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 as a free gift. I live in a gift economy, so I give all of my time and work freely to you. I depend on your good will and generosity so that I may live and continue to write and support people like you as we grow to greater consciousness. If you were inspired by this, if it sparked new insights or understanding in you, I invite you to also give, to participate in "the Gift". I accept gifts primarily in the form of credit/debit card donations. It takes only a few moments. I express my deepest gratitude to you for your gift!
You may also participate in this community and give in other ways: comment on posts, subscribe to email updates, like the Facebook page, follow my personal Facebook profile, ask to join the community's Facebook group, participate in morning group meditation, join me in a weekday conversation, schedule a time to talk with me for spiritual friend support, ask me a question, submit a scripture for me to translate, submit a "First Vision" experience, or contact me to talk about something else, or to offer your gifts in another way. I look forward to getting to know you!

Add your thoughts, comments, & questions below