Shankara was a 7th century hindu mystic/saint. he founded a number of monastic orders in his short life,[32 yrs], and showed remarkable spiritual talents and insights from a very early age. this book is a true classic in the field of the jnani yoga tradition. his directives are clear, succint, and leave no doubt in the readers mind he knew where of he spoke. i wouldn't say this should be your entry level book into the advaita philosophy but if the idea of your oneness with brahman, the impersonal ground of being, appeals to you and you're ready for the genuine article, then this little book is for you and will reward your careful study. i'll be quiet now and let the master have the last word with a few quotes from the book: "when the vision of Reality comes, the veil of ignorance is completely removed. when our false perception is corrected, misery ends." and "the self controlled man is illumined when he enjoys eternal bliss. he is entirely merged in Brahman. he knows himself to be the unchangeable reality". and, "teachers and scriptures can stimulate spiritual awareness. but the wise disciple overcomes ignorance by direct illumination, through the grace of God". and, "the treasure i have found cannot be described in words, i am one with Brahman".