Author Topic: Part 1 -- Important Couplets From Adi Sankaracharya's VIVEKACHUDAMANI  (Read 2512 times)


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Translated by Swami Madhavananda And Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta

2. For all beings a human birth is difficult to obtain, more so is a male body; rarer than that is Brahmanahood;rarer still is the attachment to the path of Vedic religion; higher than this is erudition in the scriptures;discrimination between the Self and not-Self, Realisation, and continuing in a state of identity with Brahman –these come next in order. (This kind of) Mukti (Liberation) is not to be attained except through the well-earned merits of a hundred crore of births.

3. These are three things which are rare indeed and are due to the grace of God – namely, a human birth,the longing for Liberation, and the protecting care of a perfected sage.

23. Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense-objects and placing them in their respective centres, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or self-withdrawal consists in the mind-function ceasing to be affected by external objects.

46. Faith (Shraddha), devotion and the Yoga of meditation – these are mentioned by the Shruti as the immediate factors of Liberation in the case of a seeker; whoever abides in these gets Liberation from the bondage of the body, which is the conjuring of Ignorance.

51. A father has got his sons and others to free him from his debts, but he has got none but himself to remove his bondage.

62. A disease does not leave off if one simply utter the name of the medicine, without taking it; (similarly) without direct realisation one cannot be liberated by the mere utterance of the word Brahman.

69. The first step to Liberation is the extreme aversion to all perishable things, then follow calmness,self-control, forbearance, and the utter relinquishment of all work enjoined in the Scriptures.

84. Whoever seeks to realise the Self by devoting himself to the nourishment of the body, proceeds to cross a river by catching hold of a crocodile, mistaking it for a log.

96. The five organs of action such as speech, the five organs of knowledge such as the ear, the group of five Pranas, the five elements ending with the ether, together with Buddhi and the rest as also Nescience, desire and action – these eight "cities" make up what is called the subtle body.

97. Listen – this subtle body, called also the Linga body, is produced out of the elements before their subdividing and combining with each other, is possessed of latent impressions and causes the soul to experience the fruits of its past actions. It is a beginningless superimposition on the soul brought on by its own ignorance.

104. Know that it is egoism which, identifying itself with the body, becomes the doer or experiencer, and in conjunction with the Gunas such as the Sattva, assumes the three different states.

105. When sense-objects are favourable it becomes happy, and it becomes miserable when the case is contrary.So happiness and misery are characteristics of egoism, and not of the ever-blissful Atman.

119. The traits of pure Sattva are cheerfulness, the realisation of one’s own Self, supreme peace,contentment, bliss, and steady devotion to the Atman, by which the aspirant enjoys bliss everlasting.

137. Identifying the Self with this non-Self – this is the bondage of man, which is due to his ignorance, and brings in its train the miseries of birth and death. It is through this that one considers this evanescent body as real, and identifying oneself with it, nourishes, bathes, and preserves it by means of (agreeable) sense-objects, by which he becomes bound as the caterpillar by the threads of its cocoon.

145. Of the tree of Samsara ignorance is the seed, the identification with the body is its sprout, attachment its tender leaves, work its water, the body its trunk, the vital forces its branches, the organs its twigs, the sense-objects its flowers, various miseries due to diverse works are its fruits, and the individual soul is the bird on it.

160. The stupid man thinks he is the body, the book-learned man identifies himself with the mixture of body and soul, while the sage possessed of realisation due to discrimination looks upon the eternal Atman as his Self, and thinks, "I am Brahman".

161. O foolish person, cease to identify thyself with this bundle of skin, flesh, fat, bones and filth, and identify thyself instead with the Absolute Brahman, the Self of all, and thus attain to supreme Peace.

162. As long as the book-learned man does not give up his mistaken identification with the body, organs,etc., which are unreal, there is no talk of emancipation for him, even if he be ever so erudite in the Vedanta philosophy.

169. There is no Ignorance (Avidya) outside the mind. The mind alone is Avidya, the cause of the bondage of transmigration. When that is destroyed, all else is destroyed, and when it is manifested, everything else is manifested.

170. In dreams, when there is no actual contact with the external world, the mind alone creates the whole universe consisting of the experiencer etc. Similarly in the waking state also; there is no difference. Therefore all this (phenomenal universe) is the projection of the mind.

171. In dreamless sleep, when the mind is reduced to its causal state, there exists nothing (for the person asleep), as is evident from universal experience.Hence man’s relative existence is simply the creation of his mind, and has no objective reality.

174. Therefore the mind is the only cause that brings about man’s bondage or Liberation: when tainted by the effects of Rajas it leads to bondage, and when pure and divested of the Rajas and Tamas elements it conduces to Liberation.

181. Therefore the seeker after Liberation must carefully purify the mind. When this is purified, Liberation is as easy of access as a fruit on the palm of one’s hand.

211. This self-effulgent Atman which is distinct from the five sheaths, the Witness of the three states, the Real, the Changeless, the Untainted, the everlasting Bliss – is to be realised by the wise man as his own Self.

218. Seeing the reflection of the sun mirrored in the water of a jar, the fool thinks it is the sun itself. Similarly the stupid man, through delusion, identifies himself with the reflection of the Chit caught in the Buddhi, which is Its superimposition.

227. All this universe which through ignorance appears as of diverse forms, is nothing else but Brahman which is absolutely free from all the limitations of human thought.

233. The Lord, who knows the secret of all things has supported this view in the words: "But I am not in them" … "nor are the beings in Me".



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Re: Part 1 -- Important Couplets From Adi Sankaracharya's VIVEKACHUDAMANI
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2010, 09:12:01 AM »

Dear prasanth,

I have read in depth only Tamizh commentary with Sanskrit verses by
Sri Anna Subramanya Iyer of Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai.
I have later read Tamizh prose translation of Bhagavan Ramana,
along with Sri Ulaganatha Swamigal's Tamizh versification.  The latter book is from Sri Ramansramam. 

Verses 51-55 bring the essential need of self-effort. Self Realization is only through self effort or self attention.  Apart from Sadhana
chatushtyam, guru's grace is paramount. 

Sri Sankara gives several similes for this.  The father's debt can be cleared only by son.  This happened in my own life.  My son has
cleared about Rs 13 lacs of debt of mine [from various credit cards] in one year after he joined the job in Singapaore and later in Hongkong.  But one's own ignorance and bondage [bhandha mochana kartha] can be overcome only through one's own self effort.

Sri Sankara then says in Verse 52 that one's own head-load and one's own hunger can be removed only by one's own effort of laying down the load and by eating.  This is the example often given by Bhagavan Ramana.  Even guru only will show the way.  But Rama, to know that he is Rama, should only see his own image in the mirror?  One should see through the eye of wisdom, says Bhagavan [Who am I?].

Sri Sankara says further in Verse 53, that a patient's illness can be cured only by his own consumption of medicines and controlled food habits and no one else can do these for the sake of the patient.  Here, Anna Subamanya Iyer says, that food control is  is Sadhana
Chatushatayam and medicine is vedanta sravanam and being with guru.

Sri Sankara says in Verse 54, that one should know his real nature only through the eye of wisdom [Jnana KaN] like the moon can be seen by one's own eyes and not by explanation by others.  Scriptural readings etc., only will help to understand the Vastu and not realize it.

Sri Sankara says in Verse 55 that avidya, kama and karma, all these bondages can be removed only by one's own efforts and not through a hundred crores years.  Mere passage of time shall not remove these vasanas and one should make efforts.  Sri Bhagavan has said here that efforts along with guru's grace would only help and this needs mumukshatvam, the desire to get liberated, as the first requisite.  Desire for Self realization is a must. 

Sri Sankara says somewhere else in the same grantham, that the treasure under the earth, can be dug out only by one's own efforts and not merely by the diviner of treasure showing the place where the treasure is hidden. 

Sri Sankara closes this segment saying, in Verse 56:

Na yogena na sankhyane karmana no na vidhyaya |
Brahmatmaikathva bodhene moksha siddhyathi naanyatha ||

It is not through Yoga sadhana, [of Patanjali], nor through Sankhya [of Kapila Maharshi], and not through karmas this is achieved.
This is only upon realization that Brahman is I.  This self inquiry
or self attention.

Arunachala Siva.