Sri Shankarabhagavatpada and His four foremost disciples

I prostrate before Adi Shankaracharya, an incarnation of Bhagvan Shiva, who is the source of welfare to the Universe, who is the storehouse of the Divine Knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas, and who is the embodiment of mercy.

Adi Shankaracharya (8th century AD) is the foremost scholar and teacher of Vedic literature. Born in a Nambudari Brahmin family of Kerala, he wrote extensively and traveled across the length and breadth of India to single-handedly defeat Buddhism and Jainism religions that were at that time gaining popularity, and re-established supremacy of Vedas. He met Swami Govindapada Bhagavatpada, the disciple of Gaudapada, as his Guru, on the banks of the river Narmada in Central India. Swami Govindapada Bhagavatpada initiated him into the Paramahamsa, the highest order of samnyas, renunciation.

Not only a scholar and teacher, Shankaracharya established four Amnaya Peetham (Amnaya-The Veda; Peetham-Throne) on the four corners of Bharat for propagating Sanatana Dharma and unifying the country. He established ten definite orders of samnyasins under the name ‘Dasanamis’ who add, at the end of their names, any one of the following ten suffixes: Sarasvati, Bharati, Puri (Sringeri Peetham in Karnataka in South); Tirtha, Asrama (Dwaraka Peetham in Gujarat in West); Giri, Parvata and Sagar (Joshi Peetham in Uttaranchal in North); Vana and Aranya (Govardhana Peetham in Orissa in East).

Among his multitude of disciples, the four are prominent: Shri Hastamalakacharya, Sureshwaracharya, Padmapadacharya, and Totakacharya.