The life of Shankara makes a strong impression of contraries. He is a philosopher and a poet, a sa-vant and a saint, a mystic and a religious reformer. Such diverse gifts did He possess that different images present themselves, if we try to recall His personality. One sees him in youth, on fire with intellectual ambition, a stiff and intrepid debator, another regards him as a shrewd political genius, attempting to impress on the people a sense of unity, for a third,
Western people can hardly imagine a personality like that of Shankaracharya. We contemplate with wonder and delight the devotion of Francis of Assisi, the intellect of Abelard, the virile force and freedom of Martin Luther, and the political efficiency of Ignatiur Loyola, but who could imagine all these united in one person?
Shankara was the foremost among the master-minds and the giant souls which Mother India hasproduced. He was a giant metaphysician who expounded systematically the Advaita philosophy. A practical philosopher, an infallible logician, a dynamic personality, and a stupendous moral and spiritual force that He was, His grasping and elucidating powers knew no bounds.