Guru Parampara traces the lineage of acharyas from Lord Narayana, Brahma, Vasishta, Shakti, Parasara, Vyasa, Suka, Gaudapada and Govinda to Adi Sankara and this is followed by his many disciples, such as Padmapada etc. In this is subsumed the divine acharyas as well as those rishis of the Purana times, while Adi Sankara, who consolidated the Advaita Siddhanta of Gaudapada and Govinda, is assigned the status of the foremost guru in the historical period.
Adi Sankara is believed to be an incarnation of Siva and his advent at a time when people were confused owing to the prevalence of many cults, beliefs and dogmas is significant, pointed out Sri Muralidhara Swamigal in a discourse. He established the authority of the Vedas on a firm footing. His prolific contributions to religion and philosophy by way of commentaries on the Prasthana Traya texts, the Prakarana granthas and innumerable stotras and hymns have helped to foster spiritual growth and devotion. The Advaita siddhanta he established has inspired many schools of thought, Visishtadvaita, Dvaita, Suddhadvaita, and so on. Though each of these schools is aligned to Vedanta, the paths adopted differ; but they concur that the ultimate goal of human existence is to get release from the cycle of birth.
Adi Sankara’s bashyas provide an intellectual treat to any scholar, poet, logician, grammarian, etc. His command of Sanskrit language and his poetic skills easily captivate any connoisseur. He guides the reader through logic and reason even as he delves into the esoteric thought of the Upanishads and the Vedas. The relation of the individual soul to God is too subtle and has to be internalised in one’s inner depths rather than in words and arguments. Till date he continues to be the guiding force to lead one into the sure path.