Biographical anecdotes about his childhood about the crocodile story and the story in Sage Sri, Sankara's life of going to Benares and occupying the body of another man and then having sex intercourse with his wife, is a myth created by orthodoxy hiding the real fact the reason best-known to the orthodoxy. Sage, Sri, Sankara had the scientific spirit and when told by Saraswathi the woman that he was talking emptily about sex, being a Sanyasi, he at once went to learn the truth by having actual intercourse himself and thus learning by experiment and observation.
Thus all the myth about Sage Sri, Sankara is nothing to do with the seeker of truth because the seeker is concerned only with the wisdom of the Sage Sri, Sankara.
Sage Sri, Sankara: - "Though I wear these robes of a Sanyasin, it is only for the sake of bread." (Select Works of Sage Sri, Sankara" also his commentary on Brihad)
Sage Sri, Sankara: - The Gnani "should pass through life", not run away from life and should take a middle course between seeking worldly honor and worldly abasement. (Chap.3.4.50; Sankara's commentary to Brahma Sutras)
Sage Sri, Sankara's work has got two aspects: the practical and the spiritual. He gave religious, ritual or dogmatic instruction to the populace but pure wisdom only to the few who could rise to it. Hence the interpretation of his writings by commentators is often confusing because they mix up the two viewpoints. Thus they may assert that ritual is a means of realizing Brahman, which is absurd.
Sage Sri, Sankara varied his practical advice and doctrinal teaching according to the people he was amongst. He never told them to give their particular religion or beliefs or metaphysics completely; he only told them to give up the worst features of abuse: at the same time he showed just one step forward towards the truth.
Sage Sri, Sankara was extremely precise and careful in his choice of words. He was no fool in writing. Sage Sankara did more than write books or initiate Sanyasin: He brought India into a unity as a nation. He told people to Worship what they wish, remain in their particular religion, caste and creed, but remember also you are part of a larger whole.
The look of an object will depend upon the medium through the observer views it. In fact our mental and intellectual conditions will determine the phenomenal world observed and experienced. The orthodox pundit seeing Sage Sri, Sankara will see differently from the A Gnani seeing the same Sage Sri, Sankara. Each one of them interprets the world that they see in terms of their existing knowledge. The orthodox sees Sri, Sankara as founder of their religion and also as a guru of Advaitic orthodox sect. A man of truth sees Sage Sri, Sankara not as a guru but as a Gnani. The orthodoxy believes their experience of the birth, life, death and rebirth and the world as reality. Whereas a Gnani sees the world is mere illusion created out of consciousness. Thus Gnani sees no second thing other than consciousness. The one who treads the path of wisdom gains the knowledge of the reality beyond form, time and space. A Gnani has delved into and he transcended consciously all identification with the experience form, time and space.
Similarly orthodoxy has to be bifurcated from philosophy. To know Non-dualistic wisdom of Sage Sri, Sankara one has to be free from all superstitions and dogmas and orthodoxy and scriptural knowledge. The seeker has to be more rational and scientific in his attitude.
According to Advaita Vedanta, the Veda addresses itself to two kinds of audiences - the ordinary ones who desire the transitory heaven and other pleasures obtained as a result of ritual sacrifices, and the more advanced seeker who seeks to know Brahman. Thus, the purva mimam.sa, with its emphasis on the karma kanda of the Vedas, is meant for the first audience, to help lead its followers along the way. However, the Vedanta, with its emphasis on the Jnana Kanda, is meant for those who wish to go beyond such transient pleasures.