Adi Shankara’s Viveka Chudamani
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chittasya shuddhaye karma na tu vastoopalabhaye
vastu siddhirvichaarena na kinchit karma kotibhih 11
The Nature of the Seekers and Aspirants
To bring the manas, under control, the learned Sadhakas should give up all deeds undertaken with desire, kaamya karmas, and try for salvation. By performing pious deeds, karmas, purity of chitta only is possible. One would not attain the state of Parambrahman. However many karmas one may be committed to and performed, parambrahman cannot be attained. He would not be able to experience the Brahman.
When, in the dark, a rope is taken to be a snake, grief occurs. When it is realised that the rope is only a rope and not a serpent, the grief is dispelled. This discrimination and the capacity to judge would be attained only when one goes deep into the nature of things. When one listens to the word of the Guru, the dear one and exercises one's judgment, one would be able to know and understand the nature of things. The knowledge of the nature of things (padaartha jnaana) would not be obtained by hundreds of baths or pranayamas. Self-realization, atmajnaana, is possible only through deep contemplation and tapas under the guidance of the compassionate Guru.
The qualities of adhikari, the one deserving to know.
Brahma Praapti, the attainment of Brahman is possible only to the most deserving one, adhikaari, the one with the right qualification. In this matter the place and time are only contributory factors. The one who aspires for liberation must find a compassionate knowing one of the Brahman (Brahma Vetta) and then think of the self.
An intellectual and one capable of the right and wrong imagination and the one who has sadhana chatushthaya (to be explained a little later here) would be competent to know the self. He should have both: Viveka, discrimination and judgment as well as vairagya (a sense of total non-attachment), great qualities like Shama and a deep yearning for Moksha. Such a one alone is fit to know the self.
Sadhasna Chatushtayam - Four Ways Of the Aspirant
To contemplate and realise Brahman the learned ones spoke of four ways. Only when one has the four accomplishments in Sadhana, one would attain that.
adau nityaanitya vasthu vivekah pariganyate
ihaamutra phalabhoga viragastadantaram
shamadi shattka sampattirmumukhutvamiti sphutam 19
i. nitya nitya vastu vivek (Judgment of the real and unreal)
This is coming firmly to the decision and conviction that Brahman alone is Satya, True and the Jagat, world is mithya, illusion or appearance.
ii. vairagya (Non-attachment and renunciation)
By experiencing directly and listening to the utterances in Vedanta as well as the preaching of the Guru, realizing that right from the body to everything that is to be experienced is only anitya, impermanent or fleeting, one should give up all desire and attachment. This is vairagya.
iii. Shamadi shatkam: Six sublime qualities
The sestet of qualities shama, dama, uparati, titiksha, shraddha, samaadhanam, these six are called shamadi shatkam.
Shama is keeping the manas steady giving up the attraction and affections of all sensory feelings and keeping them away as unworthy and dangerous.
Dama is to withdraw the senses from all attractions and keep them in respective places firmly. The jnaanendriyas are sensory faculties like sight, smell, touch etc. The jnaanendriyas are sensory organs like the mouth, nose, and tongue etc. uparati: Restraining the manas from straying into external things (worldly things and sense gratification) is the best - It is uparati)
Titiksha : It is tolerating with patience all kinds of grief, pain and trouble.
Shraddha : Coming to a determination that what the guru has taught is true and believing that is the absolute truth is Shraddha. With this one can attain the goal.
Samadhanam : With Shraddha, Brahman can be attained. Keeping the buddhi unwaveringly and steadily on the absolute Parabrahman is samadhanam.
iv. Mumukshatwam: The Quality of the Seeker
Mumukshatwam : Without placating, casting or lulling the manas, shedding or leaving all bonds right from ego- sense to body with a desire to attain self-realizations is mumukshatva, the qualities of a mumukshu, a seeker of self-realization.
Only those who have these four qualities explained above are eligible and fit for brahmajignyasa, contemplating and thinking to know brahman.
If viewed and reviewed carefully on the basis of these two things, vairagya and shamadi shatkam, mumukshatwa appears rather slow and sluggish in some and of a medium quality in some others. However it may be, with Guru's grace it grows and gives fruit too. Whoever has vairagya and mumukshatva would find these qualities like shama meaningful and rewarding. In those who have these qualities but are slow and sluggish, Shama and other qualities may shine but do not bear fruit as a tree in a marshy land.
The form of Bhakti
The means to obtain moksha, Salvation, is bhakti, devotion. Bhakti is the quality of losing one's self in his own atma, the inner self orpratyagatma. One's real form is parabrahman. Being immersed in it, losing one's self into it is bhakti. Some hold that bhakti is the feeling that the person himself is parabrahman.
So it is said.
moksha sadhana samagryam bhaktireva gareeyasee
swatmatatwanusandhanam bhaktiritya pare jaguh 32
The Qualities of a Preceptor, guru
The one who has these four qualities and is desirous of knowing the atman should seek refuge in a guru who has prajna. It is only through him that mukti would be possible.
He who has the following qualities only should be taken as a guru.
He is the one who is a veda vetta, one knowing the Vedas.
He is sinless and he wouldn’t be even a whit attracted to desire.
He is the best among those who know Brahman: losing himself totally in parabrahma.
Like fire which has no more faggots, he is totally cooled down and his manas is peaceful.
He is an ocean of compassion.
He is a close relative of all good people and is humble. He loves his disciples.
shrotriyo vrijino kamahato yo brahmavittamah
brahmanyuparatassanto nirandhana ivanalah
ahetuka dayasindhu bandhuranamatam sataam 35
Such a guru needs to be approached in all humility and should be propitiated with devotion and loyalty. He should be asked then to know about what is to be known regarding atman.
The way of enquiry
Master! Kin of all those who bow down in Salutation! Ocean of compassion! I am in bhava sagara, the ocean of life and sansara. Kindly rain compassion on me through the corner of your eye and uplift me.
I am being consumed by the wildfire of sansara. I am being blown away by the winds of misfortunes. I am terror-struck. I seek refuge in you. Save me in every way from death. There is none else to come to my rescue.
durvaara sansara davaagni taptam
bheetam prapannam paripaahi mrutyoh
sharanyamanyam yadaham na jaane 38
Minds of the Great Men
Mahatmas, embodiments of peace, good men like the spring season would make people happy.
Having crossed the frightful flood, ocean of sansara, without any particular reason, they would relieve people of grief and suffering. This is their natural quality. Doesn't the moon protect and save this earth baked by the Sun's rays giving his cool rays!
Lord! I am being tossed in the flames of sansara. Kindly sprinkle waters from the vessels of your words which are sacred, holy, cool and replete with the ananda of the highest order. Sprinkle the nectar of your words which are very dear to my hearing. Blessed really are those who are accepted by you being chosen as deserving your grace and compassion.
brahmananda rasaanubhooti kalitai pootai susheetairyutai
ryushmadvakkalasho ghnitaih shrutisukhairvakyamrutai sechayaja
santaptam bhavataapa daava dahana jwaalbhirenam prabho!
dhanyaste bhavadeekshanagateh paatreekrutah sweekrutaah 41
How can I ever cross this ocean of sansara? What is the refuge for me? What is the ruse prabhu! I am not able to find any. Save me with your compassion. Destroy the grief of sansara for me!
Guru’s abhaya (assuring protection from fear of harm)
Thus sending up prayers, being scorched in the flames of sansara, goes the afflicted one to the guru. The guru, with compassionate looks graces him with abhaya, fearlessness forthwith. The one who has approached him is eager to attain moksha, he is the one who would meticulously follow his teaching; he is of a calm and cool mind with restraint of his manas. For such a disciple (sishya), the guru must preach with kindness the intricacies of tatwa, philosophy. Thus the guru should draw the sishya near.
“O! Learned one! You are in no danger. There is a way, a technique to cross the ocean of sansara. I would show you the way taken byyatis, successful sadhakas to cross sansara. There is a great upaya (method, a ruse or a shortcut) to destroy the fear of sansara. Going that way you could reach the other shore and get absolute bliss.
“You would be able to getjnaana by contemplating the meaning put across in the upanishads. Veda has it that for the mumukshu, the one who seeks moksha or salvation, dhyana, yoga, bhakti and shraddha are necessary. When one has these four qualities, one can easily get liberation from the bond of the body.
“For you, the form and embodiment of atman, owing to ajnaana, a bond has formed with the body which is anatma. Because of that you are entangled in sansara. The fire of jnaana would destroy sansara totally by contemplating and distinguishing what is atman and what is anatma.”
The question of the disciple, Sishya
The disciple said: “Master! Listen to me with compassion. I ask you a question.
“I would be blessed to hear the answer from your lips!”
“What is bandha, bond? Where did it come from? What is its basis? How can it be severed? What is anatma? What is one's form which is Paramatma? How can one distinguish the one from the other? Kindly explain.”
konaama bandah kutah yesha aagathah
katham pratishtaasya katham vimokshah
kosaavanaatmaa paramah ka aatma tayorvivekah
kathameta duchyataam 51
The, guru, Preceptor’s Word
Said the guru:
You say you want  to be free from the bond of ajnaana and attain brahmatva, the quality of brahma. You have sanctified your whole family for generations. You have been successful. For a father, sons are those who free him from indebtedness. But for liberation from sansara, everyone must endeavor for one's self only.
The weight on the head someone else may relieve and hence the pain from burden. But for certain things like hunger and thirst, everyone must find ways of satisfying himself. For relief from disease only the patient must take medicine. Nobody else. Everyone must find atmaswaraajya, only with his own eye on jnaana. This cannot be attained by scholarship. It is like the beauty of the moon which can be seen by the person himself. To be rid of the bonds of avidya or kama, the individual has to put in the whole effort.
Only either through yoga, sankhya or karma can freedom from sansara be achieved. Only through jnaana one would arrive at the conclusion that jeeva and brahma are just one. There is no other way. One can play veena and impress listeners but it cannot get him an empire.
The Quality and Nature of Scholarship
Scholarship, eloquence and powers of argument can yield money or prestige but not liberation certainly.
vaagvaikharee shabdajharee shastravyakhyana kaushalam
vaidushyam vidushaam tadvadbhuktaye na tu mukthaye 60
If one does not realize paratatwa, study of sciences would be just fruitless. When it is known, study of sciences would be futile.
avijnate tattve shastraadheetistu nishphalaa
vijnaatepi pare tattve shastraadheetistu nishphala 61
The vocabulary in shastras is like wilderness: it would confuse chitta. For that reason, atma tattwa needs to be learnt from the really knowing-one.
For the one bitten by a snake, the medicine called brahma jnaana alone would be useful. With shastras or Vedas there would be no use. By ingesting medicine a disease can be cured, net merely by uttering its name. Freedom, liberation form the bonds of sansara would be possible by acquiring brahma jnaana and experiencing brahmaanubhooti not merely by repeating aham brahmaasmi: I am Brahman. Without slaying all enemies, without acquiring power over all land, simply by declaring that one is a King, one does not become a King.
To dig up a treasure in the earth one has to trust the truthful man, dig and then remove the boulder to find the treasure. By merely declaring "here is the treasure" one does not get the riches unless guided and taught by a competent guru and practising manana and dhyana etc. atmatattwa cannot be experienced.
aaptoktim khananam tathopari silaapakarshanam sweekritim
nikshepah samapekshate nahi bahi shabdaistu nirgachchati
tadvadbrahma vidopadesha manana dhyanadibhir labhyate
maayaakarya tirohitam swamamalam tattvam na duryuktibhih 67
The Action of the Learned Ones
So, the learned ones must go about individually to work for liberation from the bonds of sansara. O learned disciple! Your question is good.
That is acceptable to those knowing shastras deeply.
This has deep and subtle meaning. This is worth knowing by all those aspiring to get mukti. Listen to me carefully. By listening to this you would get liberation.
The reason for mukti (salvation)
The first requirement for moksha is attaining vairagya (non-attachment etc.) for things fleeting, anitya. Then renouncing all karmas and acquiring eminence in the shamadi shatkam. After this the muni must spend time in listening to vedanta and go on contemplating on it (manana) along with dhyana. Those who take to this as habit would surely acquire paramananda in this world itself and enjoy the bliss of nirvana. This means that he gets liberated becoming jeevan mukta.
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