.

As Kanchi Matam devotees, should we protest this by signing an e-petition via Please comment.


He said the Kanchi Mutt and four other hermitages at Dwarka, Sringeri, Puri and Badri insist that Adi Sankara was born in 509 BC and not 788 AD.

Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal,  head of the Kancheepuram Mutt in Tamil Nadu, on Monday described as “misrepresentation” the birth year of Adi Sankara as approved by the government.

“The only distortion in the whole proposal is the ‘misrepresentation’ of the birth year of Adi Sankaracharya which was the handiwork of Westerners to post-date any such major event after the birth of Jesus Christ so as to establish their supremacy,” said the Kanchi Seer.

Communicating through his close aide B. Shridhar, he said the Kanchi Mutt and four other hermitages at Dwarka, Sringeri, Puri and Badri insist that Adi Sankara was born in 509 BC and not 788 AD.

He elaborated on two major evidences supporting the pre-Christian era theory — one that all the four mutts have had more than 70 pontiffs and, second, a scientific carbon dating of the river Kaladi in Kerala proved that it flowed just around 2,500 years ago.

“This (second point) is in conformity with the legend that Adi Sankaracharya had persuaded the river to flow into Kaladi, his birthplace in Kerala, to help his mother take a bath in the river without travelling far to reach the river,” he said.

The seer, who completed a nine-day visit to Mumbai on Monday, warmly welcomed the central government’s proposal to celebrate Adi Sankara’s birth anniversary as “Philosopher’s Day” from next year.

“Adi Sankaracharya was India’s most profound philosopher who propagated the theory of Monism or Advaita (non-dualism), which is ultimately the basis of all philosophies. He reunited the fragmented Hinduism and was among the first to think and propagate India as a single entity.”

Categories: Devotee Experiences

36 replies

  1. It is very very hard to believe that a river has been turned from its natural direction. Will saint like Sankara do such things for his kith and kin just for the sake of taking bath. Is it not an act against the nature. They are all the myth of our religion. The good and excellent concept ‘adhvaitham’ is not duly explained by any ‘mutts heads’ rather. The very fight of siva, vishnu followers is one such example. The great problems of these mutts are, the show is run by only iyers / Bhramins ( according to many bhramin is word of attaining a level and not birth caste- they must call them only as iyers and not bhramins- any human being can be a bhramin and he need not be a out come of only iyer caste). A lot of out dated thinking has to removed from this religion. See what happened in Sani Singanapur. Nothing has fallen when ladies entered into temple. Kindly revert this experience with Vaikam entry/Meenakshiamman Koil entry. The division ‘varnaa’ is now totally vanished. We must accept it. Is any bhramin run the life style of their fore fathers 1000 years back. They use cell, all transport, gold etc, currnet food. All and all of us are changed. Only when we enter some temple we wear the dothi as panchkatcha. When we move out of site of the saint or the temple we wear pant/ bermuda etc and much avoidable dresses with young ladies. We are not practical. Simply we are jumping generation by oxygenation on myth but keeping all comfortable life style. Take the case any pontiff. They do live like kings all bodily/roomly/statusly comfort. Their dresses cost several thousands. We must define which types of citizens comes under the roof Hindu. When they are under one roof, then there must no discrimination like bhramin-nonbhramin-upper caste-lower caste etc. I think its a perfect game by maya with the human beings. Most of us cannot escape from this. Can any one explain acceptably or logically what Orai means, Soolam means. All these imaginations are now not in existence and vanished. All the above discussions are my ‘thought out come’. There is no meaning in scolding me. Its the duty of mutt heads to explain. Don’t comment this as Vithandaa Vaatham. Positively accept this as Vichaaram. Try to give some logic for these myths. Let your explanations be good vichaaram or information to the coming generation.

  2. what ourPujyaSri Jayendraswamiji says, we all should support to uphold the truth on the birthdate of LordSri AdiShankara at kaladi, other view against our Preriyava’s saying…i fully support ….the golden truth as told by our Periyava,KanchiSri Matam. Samsthanam…..

  3. I am a novice on the subject, but registering my views on this blog. As per sanathana dharma, Ishwara/Dharma is timeless and if I am not wrong, it does not advocate just any monotheist view and hence celebration of any demigods. So, in my opinion the concept of Shankara or Ishwara is something that must transcend time. The devouts of jagadgurus of mutts – us who are the blog readers or administrators are trying to build walls within Advaita. If one is a true devottee of Sri periyava they will not enter into any activistic mode and initiate steps like signing petitions. Petitions for issues like this provide shortcuts and can potentially split the concept of Adi Shankara. Just like different forms of god, we will eventually have Kanchi Shankara, Kaladi Shankara, Sringeri Shankara etc., When we aspire for united humanity – at a time when globally

    You may not be able to understand until you are able to understand what it means to transcend time.

    On a humble note, a recent date should not put us in a challenging state as the most recent idea of the universe – that of Einstein, is best accepted as the scientific idea of the universe.

    • *When we aspire for united humanity – at a time when tension prevails the world in the form of wars and killings, devotees must confine themselves to spiritual devotion and focus on the self and leave the rest to Jagadgurus.

      I hope this does not open a can of worms.

      |prajñānam brahma | ayam ātmā brahma | tat tvam asi | aham brahmāsmi |

  4. I totally agree and let us all pray Mahaperiyava to guide us in the right direction

  5. Namaskaram,

    I am giving below the link to Telegraph dt 21 Jan 2003, regarding

    The above is also confirmed by MAHAPERIYAVAA in deivathinkural vol 5 under the heading sankararin kala nirnayam

    Confusion with abinava sankara vol 5 link given below

    Warm regards


  6. The mathA differences can be resolved by only our AcharyAs sitting together and resolving the issue. Even among the other sankarAcharyAs who meet regularly (sringeri, puri and dwaraka), there are different points of view, which they do not discuss. They agree on common grounds and move forward. Couple of the differences are:

    1) Age of Sri Sankara – Dwarka and Puri maintain 509 BCE, and Sringeri maintaining 788 CE.
    2) Who the first Acharya was? – Sringeri mathA says their first AcharyA is SureshwarA, but Dwaraka claims Sureshwars is their first AchArya. According to DwArakA, padmapAdA is the first AchArya of Sringeri. Everyone of these claims is backed up by mathAmnAya MahAnusAsana, said to be written by Sri Adi Sankara Himself. This is the governing document for running the mathA.
    With these differences already existing, those mathAs are united in saying that there are 4 mathAs established by Sri SankarA. This is a very complicated issue.

    Sri MahAswAmiji told Ra.Ganapati that He would not be able to resolve this conflict in His lifetime. We all know that He could have resolved this using His power of yogA, in showing the Akashic records in space-time continuum to other achAryAs. But He chose not to resolve this matter for reasons known to Him.

    Hence, we should not get caught in this issue too much, but continue to maintain our point of view, and show it different places as needed. There is nothing wrong in pursuing an approach to protest with the government. But the others who view the later date of Sri Sankara favorably, are also going to protest and this discussion may turn ugly again.

    Just wanted to highlight the potential issues. This post is not against anyone wanting to protest, but out of several discussions in the Internet on this point, my discussion with the opposite team has not been that bad. Several discussions have been extremel with unwanted name calling.

    • One should know that the vexed question of Age of Adi Sankara was resolved scientifically by the Mahaswami himself through the process of carbon dating.. (Anecdote given at the end)..
      Resolution of the age of Adi Sankara is not meant to fight with the Tunga Sringeri Mutt but to reconstruct true history as propagated by all the 4 mutts (except Sringeri Mutt).. Ofcourse the Tunga Sringeri Mutt will surely try to place their views to support the 780AD theory which should not be construed as fighting.

      As regards who was the 1st acharya of each mutt is something which cannot be resolved sitting across the table but help from the Sankara Vijayas must obtained to resolve these issues.

      Mahaswami’s anecdote:
      One day a very reputed Geologist happened to visit Kanchipuram to take darshan of the Paramacharya. After enquiring about his family, the Paramacharya requested him arrange for a diver to dive and take out sand from two different locations of the River Purna. One location should be when the River Purna (presently called River Periyar) enters Kerala, before it diverts into entering Kaladi and the other location to be at Kaladi itself. Later Paramacharya asked him to use the technique of carbon dating to find out the age of the sand from these two locations. The geologist performed the exercise as instructed by the Paramacharya and provided the results which was that the sand from the first location yielded an age of being more than 100,000 years old whereas the age of the sand from the second location in Kaladi was close to about 2500 years.
      History says that as Sankara’s mother was finding difficulty to go the the River Purna to take bath, so Sankara requested the River Purna to divert and follow his footsteps (Kal-adi) to flow near his anscestral house to enable his mother to take bath without any difficulty and then later join again to the main course of the river.
      The Age of the River sand at Kaladi confirmed that Adi Sankara was indeed born more than 2500 years back which is 509BC as per all the Sankaracharya mutts.

      • Additionally I want to respond to your sentence about the mathas united in claiming that Adi Sankara had established 4 mathas only..

        One the one hand the Mahaswami himself has said that while Adi Sankara established 4 shishya mathas but the 5th mutt was started after his samadhi at kanchipuram, being it’s1st Guru himself.

        As of now the Dwarka Mutt and Badrikashram is under Sri Swaroopanand Swami, who incidentally was initiated into Sanyassa by the previous Tunga Sringeri Acharya.. So you can naturally expect HIM to support whatever the Tunga Sringeri proclaim eventhough both the mutts don’t touch about the vexed age issue inspite of Dwarka/Badrikashram having more than 75 acharyas and the Tunga having only 33 acharyas.

        As regards Puri, they have never openly spoken about Adi Sankara establishing only 4 mutts and they have more than 123 acharyas in their lineage as they have been traditionally accepting grahastas as sanyassis. They too claim Adi Sankara to be born around 500BC..

        Kudali-Sringeri have also never spoken anytime about Adi Sankara establishing 4 mutts only and they have close to 73 acharyas in their parampara list.

      • Shridharji,
        With utmost reverence and bhakti to Sri Mahaperiyavaa, it must still be remembered that such a method of proving the date of Shankara can at best be acceptable to followers of Sri Mahaperiyavaa.
        Scholars and historians need more rigorous and documented evidence for such tests even if true.

      • Sri Venkatji, You seem to prefer a documented evidence over scientific evidence which can be easily manipulated and suits to your need.. If you had mentioned that we need detailed method adopted to carry out the Carbon dating and the readings of the carbon dating, to prove the age, it would have shown more sincerity in your request…

  7. I strongly urge that we all should unite and protest.

    • Dear Shridharji,

      What I wrote is part of documented history over the last 100 years. Since your messages seem to suggest a divisive tone, I shall stop here since this is not the right forum for arguments

  8. There are two issues here.. One of celebrating one day as Philosopher’s day which no one has any objection. The 2nd issue of Age of Adi Sankaracharya needs to be corrected which has no bearing on the 1st issue so how will this 2nd issue effect the 1st issue.
    We need to correct history which all the 5 mutts i.e Dwarka, Kudali-Sringeri, Puri, Badrikashram and Kanchi, believe in.. Age of Adi Sankara to be 509BC..
    Further I would recommend you not to abuse Mahesh who has been so innovative with this site and also kind to allow your comment to pass through without moderation.. If you have an objection, you may raise it but please do not go personal.

    • I do not celebrate anyone’s birthday in weekends. Even – the Anusham puja we do here in Chicago, is done on the exact same day of Anusham – whether people can attend during weekday or not is not my problem. So that proves my point of the importance of the date.

      Do you think that any other religion would accept if one of their greatest monk’s dates are altered? No. They will protest. It makes no sense to accept a date that is not correct. Someone had mentioned here in the comments that Mahaswami said that the differences in opinions between the two matams would not end in His lifetime – true but you’re taking such statements out of context here. Isn’t the same Mahaswami who spent enormous time to ensure that the correct date is established? Isn’t that same Mahaswamy who approved going to court and settle down the issue that gives right to Kanchi matam in Tiruvanaikka? Why did he do that? Facts and history can not be changed. In 30 years from now, our next generation wouldn’t even know what happened and they will go to some temple cluelessly to go talk, eat and smile in a Philosophers’ Day. They will accept that fact that Sankara was born after Jesus Christ – do you really want that?? Hell, No!

      If this is bothering you, that means that you are negatively impacted if this is corrected. What is that?

      We all have had our mouth shut for so long and that is why we are here where are today. Thanks to Modiji and his government and we trust that this would be sorted out by them.



      • Maheshji,
        I have also read and heard that the practice of celebrating Shankara Jayanthi on Bakula Panchami day of Vaishaka Masam ( hope I am correct!) was initiated in early 1900s by the then Sringeri Acharya, Sri Sacchidanamda Shivabhinava Narasimha Bharati Swamigal who also discovered the exact birthplace of Adi Shankara in Kalady and built temples there.
        Till then different people were celebrating the Jayanthi on different days.
        Since then that Panchami day is being celebrated all over India as Shankara Jayanthi.
        So some amount of common ground is necessary

      • I don’t agree with Sri Venkat’s comments that the Sringeri Acharya discovered Adi Sankara’s birth place.. I will place on record that the present place which the Tunga-Sringeri are having their veda patashala in Kaladi which they claim to have dicovered as the birthplace of Adi Sankara, actually belongs to Tekke Maddham (Another Kerala Sankaracharya Mutt the others being Vadakke maddham, Kizhuku Maddham, Naduvill Maddham..) Tekke Maddham was already carrying out worship at the Mother Aryambal Samadhi where there was a stone incription which was subsequently removed by the Sringeri Mutt. So this act of discovery seems too far fetched.. The Sankara vijayas (which dates to more than 2,500 years) have already proclaimed the birth particulars as follows: Adi Sankara Bhagavadpadacharya (509 BC ~ 477 BC) was born in Kaladi, Kerala to a brahmin couple, Shivaguru and his wife Aryamba, on Vaishaka Shukla Panchami (5th day) Sunday, 509 B.C., Nandana Samvatsara, in the constellation Punarvasu, and in the lagna of Dhanus.

  9. No intelligent person will rake up this controversy at this proud moment of Govt giving a nod for celebrating A DAY IN MEMORY OF ADI SANKARA. For the past 18 years Sringeri Mutt is asking the Congress Govt run by a Christian Italian Lady in vain. Now Modiji proved a boon and agreed. Is it right to rake up this issue now . It was well said that the Great Acharyal have no issues and it is only the fringe elements (perhaps like Mahesh) play the game spoilers. It is of least importance on which date Sankara was born compared to the entire Nation celebrating the occasion. Are we not celebrating BDAYS on some Sunday even after the Bday is over?? May I request Mahesh to keep his mouth shut?? Please
    Hara Hara Sankara. JAI JAYA SANKARA

    • I have been following the discussions here. Interesting. What is more interesting is the fairly civil form of discussion and debate, and even how the disagreements are conducted. It would be nice if this trend is continued and harsh language is avoided.

  10. Just worth bearing in mind what Shri Ravi said. This discussion will quickly degenerate into the controversy of the number of MatHas Sri Sankara established and the inconsistency between various MatHas on the dates and the number of pontiffs in each of their lineage (which turns ugly to say the least). Best to leave it to Our Periyavas and Maha Sannidhanam / Sannidhanam along with the other MatHas to sort it out with the government.

    I for one, certainly don’t have the expertise to judge the various intricate arguments on all sides to arrive at a considered opinion to weigh in on this matter.

    My other observation is that whenever this blog tries to weigh in on secular matters (Loukikam) rather than Spiritual matters (Anmikam) it escalates into a bitter war of words (followed by censorship, harsh words towards dissenting posters, humiliation of individuals holding dissenting views etc).

    Our Mahaperiyavaa’s words on various Loukikam matters even on controversial topics does not evoke the same bitter reaction since his Thapas and power is behind His words, even when they are heard today. Let me work to elevate myself to the state He showed us is possible to live even in this world so that my words can have a similar effect on all beings!

  11. This needs to be bring it to the attention of the union minister.

  12. Every effort should be made to take up the matter with the present central government who may listen to the arguments so the distortion is remedied once and for all

  13. Pardon, I made a mistake and wrote Sri Narayanan instead of Sri Ravi. Please note the change.

  14. Adi Shankaracharya’s sojourn on our Land is a critical period in the history of our Land Bharatha, and served as a junction where our civilization chose the direction for its future. It is very important that we place Adi Shankara’s time EXACTLY RIGHT. 

    Adi Shankara is critically important to the spiritual progress of human civilization. His whole life and work has been meticulously recorded according to our own traditional methods, and most importantly by the 4 and 1 or 5 Shankara Matams of SHRINGERI, DWARAKA, BADRI, PURI, AND KANCHI. This is Our past as told to us by Our ancestors and our Shankara Mathas which bear testimony this Truth.

    We are very happy about and welcome the celebration of Adi Shankara’s Jayanthi as Philosophy Day. It is our petition to the Government to declare His day of birth to have in 509 BCE in compliance with Our history as maintained by Our ancestors.

    I agree with Sri Narayanan on taking care not to get into a controversy among ourselves.

  15. This is very important to be resolved, but unfortunately the mathAs are divided, which is causing a problem.

    Sringeri mathA never subscribed to 509 BCE. Later they tallied their list of 33 acharyas to 788 CE. The other mathAs certainly say that ShankarA’s period is 509 BCE.

    One of the key points, proponents of 788 CE focus on, is the date of a Buddhist scholar Dharmakirti, whose quote is found in the bhAshyAs of Sri Sankara. Since Dharmakirti belonged to a period of 7th century, Sri Sankara is dated later than that.

    Our Mahaperiyava has detailed this part of how dates were changed by 1200 years in Indian history, and many of the dates are wrongly written in our history. In addition, HH mentions of several quotes in Sri Sankara Bhashya with names of authors. Historians cannot even know who those people are.

    When I talked to a scholar on this Dharmakirti point, he said that if you read Kirti or Sankara, there are several quotes. We do not even know “who is who” clearly as those names should have been popular at those times; attributing some of those quotes to Dharmakirti may not be correct.

    On the Kalady carbon dating: I have read this in our forums, but I have not seen any published material from archeology department. If we can get hold of this original material and republish this, then we can get this discussion going.

    However, please be careful while discussing this topic, as this also opens up the discussion on the antiquity of the mathAs, and hence which mathAs are original ones. That is a very nasty topic, which I have witnessed in several forums.

  16. 509 B.C SHOULD BE ACCEPTED —–..

  17. It has become a fancy to accept what ever the westerners say about the indian history. they have never mentioned the enormous sacrifices made by Indians when the first and second world wars were fought So it is absurdity to the core to distort the birth of Adhi sankara as if He was born after christ. We should write a petition challenging the unwarranted and unnecessary comments of the date of birth of Sri Adisankara. Some years ago one Christian mentioned that Krishna was distorted from Christ and the syllable Om was also like that He joined the all the four corners of the cross as if it was also derived from christianity.The successive Indian governments never bothered to consult seers or saints to arrive a date of birth of Adisankara. The country was ruled by Nehru who never believed in god and so it continued to be so until the present govt took over. It is necessary to ensure that western influence does not affect our sanadana darma Westerners think every thing happened after Christ and they are pumping in enormous money to chane our culture and heritage . Hindus must be beware of such hidden agenda and unite against this distortion of historical facts. The various inscriptions on the temple walls speak volumes of our unique culture A compodia there is a big Vishnu temple constructed thousands of years ago according to our Hindu sastras which shows that sri Adi Sankara spread his philosophy thousands ago. As a matter of fact it is rumoured that He spent several years in the Himalayan region to get enlightment from various Saints doing tapas We must act fast to set right this distortion of facts

  18. It is important that the real date of Adi Sankara is established in public consciousness. We Hindus just allow things to ride thinking that it doesn’t matter so much what the world thinks. But experience has now shown us that allowing a falsehood to exist has become counter productive. As is seen by the furore over correction of our history.

    Secondly Adi Shankara’s appearance is an important watershed in the trajectory of not just our religion and philosophy, but also our history. Nearly a millenium’s difference in his date is a serious matter. We definitely must take steps to correct it. Change .org is only one of the avenues. People musty also write about it in the media.

  19. This controversy has been there for ages from the times of Nehru who preferred the date given by western historians

  20. Has the protest petition on Adi shankar year of birth been initiated on

    Please confirm. Thanks S Sankaran

  21. We should protest against this. Dont worry periyava will be with us forever to save us from all false propaganda

  22. The e-petition link to is not working. Can you post the correct link? Ram Ram

  23. I agree that we must protest on the wrong date.


      • Iindian scholars like Sri Kota Venkatachalam and others well versed with Sanskrit sources and astorlogical data- detail have arrived at the date 509 BC NANDANA as the year of Birth Paramaguru Adi Sankaracharya–The Nepalese traditions also follow Indian chronological version. —-With regard to Dharmakiriti mettion there are people who say it could be different Dharmakirtis. With regard to 8 th century AD date it is felt by many that Abhinava Sankara is confused for Adi Sankara – We have to go with Kanchi Peetams assertion of 509 BC – NANDANA AS SANKRACHARYA’S BIRTH DATE AND BE GUIDED BY PARMACHARYA’S UNEQUIVOCAL ASSERTION THE GOVERNMENT MUST DO THE NEEDED CORRECTION

    • yes. I do agree that we must protest

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