Bhagavatpada Acarya Sankara was not only a great thinker and the noblest of Advaitic philosopher, but he was essentially an inspired champion of Hinduism and one of the most vigorous missionaries in our country. Such a powerful leader was needed at the time when Hinduism had been almost smothered within the enticing entanglements of the buddhistic philosophy and consequently the decadent Hindu society had come to be broken up and disunited into sects and denominations, each championing a different view point and mutually quarrelling in endless argumentations. Each pundit, as it were, had his own followers, his own philosophy and his own interpretation. Each one was a vehement and powerful opponent of all other views. This intellectual disintegration, especially in the scriptural field, was never before so serious and so dangerously calamitous as in the times of Sri Sankara.
It was at such a time when our society was fertile for any ideal thought or practical philosophy to thrive, that the beautiful values of non-injury, self-control, love and affection of the Buddha came to enchant alike the kings and their subjects of this country. But the general decadence of the age did not spare the Buddhists also. They among themselves, precipitated different viewpoints, and by the time Sankara appeared on the horizon of Hindu history, the atheistic school of Buddhists had enticed away large sections of the Hindu folk.
It was into such a chaotic intellectual atmosphere that Sankara brought his life-giving philosophy of the Non-dual Brahman of the Upanisads. It can be very well understood what a Colossal work it must have been for a single man to undertake in those days, when modern conveniences of mechanical transport and instruments of propaganda were unknown.