Panchdasi was written during the later years of Vidyaranya's life around 1386 AD.
Vidyaranya was born around 1300 A.D. in Shalivahan () South India. Madhava Madhavacharya, Madhavamantri, Madhavamataya were the names which Vidyaranya was known before his turning into recluse.
His father was Mayana (?) and Mother Srimati (?), two brothers Sayana (?), and Bhogantha (). He had two Gurus Sarvagyvishnu (?) and Bhartiteerth (?). He established Vijayanagar Empire in 1335 AD with the help of Hukkayaray and Bukkaray. He was also Prime Minister of the Vijayanagar empire. Vidyaranya, was also the spiritual head of Sringeri Math in 1377 A.D to 1386 A.D. He died in 1391 AD.
Vidyaranya, who was the spiritual head of Sringeri Math in 1377 A.D to 1386 A.D., and also wrote Drk-Drsya-Viveka, Sarvadarsana Samgraha, Sri Sankara Digvijaya, Jivanmukti Viveka, Anubhuti Prakasa, Vivaranaprameyasamgraha and Upanishad Dipika has been identified with Sayanacharya, the commentator on the Vedas, whose brother he most likely was.
He was closely connected with the foundation of Vijaynagar kingdom. He was the minister of Bukka-devaraya of the Yadava Dynasty of Karnataka, his younger brother was Sayana, and Bhogantha, father was Mayana and Mother Srimati. He had two Gurus Sarvavishnu and Bhartiteerth. He died in 1391 AD.
The Panchadasi is a basic text which introduces into central doctrine of Advaita Vedantic philosophy. Deeper concepts are dealt in more advanced treatise the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and the Bhagavadgita.
The purpose of the life is the realization of the experience of Absolute Existence, which is the highest fulfillment all the aspirations of the whole of creation.
Panchdasi as the name suggest this text, "consisting of 15 Chapters grouped into three quintads. This is very much like the three aspects of Brahman - sat (existence), cit (consciousness) and ananda (bliss), respectively.
Viveka-panchaka (-, viveka-pa?caka) (dealing with the discrimination of the real from the non-real): Understanding the nature of reality (Viveka) which distinguishes from external world (, jagata) consist of the five elements -Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth and individual (Jiva) consisting of the five sheaths - Annamaya (, annamaya, Physical), Pranamaya (? , pramaya, Vital), Manomaya ( , manomaya, Mental), Vijnanamaya (, vijñ?namaya, Intellectual) and Anandamaya (?, ?nandamaya, bliss). Pure spirit is encased with five sheaths to delude individual soul as self. Cosmology of creation is described similar to Samkhya (,skhya) philosophy stating the relationship between pure consciousness (Brahman) with material universe.
Dipa-panchaka (-, d?pa-pa?caka) (expounding the nature of the Self as pure consciousness) : The second set of five chapters through light (Dipa) on the Pure Consciousness (Brahman) as the only Reality with Existence (Sat). God (Isvara), World (Jagat) and Individual (Jiva) are described in detail with their mutual relationship. Theory of perception and process of the ascent of the Jiva to its supreme goal, liberation from Maya (illusion) to unite with Brahman the Absolute. Meaning and method of meditation the way to contact with Reality is also described in very lucid and candid discourse.
Ananda-panchaka (-, ?nanda-pa?caka) (dwelling on the bliss-nature of Brahman): The last five chapters go into details of Brahman as pure Bliss (Ananda). This is not worldly happiness but complex dissolution into eternal pleasure. Duality of Jiva and God merging into one Consciousness and Existence. This Atman ( Brahman) is the source of ultimate happiness the purpose of human life.
Vidyaranya has succeeded in an eminent way in setting forth the essentials of Advaita which holds that the direct means to release is the path of knowledge (jnana), and as moksa is the very nature of the Self, it is not an experience which is to be brought about through works (karma) ".