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, 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.

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