Talk:Adi Shankara

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Former featured articleAdi Shankara is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Good articleAdi Shankara has been listed as one of the Philosophy and religion good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Main Page trophyThis article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 7, 2006.
Article milestones
July 17, 2006Peer reviewReviewed
August 28, 2006Featured article candidatePromoted
October 25, 2010Featured article reviewDemoted
December 29, 2019Good article nomineeListed
Current status: Former featured article, current good article

Not Hindu[edit]

The thing you called relegion great shankaracharya not hindu and i make request to google dont put wrong history he was greatest buddhism scholar so plaese rewrite it and make the history right. Same as it's (talk) 20:21, 4 October 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Vaishnavists may think so; scholars don't. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 11:16, 5 October 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Please stop spreading such malice and hatred. He is a jagadguru. Which means the supreme leader of hinduism. 2402:E280:2152:AA:784E:F5AC:494C:CA41 (talk) 10:57, 15 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Semi-protected edit request on 4 July 2023[edit]

Born Shankara c. 507 BCE Kalady, Chera Kingdom (present-day Kochi in Kerala, India) to Born Shankara c. 700 CE Kalady, Chera Kingdom (present-day Kochi in Kerala, India) AryaRB97 (talk) 10:22, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

 Already done Deauthorized. (talk) 11:24, 4 July 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Semi-protected edit request on 9 March 2024[edit]

In the section "Renouncement of ritualism" please remove the errant ref tag inside the first Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). note. (bolded and italic below)

{{refn|group=note|name="ritualism"|Shankara, himself, had renounced all religious ritual acts.{{sfn|Potter|2008|p=16}}<br />For an example of Shankara's reasoning "why rites and ritual actions should be given up", see Karl Potter on p. 220;<br />Elsewhere, Shankara's ''Bhasya'' on various Upanishads repeat "give up rituals and rites", see for example [ Shankara's Bhasya on Brihadaranyaka Upanishad] pp. 348–350, 754–757</ref>}}

Thanks (talk) 00:18, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

 Done Tollens (talk) 01:47, 9 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Life or Hagiography needs to be top level[edit]

Arbitrary header #1[edit]

@Joshua Jonathan: There was already a section called "Life". I just made it top level. If you think the section called "Life" then you can either rename it "Hagiography" or remove unsourced material. Fail to understand why you had to revert the edit. Interested in hearing your views PastaMonk 13:52, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

His socalled "life" is nothing but hagiography - fantasy, to put it bluntly - and cannot be separated from an explanation of the nature of the sources on this "life." Regards, Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 13:56, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: Agreed. You need to remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and people who know nothing of the topic need to find information on "who was he" or "what do people believe he was". PastaMonk 14:06, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: What is your objective of making the section "Life" hidden away as second level. You seem to be reverting a lot of edits in this page. Please read this page Wikipedia:Don't be officious PastaMonk 14:14, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: There are many historical figures with very scanty or no information of their lives e.g. Aryabhata but there is still a section that describes what ever is known about their lives. PastaMonk 14:20, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I think I've already explained why the explanation of the nature of the sources cannot be separated from a summary of those sources. They are not history, they are fiction. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 14:26, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: You seem to be stuck on the "fact or fiction" dogma. That is not the issue here. Please explain why the section "Life" has to be second level. PastaMonk 14:31, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
The most relevant fact to be known about his life is that we know nothing about his life; we should in no way suggest otherwise. But it seems you don't understand this. Let me repeat it again: what you call his "life" is not a biography but fiction, written 600-800 years after his supposed life, in an entirely different context. Wikipedia's aim is not to propagate myths as fact, but to share scholarly insights. And please respond to what I'm writing, instead of repeatedly asking me explain myself, what I've done several times already. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 14:39, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
And ever heard of chronological order? diff. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 14:45, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: You seem to have missed the point by a mile. Whether it's fact or fiction is not relevant here. The question here is what objective will be served by making the "Life" section second level. Let me rephrase it : what objective is served by making the "fiction" a second level section. Please remember Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. If someone who knows nothing about the topic comes to this page. He will be thinking "who was he" did he live in 20th century or is this article about a living person etc. That person needs to know quickly what ever is the fact or fiction known about this person. I know nothing about him or his life I was just looking at this page and thinking "where is the section that says who he was or who he was believed to be". Hope you are able to see this from the perspective of a person who is looking something up in an encyclopedia. PastaMonk 14:59, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
That's what you want; how can you extrapolate for all other readers? The intro says "Adi Shankara [...] was an Indian Vedic scholar and teacher (acharya)." That's almost as far as you get with regard to him. If you want to know more about who he was, the hagiographies won't help you any further. Luckily, we offer more than just snaps and bites on the presumption that we actually know who he was. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 15:06, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@DaxServer Welcome to the discussion 😁 PastaMonk 18:07, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@Joshua Jonathan: Someone like me who knows nothing about the subject also needs to know 1) If he is a living person 2) Is he someone who lived in the 19th or 20th century etc. I already know he is some kind of spiritual guru. That sentence "Adi Shankara was an Indian Vedic scholar and teacher (acharya)." is not so helpful. I already know he was some kind of vedic scholar. This Wikipedia page only confused me further. That is what prompted me to make the "Life" section top level. Please see this page for guidance . Why are you trying to make life more difficult for people who are trying to look something up in Wikipedia ? PastaMonk 15:27, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

To give accurate information. Britannica:

Shankara (born 700?, Kaladi village?, India—died 750?, Kedarnath) philosopher and theologian, most renowned exponent of the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy, from whose doctrines the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived.

Date of birth and death are undertain; they've got taht correct. Place of birth and death are unknown. Why is het the most renowned exponent of Advaita Vedanta? The lead of our article explains it. from whose doctrines the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived - augh... Who wrote this? Mayeda, of all persons; he's brilliant, but this is incorrect.
Shankara, and his ideas/comments/interpretations are notoriously difficult. A dutch Indologist, who has published on Shankara, once wrote me that he still wasn't sure if he had actually understood Shankara. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 15:38, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: I sympathize with your scholarly outrage. But seriously dude, this is not the place for it. Wikipedia is not a platform for scholarly one-upmanship it's an encyclopedia where people look up things they know nothing about. If I was a scholar on Adi Shankara why would I come and read the Wikipedia page about him :D This is a common problem in Wikipedia in general. Some people seem to think the end user (i.e. the guy who knows nothing about the subject) is not important. I wish such scholarly enthusiasts would exercise some self restraint or failing that stop editing Wikipedia altogether. PastaMonk 15:56, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: Even if the "Life" section says "nothing is known about his life. He could have lived somewhere between 5000 BC to 800 AD. A span of 5800 years. That is good enough for the end user. Now, do I have your solemn promise that you will not interfere if the "Life" section is made top level ? PastaMonk 16:24, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Serious? Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 17:46, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Yep. I think you need to read this page PastaMonk 17:49, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
You certainly know how to reach WP:CONSENSUS. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 18:26, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@Joshua Jonathan: So. Do we have agreement that you will stop being a serial reverter ? Shall assume silence as assent PastaMonk 18:35, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

You really don't know what WP:CONSENSUS means. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 18:38, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Do you know what WP:CONSENSUS means ? PastaMonk 18:42, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: @DaxServer: You still haven't explained why the section you call "fiction" should be second level instead of top level. Fiction or not the Wikipedia norm is that in a page about a person, biography is a top level section. If nothing is known about the person's life we can write "nothing is known about his/her life. we don't even know if this is a real person or an imaginary person". Do you agree about this ? PastaMonk 18:58, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

That makes sense. Done diff. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 19:06, 24 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Arbitrary header #2[edit]

@Skyerise: Thank you for the edit. Agree with your decision. BTW, don't you think the section "early life" needs to be moved to the "biography" section. Digvijaya is a religious or moral victory. What does that have to do with his early life ? A previous editor seems to have put everything related to his life under "Digvijaya". It's confusing for people who know nothing about the subject. PastaMonk 10:54, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

@PastafarianMonk: I agree that for a biographical article, it seems completely upside down. Normally the biography would come first, followed by analytical things such as dating, and the works section is generally towards the end. However, the situation seems quite complex in that the hagiographies may not be historically accurate. I would suggest you propose an entire new outline as an RfC. Or if you don't want to go the the trouble of an RfC, copy the article into your sandbox, reorganize it how you think it should be, then initate a discussion where we have a proposed alternative to look at rather than trying to do it in place. Skyerise (talk) 11:11, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Skyerise: From previous experience with editing India related pages I realized that even small edits lead to never ending disputes. A major reorg will get nowhere. I was thinking more in the line of minor tweaks to create as much order as we can. PastaMonk 12:15, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
No, of course the "Early life" section should not be moved to the biography-section; it opens with the very clear statement "According to the oldest hagiographies". Digvijaya is a very explicit reference to the real purport of those texts: a portrayal of a hero, a chakravartin, who conquers India for the sake of the righteous dharma. It's what those texts intended to portray, as explained in the section Adi Shankara#Vijayanagara Empire and Vidyaranya (14th century):

Vidyaranya was an influential Advaitin, and he created legends to turn Shankara, whose elevated philosophy had no appeal to gain widespread popularity, into a "divine folk-hero who spread his teaching through his digvijaya ("universal conquest") all over India like a victorious conqueror."

The Shankara of those texts has as much historical reality as King Arthur. Regarding "the hagiographies may not be historically accurate," that is an understatement; they are fiction. They have to be understood in the context and the time they were written: South-India in the 14th-17th century, fighting against the northern Islamic sultanates, and enduring internal fights between various Hindu sects for power and kingly protection. To present them as "biography" simply because they appear to be such a genre is misleading. Your wish for a quick biographical overview simply cannot be fullfilled. Changing the order of the article doesn't change that.
Ironically, while scholars admit that there's no historical about Shankara, and focus on an exegesis of his texts, this focus may precisely be spurred by those hagiographies: the idea that Shankara's texts are the summum of Vedanta, and even Hinduism, while in reality it seems he wasn't that influential in his own time - and the "influence" he gained was more as a figurehead and an icon, than for what he really wrote; Advaita Vedanta isn't that much Shankara's complex as most people realize. But such is the influence of those Digvijaya - a conquest and victory indeed of religious and political imagination over critical thought. Maybe this article isn't a biographical article, but an article about the shaping of Indian religion... Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 16:05, 25 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan:You need to see Wikipedia as an encyclopedia and not as your personal Soapbox. Your scholarly findings and achievements are greatly appreciated and you have my congratulations for it, but the average person who knows nothing about the topic does not care. They want quick access to information about who he was or who he was believed to be. I think you need to ease off a bit and allow this page to be like other Wikipedia biographies PastaMonk 03:19, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
Maybe you'll have to make some effort to digest the article. But the basic facts are quite clear: he was a scholar/commentator who wrote comments on classical Vedic texts. We know nothing about his life, and his dates are uncertain. But this is all clearly spelled out in the lead and the first paragraph; what more (or less) do you need? Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 04:25, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

This page needs to be like other Wikipedia biographies[edit]

This page needs to be like other Wikipedia biographies. We can use pages like Valmiki, Kalidasa, Themistoclea as model. If nothing or very little is known about their life, early life, date of birth, death etc. we can state that in the biography section. PastaMonk 03:54, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]

Exactly as is already the case now. Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 04:14, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: What is point of discussion if you refuse to address the question. Kindly explain why conjecture about "early life" is not part of a person's life. Why do you think it should be part of his conquests PastaMonk 04:45, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
As already explained, with reference to the Wiki-article:

No, of course the "Early life" section should not be moved to the biography-section; it opens with the very clear statement "According to the oldest hagiographies".

This "Early life" subsection summarizes what those Digvijaya say, the topic of that section; they do not summarize actual biographical information. But maybe you can explain why fiction should be presented as fact? Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 04:52, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
It may not be fact. Even the existence of God is not a scientifically proven fact. But you can always say "people believe there is a God". Similarly in the section about a person's life you can say very little is known about his life some people believe x,y version of his life and some people believe the z version of his life. But this information needs to be visible upfront. PastaMonk 05:01, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan:Re: "Maybe you'll have to make some effort to digest the article." You want people to accept your way of present things. That sounds a bit dictatorial. Re "Maybe this article isn't a biographical article, but an article about the shaping of Indian religion". The page is about Adi Shankara the person. I think it's pointless to try and reason with you. If someone tries to edit the page you may start an edit war (evident from the page history). So, I give up. You go ahead and have fun. I quit. PastaMonk 04:53, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan: As a last ditch attempt to make you see things from the reader's perspective I shall explain why and how I came to this page. In middle of some discussion the topic of Adi Sankara cropped up. A long time ago I had read somewhere that the people of Kerala believe that Adi Sankara was born in Kalady in Ernakulam district of Kerala. I was not sure about this. So, while I am talking I bring up the Wikipedia page to reconfirm this. I look for his biography in this page and do not find it anywhere. No one wants to read the entire article to get at a small piece of information. That is what indexes and headings are for. For people to find information quickly. Do not subvert that mechanism PastaMonk 07:18, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
I see; that's a good explanation. For the discussion you had, though, it's relevant to know that those hagiographies do not contain historical info, isn't it? Regards, Joshua Jonathan - Let's talk! 07:42, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]
@Joshua Jonathan:Please read my comment again. I wrote : "the people of Kerala believe that Adi Sankara was born in Kalady". The key word is "believe". I can see that you have a prejudice against that belief. That prejudice is noted with all due respect. But, that is not reason enough to put that information in a place that is not easily visible/accessible, i.e. inside a section called "Digvijaya", who would think of looking there ? PastaMonk 08:08, 26 March 2024 (UTC)[reply]