Aparokshanubhuti or Direct Experience – Self-Realization

By Adi Sankaracharya, Translated by Swami Vimuktananda

Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta

This is extracted from sankaracharya.org

5. Atman (the seer) in itself is alone permanent, the seen is opposed to it (ie., transient) � such a settled conviction is truly known as discrimination.

6. Abandonment of desires at all times is called Shama and restraint of the external functions of the organs is called Dama.

7. Turning away completely from all sense-objects is the height of Uparati, and patient endurance of all sorrow or pain is known as Titiksha which is conducive to happiness.

8. Implicit faith in the words of the Vedas and the teachers (who interpret them) is known as Shraddha, and concentration of the mind on the only object Sat (i.e., Brahman) is regarded as Samadhana.

9. When and how shall I, O Lord, be free from the bonds of this world (i.e., births and deaths) � such a burning desire is called Mumukshuta.

10. Only that person who is in possession of the said qualification (as means to Knowledge) should constantly reflect with a view to attaining Knowledge, desiring his own good.

11. Knowledge is not brought about by any other means than Vichara, just as an object is nowhere perceived (seen) without the help of light.

12. Who am I ? How is this (world) created ? Who is its creator ? Of what material is this (world) made ? This is the way of that Vichara (enquiry).

13. I am neither the body, a combination of the (five) elements (of matter), nor am I an aggregate of the senses; I am something different from these. This is the way of that Vichara.

14. Everything is produced by ignorance, and dissolves in the wake of Knowledge. The various thoughts (modifications of Antahkarana) must be the creator. Such is this Vichara.

15. The material (cause) of these two (i.e., ignorance and thought) is the One (without a second), subtle (not apprehended by the senses) and unchanging Sat (Existence), just as the earth is the material (cause) of the pot and the like. This is the way of that Vichara.

16. As I am also the One, the Subtle, the Knower, the Witness, the Ever-Existent, and the Unchanging, so there is no doubt that I am �That� (i.e., Brahman). Such is this enquiry.

17. Atman is verily one and without parts, whereas the body consists of many parts; and yet the people see (confound) these two as one ! What else can be called ignorance but this ?

18. Atman is the ruler of the body and is internal, the body is the ruled and is external; and yet, etc.,

19. Atman is all consciousness and holy, the body is all flesh and impure; and yet, etc.,

20. Atman is the (supreme) Illuminator and purity itself; the body is said to be of the nature of darkness; and yet, etc.,

21. Atman is eternal, since it is Existence itself; the body is transient, as it is non-existence in essence; and yet etc.,

22. The luminosity of Atman consists in the manifestation of all objects. Its luminosity is not like that of fire or any such thing, for (in spite of the presence of such lights) darkness prevails at night (at some place or other).

23. How strange is it that a person ignorantly rests contented with the idea that he is the body, while he knows it as something belonging to him (and therefore apart from him) even as a person who sees a pot (knows it as apart from him) !

24. I am verily Brahman, being equanimous, quiescent, and by nature absolute Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss. I am not the body which is non-existence itself. This is called true Knowledge by the wise.


My poem on Atman