Adi Shankara

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Atman is an ever-present Reality. Yet, because of ignorance it is not realised. On the destruction of ignorance Atman is realised.

Adi Shankara (pronounced [aːd̪i ɕəŋkəɾə]), who lived early 8th century CE, was one of the most revered Hindu philosophers and theologians from India who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.


  • Brahma satyam jagat mithyam, jivo brahmaiva naparah
    • Brahman (the existential substratum) is the only truth, the world is illusion, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self.

Atma Bodha (1987)[edit]

All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence…
Adi Shankara quotes translated by Swami Chinmayananda in: Atma Bodh. Chinmaya Mission (1987): Representation of full list of the quotes in Atma Bodha by Adi Sankaracharya at Accessed May 21, 2014.
  • Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so without Knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline Knowledge of the Self is the one direct means for liberation.
    • p. 4: Quote nr. 2.
  • When the force of desire for the Truth blossoms, selfish desires wither away, just like darkness vanishes before the radiance of the light of dawn.
    • P4
  • One should become aware of oneself, indivisible, and perfect; free from identification with all things transient, such as one’s body, functions, mind, and the sense of being the doer, for all these are the product of ignorance.
    • p4
  • The Soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals itself by itself: like the Sun when the clouds pass away.
    • p. 7: Quote nr. 4.
  • Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything.
    • p. 14: Quote nr. 8.
  • All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the substratum which is the Eternal All-pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence; just as the different ornaments are all made out of the same gold.
    • p. 16: Quote nr. 9.
  • Atman is an ever-present Reality. Yet, because of ignorance it is not realised. On the destruction of ignorance Atman is realised.
    • p. 82: Quote nr. 44.
  • Though he lives in the conditionings (Upadhis), he, the contemplative one, remains ever unconcerned with anything or he may move about like the wind, perfectly unattached.
    On the destruction of the Upadhis, the contemplative one is totally absorbed in "Vishnu", the All-pervading Spirit, like water into water, space into space and light into light.
    Realise That to be Brahman, the attainment of which leaves nothing more to be attained, the blessedness of which leaves no other blessing to be desired and the knowledge of which leaves nothing more to be known.
    • p. 98-101: Quote nr. 52 - 54.
  • Deities like Brahma and others taste only a particle, of the unlimited Bliss of Brahman and enjoy in proportion their share of that particle.
    • p. 107: Quote nr. 58.
  • All objects are pervaded by Brahman. All actions are possible because of Brahman: therefore Brahman permeates everything as butter permeates milk.
    • p. 109: Quote nr. 59.
  • The Atman, the Sun of Knowledge that rises in the sky of the heart, destroys the darkness of the ignorance, pervades and sustains all and shines and makes everything to shine.
    • p. 121: Quote nr. 67.
  • He who renouncing all activities, who is free of all the limitations of time, space and direction, worships his own Atman which is present everywhere, which is the destroyer of heat and cold, which is Bliss-Eternal and stainless, becomes All-knowing and All-pervading and attains thereafter Immortality.
    • p. 123: Quote nr. 68.

सूक्ष्म शरीर क्या है? What is the Sukshma Sarira (the subtle body)?[edit]

जो सूक्ष्म पांच महाभूतों से बना, पुन्यकर्मों से प्राप्त, सुख-दुःख भोगने का स्थान है, जिसमे पञ्च ज्ञानेन्द्रियाँ, पांच कर्मेन्द्रियाँ, पञ्च प्राण, मन, बुद्धि वह सूक्ष्म शरीर है l

That which is composed of five Mahabhutas (elements) prior to their undergoing the process of Panchikarana (origination of matter), born of good actions of the past, the instruments for experiences of pleasure, pain, etc., constituted of the seventeen items namely: the five Jnanendriyas (sense organs), the five karmendriyas (the organs of action), the five Prans; Prana, Apana, Udana, Samana and Vyana (vital airs) the mind and the intellect is the subtle body.

वाणी, हस्त, पाद, पायु, उपस्थ ये पञ्च कर्मेन्द्रियाँ हैं l Speech, hands, legs, anus, and the genitals are the five Karmendriyas (the organs of action).

कान, त्वचा, आँखें, जीभ, और नाक ये पांच ज्ञानेन्द्रियाँ हैं l Ear, skin (sense of touch), eyes, tongue (sense of taste) and nose (smell), these are the five Jnanendriyas (organs of perception).

श्रीमद आदि शंकराचार्य द्वारा रचित तत्त्वबोध Tattvabodh by Shrimad Adi Shankaracharya

About Adi Shankara[edit]

  • Ancient or pre-Buddhistic Hinduism sought Him both in the world and outside it; it took its stand on the strength and beauty and joy of the Veda, unlike modern or post-Buddhistic Hinduism which is oppressed with Buddha's sense of universal sorrow and Shankara's sense of universal illusion,-Shankara who was the better able to destroy Buddhism because he was himself half a Buddhist.
  • I find that Shankara had grasped much of Vedantic truth, but that much was dark to him. I am bound to admit what he realised; I am not bound to exclude what he failed to realise.
    • Sri Aurobindo,1910-1914, quoted from Sri Aurobindo, ., Nahar, S., Aurobindo, ., & Institut de recherches évolutives (Paris). India's rebirth: A selection from Sri Aurobindo's writing, talks and speeches. Paris: Institut de Recherches Evolutives. 3rd Edition (2000). [1]
  • Among Hindus, the date of Shankara is controversial; some date him to c. 500 BC. In this case, I wholeheartedly support the conventional date established by Indologists, among other reasons because his choice of Dwarka for his Western matha, and not Hinglaj (west of the Indus) as intended, fits neatly with the fact that the latter area had passed under Muslim control in the early eighth century.
    • Decolonizing the Hindu Mind (2001) by Koenraad Elst

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