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Panchadashi – Mahabhuta-viveka- prakarana

Panchadashi, the renowned composition of Sri Bharati Tirtha and Swami Vidyaranya, is a compendium of 15 foundational treatises or prakarana-granthas. This epic work is a singular treatise on the entire philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. By providing the complete grasp of the essentials of Vedanta, Panchadashi amply serves to dispel the ignorance of the Self.

Beginner Course Medium: English

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More about the Course

Panchadashi, the renowned composition of Sri Bharati Tirtha and Swami Vidyaranya, is a compendium of 15 foundational treatises or prakarana-granthas. This epic work is a singular treatise on the entire philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. By providing the complete grasp of the essentials of Vedanta, Panchadashi amply serves to dispel the ignorance of the Self.

In the second chapter, titled ‘Mahabhuta-viveka’, the author expounds the nature of the ultimate Reality using the unique methodology of analysing the five elements and proving their falsity.

A total of 51 video sessions by Swami Advayananda , divided into 14 lessons, are made available to the registered participants.

The second chapter begins with the analysis of a statement from the Chandogya Upanishad, which states that Existence alone was there in the beginning and that it is possible to realise this Existence by the negation of the five elements. The text then explains these elements in detail and the other entities like sense organs and the mind, which has been created from these elements.

The text then proves logically the falsity of each element and of all the worlds, including the Brahmanda, and proves that by negating them we arrive at Existence. The text describes the concepts of maya and brings out clarity regarding the process of creation.

Along with the brilliant explanations of the above, various other schools like the Buddhist and Nyaya schools, who have contrary views on the Reality, are also examined and contested with solid reasons. The various kinds of differences that are possible to be postulated on Reality are also examined and refuted.

The text concludes with a description of the Jivanmukta delineating specifically on the concept of the ‘last thought’ and brings out clarity about this facet with respect to the Jivanmukta.

What You will Learn

  • Nature of the Reality in context of the Chandogya Upanishad
  • Nature of the five elements, the senses and the mind
  • Views of other schools on Reality that will help develop a better understanding on the position of Vedanta about the Reality
  • Nature of maya in detail and its relation to creation and the created world
  • Detailed study of each element, their intrinsic and borrowed properties
  • Differentiation of the five elements (mahabhuta-viveka) by systematically examining the falsity of each element
  • Abiding in the Reality by negating the duality having proven the falsity of the elements
  • Nature of the Jivanmukta

Why should I do this Course?

Each chapter of Panchadashi is an independent topical text. One need not complete the earlier chapter to proceed to the next. Each chapter uses a particular methodology to reveal the Truth.

The second chapter uses the methodology of ‘mahabhuta-viveka’. Can the five elements and the worlds created out of them be illusory? If so, how can it be logically established? How does it open the doorway to the Truth?

How do I purchase the Text?

Students are recommended to purchase a copy of the entire Panchadashi containing the verses and translation in English by Swami Swahananda, published by Ramakrishna Mission.

Chinmaya Mission has published the entire Panchadashi with commentary in Hindi by Swami Shankarananda. Those who are familiar with Hindi will immensely benefit from this publication.

To purchase a copy of Panchadashi – Chapter 2 with commentary in Hindi:

  1. Panchadashi – Chapter 2 (Hindi)
  2. Or
  3. Contact: Sri M. Jayaraman Nair

    In-charge, Chinmaya Vani, Chinmaya International Foundation (CIF)
    Ph: +91 92077 11138 / WhatsApp: 9207398313 / Email id:

A soft copy of the verses will also be made available to all the registered students on the dashboard which can be referred to in case of non-availability of the book.


  • Basic knowledge of Vedanta would be helpful, though not mandatory.
  • Good internet connection

Course Content

Panchadashi – Chapter 2 (Mahabhuta-viveka) comprises 14 lessons. A brief description of what is covered in each lesson is given below:

  • Lesson 1: Chandogya Upanishad’s declaration of ‘sat-advaitam’ examined
  • Lesson 2: The five elements and its objects
  • Lesson 3: The mind analysed
  • Lesson 4: 'Idam' – the perceived world
  • Lesson 5: Reality is free of all differences (bhedas)
  • Lesson 6: Buddhist view on Reality examined
  • Lesson 7: Refutation of the Buddhist school
  • Lesson 8: Nyaya school examined and refuted
  • Lesson 9: Nature of maya
  • Lesson 10: Space element – akasha's falsity analysed
  • Lesson 11: Air element – vayu's falsity analysed
  • Lesson 12: Fire, water and earth elements’ falsity analysed
  • Lesson 13: The cosmos – brahmanda's falsity analysed
  • Lesson 14: Jivanmukta and the ‘last thought’

Click here for further details

Course Contributors

Arvind Kannan

Brni. Shubhani Chaitanya

Sumedha Kulkarni

Home Study Course Scholarship Initiative

Envisioned to be a platform to impart knowledge, CIF has always made it a point to make the courses accessible to all the sincere seekers. Students, who are keen to pursue a particular course, but have difficulty affording the course fee, can send an email to the Director: stating the same. They will be given financial assistance to enrol for the course based on the genuineness of request, keenness to study and eligibility.

One can also be a part of this noble venture by contributing to the Home Study Course Scholarship Fund. To know more, send an email to the Director:

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