The Universal Guru of Kanchi Speaks. (May 20, 1894 January 8, 1994)


These are the famous 50s according to the teachings of Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, the 68th Sankaracharya. This is a condensed version.


1. We need Temples to develop Bhakti. Offerings are tokens of our gratitude to God. Faith in God and tolerance remove sorrows.

2. We all have in us THIS, which is the Source, God, Reality...

3. He alone is Acharya, who knows, practices and teaches Sastras, and makes people follow the path of Sastras.

4. பூர்த்தம் pūrttam (pūrta). Meritorious work, act of pious liberality, as digging a well, building temples... Ishtam is performance of sacrifice. A combination of these two is iṣṭā-pūrttam. Maintain mental focus, purity and restraint and rise above difficulties, dishonor. இஷ்டாபூர்த்தம் iṣṭā-pūrttam = Sacrifices and charitable deed

5. Love for fellow man is the cure for the ills of the world. Give up Desire, Hatred, Anger, and Malice.

6. Repent for your faults. Pray to God to purify your mind and give you the will power, courage and intelligence not to do them in the future.

7. Reality is One; names are many. Paramesvara and Narayana are one and are not two.

8. Man's aim is to avoid rebirth. Man has intelligence and instinct, while animals who move horiontally have the instinct only. Man grows skywards to look up to God. [tiryaggata = tiryag-gata ] mfn. going horizontally (an animal )

9. All objects and colors, subjected to fire, become black first and white later and last. In spiritual terms, White is the Ultimate Reality and thus Siva, and the Black is Parvati.

10. The Rainbow colors represent personal gods (Saguna Brahman), while the colorless rays of the sun represent the Impersonal Absolute God (Nirguna Brahman).

11. The fruit of education is to know Him with devotion. Names and forms are mental creations. By a process of elimination of names and forms, we arrive at the Ultimate Truth found to be God.

12. Education without humility is no education and has today become merely the means of livelihood. For true education, the student should go to a guru and follow the guru-kula system.

13. The goal of knowledge is the understanding of the Ultimate Truth. The first fruit of education must be humility and self-control.

14. The total surrender to the Lord is a means of learning our insignificance and the transcendent grace of the Lord.

15. Devas are way stations on our way to Atman (God, the Self in us). At the end of the journey, Karmas fall by the wayside and we reach God. Until then, all our acts should be directed to gods.

16. Rituals have a place for men attached to action.

17. Agamas, Puranas, Sastras, itihasas, Gita...are books of wisdom.

18. Gita teaches that out of attachment only comes Reality.

19. Ahimsa appears to be good as an ideal or for preaching. If we attain Jāna that God is all, we will develop the same love for all that we have for God; This is the sign of Ahimsa.

20. All our actions are ordained by Him and are meant only to purify our minds.

21. Man cannot live by rice alone. Other edibles satisfy hunger and are pleasing to the eyes, tasty to the tongue and nutritious to our body. The same paradigm applies to worship of many gods.

22. Men of means should live like the poor and should not increase their wants beyond necessities. The rich should share their prosperity with the poor. This is punya, leading to salvation. The more we increase our wants, to that extent, there will be no peace or comfort and it will only produce poverty and sorrow.

23. He, She, It, and That should be rendered identical with us. if there is nothing other than us, then desire will not arise. If there is no desire, there will be no effort and no sin. When there is no sin, there will be no body (rebirth) and there will be no misery.

24. Yoga is separation from being united with sorrow. (Yoga is disjunction from sorrow)

25. When yoga, meditation, austerity, sacrifice, performance of karma are accomplished, they indicate what is that one Reality. It is that Reality, which is the true purport of the Veda. Other things are of a changing nature. They become woven into a story and then even that story disappears.

26. We should keep our God-given body healthy and free of diseases so we can practice several disciplines.

27. Savikapla Samadhi: The mind is steady without any distraction, contemplating its object wholly absorbed therein.

Nirvikalpa Samadhi: This is the goal of yoga. In this, the mind ceases to function and vanishes once and for all, leaving the self to shine forth alone. In Advaita too, the path of meditation is recognized; but here the object of meditation is the distinction-less Brahman.

Sahaja Samadhi: This is realized through the path of enquiry. It is the natural state of Self-realization and one of utter unconcern for the fleeting phenomena.

28. There is nothing to feel elated about seeing the people worshipping me. But, when I reflect that is worship to the God, who they think are approachable through me, I feel glad that there are so many who believe in a compassionate God who will hear them and remove their misery.

29. Our religion Hinduism has grown by devotion, meditation and self-purification and survived wars, propaganda of other religionists, lure of money... Great men of Hinduism kept Hinduism alive and thriving.

30. We must accept whatever comes to us, good or bad, as Her Grace. We do not know why she gives it. Our vision is limited.

31. Keeping quiet is not Jivan Mukti. He is a Yogi or Jāni whose intellect is very subtle and as sharp as a sword. He has to become like a withered tree, an immovable object with a steady mind. He must understand all that is happening around him. His knowledge should be perfect. He should not be affected by passion or sorrow. He should always be happy. None of us is like that and Īśvara is described as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

32. God in his mercy knows our needs. If we have to ask, plead before the Highest and the Omniscient.

33. The earth, the sun and the universe will vanish one day. What is left is some powerful substratum responsible for creation, protection and destruction. We call it God. We have the faculty of thinking and capacity of doing, in smaller or greater measure. This also merges after our death with the omnipotent Being, from whom we derive this energy. The stable principle, which is the cause of creation and destruction of all energy, is God, called by any name.

34. Let us learn to love all by realizing that God is in all. God is eternal and our love for him should be eternal.

35. There breathe on this globe some souls firmly rooted in morals and ethics who live exclusively for others, voluntarily forsaking not only their material gains and comforts but also their own sādhana towards their spiritual improvements.

36. Passion is the cause of birth. Time is the cause of death. So if we go to Him, there is neither birth nor death for us. Let us therefore pray to the Universal Father and Mother.

"Jagatha pitarau Vande Paarvati Parameswarau"

37. There are two kinds of servants: a Sycophant and a Worker for wages. The master will love more the one who does his job as his own out of devotion. So is the case with the Good Master, God.

38. Why do we break coconut before Lord Ganesa's idol? He is the Son of Parameśvara and asked His Father to sacrifice His head with three eyes because only then, he thought any effort would be crowned with success and without any obstacle. So, instead of the head with three eyes, we are breaking coconut which has three eyes. Ganesa is so powerful as to demand the head of his own father. Whatever is superior to everything else must be sacrificed to God. Symbolically, we are sacrificing the three-eyed coconuts created by God, as ordained by Him. When a saṁnyāsin attains Siddhi, this is done. This practice is in vogue only in Tamil Nadu.

39. God is distant, yet near.

40. We see our reflections in a mirror. In a row of mirrors, thousands of reflections are seen. It is only one person who sees all these reflections. The one who resides within us and who sees all this is God. The seer is the cause of all the seen. That cause is knowledge, which is the basis of this world. Where is that knowledge? Within you, what is macroscopic (out there) is microscopic in you.

41. We think joy comes from outside. But it is the smallest fragment of the great joy from within, which is Ᾱnanda. Paramātman, the ānanda within is not worried whether any joy comes from outside and mixes with it or not. Waters enter into the sea, which though ever being full, is ever motionless.

42. To worship God at the initial stage, metaphysical knowledge is not necessary. The more and more we meditate, bhakti grows and we automatically realize the universal form. There is no distinction between the devotee and the object of devotion.

43. Our minds should automatically seek and cling to God just as iron filings are attracted by the magnet; the heart of the chaste wife seeks her husband; the creeper embraces the tree; the rivers go to the sea.

44. Hinduism, in spite of its vicissitudes, is surviving even to this day. This is due to the blessings of a succession of saints. If there is one saint among us, the world will prosper.

45. Dharma is a way of performing the duties, which will elevate everyone concerned spiritually. And it is the duty of the king or the state to see that the citizens are provided every opportunity for spiritual growth and progress. That is the meaning of saying: "Raja Dharmasya Kaaranam".

46. For Upāsana, you have to follow the Śāstras or Scriptures. The different upāsanas are all aids in the path to the ultimate goal, namely, understanding Reality. Scriptures prescribe Upāsana in order to train the mind to concentrate. Upāsana is (worship) the affair of the individual; there is nothing collective about it.

47. Neither the raw fruit nor the tree wants to leave each other. However, when the fruit becomes ripe, this attachment automatically disappears. Man requires to experience anger, jealousy, passion, etc. just as the fruit had to undergo various stages of growth and taste before it became fully ripe so to get automatically detached from the tree. We cannot overcome these experiences in the beginning. However, we must ponder over the fact why we undergo these experiences. Otherwise, we will be the losers. We will become slaves of these experiences and can never achieve fulfillment or contentment.

48. When adversities overtake us, we blame God and complain that He is blind to our misfortunes. Nevertheless, if we indulge in a little introspection, we will realize that our faults are so enormous that we are utterly unworthy of His grace and, in spite of that we are able to get food, shelter and clothing. It is due to the abundant mercy of God. We must consider the difficulties we encounter as a blessing in disguise.

49. Troubles are verily God's grace to save us. In the entire picture of life, troubles form but a tiny spot. In our inability to visualize the past and the future, we complain when we suffer in the present. A proper perspective will enable us to understand our present plight in its proper setting.

50. Whenever any honour is done to a person the recipient must remember the divine source from which he derived the qualifications to receive that honour, and feel humble and not elated with a feeling of self - importance.


Cultivate Friendly attitude to conquer the minds of men;

Look at others as yourself;

Give up war; give up jealousy;

Don't commit aggression without reason;

Mother earth is like Kamadhenu to fulfil wishes;

The Lord God is like father showering mercy

People of the World !

Live with discipline;

Live with charity;

Live with mercy;

May all people attain greater wellbeing?


Love for all is love for God.