Vivekachūḍāmaṇi   by Sankaracharya

Vivekachūḍāmaṇi     विवेकचूडामणि  ंकराचार्य

The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination

Vivekachudamani Translation from Sanskrit to English by Swami Madhavananda, Achyarya Pranipata Chaitnya, Swami Chinmayananda... Substance of commentary is from various sources including Vivekachoodamani by Chinmayananda. Language of my comments are easy to find by its tone, contour, manner and style. Diacritical marks are applied by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj.  Sanskrit script is in Laser Sanskrit LSU font, which can be converted to Mangala or Unicode font.


V001. Devoted Dedication. 


सर्ववेदान्तसिद्धान्तगोचरं तमगोचरम् ।

गोविन्दं परमानन्दं सद्गुरुं प्रणतोऽस्म्यहम् ।। 1।।

sarvavedāntasiddhāntagocharaṁ tamagocharam.

govindaṁ paramānandaṁ sadhguruṁ praṇato asmyaham – 1

I bow to Govinda, whose nature is Bliss Supreme, who is the Sadguru, who can be known only from the import of all Vedanta, and who is beyond the reach of speech and mind.  (1) Swami Madhavananda


Sankaracharya salutes his guru Sri Govindapada of the nature of Absolute Bliss who can be known through Vedanta and who is beyond perception. 

V002. Glory of Spiritual Life.

जन्तूनां नरजन्म दुर्लभमत: पुंस्त्वं ततो विप्रता

तस्माद्वैदिकधर्ममार्गपरता विद्वत्‌त्वमस्मात्परम् ।

आत्मानात्मविवेचनं स्वनुभवो ब्रह्मात्मना संस्थिति:

मुक्तिर्नो शतजन्मकोटिसुकृतै: पुण्यैर्विना लभ्यते ॥2॥


jantūnāṁ narajanma durlabhamataḥ puṁstvaṁ tato vipratā

tasmādvaidikadharmamārgaparatā vidvattvamasmātparam

Atmānātmavivechanaṁ svanubhavo brahmātmanā saṁsthitiḥ

muktirno  śatajanmakoṭisukṛitaiḥ  puṇyairvinā labhyate -- 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.   Swami Madhavananda

Modern commentators remove the gender and caste bias from these verses by Sankaracharya. Male body is now a synonym for a positive attitude. Brahmanahood is no more a reference to a caste but to a person with Sattvic qualities. The true meaning of Brahmana is one versed, steeped, and soaked in Brahman, which transcends castes.  In olden days, Non-brahmins and women were not qualified for Bhagavad Saksatkara. Swami Vivekanda draws a line between ritual Hindu of any caste and a Monk, who comes from any caste. For Siva to wed Parvati, Parvati must be a Realized Soul. For Vishnu to marry Lakshmi, Lakshmi must be a Realized Soul. Such being the case, where is the gender and caste inequality. I have read comments by some, who say that Sankaracharya was a product of his time and place and reflected the general attitude of what prevailed among religionists at that time.

To be man is the highest; Sattva is the best way of life. Know the Real from the unreal. The Self is the same in all. Liberation comes after many births.

Consciousness sleeps in stone, feels in flora, senses in fauna and thinks in man. Sentience runs parallel with consciousness.  Spiritual perfection is the gateway to liberation. One needs positive qualities for realization, which is available all irrespective of natal caste. Contentment, tranquility, and peace (Santosha, Samadhana and Santi) are the essential attributes of Sattvic Guna. Man comes in three flavors: Pasu, Vira and Divya (animal man, man-man, divine man = Pasu, Vira and Divya). Man is born a Pasu, graduates to man-man and attains divinity by spiritual purification. Sacred texts help man in this regard. The goal of man is to attain liberation or Mukti and union with the Universal Consciousness.

V003.  Unique Graces in Life.

दुर्लभं त्रयमेवैतद्देवानुग्रहहेतुकम् ।

मनुष्यत्वं मुमुक्षुत्वं महापुरुषसंश्रयः ॥3॥

durlabhaṁ trayamevaitaddevānugrahahetukam

manuṣyatvaṁ mumukṣutvaṁ mahāpuruṣasaṁśrayaḥ --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. Swami Madhavananda


Positive attitude, desire for liberation and preparedness for surrender to a spiritual leader are necessary; they come with the Grace of God. To be human is proof of God’s Grace.  Grace is something earned by man over many births and is an award from God. Earning grace or high marks is one’s own effort.  Sun 06/02/2012 8:35 AM

V004. Miseries of the Faustian Pursuits of Man.


लब्ध्वा कथचिन्नरजन्म दुर्लभं

तत्रापि पुंस्त्वं श्रुतिपारदर्शनम् ।

यस्त्वात्ममुक्तौ न यतेत मूढधी:   

ह्यात्महा स्वं विनिहन्त्यसद्ग्रहात् ।। 4।।

labdhvā kathachinnarajanma durlabhaṁ

    tatrāpi puṁstvaṁ śrutipāradarshanam

yastvātmamuktau na yateta mūḍhadhīḥ

    sa hyātmahā svaṁ vinihantyasad grahāt --4..

The man who, having by some means obtained a human birth, with a male body and mastery of the Vedas to boot, is foolish enough not to exert himself for self-liberation, verily commits suicide, for he kills himself by clinging to things unreal. Swami Madhavananda


To be a human is to have positive attributes of body, heart, mind, soul and speech. Show me a man who has a positive spiritual attitude and knowledge of sacred texts and yet foolish enough not to endeavor for self-realization.  I would show you a suicide in pursuit of the unreal and Faustian life. Such man is dead to the body and spirit. Since human birth is the highest and a stage before liberation and union with the Universal Soul, anyone wasting human birth for a purpose other than liberation is an ignoramus. He is an extension of Consciousness of the Universal soul (US), which is the fountainhead of human consciousness, soul, and body. He forgets his organic connection with the US and goes after the Faustian dreams of matter and a world of multiplicity. Soul is deathless; matter is subject to transformation, mutation and destruction. Our little ego (Mini me) comes in the way of union with the US. God’s EGO (Aham) is the only EGO in the universe and our ego is no match with the Big One. Unless one surrenders his ego before the Big EGO, there is no liberation. Since Soul or Atman is deathless, there is no suicide from the perspective of Reality.

V005. Miseries of the Faustian Pursuits of Man.

इत: कोन्वस्ति मूढात्मा यस्तु स्वार्थे प्रमाद्यति ।

दुर्लभं मानुषं देहं प्राप्य तत्रापि पौरुषम् ।।5।।

itaḥ  ko nvasti mūḍhātmā yastu svārthe pramādyati .

durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ dehaṁ prāpya tatrāpi pauruṣam –5

What greater fool is there than the man who having obtained a rare human body, and a masculine body too, neglects to achieve the real end of this life ?  005 Swami Madhavananda

Man is mouse before he became a man. Mouse has all the genes that we have. When our sacred texts say that we were animals before we are human, now we know how true it is.  The mouse becomes man by moving up the soul's evolutionary ladder; it is the soul's ascent and the body can range from that of an ameba to man. The chimp in its cosmic compulsion to excel loses its tail, walks on two feet, struts along, and becomes a champion of a human being. On the same cosmic compulsive trait, man becomes god. Our lower traits recede and the higher traits evolve or take hold. We left our tail, we left our jungle habitats, we are now human beings, and we are on our way up the ladder. In the pursuit of higher transcendental consciousness, the yogis, the Rishis and the Munis are the trailblazers: Krishna, Buddha, and Jesus.  Let me explain the seeming incongruities in the presentation as far as evolution of the soul and the body containing the soul. The soul is important here; the body is secondary, and the latter is only a vessel holding the individual soul. The individual soul can ascend or descend up and down the ladder of flora and fauna, depending on its Prārabda karma. When I say that we left our tail and that we are human beings now, it means the individual soul cast off the body of the chimp or any of the members of the kingdom of flora and fauna and now has taken residence in the human body. It is the soul's journey through the plant, animal, and human bodies, until it reaches the Greater Soul. 

Man has all the genes that a mouse has; we have only 300 genes that are special to human beings:  Genetically speaking we are mouse first and human later. Even worse is the fact that we share genes with roundworm. The truth is our origins are lowly, and we try to rise and blossom like a lotus flower whose origin and roots are in the slimy mud. "Human genes make more proteins per gene (three on average) than many other organisms. Human proteins are more complex than those of many other organisms." Man is placed between animals and gods on the evolutionary ladder in spiritual and physical terms. Tantras are of the opinion that man's soul carries a passport of having visited previously 8,400,000 living bodies of different forms ranging from amoeba to plants to animals. Soul has taken a long journey to arrive at the human body, the most important of all bodies in the animal kingdom. This is the last stop before the soul ascends to the place of gods or even higher; that opportunity should not be wasted; any lapse will result in Samsara or even retrograde passage into animal bodies. Animals do not have that maturity of soul, mind, intellect and sentience to attempt for liberation. Man is presented with a path of Dharma, Jnana, Dhyana and Yoga whose destination is Mukti, liberation.


V006.  Miseries of the Faustian Pursuits of Man.


वदन्तु शास्त्राणि यजन्तु देवान् कुर्वन्तु कर्माणि भजन्तु देवता: ।

आत्मैक्यबोधेन विनापि मुक्ति: न सिध्यति ब्रह्मशतान्तरेऽपि ।।6।।

vadantu śāstrāṇi yajantu devān

 kurvantu karmāṇi bhajantu devatā

Atmaikyabodhena vināpi muktiḥ

 na sidhyati brahmaṣatāntare api --6..

Let people quote the Scriptures and sacrifice to the gods, let them perform rituals and worship the deities, but there is no Liberation without the realization of one’s identity with the Atman, no, not even in the lifetime of a hundred Brahmas put together.—006 Swami Madhavananda

Ritual Hinduism is under scrutiny here by Sankaracharya. Rituals are the staple of diehard ritualists. They are more of a habit than a moving spirit. Where spirit stagnates, rituals run amok. We are born in this world because of our overwhelming Anava Malam.

The soul is laden with Anava Mala, the I-factor in Kevala state before birth and Sakala state during life. It must be removed before the soul can become one with Siva, because Siva is pure and stainless. To remove this impurity one needs detergent, which comes in the form of Maya Mala. The question is why Siva Sakti uses Maya Mala to shed some light on the soul and also partially remove Anava Mala. Why does Siva Sakti use one Mala (Maya) to remove another Mala (Anava)? The argument goes as follows: Washerman uses soap or detergent (compared to Maya Mala) to remove a more ingrained dirt (compared to Anava Mala) from the clothes. Thus by partial cleansing, Maya prepares the soul ingrained with Anava Mala for greater purification by Siva Sakti. (Remember the washer man beats the clothes on a flat slab of stone to remove the dirt along with the detergent.) In modern parlance, the soul in Sakala state attends the school of hard knocks in this phenomenal world; hard knocks of daily living mature and "ripen" the Malas, which when completely ripened, fall off and the soul goes to the next state, Suddha Avastha (pure state). The soul goes through spiritual evolution of this kind over many human births and this progress is proportional to the attenuation of Anava Mala (ஆணவமலம்) which, when expunged with the Grace of God, results in liberation. Anava Malam prevents realization that the thread of Self runs through all that exists.

Bookish knowledge of Sastras, invocation of gods by sacrifices, humanitarian service or devotion           to Ishta Devata are not of any help in obtaining liberation in the lifetime of one hundred Brahmas. 

Brahma lives for 311 Trillion, 40 Billion Human Years = 311,040,000,000,000 (Trillion = 1 followed by 12 zeros = 1,000,000,000,000). The basic requirement before liberation is to feel and know that the Self in Him is Self in you and Self in all. Realization of this organic connection between His self and the Self in all that exists is the first step.

V007. Miseries of the Faustian Pursuits of Man.

अमृतत्वस्य नाशास्ति वित्तेनेत्येव हि श्रुति: ।

ब्रवीति कर्मणो मुक्तेरहेतुत्वं स्फुटं यत: ।। 7।।

amṛitatvasya nāśāsti vittenetyeva hi śṛutiḥ .

bravīti karmaṇo mukterahetutvaṁ sphuṭaṃ yataḥ --7

There is no hope of immortality by means of riches – such indeed is the declaration of the Vedas. Hence, it is clear that works cannot be the cause of Liberation. 007 Swami Madhavananda

The rich do not own heaven; the poor are not consigned to the slum. Heaven is here and now; that is what the Saivites call Jivan Mukti, Corporeal Liberation (liberation while alive). That is immortality, promised irrevocably to the perfected one.  amR^itatvam or posthumous immortality is the goal of man according to Upanishads. This should not be the case since it removes any spiritual quest while alive. In the age of instant gratification, incorporeal liberation is dead on arrival (without any chance for success). Riches are not only wealth but also a metaphor for objects of acquisition, sensual delights, rituals, yagnas, worship, pujas... None of them is conducive for immortality.

V008. Means of Wisdom



अतो विमुक्त्यै प्रयतेत विद्वान्  संन्यस्तबाह्यार्थ सुखस्पृह: सन् ।

सन्तं महान्तं समुपेत्य देशिकं  तेनोपदिष्टार्थसमाहितात्मा ।।8।।

ato viṁuktyai prayateta vidvān

sanyastabāhyārthasukhaspṛhaḥ san

santaṁ mahāntaṁ samupetya deśikaṁ

tenopadiṣṭārthasamāhitātmā –8

Therefore, the man of learning should strive his best for Liberation, having renounced his desire for pleasures from external objects, duly approaching a good and generous preceptor, and fixing his mind on the truth inculcated by him.—008 Swami Madhavananda


A Guru should be Santa and Mahāntaṁ. Santa exists in the consciousness of Sat. He (mahāntaṁ) is a good and generous preceptor and a superior in the monastery. He should be learned in sacred texts (Desikam) and should have experienced God personally. The pupil must be receptive (samupetya) to the Guru.


V009. Means of Wisdom

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं मग्नं संसारवारिधौ

योगारूढत्वमासाद्य सम्यग्दर्शननिष्ठया

uddharedātmanātmānaṁ magnaṁ saṁsāravāridhau .

yogārūḍhatvamāsādya samyagdarśananiṣṭhayā – 9

Having attained the Yogarudha state, one should recover oneself, immersed in the sea of birth and death by means of devotion to right discrimination. 009

yogārūḍhatva: he who ascended to yoga (accomplished yogi)


Bhagavadgita 6:4. When one does not have any attachment to sense objects and actions and has renounced all purposes and desires (sarva sankalpa sannyasi), he is called Yogārūḍha (யோகரூடன்). yogārūḍhatva is the condition of being Yogaruda.

Desires are dead; thoughts are still; deeds are dead. Study of sacred texts, association with Sattvic people (Satsang) and relinquishment of contact with sense objects are the path to Yogic state.




Verse 10. Means of Wisdom


संन्यस्य सर्वकर्माणि भवबन्धविमुक्तये ।

यत्यतां पण्डितैर्धीरैरात्माभ्यास उपस्थितै: ।।10।।

saṁnyasya sarvakarmāṇi bhavabandhavimuktaye

yatyatāṁ paṇḍitairdhīrairātmābhyāsa upasthitaiḥ ।।-- 10.

 Let the wise and erudite man, having commenced the practice of the realization of the Atman give up all works and try to cut loose the bonds of birth and death. 010    Sun 06/03/2012 9:29 PM Swami Madhavananda

Here are the verses from Bhagavadgita in support of this verse, 10.

4.16: What is action? What is inaction? Thus even the wise, in this matter, are confused. I will expound to you that by knowing which, you will be liberated from sin.

4.17: One has to know or understand what action is, what wrong action is and what inaction is. It is hard to understand karma’s course or path.

4.18: He, who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, is wise among men. He is a yogi (wholesome performer), accomplished in actions.

4.19: He, whose task is devoid of any will of desire and whose karma is destroyed by fire of perfect knowledge or wisdom, is called panditah by the wise.

4.20: Having given up desire and attachment to fruit of action, always contented, and not dependent, and though engaged in action, he does nothing ever at all.

4.21: With no desire, and controlled body, mind and senses, giving up sense of ownership and allowing only bodily functions, he doesn't incur any guilt or sin.

4.22: Satisfied and happy with gains that come on their own accord without any desire for them, transcending - rising above - duality (pleasure and pain), free from envy, and balanced in success and failure, he is not bound even when he acts.

Verse 011. Means of Wisdom

चित्तस्य शुद्धये कर्म न तु वस्तूपलब्धये ।

वस्तुसिद्धिर्विचारेण न किंचित्कर्मकोटिभिः॥ ११

chittasya śuddhaye karma na tu vastūpalabdhaye .

vastusiddhirvichāreṇa na kiṁchitkarmakoṭibhiḥ -- 11

Work leads to purification of the mind, not to perception of the Reality. The realization of Truth is brought about by discrimination and not in the least by ten million of acts.011

Swami Madhavananda

Selfless acts purifies the mind and does not help in ātma-sākşātkāra or Soul Realization.

Verse 012. Means of Wisdom

सम्यग्विचारतः सिद्धा रज्जुतत्त्वावधारणा

भ्रान्त्योदितमहासर्पभयदुः खविनाशिनी १२.

samyagvichārataḥ siddhā rajjutattvāvadhāraṇā .

bhrāntyoditamahāsarpabhayaduḥ khavināśinī -- 12

By adequate reasoning the conviction of the reality about the rope is gained, which puts an end to the great fear and misery caused by the snake worked up in the deluded mind. 012 Swami Madhavananda

Here is the famous Rope-Snake analogy, wherein the rope in the dusk looks like (is mistaken for) a snake.  That is mistaking the unreal for the Real. The Rope is the Real, while the superimposed snake is unreal; it does not exist in Reality. The Real is the Universal Consciousness and the unreal is the phenomenal world; the latter is delusional thinking on the part of the uncritical thinker. The Light, which helps in identifying the rope as rope and not snake, is discriminative analysis.


Verse 013. Means of Wisdom


अर्थस्य निश्चयो दृष्टो विचारेण हितोक्तित: ।

न स्नानेन न दानेन प्राणायमशतेन वा ।।13।।

arthasya niścayo dṛiṣṭo vichāreṇa hitoktitaḥ .

na snānena na dānena prāṇāyamaśatena vā -- 13

The conviction of the Truth is seen to proceed from reasoning upon the salutary counsel of the wise, and not by bathing in the sacred waters, nor by gifts, nor by a hundred Pranayamas (control of the vital force). Swami Madhavananda


Guru is the only one who could take the aspirant to Realization.  Bathing in the rivers or sacred waters, visiting all the sacred places, gifts to Brahmanas and others and breath-control exercises are not useful in Self-Realization which can be attained by Atma Vichar or Enquiry into Atman under the guidance of a Guru.


Verse 014. The Fit Student


अधिकारिणमाशास्ते फलसिद्धिर्विशेषत: ।

उपाया देशकालाद्या: सन्त्यस्मिन्सहकारिण: ।।14।।

adhikāriṇamāśāste phalasiddhirviśeṣataḥ|

upāyā deśakālādyāḥ santyasminsahakāriṇaḥ ||14||

Success depends essentially on a qualified aspirant; time, place and other such means are but auxiliaries in this regard. Swami Madhavananda

Aspirants face impediments at the beginning of their Sadhana. Success depends on the quality and qualifications of the aspirant. Failure indicates that the aspirant should look into himself for remedies. Time and place are of secondary importance. Changing the Guru is one option for the aspirant.


Verse 015. The Fit Student.

अतो विचार: कर्तव्यो जिज्ञासोरात्मवस्तुन: ।।

समासाद्य दयासिन्धुं गुरुं ब्रह्मविदुत्तमम् ।।15।।

ato vicāraḥ kartavyo jijñāsorātmavastunaḥ||

samāsādya dayāsindhuṁ guruṁ brahmaviduttamam  ||15||

015. Therefore, a true seeker of the Self should proceed with his inquiry after duly approaching a Master who is established in the experience of the Self and who is an ocean of compassion. -- Achyarya Pranipata Chaitnya  015

The aspirant should approach an irreproachable Master and Guru who has attained Soul Experience and who has the ability to relate to, communicate with and teach students with different abilities to understand Sastras and adjust to a disciplined life. The Guru provides one to one instruction for a pupil in need.  015

Verse 016. The Fit Student

  मेधावी पुरुषो विद्वानुहापोहविचक्षण: ।

अधिकार्यात्मविद्यायामुक्तलक्षणलक्षित: ।। 16।।

medhāvI puruṣo vidvānūhāpohavichakṣaṇaḥ .

adhikāryātmavidyāyāmuktalakṣaṇalakṣitaḥ  ||16||

One who has a keen memory and can argue for the scriptures and refute arguments against them, is fit for receiving Atma-Vidya or the knowledge of the Self. Achyarya Pranipata Chaitnya 016

These are the requirements of a pupil: Study of Sacred Texts; good but not rote memory; ability to advance arguments, pros and cons of the subject on hand; instant understanding of topics both read and heard at that moment; ability to raise intelligent and relevant questions; knowledge of the world beyond his study subjects; insight into his own psychological and intellectual milieu; agile and facile intellect; ability to understand and use metphors, analogies, metonymy, tropes...—Krishnaraj

V 017 The Fit Student.

विवेकिनो विरक्तस्य शमादिगुणशालिन: ।

मुमुक्षोरेव हि ब्रह्मजिज्ञासायोग्यता मता ।।17।।

vivekino viraktasya śamādiguṇaśālinaḥ |

mumukṣoreva hi brahmajijñāsāyogyatā matā  ||17||

17. He alone is considered qualified to enquire after the Supreme Reality, who has discrimination, detachment, qulaities of calmness... and a burning desire for liberation.  Achyarya Pranipata Chaitnya


Vivekam is the ability to say, see, know and realize the difference between the Real and the unreal, the Truth from falsehood, the eternal and the non-eternal...Virakta is indifference to worldly objects. Once you have Virakta, you have the natural ability to see the difference between the Real and the unreal. Sama is calmness, satisfaction or contentment. An addle head or a nervous nellie would find it hard to calm down for the spiritual journey ahead. Mumuksutvam is irreconciliable burning desire for and pursuit  of liberation from metempsychosis.


Verse 018. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)


साधनान्यत्र चत्वारि कथितानि मनीषिभि: ।

येषु सत्स्वेव सन्निष्ठा यदभावे न सिध्यति ।। 18

sādhanānyatra catvāri kathitāni manīṣibhiḥ |

yeṣu satsveva sanniṣṭhā yadabhāve na sidhyati ||18||

018. Sages have spoken of four means of attainment, which when present, Brahman Realization succeeds, and in the absence of which, it fails.


For a Sadhaka to attain Siddhi and become a Siddha, there are four desirable attributes.


Verse 019. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)


आदौ नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेक: परिगण्यते ।

इहामुत्रफलभोगविरागस्तदनन्तरम् ।

शमादिषट्कसम्पत्तिर्मुमुक्षुत्वमिति स्फुटम् ।। 19।।

ādau nityānityavastuvivekaḥ parigaṇyate .


śamādiṣaṭkasampattirmumukṣutvamiti sphuṭam ||19||

019. First is enumerated discrimination between the Real and the unreal; next comes aversion to the enjoyment of fruits (of one’s actions) here and hereafter; (next is) the group of six attributes, viz. calmness and the rest; and (last) is clearly the yearning for Liberation.-- Madhavananda


The aspirant needs Nitya Anitya Vastu Vivekam (= discriminating wisdom to know the difference between The Real (the Permanent) and the unreal (the impermanent).  Bhagavadgita says, BG2.47: You have a right to action and never to its fruits. At no time should your motive be the fruit of your actions. Never should there be any attachment to inaction either. BG 2.64: He, who is free from likes and dislikes, attachment or aversion, while keeping the senses and sense objects under control of, and regulated by atman, attains calmness of mind (prasādam).  Mumusutvam is the all-consuming desire of the aspirant to redemption. Vivekam here is not the ubiquitous Faustian knowledge but Spiritual Wisdom. Vairaghya is not denial of basic needs of the body.

BG 6.16: Yoga is not for him, who either eats too much, or eats too little. It is not for him, who either sleeps too much or stays awake too long, O Arjuna.

BG 6.17: Yoga destroys sorrows in a man who is moderate in eating, recreation, sleep and wakefulness, and restrained in action.

Viveka claims paternity of Vairagya. The strength of Vairagya reflects the putative strength of Viveka.


V020. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)


ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्येत्येवंरूपो विनिश्चय: ।

सोऽयं नित्यानित्यवस्तुविवेक: समुदाहृत: ।। 20।।

brahma satyaṁ jaganmithyetyevaṁrūpo viniścayaḥ|

so ‘yaṁ nityānityavastuvivekaḥ samudāhṛitaḥ || 20 ||

020. A firm conviction of the mind that Brahman alone is real and the phenomenal world is unreal, is discrimination between the Real and the unreal.

The Real is One and the unreal is many.  The Real is eternal and immutable; the unreal is impermanent and mutable.

BG 2.16: In the nonexistent (Asatah), there is no continuance (Bhāva), and in the existent (Satah), there is no cessation (Abhāva). In the two, the seers observed the truth and came to that conclusion.



नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।

उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥२- १६॥

nā ’sato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ’ntas tv anayos tattvadarśibhiḥ 2.16

na1 asata2 vidyate3 bhāva4 na5 abhāva6 vidyate7 sataḥ8
ubhayoḥ10 api12 dṛṣṭaḥ13 antaḥ14 tu15 anayoḥ16 tattva17 darśibhiḥ18


asata2 = Of the Asat, unreal or nonexistence; na1 vidyate3 = there is no; bhāva4 = existence or being (because they [cold, heat...] are subject to change); sataḥ8 = of the Sat or Real (= existence, being, real); na5 vidyate7 = there is no; abhāva6  = non-existence , cessation, nullity , absence, non-entity; tu15 = but; antaḥ14 = inner truth, Tattva, conclusion; ubhayoḥ10 = of the two (the Real and the unreal); api12 = in truth; anayoḥ16 = this; dṛṣṭaḥ13 = has been seen, observed, realized;  tattva17 darśibhiḥ18 = by the Tattva-Jnanis or the Seers of Tattvas.  2.16


Verse 021. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Vairagyam


तद्वैराग्यं जिहासा या दर्शनश्रवणादिभि: ।

देहादिब्रह्मपर्यन्ते ह्यनित्ये भोगवस्तुनि ।। 21।।

tadvairāgyaṁ jihāsā yā darśanaśravaṇādibhiḥ .

dehādibrahmaparyante hyanitye bhogavastuni  ||21||

021. That Vairagyam-detachment- is the desire to give up the ephemeral pleasures gained from seeing , hearing... and experiences ranging from a mortal body to the creator Brahma.  All these are transient objects of enjoyment.

Note Brahma is different from Brahman. Brahma is the creator god, while Brahman is either Parabrahman or Saguna Brahman.


Most of us are of the ingrained belief that hearing is for music, speech and sounds. They are only of secondary importance. The primary intention of senses like hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching are for hearing Bhagavan’s names, seeing His beautiful forms, tasting the sweetness of His names, smelling the flowers used in His worship and touching His feet in surrender. Our body is created for the express purpose of serving God; the intention of all other functions is only in fulfillment of their primary functions.  We look for Reality, Permanence and Joy (Satyattvam, Nityattvam and Samahitatvam) in objects. God fulfills these criteria; the senses and the mind are created for appreciation of these attributes. Worldly objects do not offer these advantages.


Verse 022.  Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)  Śama or calmness


विरज्य विषयव्राताद्दोषदृष्टय मुहुर्मुहु: ।

स्वलक्ष्ये नियतावस्था मनस: शम उच्यते ।।22।।

virajya viṣayavrātāddoṣadṛṣṭyā muhurmuhuḥ .

svalakṣye niyatāvasthā manasaḥ śama uchyate -- 22

022. The tranquil mind, steadfast on its Goal ( = Brahman) after having detached itself from many sense-objects by observing their defects repeatedly, is called Śama or calmness.


Sankara divulges and discusses the six essential attributes of the mind and intellect for progress towards and acquisition of Jñāna. The first attribute is Śama (शम).

Bhagavadgita Verses

2.64: He, who is free from likes and dislikes, attachment or aversion, while keeping the senses and sense objects under control of, and regulated by atman, attains calmness of mind (prasādam).

2.65: In that tranquil state of mind, the destruction of all sorrows takes place. In that tranquil mind, certainly, soon the intuitive intelligence (buddhi) becomes well established. 

2.66: There is no intuitive intelligence for the one, who has not controlled or curbed his mind and senses. For the uncontrolled and the disconnected, there is no comprehension (Bhāvanā). For the one with no comprehension, there is no peace. For him, who has no peace, how could there be happiness? 

2.67: As the wind sweeps away the ship in the water, the mind wandering among the senses succumbs to one sense, which sweeps away the wisdom (holds the wisdom in its sway). 

2.68: Therefore, O mighty-armed (Arjuna), when his senses withdraw from the sense objects in all ways, his intelligence is steadfast.


Verse 023. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Dama and Uparati


विषयेभ्य: परावर्त्य स्थापनं स्वस्वगोलके ।

उभयेषामिन्द्रियाणां स दम: परिकीर्तित: ।

बाह्यानालम्बनं वृत्तेरेषोपरतिरुत्तमा ।।23।।

viṣayebhyaḥ parāvartya sthāpanaṁ svasvagolake |

ubhayeṣāmindriyāṇāṁ sa damaḥ parikīrtitaḥ |

bāhyānālambanaṁ vṛittereṣoparatiruttamā ||23||

023. Turning both sense organs and sense objects away from each other (individually and collectively) and placing them in their respective centers is Dama or self-control. The best Uparati (Cessation, Quiescence or self-withdrawal) consists in thought waves free of influence by external objects.


Sense organs make a natural fit with the sense objects. Sense organs  are one’s own and sense objects are external to the individual.  Dama or self-control is to prevent sense organs to gravitate to sense objects.  Sama is mental disposition; Dama is physical restraint; Uparati is strategic withdrawal.

Let me explain what attaining to Brahman means. It points to a certain quality of life and behavior. It is simply not having the didactic knowledge of the Holy Scriptures; it is not simply the rituals alone. Dharma, duty; sama, equanimity; dama, self-control; vairāgya, indifference to worldly objects; uparati, desisting from sensual enjoyment; sraddhā, faithfulness; and atha,  “much more or more over,” (auspiciousness, authority, flair and divine grace) are the preconditions for reaching Brahman. The fit person is the one who knows his Vedas, has the attributes (described above), and is devoted to the Lord only and detached from the world.  














Much more

  Sraddhā is implicit faith in Hindu Holy Scriptures. “Atha” has no English equivalent and means “much more” or “more over” meaning auspiciousness, authority, flair, and divine grace.


Verse 024. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Forbearance.


सहनं सर्वदु:खानामप्रतीकारपूर्वकम् ।

चिन्ताविलापरहितं सा तितिक्षा निगद्यते ।। 24।।

sahanaṁ sarvaduḥkhānāmapratīkārapūrvakaṁ |

chintāvilāparahitaṁ sā titikṣā nigadyate || 24||

024. It is proclaimed that Titiksha or endurance is the capacity to tolerate all sorrows without struggle for redress or revenge, remaining free at all times from anxiety and lament.

Silent endurance without seeking revenge or redress is the 4th attribute necessary for spiritual enlightenment. 

Verse 025. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Śraddha (5th)

शास्त्रस्य गुरुवाक्यस्य सत्यबुद्ध्यवधारणम् ।

सा श्रद्धा कथिता सद्भिर्यया वस्तूपलभ्यते ।। 25।।

śāstrasya  guruvākyasya satyabuddhyavadhāraṇaṁ|

sā śraddhā kathitā sadbhiryayā vastūpalabhyate || 25||

25. The wise say, Sraddha is the comprehension of scriptural texts and advice in the words of Guru by which the aspirant perceives the Reality.


Śraddha is the fifth attribute that an aspirant needs. Śraddha is not blind faith.  Śraddha is taking in the words and meanings of Śāstras and  of Guru and making them part of your being; that is faith or belief. You become a personification of Śraddha.

Verse 026. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Samādhānam (Tranqulity, Equanimity)

सर्वदा स्थापनं बुद्धे: शुद्धे ब्रह्मणि सर्वदा ।

तत्समाधानमित्युक्तं न तु चित्तस्य लालनम् ।। 26।।

sarvadā sthāpana buddhe śuddhe brahmai sarvadā |

tatsamādhānamityukta na tu chittasya lālanam|| 26||

26. It is said, Samādhānam is to engage the intellect always in Suddha Brahman (the Pure Self) under all conditions but it is not a curious indulgence of the mind.


Samādhāna is tranquility among other meanings. It is one of the attributes necessary for fulfillment. It is the union of the individual soul with the Universal soul (Suddha Brahman) gained by contemplation (on the Supreme). Swami Chinmayananda says, Samādhāna is a state of poise and tranquility obtained by training and practice to experience a perfect ideal, which is universal and omnipotent. Samādhāna is the state of mental equilibrium that comes from intellectual stability and mental ascent to great visions.  It transcends petty quarrels of humanity and dualities like likes and dislikes into a realm of spiritual vision. “This poise obtained from constant contemplation on the Supreme and the Divine is termed Samādhāna.”

Verse 027. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30) Mumuksutvam


अहंकारादिदेहान्तान् बन्धानज्ञानकल्पितान् ।

Mumuksutva is the desire to free oneself from ignorance-born bondages ranging from egoism to identification with the body and realization of one’s true Self.

ignorance-born = imagined by ignorance.


स्वस्वरूपावबोधेन मोक्तुमिच्छा मुमुक्षुता ।। 27।।

ahaṅkārādidehāntān bandhānajñānakalpitān|

svasvarūpāvabodhena moktumichchā mumukṣutā || 27||

To recapitulate the attributes needed for realization, they are ‘Discrimination, Detachment from the unreal, Calmness, Self-control, Inner peace, Forbearance, Faith, and Tranquility’. Ego, body, mind and intellect do not belong to the Self, which is ‘Infinite and Absolute.’ We have to think outside the box (Ego, body, mind and intellect) to know the Real. This is lateral thinking. (Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.--Wikipedia) Knowing the Real is Rediscovery (of what existed for all times and yet ignorance blocked its view).

The mental construct of what we are is, “I am the body; I am the mind; and I am the intellect.” Now you are in boxed in. You are not mind, body and intellect.  This concept is the creation of body-centric ego. Liberation from this confinement is to know the Real and attain Mumuksutvam.

Verse 028.  Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)

मन्दमध्यमरूपापि वैराग्येण शमादिना ।

प्रसादेन गुरो: सेयं प्रवृद्धा सूयते फलम् ।। 28।।

28. Though torpid and mediocre, aspirant’s calmness of mind, detachment ...and the grace of guru increased the chances of producing fruit (of liberation for the aspirant).


mandamadhyamarūpāpi  vairāgyeṇa  ṣamādinā |

prasādena  guroḥ  seyaṁ  pravṛddhā  sūyate  phalam| 28||

The six qualities for redemption are ‘self-control, tranquility, inner peace, endurance, faith and mental poise.’  These qualities and Guru’s grace help an aspirant attain the fruit of liberation. Dispensation of Grace by Guru is dispensation by God through the medium of Guru. Grace cannot be bought and sold.  Grace depends on the quality of the aspirant and descends where there is worthiness.  Chinmayananda on Guru: “The perfected man, living absorbed in the Self, equally disseminates joyous perfection, cheer and bliss to all, at all times.”  God’s Grace through Guru is ubiquitous; it is the size and quality of your pot that limits the intake of grace.

Verse 029. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)

वैराग्यं च मुमुक्षुत्वं तीव्रं यस्य तु विद्यते ।

तस्मिन्नेवार्थवन्त: स्यु: फलवन्त: शमादय: ।। 29।।

vairāgyaṁ ca mumukṣutvaṁ tīvraṁ yasya tu vidyate |

tasminnevārthavantaḥ syuḥ phalavantaḥ śamādayaḥ || 29||


029. Renunciation and yearning for liberation are intense in him--the aspirant, whose calmness and other traits are meaningful and bear fruit.


Spiritual evolution and perfection are not the fruits of clean living in the sensual world. Clean living in the sensual world is not the same as spiritual perfection and liberation.  Renunciation of the sensual world altogether is the first step in the ascent for spiritual life. Death is not liberation; it is only a physical death. The liberation of spirit is end of rebirth in another body in another time and union of individual consciousness with the universal Consciousness.

Verse 030. Fourfold attributes expected of the aspirant for fulfillment. (18-30)


एतयोर्मन्दता यत्र विरक्तत्वमुमुक्षयो: ।

मरौ सलीलवत्तत्र शमादेर्भानमात्रता ।।30।।

etayormandatā yatra viraktatvamumukṣayoḥ|

marau salīlavattatra  śamāderbhānamātratā || 30||

30. Where there are weak detachment and tepid yearning for liberation and when calmness and other traits are torpid, they are a mere appearance and a mirage like water in the desert.

Where renunciation is weak and yearning for liberation is wanting, calmness of mind is torpid. With that deficiency in place, all appearances of a Yogi is a mirage.

Verse 031. Bhakti: Firm and Deep (31)

मोक्षकारणसामग्र्यां भक्तिरेव गरीयसी ।

स्वस्वरूपानुसन्धानं भक्तिरित्यभिधीयते ।। 31।।

mokṣakāraṇasāmagryāṁ bhaktireva garīyasī |

svasvarūpānusandhānaṁ bhaktirityabhidhīyate || 31||


31. Among tools and conditions necessary for Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) alone being the most important, is contemplation of one’s own Real Nature.


Bhagavadgita 4.39: With control of the senses, single-minded devotion and faith, he gains wisdom. Having achieved that, he gains supreme peace soon.

Verse 32.   Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)

स्वात्मतत्तवानुसन्धानं भक्तिरित्यपरे जगु: ।

उक्तसाधनसंपन्नस्तत्तवजिज्ञासुरात्मन: ।

उपसीदेद्गुरुं प्राज्ञं यस्माद्बन्धविमोक्षणम् ।। 32।।

svātmatattvānusandhānaṁ bhaktirityapare jaguḥ |

uktasādhanasampannastattvajijñāsurātmanaḥ |

upasīdedguruṁ prājñaṁ yasmādbandhavimokṣaṇam || 32||


32. Others maintain that the inquiry into the truth of one’s own self is Bhakti or devotion. Such a person who is possessed of the above-mentioned qualifications should approach a wise Guru, who confers emancipation from bondage.

Verse 33. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)

श्रोत्रियोऽवृजिनोऽकामहतो यो ब्रह्मवित्तम: ।

ब्रह्मण्युपरत: शान्तो निरिन्धन इवानल: ।

अहेतुकदयासिन्धुर्बन्धुरानमतां सताम् ।। 33।।

Śrotriyo ‘vjino ‘kāmahato yo brahmavittama |

brahmayuparata  śānto nirindhana ivānala |

ahetukadayāsindhurbandhurānamatāṁ satām|| 33||


33. A teacher is versed in the Vedas, sinless, unsmitten by desire and a knower of Brahman par excellence; has withdrawn himself into Brahman; is calm, like fire that has consumed its fuel; is a boundless reservoir of mercy that knows no reason; and is a friend of all good people who prostrate themselves before him.


Swami Chinmayananda’s commentary on this verse.

Sankara exhausts his list of adjectives in enumerating the qualities of the true Guru to supplement his declaration that the Master should be well established in the supreme Consciousness. He adds here certain qualities, which on a closer observation reveal that every man of realization and wisdom cannot aspire to and become an efficient Teacher of spirituality. To guide and instruct a deluded soul and help him lo unwind himself and unravel the knotty traits in him, one must have something more than a perfect experience. The Teacher must no doubt have full realization but he must also have a complete grasp of the great scriptures. Without the study of the scriptures, even the Self-realized Master will not have the language or the technique of expression to convey his profound knowledge to his disciples.

Apart from spiritual knowledge and erudition, the Guru must also have great self-control and the immense riches of a well-developed heart. He must have an irresistible flow of mercy, which demands no special cause for its manifestation, especially when it descends upon those who have surrendered themselves to him, having reached his feet as spiritual refugees.

It is well known that in all constitutions, laws are prescribed both for the governors and the governed. Since this is a text laying down the rules for spiritual progress. Sankara is as vehement in prescribing specifications for a true and honest Teacher as he is in describing the prerequisites for a spiritual aspirant.


34. Worshipping that Guru with deep devotion, when he is pleased with your surrender, humility and service, approach him and ask him to explain what you must know.

It is clear that no amount of enquiring into or discussing with a Teacher is of any avail unless the student has taken enough time to tune himself up to the Teacher. The essence of satsang lies in perfect attunement (at-one-ment).

Spirituality is not something that we can start discussing and arguing among ourselves to while away an idle hour. It is to be understood in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility for this understanding is an attempt at comprehending the deep experiences of the Master expressed not so much through his words as perhaps, through the ring of sincerity that the words carry when they come from his heart throbbing with his own nishtha.Therefore, Sankara here explains how a seeker should approach the Teacher and learn, frst of all, to love him, trust him and later on, through love-inspired acts of service. become receptive and establish an intimate rapport filled with reverence. Such a relationship alone will yield results. Therefore, Vedanta is almost over-emphasising the method of approaching the Teacher. These days, unfortunately, we find seekers who think nothing about calling over the phone to enquire form the Teacher at the other end of the city about the goal of life, the path, the means and so on. Such a telephone-tuition is not possible in spirituality and the seeker of a spiritual life and religious truths is asked to approach the Master in an attitude of reverence and surrender. Then alone can the Teacher acquaint the disciple with the knowledge of the Self.

In this verse it has been indicated very clearly that seekers should not misuse the Teacher and discuss with him secular questions or domestic problems. It is almost prohibited. He should be asked only about the special knowledge of the Self in which he is perfect.

Verse 34. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)

तमाराध्य गुरुं भक्त्या प्रह्वप्रश्रयसेवनै: । 

प्रसन्नं तमनुप्राप्य पृच्छेज्ज्ञातव्यमात्मन: ।। 34।।

Tamārādhya  guruṁ  bhaktyā  prahvapraśrayasevanaiḥ |

prasannaṁ  tamanuprāpya  pṛcchejjñātavyamātmanaḥ || 34||

Tam ārādhya  guruṁ  bhaktyā  prahva praśraya sevanaiḥ |

prasannaṁ  tam anuprāpya  pṛcchet  jñātavyam ātmanaḥ || 34||


34. Worshipping that Guru with surrender, humility and service with devotion, thus pleasing him, and approaching him, (he) should ask him what he should learn from him.

This is the Protocol that an aspirant has to go through, before he asks Guru for inculcation of knowledge.  This is Satsang as we know it. The aspirant at this stage is assumed to have the attributes listed below.














Much more

Swami Chinmayananda emphasizes on Rapport replete with reverence and surrender on the part of the aspirant before the Guru imparts the knowledge of the Self. Guru is not a family, psychological or secular counselor for the seeker. Guru is there to teach knowledge of Self alone. 





Verse 35. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)

स्वामिन्नमस्ते नतलोकबन्धो कारुण्यसिन्धो पतितं भवाब्धौ ।

मामुद्धरात्मीयकटाक्षदृष्ट्या ऋज्व्यातिकारुण्यसुधाभिवृष्टया ।। 35।।


स्वामिन्‌ नम: ते नतलोकबन्धो कारुण्यसिन्धो पतितम् भवाब्धौ ।

माम् उद्धर आत्‌मीय कटाक्ष दृष्ट्या ऋज्व्या अति कारुण्य सुधाभिवृष्टया ।। 35।।

Svāmin  namaste  natalokabandho     kāruyasindho   patita   bhavābdhau |

Mām  uddhara   ātmīya  kaṭāka  dṛṣṭyā     jvyā  atikāruya  sudhābhivṛṣṭyā || 35||

35. O Swamy, O friend of those that bow to thee, thou ocean of mercy, I bow to thee; save me, fallen as I am into this sea of birth and death, with direct glance of thine eye, raining nectarine compassion.

This was the way a student addressed his teacher or Guru.  Nowadays relationship between student and teacher has undergone miasmic changes. They curse, kick, smite, shoot and kill the teacher.  The teachers in their 40s have sexual relations with teenage students. It is a new day for both of them.  These things happened in the past too. It is a known fact that the student in Vedic period had sexual relations with his Guru’s wife. One of the Great sins in ancient India was such a ‘violation of Guru’s bed’.  In those days, the students lived with the Guru making the opportunity even greater.

Verse 36. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)

दुर्वारसंसारदवाग्नितप्तं दोधूयमानं दुरदृष्टवातै: ।

भीतं प्रपन्नं परिपाहि मृत्यो: शरण्यमन्यद्यदहं न जाने ।। 36।।

दुर्वार  संसार  दवाग्नितप्तम्  दोधूयमानम्  दुरदृष्टवातैः 
भीतम्  प्रपन्नम् परिपाहि मृत्योः शरण्यम् अन्यत् यद् अहम् न जाने. ३६
durvārasaṁsāradavāgnitaptaṁ    dodhūyamānaṁ duradṛṣṭavātaiḥ |
bhītaṁ  prapannaṁ paripāhi mṛtyoḥ  śaraṇyamanyadyadahaṁ na jāne || 36||
durvāra  saṁsāra  davāgnitaptam    dodhūyamānam   duradṛṣṭavātaiḥ |
bhītam  prapannam  paripāhi   mṛtyoḥ  śaraṇyam  anyat  yad  aham na jāne || 36||
36. I am roasted in the inextinguishable forest fire of Samsara; tossed by the winds of misfortunes, I am terrified. Please save me from death, O Lord; You are my refuge; I know of no other (refuge). 
The forest fire of Samsara is the worldly life. The fire is whipped around by gales of duality: likes and dislikes; love and hate; hope and despair; pleasure and pain... When an aspirant experiences these gale force winds and the forest fire, he realizes the need for refuge; that refuge is God.  Death is liberation. Liberation is eternal, blissful and full of grace. Here Guru is the surrogate for God. 
Verse 37.  Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)
शान्ता महान्तो निवसन्ति सन्तो वसन्तवल्लोकहितं चरन्त: ।
तीर्णा: स्वयं भीमभवार्णवं जना- नहेतुनान्यानपि तारयन्त: ।। 37।।
शान्ता महान्तः निवसन्ति सन्तः वसन्तवत् लोकहितम्  चरन्त: ।
तीर्णा: स्वयम्   भीमभवार्णवम्   जनान्  अहेतुना अन्यान् अपि  तारयन्त: ।। 37।।
śāntā mahānto nivasanti santo  vasantavallokahitaṁ  carantaḥ |
tīrṇāḥ  svayaṁ bhīmabhavārṇavaṁ janā nahetunānyānapi tārayantaḥ || 37||
śāntā mahāntaḥ nivasanti santaḥ vasantavat   lokahitam   carantaḥ |
tīrṇāḥ  svayam  bhīmabhavārṇavam  janān  ahetunā  anyān   api tārayantaḥ || 37||
37. There are peaceful, magnanimous, and calm souls, who live like spring season doing good to others, and who, having crossed this dreadful ocean of Samsara themselves, help others also to cross the same, without any motive whatsoever.
Verdant Spring comes to us without any ulterior motive; so is the case of a Guru, who gives and gives. Guru brings conditions of spring in the aspirant or seeker so much so sprigs of spiritual knowledge sprout in the aspirant.  Guru is also a boatman of rescue for the Samsari who jostles in the ocean of Samsara. Guru’s motive is selfless. 
Verse 38. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)
अयं स्वभाव: स्वत एव यत्पर श्रमापनोदप्रवणं महात्मनाम् ।
सुधांशुरेष स्वयमकर्ककर्श प्रभाभितप्तामवति क्षितिं किल ।। 38।।
ayaṁ svabhāvaḥ svata eva yatpara śramāpanodapravaṇaṁ mahātmanāṁ |
sudhāṁśureṣa svayamarkakarkaśa prabhābhitaptāmavati kṣitiṁ kila || 38||
ayaṁ  svabhāvaḥ  svata  eva yat  paraśramā  panodapravaṇaṁ mahātmanāṁ |
sudhāṁśuḥ    eṣaḥ  svayam  arkakarkaśa  prabhābhitaptām  avati   kṣitiṁ kila || 38||
38. It is the very nature of the magnanimous to alleviate troubles of others on their own accord.  The moon on its own initiative saves the earth, scorched by the flaming rays of the sun. Does it not?
The Guru is compared to the moon, which cools the earth scorched by the sun.  Guru brings tranquility, peace and happiness to the aspirant suffering from the scorching heat of passion, desire, hatred, and bondage. 


Verse 39. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)


ब्रह्मानन्दरसानुभूतिकलितै: पूर्तै: सुशीतैर्युतै:

युष्मद्वाक्कलशोज्झितै: श्रुतिसुखैर्वाक्यामृतै: सेचय ।

संतप्तं भवतापदावदहनज्वालाभिरेनं प्रभो

धन्यास्ते भवदीक्षणक्षणगते: पात्रीकृता: स्वीकृता: ।। 39।।

brahmānandarasānubhūtikalitaiḥ pūrtaiḥ suśītairyutaiḥ

yuṣmadvākkalaśojjhitaiḥ śrutisukhairvākyāmṛtaiḥ secaya |

santaptaṁ bhavatāpadāvadahanajvālābhirenaṁ prabho

dhanyāste bhavadīkṣaṇakṣaṇagateḥ pātrīkṛtāḥ svīkṛtāḥ || 39||

39. O Lord, Yours is an ambrosial speech, sweetened by the elixir-like bliss of Brahman, delightful to the ears, pure and cooling, and coming in streams from your lips as from a pitcher.  Do thou shower (your Grace) on me tormented by earthly afflictions akin to the flames of forest fire. O Lord, blessed are those who are the recipients of Your moving momentary glance and who are taken under your protection.


Guru is talking to the aspirant. Gurus’s speech is ambrosial and sweetened by Bliss of Brahman. Brahman is actually talking though the Guru.  Let me transcend these worldly afflictions and attain spiritual illumination.  Guru can tranfer his spiritula knowledge by speech, touch, glance...


Verse 40. Courtesy of Approach and Questioning (Verses 32-40)



कथं तरेयं भवसिन्धुमेतं  का वा गतिर्मे कतमोऽस्त्युपाय: ।

जाने न किञ्चित्कृपयाऽव मां प्रभो संसारदु:खक्षतिमातनुष्व ।। 40।।

kathaṁ tareyaṁ  bhavasindhum etaṁ   kā vā gatirme katamo asti upāyaḥ |

jāne na kiñcit kṛpayā  ava māṁ prabho  saṁsāraduḥkhakṣatim  ātanuṣva || 40||

40. How shall I cross this ocean of relative existence? What could be my destination? What means should I employ? I know none of these, O Lord! Save me and explicate to me how to end the misery of this life in the finite.


Life on earth is relative existence while union with the Universal Soul is absolute or infinite existence. Life on earth is a series of  births and rebirths and finite existences. Life after liberation is eternal.  Sat 06/08/2012 10:07 PM


Chapter 10 LOVING ADVICE OF THE GURU (41-47)




तथा वदन्तं शरणागतं स्वं संसारदावानलतापतप्तम् ।

निरीक्ष्य कारुण्यरसार्द्रदृष्टया दद्यादभीतिं सहसा महात्मा ।। 41।।

tathā vadantaṁ śaraṇāgataṁ svaṁ  saṁsāradāvānalatāpataptam|

nirīkṣya kāruṇyarasārdradṛṣṭyā  dadyādabhītiṁ sahasā mahātmā || 41||

41. As he speaks thus, tormented by and seeking protection from the heat of the forest fire of Samsara, the Great Soul (Guru and teacher) with a look of pity and kindness (in his eyes) would spontaneously grant (the seeker) protection from fear.


The Guru knows his pupil and his torment.  By mere glance the guru grants refuge from fear. Swami Chinmayanada: “ If they are true to their full experience of perfect tranquility, they will not run away from sincere seekers, but unquestioningly oblige them with their vast experience and knowledge. To him who has approached the Master with infinite fear, he (the Master), should immediately give a message of hope, assuring him that there is nothing for him to fear, nor is there cause for despair.”







विद्वान् स तस्मा उपसत्तिमीयुषे मुमुक्षवे साधु यथोक्तकारिणे ।

प्रशान्तचित्ताय शमान्विताय तत्वोपदेशं कृपयैव कुर्यात् ।। 42।।

vidvān sa tasmā upasattimīyue mumukave sādhu yathoktakārie |

prashāntacittāya śamānvitāya  tattvopadeśa  kpayaiva kuryāt || 42||

42. The Vidvan (Learned Guru) should impart with kindness Tattva Upadesam (instruction on Tattvas = Truth) to the aspirant  who made an appraoach to him, who sought liberation, who abides by injunctions, and who is of serene mind and tranquillity.


It has become almost obligatory on the part of Vidvan to teach and guide a sincere student with utmost qulaifications for spiritual lessens.



मा भैष्ट विद्वंस्तव नास्त्यपाय: संसारसिन्धोस्तरणेऽस्त्युपाय: ।

येनैव याता यतयोऽस्य पारं तमेव मार्गं तव निर्दिशामि ।। 43।।

mā bhaiṣṭa vidvaṁstava nāstyapāyaḥ  saṁsārasindhostaraṇe astyupāyaḥ |

yenaiva yātā yatayo asya pāraṁ  tameva mārgaṁ tava nirdiśāmi || 43||


43. The Guru said, “Fear not, O learned one! There is no danger for you. There is a way to cross over this ocean of Samsara. I shall instruct you the means by which the ancient Seers have gone to the other shore.”




अस्त्युपायो महान्कश्चित्संसारभयनाशन: ।

तेन तीत्र्वा भवाम्भोधिं परमानन्दमाप्स्यसि ।। 44।।

astyupāyo mahānkaścitsatsaṁsārabhayanāśanaḥ |

tena tīrtvā bhavāmbhodhiṁ paramānandamāpsyasi || 44||

44. There is a great means by which you can put an end to the fear of Samsara; by that, you will cross the sea of Samsara and attain supreme Bliss.

Samsara = Relative existence; Cycle of birth and rebirth; Metempsychosis




वेदान्तार्थविचारेण जायते ज्ञानमुत्तमम् ।

तेनात्यन्तिकसंसारदु:खनाशो भवत्यनु ।। 45।।

vedāntārthavicāreṇa jāyate jñānamuttamam|

tenātyantikasaṁsāraduḥkhanāśo bhavatyanu || 45||

45. The highest knowledge arises from a comprehensive enquiry (Vicāra) into the meaning of Vedanta. By this knowledge, the total destruction of all sorrows of Samsara takes place.


Vicāra = Consideration, reflection, deliberation, discrimination, investigation, examination...

Enquiry into the meaning of Vedanta is study of Mantras.  Krishnaraj



श्रद्धाभक्तिध्यानयोगाम्मुमुक्षो: मुक्तेर्हेतून्वक्ति साक्षाच्छ्रुतेर्गिः ।

यो वा एतेष्वेव तिष्ठत्यमुष्य मोक्षोऽविद्याकल्पिताद्देहबन्धात् ।। 46।।

śraddhābhaktidhyānayogāmmumukṣoḥ     mukterhetūnvakti sākṣācchrutergīḥ |

yo vā eteṣveva tiṣṭhatyamuṣya    mokṣo avidyākalpitāddehabandhāt|| 46|| Sat 06/09/2012 6:48 PM

46. Observance of faith, devotion and meditation as mentioned in Srutti helps a seeker attain liberation. Whoever pursues these (tenets) attains liberation from ignorance-born bondage of the body.


Why do we have the Anu (the individual soul) mired in impurities and limited by Kancukas of Māyā? The limited Atman mired in malas and limited by Kancukas becomes a Samsarin, corporeal being subject to birth, death and rebirth. The Will power of Siva (Iccha Sakti) full of freedom with no restraint undergoes limitation into Anava Mala. Omniscience becomes limited knowledge; soul's immersion in Māya Mala produces Antahkarana or Inner Organ and external organs. Kriya Sakti (Action Power of Siva with omnipotence) undergoes dilution in the world of differentiation and multiplicity and becomes the limited and immersed in Karma Mala.

Observance of faith, devotion and meditation breaks the Kancukas (restraining jackets of the soul), and releases the soul to attain liberation.


Verse 47.  LOVING ADVICE OF THE GURU (41-47)

अज्ञानयोगात्परमात्मनस्तव  ह्यनात्मबन्धस्तत एव संसृति: ।

तयोर्विवेकोदितबोधवह्नि: अज्ञानकार्यं प्रदहेत्समूलम् ।। 47।।

Ajñānayogātparamātmanastava hyanātmabandhastata eva saṁsṛtiḥ |

tayorvivekoditabodhavahniḥ ajñānakāryaṁ pradahetsamūlam|| 47||

47. Through contact with ignorance, you the Supreme Self come under the power of the not-Self and hence birth and death occur.  Blaze of knowledge from discrimination between these two (Self and not-Self) burns down all the effects of ignorance, root, trunk and branch.


We are the Supreme Self clothed by the not-Self. “We try hard to regain our true Divine Glory through the delicate process of Self re-discovery is explained here.”-Swami Chinmayananda.  Self re-discovery is what Kashmir Saivism calls Recognition. Vichara results in knowledge of and discrimination between Self and not-Self and ignorance dissipates and we find out Self is eternal and not-Self is not.

Swami Chinmayananda : “The ego ends upon its own funeral pyre lit by itself, which blazes into a conflagration of knowledge. The fire arising from a constant discrimination between and Real and the unreal, between the Self and the not-Self, between the Spirit and matter, is fanned into a blazing brilliance through steady vichara in which all the effects of ignorance, are burnt down. When ego ends, we realize our real nature to be intrinsically divine, eternally free and absolute Bliss. This is immortality.”

“Where there is light, darkness cannot be; where knowledge has come to rule, ignorance must quit. Where the cause has been eliminated, the effect cannot remain. Where ignorance has ended, all its effects--the five Kosas constituting the three bodies, the three planes of Consciousness, the realms of pains-made up of sense-objects, feelings and ideas--must end instantaneously, totally.”

Verse 48. Questions of the Disciple. (Verses 48-49) 

शिष्य उवाच ।

कृपया श्रूयतां स्वामिन्प्रश्नोऽयं क्रियते मया ।

यदुत्तरमहं श्रुत्वा कृतार्थ: स्यां भवन्मुखात् ।। 48।।

śiṣya uvācha |

kṛpayā śrūyatāṁ svāminpraśno ‘ayaṁ kriyate mayā |

yaduttaramahaṁ śrutvā kṛtārthaḥ syāṁ bhavanmukhāt|h || 48||

48. The siṣya said:

Kindly listen, O Master, to the questions made (raised) by me. Listening to the answers from your mouth, I would be blessedly gratified.


Sankaracharya’s staunch and famous disciples were Totaka and Sureswara, great souls on their own accord.


Verse 49. Questions of the Disciple. (Verses 48-49) 


को नाम बन्ध: कथमेष आगत: कथं प्रतिष्ठास्य कथं विमोक्ष: ।

कोऽसावनात्मा परम: क आत्मा तयोर्विवेक: कथमेतदुच्यताम् ।। 49।।

konāma bandhaḥ kathameṣa āgataḥ  kathaṁ pratiṣṭhāsya kathaṁ vimokṣaḥ |

ko ‘sāvanātmā paramaḥ ka ātmā tayorvivekaḥ kathametaducyatām|h || 49||


49. What is this bondage? How does it come and continue to exist? How can one obtain liberation from this? What is the not-Self? Who is the supreme Self? And what is the process of discrimination between these two (Self and not-Self)? Please explain all these to me.


The questions from the disciple are about bondage, its arrival, existence, liberation, not-Self, Supreme Self and discrimination—seven questions in all.


Section 12.

Verse 50.  Intelligent Disciple--Appreciated. (50)


श्रीगुरुरुवाच ।

धन्योऽसि कृतकृत्योऽसि पावित ते कुलं त्वया ।

यदविद्याबन्धमुक्त्या ब्रह्मीभवितुमिच्छसि ।। 50।।

śrīgururuvāca |

dhanyo ‘si kṛtakṛtyo  ‘si pāvitaṁ te kulaṁ tvayā |

yadavidyābandhamuktyā brahmībhavitumicchasi || 50||

50. The Guru replied:

Blessed you are. You have fulfilled (your life’s goals) and sanctified your family. You want to attain the state of Brahman by obtaining liberation from bondage of ignorance.


Section 13.

Verse 51. Glory of Self-Effort. (51-55)


ऋणमोचनकर्तार: पितु: सन्ति सुतादय: ।

बन्धमोचनकर्ता तु स्वस्मादन्यो न कश्चन ।। 51।।

ṛṇamocanakartāraḥ pituḥ santi sutādayaḥ |

bandhamocanakartā tu svasmādanyo na kaśchana || 51||

51. Sons and others pay off debts and obligations of the father; there is no one other than him to redeem himself from his own bondage.


Verse 52.  Glory of Self-Effort. (51-55)


मस्तकन्यस्तभारादेर्दु:खमन्यैर्निवार्यते ।

क्षुधादिकृतदु:खं तु विना स्वेन न केनचित् ।। 52।।

mastakanyastabhārāderduḥkhamanyairnivāryate |

kṣudhādikṛtaduḥkhaṁ tu vinā svena na kenacit|| 52||

52. Others, coming to one's help, can relieve exhaustion and fatigue caused by carrying a load on the head. But none save one's own self can end the pangs caused by hunger etc.


Verse 53.  Glory of Self-Effort. (51-55)



पथ्यमौषधसेवा च क्रियते येन रोगिणा ।

आरोग्यसिद्धिर्दृष्टाऽस्य नान्यानुष्ठितकर्मणा ।। 53।।

pathyamauṣadhasevā ca kriyate yena rogiṇā |

ārogyasiddhirdṛṣṭā ‘sya nānyānuṣṭhitakarmaṇā || 53||

53. Taking prescribed diet and medicine, the patient recovers his health. This patient does not recover from his illness because another takes the treatment.


Verse 54.  Glory of Self-Effort. (51-55)


वस्तुस्वरूपं स्फुटबोधचक्षुषा स्वेनैव वेद्यं न तु पण्डितेन ।

चन्द्रस्वरूपं निजचक्षुषैव  ज्ञातव्यमन्यैरवगम्यते किम् ।। 54।।

vastusvarūpaṁ sphuṭabodhachakṣuṣā

    svenaiva vedyaṁ na tu paṇḍitena |

candrasvarūpaṁ nijachakṣuṣaiva

    jñātavyamanyairavagamyate kim  || 54||


54. The real nature of things, one knows through (one’s own) eyes of clear understanding and not through a learned man. The experience of real form of the moon is through one’s own eye alone. Can it be understood though others?


You have to see to know an object. No one can describe the moon to you; you have to experience it with your eyes.


Verse 55.  Glory of Self-Effort. (51-55)


अविद्याकामकर्मादिपाशबन्धं विमोचितुम् ।

क: शक्नुयाद्विनात्मानं कल्पकोटिशतैरपि ।। 55।।

avidyākāmakarmādipāśabandhaṁ vimocitum  |

kaḥ śaknuyādvinātmānaṁ kalpakoṭiśatairapi || 55||

55. Who else, but oneself can help rid oneself of the bondage caused by the chains of ignorance, desire, action, etc. even in a hundred crore of  kalpas?

Crore = 10 million. Kalpa = a day of Brahma = 1000 Yugas = 4,320,000,000 (4.32 Billion) a night of Brahman = 4,320,000,000 (4.32 Billion).

Brahma's Life and Times

Brahma’s Life Span: 100 Brahma years (311.04 Trillion earth-years.)

Table: The Kalpas

Brahma Units

Kalpa Units


One Day of Brahma


 4,320,000,000 (4.32 Billion)

Day and Night


8,640,000,000 (8.64 Billion)

1 Month


259,200,000,000 (259.2 Billion)

1 Year


3,110,400,000,000  (3.1104 Trillion)

100 Years


311,040,000,000,000 (311.04 Trillion)

Viṣṇu’s life time in calculable.

311.04 Trillion years is one second in the life of Viṣṇu.


Section 14. Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)


Verse 56. Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)


न योगेन न सांख्येन कर्मणा नो न विद्यया ।

ब्रह्मात्मैकत्वबोधेन मोक्ष: सिध्यति नान्यथा ।। 56।।

na yogena na sāṅkhyena karmaṇā no na vidyayā |

brahmātmaikatvabodhena mokṣaḥ sidhyati nānyathā || 56||

56. Liberation is possible neither by Yoga, nor by Sankhya, nor by ritual, nor by learning. Liberation is possible only by the realization of one's identity with Brahman and not by any other means.


Brahman and you are one; Brahman and all are one. Brahman is ocean;  waves as superimposition rise and fall back into the ocean.


Verse 57.  Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)


वीणाया रूपसौन्दर्यं तन्त्रीवादनसौष्ठवम् ।

प्रजारञ्जनमात्रं तन्न साम्राज्याय कल्पते ।। 57।।

vīṇāyā rūpasaundaryaṁ tantrīvādanasauṣṭhavam  |

prajāranjanamātraṁ tanna sāmrājyāya kalpate || 57||

57. The beauty of the vīna and the proficiency of one playing on its chords serve but to please an audience; they do not, by themselves, ever prove sufficient to confer full sovereignty.


Verse 58.  Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)



वाग्वैखरी शब्दझरी शास्त्रव्याख्यानकौशलम्

वैदुष्यं विदुषां तद्वद्भुक्तये तु मुक्तये ।। 58।।


vāgvaikharī śabdajharī śāstravyākhyānakauśalam  |

vaiduṣyaṁ viduṣāṁ tadvad bhuktaye na tu muktaye || 58||


58. Voluble loud speech, learned people’s efficiency in expounding Sastras, erudition...: These bring only a little joyous, material satisfaction but are insufficient for liberation


Swami Chinmayananda: By the term Vaikhari, Sankara means the unproductive and noisy discussions on philosophy which some students of Vedenta engage in. These gabblers are laughed at, condemned, and quite ignored by all the great Acharyas like Sankara. To the Rishis an ounce of practice is more sacred than tons of discussion around a table. According to Sankara, mere knowledge of philosophical thoughts can be used only for purposes of eking out a profit for one's own livelihood, or for gaining some insignificant popularity or short-lived glory.


Veeraswamy Krishnaraj: Para Nada (Vāni): (The Transcendental Sound) The Primal Sound’s seat is at the Muladhara plane of Kundalini. It is undifferentiated sound, though it is the source of root ideas or germ thoughts. It is not within the reach of ordinary consciousness. Nada Yogis claim that Para Nada is a high frequency sound, so high that it does not stir or produce vibrations; it is a still sound.

Pasyanti (seeing, observing—Visual Sound) Its seat is Manipura Chakra at the level of navel or Svadhistana plane . Yogis experience it in the form of color and form, which are common to all languages. It is akin to universal sign language, which is understood by all cultures, animals, birds, and humans. All body parts participate in Pasyanti language: the ears, the eyes, the limbs and so on. When someone bares his teeth, raises his sword or points his gun, that is a visual sound of aggression. The near comparison is sights and sounds in a dream, in which there is no actual sound; the ear does not hear because there is no external source for the sound; if the ear hears, you will wake up. It is neither produced by an instrument or by a vocal organ nor heard by anatomical ears.  It is a mental sound; it is heard by the inner ear (not the inner ear of anatomist).  Where is the visual aspect to this sound?  When you chant the name of Krishna or Ram silently within yourself while visualizing him in color and form, that visualization in the chant is Pasyanti. I understand that some Yogis experience synesthesia in that the letters appear in different colors.  Pasyanti's frequency is less than the high frequency sound of Para Nada. When you take, raise and flail a stick, the nearby bird flies off; that is the universal Pasyanti visual sound, interpreted by most land animals as visual sound of aggression. It is the visual language of the body. Pasyanti BhAva associated with manas is the state of Kundalini when she reaches Svadhistana plane.

Madhyama (middle, intermediate—Mental Sound): Its seat is the heart (Anahata Chakra). The sound is of the heart and not of the tongue, associated with Buddhi and NAda. The yogis experience flashes of transcendental knowledge from the Source. Its frequency is in the hearing range. Anahata sounds heard by the yogis are chini, chini-chini (onomatopoetic sounds), the sound of bell, conch, lute, cymbals, flute, drum, Mridanga (double-drum), and the last thunder. These ten Anahata sounds can be heard at random subsequently and only during meditation. Ahata Sound as opposed to Anahata is the sound that is produced by an external sound producer such as a drum and perceived by an anatomical sensory organ such as ear. Anahata sounds originating in the spiritual heart are perceived by the non-anatomical spiritual or subtle ear. Para Brahman is attained, when one hears the tenth sound; that is lysis or absorption; you and the sound become one; one enters into Bliss. As the Yogi hears these sounds, he becomes adept in knowing hidden things, hears ParA VAk, develops divine eye and eventually becomes one with Para Brahman.


Vaikhari: (Articulation, Speech) It is the speech that originates in the larynx. Vaikhari is the mother (origin) of letters of Alphabet (Varna), syllables (Pada),  words (Vak), and sentences (Vakya). Vaikhari speech is VikAra sound: modified sound from the larynx.

    The stages of sound from the most subtle to articulated sound have concordance with the evolution of Primal Being from Avyakta through Brahman, Isvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat, the last being the manifest world.

    The sound in Muladhara is Tamasic, impinges the mind upon arriving in Svadhistana or Manipura Chakras, takes on the color of Buddhi upon arriving in Anahata or heart plane and flows out in combinations of fifty letters upon the arrival of Kundalini in the Visuddha (larynx) plane.   –Veeraswamy Krishnaraj, M.D


Verse 59.  Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)




अविज्ञाते परे तत्तवे शास्त्राधीतिस्तु निष्फला ।

विज्ञातेऽपि परे तत्तवे शास्त्राधीतिस्तु निष्फला ।। 59।।

avijñāte pare tattve śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā |

vijñāte api pare tattve śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā || 59||

59. Without knowing the supreme Reality, the study of the Sastras is futile. Having known the supreme Reality, the study of the Sastras is equally futile.


In the light of these interpretations, the verse becomes a clear statement of Truth. As long as we have "no right intellectual appreciation" of what the Vedanta texts indicate, all study of the scriptures is futile. Again, when we "have realized the Truth," study of the scriptures is redundant.—Chinmayanada Swami.


Verse 60.  Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)


शब्दजालं महारण्यं चित्तभ्रमणकारणम् ।

अत: प्रयत्नाज्ज्ञातव्यं तत्त्वज्ञैस्तत्त्वमात्मनः।। 60।।

śabdajālaṁ mahāraṇyaṁ chittabhramaṇakāraṇam  |

ataḥ prayatnājjñātavyaṁ tattvajnaistattvamātmanaḥ || 60||

60. Plethora of words is a dense jungle and causes confusion of the mind. True seekers of Brahman should by effort apprehend the real nature of the Self.

Plethora of words is a dense jungle = Commentaries by explicators from six philosophical schools.


Swami Chinmayananda: Let not the new seekers enter with hasty enthusiasm into such jungles of noisy confusion. The chances are that their minds will get over-burdened with contradictory assertions of the great champions of the different philosophical viewpoints, and they will ultimately get lost in the blind alleys of wordy arguments. Therefore, a seeker should set about only after knowing the true nature of the Self, through the method of Atma Vichara, when he has fully acquired the necessary qualifications for it through upasanas and meditations.


Verse 61. Knowledge of the Self---Its Beauty. (Verses 56-61)


अज्ञानसर्पदष्टस्य ब्रह्मज्ञानौषधं विना ।

किमु वेदैश्च शास्त्रैश्च किमु मन्त्रै: किमौषधै: ।। 61।।

ajñānasarpadaṣṭasya brahmajñānauṣadhaṁ vinā |

kimu vedaiś ca śāstraiśca kimu mantraiḥ kimauṣadhaiḥ || 61||

61. For him who has been smitten by the serpent of ignorance the only remedy is the knowledge of Brahman. Of what use are the Vedas and the scriptures, mantras and medicines to such a victim of poison?


We are born ignorant of knowledge of Brahman; thus, ignorance has smitten and poisoned us. The one and only remedy is knowledge of Brahman.  The sacred texts are of no use in the cure of ignorance; but, knowledge of Brahman is the cure. 


Chapter 15. Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)


Verse 62.  Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)

न गच्छति विना पानं व्याधिरौषधशब्दत: ।

विनाऽपरोक्षानुभवं ब्रह्मशब्दैर्न मुच्यते ।। 62।।

na gacchati vinā pānaṁ vyādhirauṣadhaśabdataḥ |

vinā ‘parokṣānubhavaṁ brahmaśabdairna muchyate || 62||

62. A disease is not cured by mere repetition of the name of the medicine without taking it; liberation is not obtained by mere utterance of the word, “Brahman.”


Swami Chinmayananda: Similarly, a mere repetition of the sacred truths of Vedanta is futile without the struggle to raise ourselves to the subtler joys of a higher culture and a divine way of living, by individually assimilating the Truth of the Upanishads and becoming one with It by intimate personal experience. Subjective Realization, most intimate and immediate, total and permanent, is called aparoksa anubhava of the Self. No doubt, this must be preceded by an intellectual understanding of the Truth called in Sanskrit paroksa jnanam.


Verse 63. Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)

अकृत्वा दृश्यविलयमज्ञात्वा तत्त्वमात्मन: ।

ब्रह्मशब्दै: कुतो मुक्तिरुक्तिमात्रषलैर्नृणाम् ।। 63।।

akṛtvā dṛśyavilayamajñātvā tattvamātmanaḥ |

brahmaśabdaiḥ kuto muktiruktimātraphalairnṛṇām  || 63||

63. Without causing dissolution of the phenomenal world (in the mind during meditation) and not having realized the Real Nature of the Self, how can one achieve liberation by a mere repetition of the word, "Brahman"?  Fruit would be none coming from the repetition of a wasted word.

Without causing dissolution of the phenomenal world = Becoming oblivious of the phenomenal world = becoming one with God during meditation.


In meditation, concentration is so intense that the Sadaka forgets himself (his body) and becomes one with the Universal Consciousness.  Example. When you see an apple, you forget yourself, think about apple and become one with it; then only you know the apple by its shape, color, taste... In the process, you become the apple for the duration.


Verse 64.  Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)


अकृत्वा शत्रुसंहारमगत्वाखिलभूश्रियम् ।

राजाहमिति शब्दान्नो राजा भवितुमर्हति ।। 64।।

akṛtvā śatrusaṁhāramagatvākhilabhūśriyam  |

rājāhamiti śabdānno rājā bhavitumarhati || 64||

64 By merely declaring, “I am the king” one cannot become a king unless he kills all his enemies and brings all wealth of the land under his control.


Swami Chinmayananda: If a seeker has successfully destroyed all his inner enemies---of desires and thoughts, physical demands, mental appetites and intellectual meanderings---and if he has established mastery over the vast province of the waking, dream and deep-sleep states of consciousness, he need not thereafter repeat "I am Brahman". For every cell in him, every thought and every idea that rises in him will sing in chorus his sovereignty over all, at all times and in all conditions.


Verse 65. Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)


आप्तोक्तिं खननं तथोपरिशिलाद्युत्कर्षणं स्वीकृतिं

निक्षेप: समपेक्षते नहि बहि: शब्दैस्तु निर्गच्छति ।


मायाकार्यतिरोहितं स्वममलं तत्त्वं न दुर्युक्तिभि: ।। 65।।

āptoktiṁ khananaṁ tathopariśilādyutkarṣaṇaṁ svīkṛtiṁ

nikṣepaḥ samapekṣate nahi bahiḥ śabdaistu nirgacchati |

tadvad brahmavidopadeśamananadhyānādibhirlabhyate

māyākāryatirohitaṁ svamamalaṁ tattvaṁ na duryuktibhiḥ || 65||

66. A deeply buried treasure below the earth can be found only by excavating in the exact site and removing earth, stones etc above the treasure. Treasure would not come out by calling its name. Similarly, the pure Truth of the Self which lies hidden beneath our illusion or Māyā and its effects can be attained through the instructions of one who is a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation, etc. But never can the Self emerge and manifest Itself as a result of repeating perverted arguments.


The Self is deep within us; that is where we have to look. The Self is hidden by Māyā. We have to remove Māyā to get to the treasure. Access is facilitated by manana and dhyāna. 


Verse 66. Direct Experience; Liberation. (62-66)


तस्मात्सर्वप्रयत्नेन भवबन्धविमुक्तये ।

स्वैरेव यत्न: कर्तव्यो रोगादाविव पण्डितै: ।। 66।।

tasmātsarvaprayatnena bhavabandhavimuktaye |

svaireva yatnaḥ kartavyo rogādāviva paṇḍitaiḥ || 66||

66. Therefore, the wise seeker should use all means and one’s own effort to attain liberation from the bondage of birth and death as if he has some kind of an illness.


Swami Chinmayananda: The simile used here is very significant. Like a sick patient, we are to consider ourselves as infected with the microbes of ignorance. Health is the real nature of all living beings. Illness is the unnatural condition of the body, when it has, for reasons known or unknown, fallen away from its essential health. Therefore, health is not to be created, but all our efforts should be to remove the causes that created the disease. A body rid of its disease-germs comes to manifest full health and vigor. Similarly, ignorance creates in us all the maladjustments through which spiritual dynamism, divine Glory and supreme Perfection are veiled from us.


Chapter 16. Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)

Verse 67.

यस्त्वयाद्य कृत: प्रश्नो वरीयाञ्छास्त्रविन्मत: ।

सूत्रप्रायो निगूढार्थो ज्ञातव्यश्च मुमुक्षुभि: ।। 67।।

yastvayādya kṛtaḥ praśno varīyāñ chāstravinmataḥ |

sūtraprāyo nigūḍhārtho jñātavyaś ca mumukṣubhiḥ || 67||

67. The questions which you raised today are excellent, accepted by those well-versed in the Sastras, aphoristic, full of hidden meaning and such that they are fit to be known by all seekers.


Chapter 16. Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)

Verse 68.

शृणुष्वावहितो विद्वन्यन्मया समुदीर्यते ।

तदेतच्छ्रवणात्सद्यो भवबन्धाद्विमोक्ष्यसे ।। 68।।

śṛṇuṣvāvahito vidvanyanmayā samudīryate |

tadetacchravaṇātsadyo bhavabandhādvimokṣyase || 68||

68. O learned one, listen attentively to what I have to tell you, by which you shall immediately gain complete liberation from the bondages of samsara.


Chapter 16. Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)



Verse 69. Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)


मोक्षस्य हेतु: प्रथमो निगद्यते वैराग्यमत्यन्तमनित्यवस्तुषु ।

तत: शमश्चापि दमस्तितिक्षा न्यास: प्रसक्ताखिलकर्मणां भृशम् ।। 69।।

mokṣasya hetuḥ prathamo nigadyate  vairāgyamatyantamanityavastuṣu |

tataḥ śamaścāpi damastitikṣā   nyāsaḥ prasaktākhilakarmaṇāṁ bhṛśam  || 69||

69. For liberation, first comes utmost detachment from finite objects (of sensual satisfaction). Then follow calmness, self-control, forbearance and complete renunciation of all selfish actions.


Verse 70.  Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)


तत: शृतिस्तन्मननं सतत्त्व-ध्यानं चिरं नित्यनिरन्तरं मुने: ।

ततोऽविकल्पं परमेत्य विद्वान् इहैव निर्वाणसुखं समृच्छति ।। 70।।

tataḥ śṛtistanmananaṁ satattva-dhyānaṁ ciraṁ nityanirantaraṁ muneḥ |

tato ‘vikalpaṁ parametya vidvān ihaiva nirvāṇasukhaṁ samṛcchati || 70||

70. Thereafter comes "hearing", then reflection on what has been heard and, lastly, long, constant and continuous meditation on the Truth, for the Muni. Ultimately, that learned one attains the supreme Nirvikalpa state and realizes the Bliss of Nirvana in this very life.

Swami Chinmayananda: This 'listening' to the discourses (sravana), is to be followed by inner arguments and final assimilation by the intellect in a process called reflection (manana), by which alone the ideas in the text can become the student's own philosophy. Even this intellectual conviction is not sufficient, for Vedanta seeks a fulfillment not in merely propounding a theory to explain the happenings of the world and the destinies of mankind, but to lift man to the highest pinnacle of evolution of cultural purity, that he may thereafter revel as a God-man on earth.

Therefore, a person must attain Truth through a process of re-discovery of his real Self by detaching himself from his wrong and false identifications with matter. This technique of detaching oneself from the false, and rediscovering one's identity with the Self through disciplined currents of constant thought-flow is called meditation (dhyana). It is indicated here that when dhyana is practiced for a long period daily and constantly ---every word is important ---for a long period of years (ciram), daily (nityam) and constantly (nirantaram) --one gets established in God-consciousness and attains Nirvana in this very life.

The word Nirvana means "blown out". Modern physics tells us that the tip of a candle flame, though apparently whole and steady, is constituted of independent flickerings at a great frequency. Just as when a fan whirls at a great speed, its blades are not distinguishable but only one continuous whirling movement is observed. A movie is constituted of a number of individual pictures projected on the screen, but because of the speed and high frequency of the change, the movie gives us a continuous experience. So too, the "wholeness" of the candle flame is only apparent. This example is often quoted in the Yoga Sastra to explain the mind in man which seems to be a substantial factor, though created by the frequency of the flow of thought-waves. In one who has realized his own Self and has transcended the mind, there is no more rising of thoughts. This state is indicated by the term, Nirvana, the state of Self-realization.

This moksa condition is possible in two stages, just as before sleep, there is a period of dozing followed by the deep- sleep state. During dozing, we are conscious that we are "going to world are slowly and steadily becoming obscure. But the deep-sleep state is a period when we are neither conscious of the outer world nor even of ourselves.

Similarly, in meditation also there is a hazy period of awareness, wherein we are conscious of ourselves nearing the Transcendental, and that state of Samadhi  where there is still a vestige of the ego is called Savikalpa Samadhi. The ego-less moment Yogi experiences the infinite Bliss of pure existence, that state is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi . That is the

experience of God-hood, and after this Iswara darsana, there is no falling back into the values and impulses of the lower, worldly life any more.

Not only does Sankara explain the various states en route this divine pilgrimage and describe exhaustively the Goal with Its experiences, but he also insists that this is not a post mortem experience to be gained in some future embodiment, after the death of this body, in a special are called heaven or in another world. He insists that a Muni experiences the Bliss of Nirvana even here and now. Muni in Sanskrit, in its etymological meaning, has an import equivalent to "a man of discriminative reflection". End comment by Swami Chinmayananda.

Verse 71. Discussion on Question Raised. (67-71)


यद्बोद्धव्यं तवेदानीमात्मानात्मविवेचनम् ।

तदुच्यते मया सम्यक् श्रुत्वात्मन्यवधारय ।। 71।।

yadboddhavyaṁ tavedānīmātmānātmavivecanam  |

taducyate mayā samyak  śrutvātmanyavadhāraya || 71||

71. Now I am going to describe the discrimination between the Self and the not-Self most elaborately---it is what you ought to know. Listen to it properly and cogitate about it well in your mind.


Swami Chinmayananda: Earlier the student had asked the Master about the discrimination between the Self and the not-Self. This verse onwards, Sankara gives an elaborate description of the various layers of matter envelopments, which together constitute the not-Self, identifying with which the Self behaves as though it is limited, bound and conditioned to suffer as the samsarin.


Chapter 17. Gross Body (72-75)


Verse 72.

मज्जास्थिमेद:पलरक्तचर्म- त्वगाह्वयैर्धातुभिरेभिरन्वितम् ।

पादोरुवक्षोभुजपृष्ठमस्तकै: अङ्गैरुपाङ्गैरुपयुक्तमेतत् ।। 72।।

majjāsthimedaḥpalaraktacarma-tvagāhvayairdhātubhirebhiranvitam  |

pādoruvakṣobhujapṛṣṭhamastakaiḥ aṅgairupāṅgairupayuktametat  || 72||


72. Composed of the seven ingredients...marrow, bones, fat, flesh, blood, dermis and epidermis, and consisting of the following parts---legs, thighs, chest, arms, back and the head...


Verse 72. Gross Body (72-75)


अहंममेतिप्रथितं शरीरं मोहास्पदं स्थूलमितीर्यते बुधै: ।

नभोनभस्वद्दहनाम्बुभूमय: सूक्ष्माणि भूतानि भवन्ति तानि ।। 73।।

ahammametiprathitaṁ śarīraṁ  mohāspadaṁ sthūlamitīryate budhaiḥ |

nabhonabhasvaddahanāmbubhūmayaḥ  sūkṣmāṇi bhūtāni bhavanti tāni || 73||

73. This body, the seat of delusion, expressing in terms “I” and "mine", is considered by reputed sages as the gross body. Sky, air, fire, water and earth are the subtle elements.



परस्परांशैर्मिलितानि भूत्वा स्थूलानि च स्थूलशरीरहेतव: ।

मात्रास्तदीया विषया भवन्ति शब्दादय: पञ्च सुखाय भोक्तु: ।। 74।।

parasparāṁśairmilitāni bhūtvā sthūlāni  ca sthūlaśarīrahetavaḥ |

mātrāstadīyā viṣayā bhavanti śabdādayaḥ panca sukhāya bhoktuḥ || 74||

74. Having united with parts of one another, they become gross, and become the cause for the formation of the gross body. Their subtle essence constitutes the sense-objects, five in number, such as sound etc., which contribute to the enjoyment of the experiencer, the individual ego.






Table as it appears on page 108 Vivekachoodamani  by Sankara and Chinmayananda.


Ether (1)

Air (2)

Fire (3)

Water (4)

Earth (5)




Each in itself


Tendency to divide into two equal parts.


The split is complete.


½ remain intact , the other split into 4.


½ + ⅛ X 4

½ + ⅛ X 4

½ + ⅛ X 4

½ + ⅛ X 4

½ + ⅛ X 4

½ married to 4 bits borrowed from all others.



Notes by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Tanmatras namely sound, touch, color, taste, and smell are the subtle, supersensible, rudimentary and nonspecific particles from which the gross elements namely akasa, air, fire, water, and earth evolve respectively. There are two divisions in the gross (great) elements (Mahabhutas): Amurtta and Murtta, the formless and the formed. Akasa and air are formless elements, while fire, water and earth formed. --Krishnaraj


            Panchadasi (2.88) says that Akasa is the most extensive element compared to the rest. Quantitatively starting from air each element is 10% (12.5%)of the former element. It attributes this statement to Puranas. Krishnaraj


            The tanmatras (merely that) are nonspecific in the sense that they lack qualities (according to Samkhya philosophy) such as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas or calmness, turbulence and delusion. When the transformation takes place from the subtle to the gross, the gross elements acquire qualities. These gross elements again in turn are responsible for products downstream such as hearing, tactile sense, vision, taste, and smell collectively called sensory functions. The latter have corresponding peripheral organs to receive the respective sensations, namely the ear, the skin, the eyes, the tongue, and the nose, which again have their own respective brain centers. --Krishnaraj

Tanmātras ― Subtle Elements






Gross Elements

Ākāsa (Ether)







Tactile sense




Peripheral sensory receivers






Brain centers

Auditory center

Sensory cortex

Visual cortex

Gustatory center

Olfactory center

Table by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj


Example: Sound has five constituents:  Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Compartment Sound, Ether: 50% is Ether and 12.5% each of air, fire, water, and earth. Compartment Air, Air: 50% is Air and 12.5% each of ether, fire, water, and earth. 

Compartment Fire, Fire: 50%  is fire and 12.5% each of ether, air, water, and earth.

Compartment Water, Water: 50% is water and 12.5% each of ether, air, fire, and earth.

Compartment Earth, Earth: 50% is earth and 12.5% each of ether, air, fire, and water.

Compartment four, Water: 50% is water and 12.5% each of ether, air, fire, and earth. Let us take water: 50% is water; Water is Hydrogen and oxygen; if you take the atoms, there is space. It is  mixed with air (think of fish extracting oxygen from water). Water has Fire in it, meaning there is heat in water. When you remove heat from water it becomes ice. It has earth in it meaning it has minerals, which contributes to the taste of the water.



Table by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Subtle and nonspecific

Subtle and nonspecific

Subtle and nonspecific

Subtle and nonspecific

Subtle and nonspecific






Air 12.5%

Fire  12.5%

water 12.5%

Earth 12.5%


Ether 50%


Ether 12.5%

Fire 12.5%

Water 12.5%

Earth 12.5%


Air 50%


Ether 12.5%

Air 12.5%

Water 12.5%

Earth 12.5%


Fire 50%

Ether 12.5%

Air 12.5%

Fire 12.5%

Earth 12.5%


Water 50%

Ether 12.5%

Air 12.5%

Fire 12.5%

Water 12.5%


Earth 50%







Gross and Specific

Gross and Specific

Gross and Specific

Gross and Specific

Gross and Specific












Sensory Pathways

Visual Pathways

Taste Pathways

Olfactory Path.

Auditory region of  the cerebral cortex

Somatic sensory region of the cortex

Visual region of cerebral cortex

Gustatory region of cerebral cortex

Olfactory region of cerebral cortex






Buddhi & Purusa

Buddhi & Purusa

Buddhi & Purusa

Buddhi & Purusa

Buddhi & Purusa






Motor Cortex

Motor Cortex

Motor Cortex

Motor Cortex

Motor Cortex

Motor Organs-Karmendriya

Motor Organs-Karmendriya

Motor Organs-Karmendriya

Motor Organs-Karmendriya

Motor Organs-Karmendriya


Verse 75.

य एषु मूढा विषयेषु बद्धा रागोरूपाशेन सुदुर्दमेन ।

आयान्ति निर्यान्त्यध ऊध्र्वमुच्चै: स्वकर्मदूतेन जवेन नीता: ।। 75।।

ya eṣu mūḍhā viṣayeṣu baddhā rāgorupāśena sudurdamena |

āyānti niryāntyadha ūrdhvamucchaiḥ svakarmadūtena javena nītāḥ || 75||


75. Those ignoramuses who are bound to these sense-objects by the stout ropes of attachment so very difficult to cut asunder, come and go, up and down, carried by the compelling force of the envoy of the reactions of their own past actions.


Swami Chinmayananda: Up and down: The soul may take the body of a higher sentient human being or a lower order of fauna or flora: evolution or devolution, the life of a pig or the life of a God-man according to Swami Chinmayananda. In Vedanta Sastra, the possible wombs for taking births from fall under two distinct groups, the higher and the lower. In the higher yonis,--- we are born only to enjoy the ethereal sense-objects which can provide, through the necessary instruments of perception and enjoyment, a greater share of finite joys for a longer period of existence. This is called the experience of "heaven". The other type is called the lower yonis which comprise existence in the form of animals and birds, plants and trees. These lower wombs introduce us to a plane of consciousness wherein the individual egos, with their different degrees of dullness come to experience and immense amount of concentrated sorrow'. These two groups exhaust all possible future births and are indicated by the term, carried up- and down'.

Verse 76.

शब्दादिभि: पञ्चभिरेव पञ्च पञ्चत्वमापु: स्वगुणेन बद्धा: ।

कुरङ्गमातङ्गपतङ्गमीन भृङ्गा नर: पञ्चभिरिञ्चत: किम् ।। 76।।

śabdādibhiḥ pañcabhireva pañca pañcatvamāpuḥ svaguṇena baddhāḥ |

kuraṇgamātaṇgapataṅgamīna- bhṛṅgā naraḥ pañcabhirañchitaḥ kim  || 76||

76. The deer, the elephant, the moth, the fish and the honey-bee—these five meet with death because of their bondage to one or the other of the senses such as sound etc.,. What then is the condition of a man who is attached to all these five (senses)?


Swami Chinmayananda: The deer is always fascinated by melodious sound and the deer hunter sings to charm the deer. Attracted by the melody of sound, the deer has no awareness of the danger it is in, and turns in the direction of the music; the hunter soon makes it his target. The elephants, especially in the mating season, become extremely attached to the sense of touch; rubbing against each other and walking without caution, they fall into the pits dug and ready to catch them. The moth is enchanted by form and attracted by the brilliance of the flame. It flutters towards it with an agonizing impatience and gets burnt. The fish, ravenously hungry at all times, in its gluttony, swallows the bait, is caught and thus meets its end in the stomach of fish-eaters. The poor honey-bee, attracted by the fragrant smell of flowers, pursues its industrious vocation, collects honey from the flowers and hoards it in its hive, until at last, heartless man sets fire to the hive in order to loot the honey-wealth of the bee.

Thus, Sankara gives us five typical examples wherein each has met its doom because of its attachment to one or the other of the five senses. Most dramatic it becomes when Sankara concludes with the exclamation, "What then is in store for man who is attached to all these five?"

When a man of ignorance, having neither discrimination nor detachment, vulgarly runs after sense-objects for his temporary nerve-ticklings (sensual and sexual satisfactions), he becomes a sad victim of his delusion, and meets a calamitous end for he has allowed himself to be bound by the five strong ropes.

Verse 77.

दोषेण तीव्रो विषय: कृष्णसर्पविषादपि ।

विषं निहन्ति भोक्तारं द्रष्टारं चक्षुषाप्ययम् ।। 77।।

doṣeṇa tīvro viṣayaḥ kṛṣṇasarpaviṣādapi |

viṣaṁ nihanti bhoktāraṁ draṣṭāraṁ cakṣuṣāpyayam  || 77||

77. Sense-objects are even more venomous in their tragic effects than cobra poison. Poison is fatal to one who swallows it, but the sense-objects kill him who even looks at them with his eyes.


Chinmayananda: At this juncture, Sankara discusses how dangerous It is for a seeker to be attached to the enjoyment of sense-objects. He has already told us how tragic is the end of those living beings who have but a single sense appetite. In order to emphasize the virulence of sense-poison. Sankara gives yet another verse, which is very famous in as much as we often hear It being quoted from all pulpits.

Explaining the dangerous Intensity of this poison, the Acharya compares it with the venom of the cobra. If there is some distance between a cobra and an individual, the poison in the cobra cannot affect him. Nobody is known to have died of poison because he merely saw a cobra in a zoo. The venom can be fatal to a person only when he is bitten by a cobra. Compared with this, sense-objects are more virulent because they can annihilate the individual who just looks at them. The organ of vision' (chaksusa api), mentioned in the verse, represents all the other four sense organs and indicates a similar end when all other sense-organs, individually or collectively, run after their sense-objects, bringing about a total annihilation.

Verse 78.

विषयाशामहापाशाद्यो विमुक्त: सुदुस्त्यजात् ।

स एव कल्पते मुक्त्यै नान्य: षट्शास्त्रवेद्यपि ।। 78।।

viṣayāśāmahāpāśādyo vimuktaḥ sudustyajāt  |

sa eva kalpate muktyai nānyaḥ ṣaṭ śāstravedyapi || 78||

78. He who has liberated himself from the terrible bonds of desires for sense-objects, (indeed), very difficult to renounce, is alone fit for liberation: none else, even if he is well-versed in all the six schools of philosophy.

Swami Chinmayananda: That 'such a one alone is fit for liberation is a very positive statement denying sensuous people any hope of success in spiritual life. Not even men who are erudite scholars in all the six schools of Indian philosophy are recognized by the Sastras as fit for total liberation from ignorance and ignorance-created misunderstandings in themselves. With mere book-learning, without the heart's purity, mind's tranquility, intellect's application and body's self-denial, no progress in spiritual life, which can take us towards complete liberation from our limitations is ever possible.

Sensuous people = Sensualist = viṣayin =  िषयिन्