An 8-year-old explains Atman to an 80-year-old


Adi Shankaracharya, a gifted child, encounters an 80-year-old seeking enlightenment.

The elder admits his weak intellect, requesting a simple explanation of how to attain Atman.

The Source Light Analogy

Adi Shankaracharya poses questions about different types of light used for seeing worldly objects.

The elder mentions sunlight, moonlight, and artificial light sources.

Adi Shankaracharya asks about the light that allows one to see forms in the mind when the eyes are closed. The elder responds with "My intellect."

Understanding 'My' and 'I'

Adi Shankaracharya explains that when we say 'My,' it signifies something separate from us.

Examples given include possessions like a house, car, family members, etc. The term 'I' represents the true self.

Adi Shankaracharya questions the light that illuminates the intellect if it is separate from oneself.

It cannot be another intellect, as there is only one for everyone. This leads to the realization that the grand light that illuminates the intellect is the Atman.

Atman and Ignorance

Atman is compared to sunlight dispelling darkness, helping distinguish between Atman and intellect. Atman belongs to oneself, while everything else does not.

The correct phrase is 'I am Atman,' not 'My Atman.' Atman is self-revealing and the source of light, while the intellect is reflected light borrowed from Atman.

Characteristics of Atman

Atman is eternal, self-revealing, and unaffected by objects and experiences in the intellect.

In deep sleep, when the intellect vanishes, worldly attachments and experiences also disappear, leading to a state of bliss.

Realization and Vedanta

The realization of Atman does not require meditation or experience.

This realization is called Tat Twam Asi, where Jiva and Brahman are the same.

Vedanta literature expresses this truth for over 5000 years.

Repeated exposure to this knowledge from the right source helps eliminate ignorance and brings about realization.


Print and read this text at least once daily for 30 days for a rewarding experience.

Like drops of water hanging from a leaf, life leaves the body suddenly - Bhagwan Ram to his brother Laxman.

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