Shankara's "First Vision" Account

It pervades the entire universe but nothing pervades it. It is effulgent by nature, and its splendor illumines everything…

shankara-yoga-vedanta
Shankara, early 8th century CE

The following is from Adi Shankara, the 8th century philosopher and theologian from India:

Now I will relate to you the nature of the Supreme Self, knowing which a person is freed from boundaries and attains Kaivalya, Unity…
It pervades the entire universe but nothing pervades it. It is effulgent by nature, and its splendor illumines everything…
This is the inner Self, the silent witness, the ancient, the experience of eternal, infinite bliss, ever a state of unity, pure knowledge, on whose command speech and the pranas fulfill their functions.
Here in the purity within oneself, in the secret place of the intellect—in the unmanifest pure consciousness—the Self, of beauteous splendor, shines like the sun on high, illumining the entire universe through its own effulgence.
It is the knower of the fluctuations of the mind and ego, and of the activities of the body, senses, and pranas—it does not act nor modify itself in any way, permeating them as fire permeates a heated iron…
The supreme Self—whose nature if pure knowingness, separate from Nature and its expressions—indiscriminately illumines every aspect of the universe, whether positive or negative.
Crest Jewel of Discrimination (Vivekachudamani)

Source: Shankara, Vivehachudamani (The Crest Jewel of Wisdom), trans. by William Sands.
Some similarities to Joseph Smith’s First Vision might include:

  • Being set free.
  • Coming to know the Divine
  • It is bright, effulgent, illumines in all directions everything around.
  • It’s brightness and splendor is compared to that of the “sun.”
  • It permeates through everything like a “fire.”
  • Knowing it results in bliss and joy.
  • It conveys a “pure” or heavenly knowledge.

If you would like to submit a “First Vision” account, either personal or found, for inclusion on this website, please click here.


I give you this writing and content as a free gift. I give all of my work here away freely, and it is my full-time calling. If you enjoyed this or were inspired by it, I invite you to also give, to participate in this gift economy living in "the Gift", that we may be One. Please consider giving by debit/credit card by entering an amount and clicking the blue button below. It takes less than a minute.
Or please consider making a recurring monthly gift, to participate in an ongoing way in this community. If you would like to give in another way, please reach out to me. My deepest gratitude and many thanks for your kind generosity and the Gift which makes this all possible! May you have peace and every good.

Add your thoughts, comments, & questions below