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Dasa Shlokas of Adi Shankaracharya – Summary of Shankara’s Teachings and His Concept of Brahman

When Shankaracharya decided to enter ‘samadhi,’ Sudhanva, the foremost disciple of Shankara, requested that the essentials of his teaching may be summarized and given to them. Shankaracharya then said the Dasa Shlokas, or Ten Verses, which elaborated the omniscience, omnipotence and omnipresence of Brahman – the core concept of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma). It contains the basic teachings of Adi Shankaracharya.

Summary of Shankara’s Teachings and his concept of Brahman

  1. The five elements do not express my real nature; I am changeless and persist forever. 
  2. I am above castes and creeds. I am seen when ‘maya’ is removed, and do not need concentration or worship as shown in Yoga Sutras. 
  3. I have no parents, I need no Vedas as proclaimed in the scriptures, no sacrifices, no pilgrimages. I am the eternal witness. 
  4. All the teachings of various religions and philosophies do not reveal my true nature and are but shallow views of my deep being. 
  5. I pervade the whole universe and am above, in the middle and below, in all directions. 
  6. I am colorless, formless, light being my form. 
  7. I have no teacher, scripture or any disciples, nor do I recognize Thou or I, or even the universe and am changeless and the absolute knowledge. 
  8. I am neither awake, in deep sleep or dreaming, but above consciousness with which the three are associated. All these are due to ignorance and I am beyond that. 
  9. I pervade everything, everywhere and the eternal reality and self-existent. The whole universe depends on me and become nothing without me. 
  10. I cannot be called one, for that implies two, which is not. I am neither isolated nor non-isolated, neither am I empty or full.