Introducing Aparokshanubhuti by Adi Shankara

Aparokshanubhuti translated as Self-Realization

Adi Shankara, an Indian philosopher who lived in the 8th century, is known for his contributions to the field of Vedanta philosophy. One of his most famous works is the Aparokshanubhuti, which translates to “Self-Realization”. This text serves as a guide for those seeking enlightenment and sheds light on the path to achieving self-realization. In this article, we will explore the journey of Adi Shankara and his text Aparokshanubhuti in detail.

In Search of Enlightenment: Adi Shankara’s Journey

Born in a Brahmin family in Kerala, India, Adi Shankara was interested in spirituality from a young age. He left his home at the age of eight to become a disciple of a well-known teacher, Govinda Bhagavatpada. Under his guidance, Shankara studied the Upanishads and other important texts of Hinduism. He then traveled extensively across the country, engaging in philosophical debates and spreading his knowledge.

Through his travels, Shankara realized that the true meaning of life lies in self-realization, which is discovering one’s true self. He believed that this could only be achieved through renouncing worldly desires and dedicating oneself to spiritual practices. Shankara’s own journey towards enlightenment was a long and arduous one, but it ultimately led him to the creation of the Aparokshanubhuti.

Aparokshanubhuti: The Path to Self-Realization

The Aparokshanubhuti is a concise text that contains 144 verses. It is written in the form of a dialogue between a student and a teacher and covers various topics related to self-realization. The text emphasizes the importance of shraddha (faith), viveka (discrimination), and vairagya (detachment) in the path towards self-realization. It also highlights the role of meditation and self-inquiry in achieving this goal.

According to Shankara, self-realization is not a result of any external action or effort, but it is the natural state of the self, which is obscured by ignorance. He explains that the self is not the body, mind, or intellect, but it is the pure consciousness that is beyond all these. By realizing the true nature of the self, one can overcome the cycle of birth and death and attain liberation.

Shankara also stresses the importance of surrendering oneself to a guru who has already attained self-realization. He explains that the guru can guide the student towards the truth and help remove the veils of ignorance that obscure the self. The text ends with a prayer, where Shankara expresses his gratitude to the guru and the divine for revealing the truth to him.

Overall, the Aparokshanubhuti serves as a valuable guide for anyone seeking self-realization. It provides a clear roadmap and emphasizes the need for faith, discrimination, detachment, meditation, and surrender to a guru. The text has been widely studied and admired for centuries and continues to inspire seekers of truth to this day.

Adi Shankara’s journey toward enlightenment and his creation of the Aparokshanubhuti have had a profound impact on the spiritual landscape of India and the world. His teachings continue to inspire millions of people to seek self-realization and find meaning in their lives. The Aparokshanubhuti is a timeless masterpiece that offers a clear and concise path to discovering the true nature of the self. Through his work, Shankara has left a lasting legacy that will continue to guide generations of seekers toward enlightenment.