Tattva Bodha


Tattva Bodha is a foundational text in the Advaita Vedanta tradition, attributed to the sage Adi Shankaracharya. It is a concise and systematic exposition on the fundamental principles (tattvas) of Vedanta, designed to impart self-knowledge and lead the seeker to liberation (moksha). Here’s an organized breakdown:

  1. Overview of Tattva Bodha:
  • Tattva means “principle” or “reality,” and Bodha means “knowledge” or “understanding.”
  • The text consists of an introduction followed by verses and prose passages that explain various concepts.
  • It’s composed in simple Sanskrit, making it accessible to students.
  1. Introduction (Preamble):
  • The introductory verses express gratitude to the teacher and explain the purpose of the text.
  • The primary goal is to impart knowledge that dispels ignorance and leads to liberation.
  1. Key Concepts:
  • Jiva (Individual Self):
    • The individual self (jiva) is the one who experiences the world and undergoes the cycle of birth and death.
    • It’s characterized by identification with the body, mind, and intellect.
  • Atman (True Self):
    • Atman refers to the true nature of the individual, which is pure consciousness (chit) and bliss (ananda).
    • It’s beyond the limitations of the body, mind, and intellect.
    • The goal is to realize the identity between the individual self (jiva) and the universal self (Brahman).
  • Brahman:
    • Brahman is the ultimate reality, the substratum of the universe.
    • It’s described as sat-chit-ananda, existence-consciousness-bliss.
    • Realizing Brahman as one’s true nature leads to liberation.
  • Maya (Illusion):
    • Maya is the power of Brahman that creates the appearance of the world.
    • It veils the true nature of Brahman, leading to the perception of multiplicity and individuality.
  • Tattvas:
    • Tattvas are the fundamental principles of existence.
    • They include the five elements (pancha bhutas), the mind, the intellect, etc.
  1. Means of Knowledge:
  • Shravana, Manana, and Nididhyasana:
    • Shravana: Listening to the teachings of the scriptures from a qualified teacher.
    • Manana: Reflecting on the teachings to remove doubts and gain clarity.
    • Nididhyasana: Deep meditation on the truth to realize it directly.
  1. Conclusion:
  • The text concludes by emphasizing the importance of self-realization and the role of a qualified teacher in guiding the student.

Tattva Bodha serves as a primer for deeper philosophical texts like Vivekachudamani and Atma Bodha, preparing the seeker for advanced studies in Vedanta.


  1. “Tattva Bodha.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 February 2024, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattva_Bodha.
  2. Chinmayananda, Swami. Tattva Bodha. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 2012.
  3. Iyer, P. Sankaran. Tattva Bodha of Adi Sankaracarya. Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, 2003.

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Holger Hubbs

By Holger Hubbs

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