Mumbai: Sri Jayendra Saraswati, the head of the Kancheepuram Mutt in Tamil Nadu, on Monday described as "misrepresentation" the birth year of Adi Shankara as approved by the government.
"The only distortion in the whole proposal is the 'misrepresentation' of the birth year of Adi Shankaracharya 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 Shankara 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 Shankaracharya 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 Shankara's birth anniversary as "Philosopher Day" from next year.
"Adi Shankaracharya 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."