by Adi Shankaracharya
"The Atma-Bodha or Self-Knowledge, is a short treatise on Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy of Nondualistic Vedanta. It consists of only sixty-eight verses in melodious Sanskrit and is believed to have been composed by Shankaracharya, the great philosopher of Non-dualism...
The very name of the book — Atmabodha, or Self-Knowledge — suggests its perennial interest and universal value. Self-Knowledge is vital. All other forms of knowledge are of secondary importance; for a man’s action, feeling, reasoning, and thinking are dependent upon his idea of the Self. His view of life will be either materialistic or spiritual according to his conception of himself. If he regards himself as a physical creature, and his soul (provided he believes in such a thing) as subservient to material ends, then he is a materialist; he follows the ideal of material happiness, devoting himself to the attainment of power and the enjoyment of material pleasures. Whenever a large number of people follow such an ideal, society becomes materialistic and there ensue bloodshed, war, and destruction. If, on the other hand, a man regards himself as a spiritual entity and believes that his material body should be utilized to serve a spiritual end, then he is spiritual. He follows the path of unselfishness, consecration, and love, and thus becomes a force to promote peace and happiness for all. Therefore it behoves everyone to cultivate Self-Knowledge at all times. Self-Knowledge serves the practical purpose of destroying pain and suffering (which are always caused by ignorance of the Self) and also the positive end of helping everyone enjoy supreme peace and blessedness here and always."
- Swami Nikhilananda