Sankaracharya’s Eka Sloki

I chanced upon an Eka Sloki from Adi Sankaracharya, while listening to some lectures on Advaita/Vedantic philosophy. Sankaracharya has successfully encapsulated the essence of Vedantic philosophy in this single (eka) Sloka

Eka sloki goes like:
Kim Jyothistava Bhaanumaanahani Me Ratrau Pradeepadikam
Shyaadevam, Ravideepadarshanavidhau Kim Jyothiraakhyahi me
Chakshuhtasya Nimeelanaadisamaye Kim Dheehrdheeyo Darshane
Kim Tatraahamatho Bhavaanparamakam Jyothihtadasmi Prabho

It is presented as a dialogue between a teacher (Guru) and student (SIshya), in response to a question by the student on realization of self.

Dialogue translates as:
Guru: How do you see (What is that light/power which helps you see?)
Sishya: I see with the help of sunlight
Guru: How do you see in the night?
Sishya: I see with the help of a lamp
Guru: Let that be so. How do you see the light? How do you see (your visualizations) even before you open your eyes?
Sishya: It is with my intellect
Guru: What helps you see (know) that intellect?
Sishya: This is me (me as pure consciousness)
Guru: (Indeed) You are that supreme light
Sishya: I realize that I am

Disclaimer: Translation is limited by limitations of my own understanding, power of explanation and loss of meaning due to translation (for instance: words used like Jyothi translated as light and dhee translated intellect are compromises made for want of better choice

Though simple and profound, only a very few gets to truly understand vedantic philosophy. It is still harder to explain because it is not (to be) understood by intellect but rather experienced by being, and being aware of that experience.

As Lord Krishna has pointed out in Bhagavat Gita:
Ascharyavat Pasyati Kaschitenam Aascharyavatvatathi Tateva Chaanyah
Aascharyavatchaenamanyah Srunoti Sruthuaapienam Vednachaeva Kaschit
Some sees it and marvels
Some speaks about it in awe
Some listens to it and wonders
but hardly anyone knows it

I salute the master for this brilliant piece of gem.


8 Responses to “Sankaracharya’s Eka Sloki”

  1. Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda Says:

    Sadasiva Samarambham Sankaracarya Madhyamam
    Asmadacarya Paryantam Vande Guru Paramparam.

  2. jeya raju Says:


  3. Sankaracharya’s Eka Sloki | My world, my philosophy | Renjiveda's Ocean of Love Says:

    […] […]

  4. SRBalasubramaniam Says:

    Adi Sankara has given the essence of his Advaita Philosophy in this one single sloka. This is the essence of all his other Vedantha Prakarana Granthas. The same Acharya should bless us with the wisdom to realise its meaning in our own Self. We bow to him without any trace of Ego to Guru’s Padhapadmam.

  5. vinjamuri radhakrishna Says:

    Ah ! Its possiable to an embodiment of wisdom only like Sankara Bhagavtpada. We are blessed to born in His land. All dwita is only a step to achieve what Sankara told in the eka sloka

  6. WholeDude Says:

    Tat + Asmi + PrabhO: This Vakya, Tat Asmi PrabhO combines the Four Maha Vakyas to become the “Panchama Maha Vakya.” The term “Tat” implies the entity(Sabdavachya) that is related to Brahman and it is not about human body or its organs of Sense Perception like eyes. Asmi describes an arrangement of parts that will produce a single, harmonious effect. For example, salt is a chemical compound made of Sodium and Chlorine. But, the taste of salt can never be experienced from either Sodium or Chlorine for both are very toxic elements. When united, the two elements produce a single, harmonious effect and when you taste salt, you will never know that it has those two chemical elements. Man exists in world for Tat brings that Unity or harmonious effect. The word ‘Prabhu” means an Exalted One used for persons of great honor, dignity, majesty, and is used to show respect. In English language God is often addressed as LORD GOD and the reason is that of describing God submissively and reverentially. To the same extent, Indian tradition tells us “Guru Brahma.” By using the word “PRABHO”, Adi Shankara’s Sishya is addressing both God and Guru as equals. The Four Maha Vakyas, Prajnanam Brahma, Tat Tvam Asi, Ayam Atma Brahma, and Aham Brahmasmi fail to capture the glory and majesty of God as the Supreme Being, Supreme Will, Prime Cause, Supreme Controller, and Supreme Lawmaker. A drop of water gathered from Ocean is identical in its chemical composition to Ocean’s chemical composition and both share similar properties and characteristics. But, a drop of water has no power of its own unless it is fully united with Ocean. It is the Ocean that poses man a huge challenge which Indian tradition describes as “SAMSARA.” For man the destiny is that of reaching the Shore after crossing an uncharted Ocean. For thse reasons, we have to recognize Adi Shankara as the author of Panchama Maha Vakya or Fifth Great Aphorism.

  7. Eka shloki of Adi Shankaracharya | sathvishayam Says:

    […] Source:…/sankaracharyas-eka-slo…/ […]

  8. Lakshmi Says:

    Hi could you please help me in understanding this eka sloka further?thanks in advance.

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