Talks with Ramana Maharshi Talk 349 – 23rd January, 1937
Sri Sankara’s Path to Salvation Through Discrimination
A Note By Sri Ramana Maharshi
(In the new issue of The Vision is published the following note, being the translation by Mr. S. Krishna, of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s preface to his translation of Sri Sankara’s Viveka Chudamani or “Crown-gem of Discrimination”).
Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Preface
Every being in the world yearns to be always happy, free from the taint of sorrow and desires to get rid of bodily ailments which are not of his true nature. Further, everyone cherishes the greatest love for himself: and this love is not possible in the absence of happiness. In deep sleep, though devoid of everything, one has the experience of being happy. Yet, due to the ignorance of the real nature of one’s own being, which is happiness itself, people flounder in the vast ocean of material existence forsaking the right path that leads to happiness and act under the mistaken belief that the way to be happy consists in obtaining the pleasures of this and the other world.
A SAFE GUIDE:
But unfortunately, that happiness which has not the taint of sorrow is not realized. It is precisely for the purpose of pointing out the straight path to happiness that Lord Siva took on the guise of Sri Sankaracharya, wrote the commentaries on the Triune Institutes (Prasthana Traya) of the Vedanta, which extol the excellence of this bliss; and demonstrated it by his own example in life. These commentaries, however, are of little use to those ardent seekers who are intent upon realizing the bliss of absolution, but have not the scholarship for studying them.
It is for such as these seekers that Sri Sankara revealed the essence of the commentaries in this short treatise, Vivekachudamani, “The Crown-gem of Discrimination”, explaining in detail the points that have to be grasped by those who seek absolution, and thereby directing them to the true and straight path.
LEARNING ALONE WON’T DO:
Sri Sankara opens the theme by observing that it is hard indeed to attain human birth, and one should (having attained it) strive for the realization of the bliss of liberation, which is verily the nature of one’s being. By jnana or Knowledge alone is this bliss realized, and jnana is achieved only through vichara or steady enquiry. In order to know this method of enquiry, says Sri Sankara, one should seek the favour of a Guru, and proceeds to describe the qualities of the Guru and his sishya and how the latter should approach and serve his master. He further emphasises that in order to realize the bliss of liberation one’s own individual effort is an essential factor. Mere book-learning never yields this bliss which can be realized only through enquiry or vichara, which consists of sravana or devoted attention to the precepts of the Guru, manana or deep contemplation and Nididhyasana or the cultivation of steady poise in the Self.
THE THREE PATHS:
The three bodies – physical, subtle and causal – are non-self and are unreal. The Self, or ‘I’, is quite different from them. It is due to ignorance that the sense of the Self or the ‘I’ notion is foisted on that which is not Self, and this indeed is bondage. Since from ignorance arises bondage, from Knowledge ensues liberation. To know this from the Guru is sravana.
To reject the three bodies consisting of the five sheaths (physical, vital, mental, gnostic and blissful) as not ‘I’ and to extract through subtle enquiry of “Who am I?” – even as the central blade of grass is delicately drawn out from its whorl – that which is different from all the three bodies and is existent as one and universal in the heart as Aham or ‘I’ and denoted by the word Tvam (in the Scriptural dictum – ‘Tat-tvam-asi’ – That thou art). This process of subtle enquiry is manana or deep contemplation.
THE BEATITUDE, DIVINE RAPTURE:
The world of name and form is but an adjunct of Sat or Brahman, and being not different from it, it is rejected as such and is affirmed as nothing else but Brahman. The instruction by the Guru to the disciple of the Mahavakya, Tat-tvam-asi, which declares the identity of the Self and the Supreme, is upadesa. The disciple is then enjoined to remain in the beatitude, divine ecstasy of Aham-Brahman – ‘I’ the Absolute. Nevertheless the old tendencies of the mind sprout up thick and strong and form an obstruction (to that state of beatitude). These tendencies are threefold and egoism, which is their root, flourishes in the externalised and differentiating consciousness caused by the forces of vikshepa or dissipation (due to rajas) and avarana or envelopment (due to tamas).
CHURNING THE MIND:
To install the mind firmly in the heart until these forces are destroyed and to awaken with unswerving, ceaseless vigilance the true and cognate tendency which is characteristic of the Atman and is expressed by the dictum, Aham Brahmasmi (I am Brahman), and the dictum Brahmaivaham (Brahman alone am I), is termed nididhyasana or atmanusandhana, i.e., constancy in the Self. This is otherwise called Bhakti, Yoga and Dhyana.
Atmanusandhana has been likened to churning the curd to draw forth butter, the mind being compared to the churning rod, the heart to the curd and the practice of constancy in the Self to the process of churning. Just as by churning the curd butter is extracted and by friction fire is kindled, even so, by unswerving vigilant constancy in the Self, ceaseless like the unbroken filamentary flow of oil, is generated the natural or changeless trance or nirvikalpa samadhi, which readily and spontaneously yields that direct, immediate, unobstructed and universal perception of Brahman, which is at once Knowledge and Experience and which transcends time and space.
This is Self-Realization; and thereby is cut asunder the hridaya-granthi or the Knot of the Heart. The false delusions of ignorance, the vicious and age-long tendencies of the mind, which constitute this knot, are destroyed. All doubts are dispelled and the bondage of Karma is severed.
Thus has Sri Sankara described, in this Vivekachudamani, the “Crown-gem of Discrimination,” samadhi or trance transcendent, which is the limitless bliss of liberation, beyond doubt and duality, and has at the same time indicated the means for its attainments. To realize this state of freedom from duality is the summum bonum of life: and he alone that has won it is a jivanmukta (the liberated one while yet alive), and not he who has merely a theoretical understanding of what constitutes purushartha or the desired end and aim of human endeavour.
Thus defining a jivanmukta, he is declared to be free from the bonds of threefold Karmas (sanchita, agami and prarabdha). The disciple who has reached this stage then relates his personal experience. The liberated one is free indeed to act as he pleases, and when he leaves the mortal frame, attains absolution, and returns not to this “birth which is death”.
Sri Sankara thus describes Realization that connotes liberation as twofold, i.e., jivanmukti and videha mukti referred to above. Moreover, in this short treatise called Vivekachudamani, written in the form of a dialogue between a Guru and his disciple, he has considered many relevant topics.
Verse 21. Fools, because they lack in their powers of discrimination, superimpose on the Atman, which is the Absolute Existence-Knowledge, all the varied functions of the body and the senses, just as they attribute blue color and such to the sky.
Verse 22. The tremblings that belong to the waters are attributed through ignorance to the reflected moon dancing on it. Likewise, agency of action, of enjoyment and of other limitations, which really belong to the mind, are delusively understood as the nature of the Self, the Atman.
Verse 23. Attachment, desire, pleasure, pain and such, are perceived to exist so long as Buddhi or mind functions. They are not perceived in deep sleep when the mind ceases to exist. Therefore, they belong to the mind alone, and not to the Atman, the Self.
Verse 24. Just as luminosity is the nature of the Sun, coolness of water, and heat of fire, so too the nature of the Atman, the Self, is Eternity, Purity, Reality, Consciousness and Bliss.
Verse 25. By the undiscriminating blending of the two, the Existence-Knowledge aspect of the Self and the thought-wave of the intellect, there arises the notion of “I know”.
Verse 26. Atman, the Self, never does anything, and the intellect of its own accord has no capacity to experience “I know”. But the individuality in us thinks by mistake that it is the seer and the knower.
Verse 27. Just as the person who regards a rope as a snake is overcome by fear, so also one who considers oneself as the ego is overcome by fear. The egocentric individuality in us regains fearlessness by realizing that it is not a Jiva, an individual Soul, but is itself the Supreme Soul.
Verse 28. Just as a light illumines a pot or a jar, so also the Atman, the Self, illumines the mind, and the sense organs and such. These material objects, by themselves, cannot illumine themselves, because they are inert.
Verse 29. A lit lamp does not need another lamp to illumine its light. So too, Atman, the Self, which is Knowledge itself, needs no other knowledge to know it.
Verse 30. By a process of negation of the conditionings, the Upadhis, through the help of the scriptural statement “It is not this, It is not this”, the oneness of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul, as indicated by the great Mahavakyas, which are the Great Proclamations, has to be realized.
11. Because of its association with different conditionings, such ideas as caste, color, and position are superimposed upon the Atman, the Self, as flavor, color and so on are superimposed on water.
12. Determined for each individual by his own past actions, and made up of the five elements the body – the medium through which pleasure and pain are experienced, the tent of experiences, is born. So it is said.
13. The five Pranas – life forces, the 10 organs, and the Manas – the mind, and the Buddhi, the intellect, formed from the Tanmatras – the rudimentary elements, before Pancheekarana, their five-fold division and mutual combination with one another, these form the subtle body, the instruments of experience of the individual.
14. Avidya – ignorance, which is indescribable and beginningless, is the causal body. Know for certain, that the Atman, the Self, is other than these three conditioning bodies.
15. In its identification with the five coverings, the Immaculate Atman, the Self, appears to have borrowed their qualities upon itself, as in the case of a crystal, which appears to gather unto itself the color of its vicinity, like blue cloth and so on.
16. Through discriminating self analysis and logical thinking, one should separate the pure Self within, from the coverings, as one separates the rice from the husk, bran and so on that are covering it.
17. The Atman, the Self, does not shine in everything although he is all-pervading. He is manifest only in the inner equipment, Buddhi, the intellect, just as the reflection on a clean mirror.
18. One should understand that the Atman, the Self, is always like the King, distinct from the body, the senses, mind and intellect, all of which constitute matter, and that he is the witness of their functions.
19. The moon appears to be running when the clouds move in the sky. Likewise to the non-discriminating person, the Atman, the Self, appears to be active when it is observed through the functions of the sense organs.
20. Depending upon the energy or vitality of consciousness, the body, senses, mind, and intellect engage themselves in their respective activities, just as men work depending upon the light of the Sun.
1. I am composing the Atma Bodha, this treatise of the Knowledge of the Self, for those who have purified themselves by austerities, and are peaceful in Heart and calm, who are free from cravings, and are desirous of Liberation.
2. Just as fire is the direct cause for cooking so also without knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline, Knowledge of the Self, is the one direct means for Liberation.
3. Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does destroy ignorance as Light destroys deep darkness.
4. The Soul appears to be finite because of ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, the Self which does not admit of any multiplicity truly reveals Itself by Itself, like the Sun when the clouds pass away.
5. Constant practice of Knowledge purifies the Self, the Jeevatman stained by ignorance, and then disappears itself, just like the powder of the Kataka Nut, that settles down after it has cleansed the muddy water.
6. The world which is full of attachments, aversions etc. is like a dream. It appears to be real, as along as it continues; but appears to be unreal when one is awake, that is, when true wisdom dawns.
7. The world appears to be real so long as Brahman, the Substratum, the Basis of all this creation, is not realized. It is like the illusion of silver in the mother-of-pearl.
8. Like bubbles in the water, the worlds rise, exist and dissolve in the Supreme Self, which is the material cause and the prop of everything.
9. All the manifested world of things and beings are projected by imagination upon the Substratum which is the Eternal, All-Pervading Vishnu, whose nature is Existence-Intelligence, just like the different ornaments are all made out of the same Gold.
10. The All-Pervading Space appears to be diverse on account of its association with various conditionings which are different from each other. Space becomes one on the destruction of these limiting conditionings. So also the Omnipresent Truth appears to be diverse on account of its association with the various conditionings and becomes one on the destruction of these conditionings.
In this work attributed to Sri Adi Sankaracharya, the characteristics of the person who has realized the Real Self are described. The aspirant seeking Liberation and Self-Realization is advised to meditate on these, in order to attain the same pristine state of Perfection and Bliss.
भगवान श्री आदि शंकराचार्यकृत
Bhagavan Sri Adi Sankaracharya’s Brahma Jnanavali Mala
I am the supreme Self beyond all truths and fundamental principles (Tattvas), I am the supreme auspicious One, beyond all those in the middle. I am beyond Illusion (Maya); I am the supreme light; I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless..
नानारूपव्यतीतोऽहं चिदाकारोऽमच्युतः ।
सुखरूपस्वरूपोऽहमहमेवाहमव्ययः ॥ ८ ॥
I am beyond all the different forms; I am of the nature of pure consciousness; I am imperishable and permanent. I am of the nature of happiness; I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless.
9. mAyAtatkAryadehAdi mama nAstyeva sarvadA
मायातत्कार्यदेहादि मम नास्त्येव सर्वदा ।
स्वप्रकाशौकरूपोऽहमहमेवाहमव्ययः ॥ ९ ॥
There is neither illusion (mAyA), nor its effects such as the body and so on for me, ever. I am of the nature of self-luminosity; I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless.
10. guNatrayavyatIto’ham brahmAdInAm ca sAkshyaham
गुणत्रयव्यतीतोऽहं ब्रह्मादीनां च साक्ष्यहम् ।
अनन्तानन्दरूपोऽहमहमेवाहमव्ययः ॥ १० ॥
I am beyond the three basic qualities of the mind (gunas : sattva, rajas, and tamas); I am the witness of even the Creator Brahma and others. I am of the nature of infinite bliss; I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless.
निष्कलोऽहं निष्क्रियोऽहं सर्वात्माऽऽद्यः सनातनः ।
अपरोक्षस्वरूपोऽहमहमेवाहमव्ययः ॥ १२ ॥
I am devoid of parts; I am actionless; I am the Self of all; I am the primordial one; I am the ancient, eternal one. I am of the nature of directly intuited Self. I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless.
तापत्रयविनिर्मुक्तो देहत्रयविलक्षणः ।
अवस्थात्रयसाक्ष्यस्मि अहमेवाहमव्ययः ॥ १६ ॥
I am free from the three kinds of afflictions (those in the body, those from other beings and those caused by higher powers); I am different from the three bodies (gross, subtle and causal bodies). I am the witness of the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep; I am the very Self, indestructible and changeless.
Brahman, the Self, is real (Satya); Jagat, the universe, is illusion (mithya). Jiva, the individual soul, is Brahman itself and not different. This is what should be understood as true Sastra, scriptural teachings. Thus proclaims Vedanta.
Bhaja Govindam was rendered extempore by Jagadguru Sri Adi Sankaracharya.
The story behind this great work is this. Sri Adi Sankaracharya came across an old grammarian who was strenuously memorizing all the complex rules of Grammar, instead of devoting his time in contemplating on God and meditating. Due to Sri Sankara’s compassion and kindness, then and there emerged this flow of beautiful but profound poetry from Him to lead the devotee in the right path.
Sri Ramana Maharshi tells his devotees that Abhyasa and Vairagya (Practice and Dispassion) are both important for spiritual advancement and self-improvement. Bhaja Govindam offers ample guidance in both these areas.
The English translations for the Verses provided here were rendered by Sri Swami Chinmayananda in his commentary on Bhaja Govindam. I have benefited very much from Swami Chinmayananda’s Works.
Bhaja Govindam is one of the minor compositions of Sri Sankara. It is classified as a a primer to the major Works. However, the depth of wisdom and practical advice offered in this great work is of immense value and help to any sincere spiritual seeker. Also sung as a Bhajan (devotional song), this poetic garland strewn with pearls of knowledge contains the essence of Vedanta. It implores a person to think about a higher goal in life, of lasting happiness. It reveals the hollowness of mere pleasure seeking, the misery of disease and old age and the typical selfish nature of people. It provokes wise thinking and asks men and women to enquire about important questions such as “Who am I ? Why am I here in this life ? Why am I acquiring wealth, family, fame, power etc., but end up not having any enduring peace of mind ? What is the Truth ? What is the purpose of life ?”
When one reads Bhaja Govindam, it may seem dismal, bleak, cheerless and gloomy for some. But it is not meant to depress anyone. It is meant to make people gradually understand the downside of over-indulging in things of the world, while stressing the importance of attaining Self-Realization. So if one continues to read Bhaja Govindam with this attitude and ponder over it, they may not even have to do anything; wisdom will dawn by itself; the disadvantageous qualities wil just drop off by themselves. Sri Ramana Maharshi said that even if one does not understand a scripture, they should still read it; it will have its beneficial effect on the reader.
A surgeon may appear ruthless when he performs a surgery on a patient, but he does so only to save the patient and offer him a better life. Similarly, great spiritual Scriptures and Sages never compromise from telling the Truth. They say it like they see it, sometimes bluntly and directly, in order to wake up one who is slumbering in ignorance.
It is said that Sri Sankara burst forth with the first 12 stanzas of Bhaja Govindam. Thus the garland of stanzas 1-12 are called dvadasa manjarika stotram. Inspired by the extempore recital by Sankara, each of his 14 disciples composed a verse, and the 14 verse garland is called chaturdasa manjarika stotram. Sankara added the finishing touches by adding five of his own stanzas at the end bringing the total to 31.
The stanzas may be arranged or classified differently from other sources of Bhaja Govindam you might have seen. The order really does not matter. Each verse stands on its own and is helpful on its own. To read these verses and to contemplate on them is Satsang, getting in touch with God, the Real Self of the nature of Being-Consciousness-Bliss. It is really very simple. If we keep thinking about a Dog, we get a Dog. If we keep thinking about God, we get God. The option is ours.
Below is the song of “Bhajan Govindam”, the musical version of the verses.
If you like, you can listen to the song while looking at the lyrics.
Bhaja Govindam – Song
Sung By: Vasundhara
Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam,
Govindam Bhaja mooDha mate;
Sampraapthe sannihite kaale
Nahi nahi rakshati Dukrunghkarane. – 1
गोविन्दं भजमूढमते ।
सम्प्राप्ते सन्निहिते काले
नहि नहि रक्षति डुकृञ्करणे ॥ १॥
Worship God, Worship God,
Worship God, Oh deluded one.
When death, the appointed end of lifetime comes
Grammar rules will not save you. – 1
मूढ जहीहि धनागमतृष्णां कुरु सद्बुद्धिं मनसि वितृष्णाम् । यल्लभसे निजकर्मोपात्तं वित्तं तेन विनोदय चित्तम् ॥ २॥
Oh deluded one ! Give up the thirst to possess wealth.
Create in your mind thoughts of the Reality, devoid of passions.
With whatever you obtained as results from your past actions,
entertain your mind and be content. – 2
नारीस्तनभर नाभीदेशं दृष्ट्वा मागामोहावेशम् । एतन्मांसवसादि विकारं मनसि विचिन्तय वारं वारम् ॥ ३॥
Seeing a woman’s navel and chest, do not get carried away
by the storm of desires. These are only modifications of flesh.
Think well thus in your mind again and again. – 3
नलिनीदलगत जलमतितरलं तद्वज्जीवितमतिशयचपलम् । विद्धि व्याध्यभिमानग्रस्तं लोकं शोकहतं च समस्तम् ॥ ४॥
Just as a drop of water on a lotus leaf
has an extremely uncertain existence,
so also life is strange and uncertain.
Know that the whole perceived world is consumed
by disease, conceit (ego) and grief. – 4
यावद्वित्तोपार्जन सक्त- स्तावन्निज परिवारो रक्तः । पश्चाज्जीवति जर्जर देहे वार्तां कोऽपि न पृच्छति गेहे ॥ ५॥
As long as there is the ability to earn and save,
so long all your dependents (family, relatives and friends)
are attached to you. Later on when you come to live
with an old infirm body, no one at home
cares to speak even a word with you. – 5.
यावत्पवनो निवसति देहे तावत्पृच्छति कुशलं गेहे । गतवति वायौ देहापाये भार्या बिभ्यति तस्मिन्काये ॥ ६॥
As long as there dwells life-breath in the body,
so long they enquire of your welfare at home.
Once the life-breath leaves, the body decays,
and even his wife fears the very same body. – 6
बालस्तावत्क्रीडासक्तः तरुणस्तावत्तरुणीसक्तः । वृद्धस्तावच्चिन्तासक्तः परमे ब्रह्मणि कोऽपि न सक्तः ॥ ७॥
In one’s Childhood, one is attached to playing.
In one’s Youth, one is attached to one’s young woman.
In one’s Old age, one is attached to anxieties.
But there is no one who wants to be attached to Supreme Brahman (Almighty Self). – 7
Kaa te kantaa kaste putraha Samsaaroya mateeva vichitraha; Kasya twam ka kuta aayataha Tattvam chintaya tadiha bhraataha. – 8
काते कान्ता कस्ते पुत्रः संसारोऽयमतीव विचित्रः । कस्य त्वं कः कुत आयातः तत्त्वं चिन्तय तदिह भ्रातः ॥ ८॥
Who is your wife ? Who is your son ?
Supremely wonderful is this Samsara*.
Of whom are you ? From where have you come ?
Ponder over this truth here, Oh Brother. – 8
* Pronounced Samsaara : (the perceived empirical world)
सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्सङ्गत्वं निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् । निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥ ९॥
From association with the Wise comes non-attachment.
From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion.
Through freedom from delusion comes abiding in the Self, the Immutable Reality.
From abiding in the Self comes the state of “Liberated in Life”. – 9
Vayasi gate ka kama vikaraha Shushke neere ka kaasaaraha; NashTe dravye ka parivaaraha Gnathe tatve ka samsaaraha. – 10
वयसिगते कः कामविकारः शुष्के नीरे कः कासारः । क्षीणेवित्ते कः परिवारः ज्ञाते तत्त्वे कः संसारः ॥ १०॥
Where is passion when Youth has passed ?
Where is the lake when there is no water ?
Where are the relatives and retinue when wealth has diminished ?
Where is Samsara* when the Truth is realized ? – 10
* Pronounced Samsaara : (the perceived world of delusion)
Maa kuru dana jana youvana garvam Harati nimeshaath kaalaha sarvam; Maayamaya midamakilam hithwa Brahmapadam tvam pravisa viditva. – 11
मा कुरु धन जन यौवन गर्वं हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् । मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा var बुध्वा ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥ ११॥
Do not get conceited of your wealth, your people and your youth.
Time destroys each one of these in a minute.
Knowing their illusory nature, leaving all these aside,
Realize the State of Brahman (Timeless Reality) and enter into it. – 11
Dinayaaminyou, saayam praataha Sisira vasanthou punaraayatah; Kala kreedati gachat yaayuhu Tadapi na munjathyaasa vayuhu. – 12
दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रातः शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायातः । कालः क्रीडति गच्छत्यायुः तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशावायुः ॥ १२॥
Day and night, dusk and dawn,
Winter and spring come and go again and again.
Time sports with Life and Life ebbs away.
But one does not leave the storms of desires. – 12
This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian
by the all-knowing Sankara, adored as the Bhagavadpada.
Kaate kaantaa dhana gata chintaa
Vaatula kim tava naasti niyantaa
Trijagati sajjana sam gatiraikaa
Bhavati BhavaarNava taraNe noukaa. – 13
काते कान्ता धन गतचिन्ता वातुल किं तव नास्ति नियन्ता । त्रिजगति सज्जनसं गतिरैका भवति भवार्णवतरणे नौका ॥ १३॥
Oh Distracted one! Why worry about wife, wealth etc. ?
Is there not for you the One who ordains?
In the three worlds, the “association with wise people” alone
can serve as a boat to cross the sea of change (birth and death). – 13
Above Stanza attributed to Padmapaada.
Jatilo mundee lunchita kesaha Kaashayaambara bahu kruta veshaha; Pasyannapi cha na pasyati mooDhaha Udara nimithtam bahu krutha veshaha. – 14
जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः । पश्यन्नपि चन पश्यति मूढः उदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः ॥ १४॥
One ascetic with matted locks, one with a shaven head,
one with hairs pulled out one by one, another parading
in ochre robes – these are fools who, though seeing, do not see.
Indeed these different disguises or apparels are only
for the sake of their stomach. – 14
अङ्गं गलितं पलितं मुण्डं दशनविहीनं जातं तुण्डम् । वृद्धो याति गृहीत्वा दण्डं तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापिण्डम् ॥ १५॥
The body has become worn out. The head has turned grey.
The mouth has become toothless. The old man moves about
leaning on his staff. Even then he does not leave the bundle of his desires. – 15
अग्रे वह्निः पृष्ठेभानुः रात्रौ चुबुकसमर्पितजानुः । करतलभिक्षस्तरुतलवासः तदपि न मुञ्चत्याशापाशः ॥ १६॥
In front the fire, at the back the Sun,
late at night he sits with his knees held to his chin.
He receives alms in this own scooped palm of the hand and lives under the shelter of some tree. And yet, the noose
of his desires does not spare him. – 16.
कुरुते गङ्गासागरगमनं व्रतपरिपालनमथवा दानम् । ज्ञानविहीनः सर्वमतेन मुक्तिं न भजति जन्मशतेन ॥ १७॥ var भजति न मुक्तिं
One may in pilgrimage go to where the Ganges
meets the ocean called the Gangasagar. Or observe vows.
Or distribute gifts away in charity. But if he is devoid of
first hand experience of Truth-Knowlege (Jnanam),
according to all schools of thought, he gains no Liberation
(Self-Realization), even in hundred lives.
Above Stanza attributed to vArtikakAra.
Sura mandhira tharu moola nivaasa,
Sayya bhoothala majinam vaasa,
Sarvapariguha bhoga thyaaga,
Kasya sukham na karothi viraaga. – 18
सुर मन्दिर तरु मूल निवासः शय्या भूतल मजिनं वासः । सर्व परिग्रह भोग त्यागः कस्य सुखं न करोति विरागः ॥ १८॥
Dwelling in temples, under some tree, sleeping on the bare ground,
wearing a cloth, and thus renouncing all ideas of possession
and thirst to enjoy, to whom will not dispassion bring happiness ? – 18
योगरतो वाभोगरतोवा सङ्गरतो वा सङ्गविहीनः । यस्य ब्रह्मणि रमते चित्तं नन्दति नन्दति नन्दत्येव ॥ १९॥
Let one revel in Yoga (mental contact with the Self),
or let him revel in Bhoga (enjoyment).
Let one seek enjoyment in company, or let him revel
in solitude away from the crowd. He whose mind revels in Brahman (Supreme Reality),
He enjoys… He enjoys… indeed He alone enjoys. – 19
भगवद् गीता किञ्चिदधीता गङ्गा जललव कणिकापीता । सकृदपि येन मुरारि समर्चा क्रियते तस्य यमेन न चर्चा ॥ २०॥
To one who has studied the Bhagavad Geeta even a little,
he who has sipped at least a drop of Ganges-water,
he who has worshipped at least once the Lord Murari
to him there is no dispute with Yama (Lord of Death). – 20
Note : Lord Murari : (Sri Krishna, the destroyer of the demon Mura)
पुनरपि जननं पुनरपि मरणं पुनरपि जननी जठरे शयनम् । इह संसारे बहुदुस्तारे कृपयाऽपारे पाहि मुरारे ॥ २१॥
Again and again one is born, again and again one dies,
Again and again one lies in the mother’s womb.
This Samsar (limitless Sea of Life) is very hard to cross over.
Please save me, Oh Lord Murari, through Your Infinite Kindness. – 21
Note : Lord Murari : (Sri Krishna, the destroyer of the demon Mura)
रथ्या चर्पट विरचित कन्थः पुण्यापुण्य विवर्जित पन्थः । योगी योगनियोजित चित्तो रमते बालोन्मत्तवदेव ॥ २२॥
The Yogin who wears but a “godadi “*, who walks the path
that is beyond merit and demerit, whose mind is joined
in perfect Yoga with its goal, he revels (in God-consciousness),
and lives thereafter as a child or as a mad man. – 22
* godadi: A shawl made up of pieces of cloth rejected by others, picked up from the streets and stitched together.
Above Stanza attributed to surendra.
Kasthwam Ko aham kutha ayatha?
Kaa me janani ko me thatha.
Ithi paribhavaaya sarvamasaaram,
Viswam tyakthwa swapna vichaaram. – 23
कस्त्वं कोऽहं कुत आयातः का मे जननी को मे तातः । इति परिभावय सर्वमसारम् विश्वं त्यक्त्वा स्वप्न विचारम् ॥ २३॥
Who are you ? Who am I ? From where did I come ?
Who is my mother ? Who is my father?
Thus enquire, leaving aside the entire world of experiences (Viswam),
essenceless and a mere dreamland, born of imagination (swapna vicharam). – 23
त्वयि मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णुः व्यर्थं कुप्यसि मय्यसहिष्णुः । भव समचित्तः सर्वत्र त्वं वाञ्छस्यचिराद्यदि विष्णुत्वम् ॥ २४॥
In you and in me and and in all other places too,
there is but one All-Pervading Reality.
Being impatient, you are unnecessarily getting angry with me.
If you want to attain soon the Reality-State, be equanimous and well-balanced under all circumstances. – 24
Above Stanza attributed to medhAtithira.
Sathrou mithre puthre bandhou,
Maa kuru yathnam vigraha sandhou,
Sarvathrothsyuja bhedaajnanam. – 25
शत्रौ मित्रे पुत्रे बन्धौ मा कुरु यत्नं विग्रहसन्धौ । सर्वस्मिन्नपि पश्यात्मानं सर्वत्रोत्सृज भेदाज्ञानम् ॥ २५॥
Do not strive or waste your energy to fight against, or to make friends with your enemy, friend, children or relative. Seeking the Self everywhere, lift the sense of difference,
the plurality born out of ignorance of the Truth. – 25
कामं क्रोधं लोभं मोहं त्यक्त्वाऽऽत्मानं भावय कोऽहम्। var पश्यति सोऽहम् आत्मज्ञान विहीना मूढाः ते पच्यन्ते नरकनिगूढाः ॥ २६॥
Leaving desire, anger, greed and delusion,
the seeker sees in the Self – “He Am I”.
They are fools who do not have Self-Knowledge,
and consequently they are tortured in hell. – 26
Above Stanza attributed to bhArativamsha.
Geyam Githa, Nama sahasram,
Dhyeyam sri pathi roopamajasram,
Neyam sajjana sange chittam,
Dheyam deenajanaaya cha vitham. – 27
गेयं गीता नाम सहस्रं ध्येयं श्रीपति रूपमजस्रम् । नेयं सज्जन सङ्गे चित्तं देयं दीनजनाय च वित्तम् ॥ २७॥
Bhagavad Gita and Sahasranama (Thousand Names of God) should be chanted. Always the form of God should be meditated upon.
The mind should be led towards the company of the wise.
Wealth should be shared with the needy.- 27
सुखतः क्रियते रामाभोगः पश्चाद्धन्त शरीरे रोगः । यद्यपि लोके मरणं शरणं तदपि न मुञ्चति पापाचरणम् ॥ २८॥
Readily one indulges in carnal pleasures.
Later on, alas, come diseases of the body.
Even though in the world the ultimate end is death,
still the man does not leave his sinful behaviour. – 28
अर्थमनर्थं भावय नित्यं नास्तिततः सुखलेशः सत्यम् । पुत्रादपि धन भाजां भीतिः सर्वत्रैषा विहिता रीतिः ॥ २९॥
“Wealth is meaningless (useless)”, thus contemplate constantly.
The truth is that there is no happiness at all to be obtained from it.
To the rich man, there is fear even from his own son.
This is the way of wealth everywhere.
Nithyaa nithya viveka vichaaram,
Jaapyasametha samadhi vidhaanam,
Kurvavadhaanam mahadava dhaanam. – 30
The control of all activities (of life’s manifestations in you),
the sense withdrawal (from their respective sense-objects),
the reflection (consisting of discrimination between the permanent
and the impermanent), along with Japa (chanting) and practice
of the reaching the Total Inner Silence (Samadhi) –
all these perform with care….with great care. – 30
गुरुचरणाम्बुज निर्भर भक्तः संसारादचिराद्भव मुक्तः । सेन्द्रियमानस नियमादेवं द्रक्ष्यसि निज हृदयस्थं देवम् ॥ ३१॥
Oh Devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru (Teacher) !
May you become liberated soon from Samsara* through the discipline
of the sense organs and the mind. You will come to
experience (behold) the Lord That dwells in your own Heart. – 31
* Pronounced Samsaara : (the perceived world of delusion)
आदौ कर्मप्रसङ्गात्कलयति कलुषं मातृकुक्षौ स्थितं मां विण्मूत्रामेध्यमध्ये कथयति नितरां जाठरो जातवेदाः । यद्यद्वै तत्र दुःखं व्यथयति नितरां शक्यते केन वक्तुं क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ १॥
Due to the my previous birth Karmas, I was born inside my mother’s womb. Placed between
urine body waste and heat. Everything was dry. It was sheer unhappiness. Burnt immensely
by the heat of the digestive fire. No one can describe the sufferings that I underwent.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva0 Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho0 – 1
Baalye duhkha-atireko, mala-lulita-vapuhu, stanya-paane pipaasaa,
No shaktashch-endriyebhyo, bhavaguna-janitaahaa, jantavo maam tudanti,
Naanaa-rogaadi-duhkhaad-rudana-paravashaha, sankaram na smaraami,
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 2
बाल्ये दुःखातिरेको मललुलितवपुः स्तन्यपाने पिपासा नो शक्तश्चेन्द्रियेभ्यो भवगुणजनिताः जन्तवो मां तुदन्ति । नानारोगादिदुःखाद्रुदनपरवशः शङ्करं न स्मरामि क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ २॥
Due to considerable misery during early childhood, I rolled in dirt, with a dirty body.
I was interested only in breast milk. All kinds of insects also bit me often,
which I was not able to prevent. Was also attacked by many great illnesses.
Only thing I could do was cry. So I did not worship You, Lord Sankara.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 2
Praudhoaham yauvanastho, vishaya-vishha-dharaihi, pajnchabhir-marmasandhau,
Dashhto nashhtoa-vivekaha, suta-dhana-yuvati-svaadu-saukhye nishhannaha,
Saivii-chintaa-vihiinam, mama hridayam, aho maanagarva-adhiruudham,
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 3
प्रौढोऽहं यौवनस्थो विषयविषधरैः पञ्चभिर्मर्मसन्धौ दष्टो नष्टोऽविवेकः सुतधनयुवतिस्वादुसौख्ये निषण्णः । शैवीचिन्ताविहीनं मम हृदयमहो मानगर्वाधिरूढं क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ३॥
When I was passing through the period of Youth, I was involved with the poison of objects.
I was bitten by the five Snakes of the Senses on the vulnerable spots of my Heart. Hence
I lost my wisdom and discriminating power. Began concentrating on the pleasures of children,
riches and women. I was self-conceited and egotistical. So I could not think of You, Lord Siva.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 3
Vaardhakye chendriyaanaam, vigata-gati-matish-cha, adhidaivaadi-taapaihi,
Paapai rogair-viyogai-stvanavasita-vapuhu praudhahiinam cha diinam,
Mithyaa-mohaabhilaashhair-bhramati mama mano dhuurjater-dhyaana-suunyam
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 4
वार्धक्ये चेन्द्रियाणां विगतगतिमतिश्चाधिदैवादितापैः पापै रोगैर्वियोगैस्त्वनवसितवपुः प्रौढहीनं च दीनम् । मिथ्यामोहाभिलाषैर्भ्रमति मम मनो धूर्जटेर्ध्यानशून्यं क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ४॥
When I was passing through old age, my five senses got weakened, my wisdom lost its memory,
and my body became weak. Due to inherent pain and misery, and diseases never leaving the body,
my mind started roaming behind useless passions and desires. So I did not meditate on You.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 4
स्नात्वा प्रत्यूषकाले स्नपनविधिविधौ नाहृतं गाङ्गतोयं पूजार्थं वा कदाचिद्बहुतरगहनात्खण्डबिल्वीदलानि । नानीता पद्ममाला सरसि विकसिता गन्धधूपैः त्वदर्थं क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ६॥
Having taken bath at dawn and after performing all the morning rituals,
I did not bring Ganga4 water for Puuja5. I did not offer whole Bilva6 leaves,
garland of lotuses bloomed in the lake. I did not offer fragrant incenses, lighted lamps, etc.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 6
दुग्धैर्मध्वाज्युतैर्दधिसितसहितैः स्नापितं नैव लिङ्गं नो लिप्तं चन्दनाद्यैः कनकविरचितैः पूजितं न प्रसूनैः । धूपैः कर्पूरदीपैर्विविधरसयुतैर्नैव भक्ष्योपहारैः क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ७॥
I did not perform Abhishekam7 on Siva-Lingam8 with milk, honey
and yoghurt. I did not apply Sandalwood9 paste. I did not offer gold and
flower garlands. I did not offer incenses, lit camphor and a variety of tasty food to You.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 7
No shakyam smaarta-karma, pratipada-gahana, pratyavaaya-aakulaakhyam,
Sraute vaartaa katham, me dvijakula-vihite, brahma-maargeasu-saare,
Na-aasthaa dharma, vichaaraihi shravana-mananayoho, kim nididhyaasitavyam,
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 5
नो शक्यं स्मार्तकर्म प्रतिपदगहनप्रत्यवायाकुलाख्यं श्रौते वार्ता कथं मे द्विजकुलविहिते ब्रह्ममार्गेऽसुसारे । ज्ञातो धर्मो विचारैः श्रवणमननयोः किं निदिध्यासितव्यं क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ५॥
I was unable to observe the complex rules of Dharma1 daily. What to say
about following the rules of Vedas2 well, as told by Brahmins3?
I do not have faith in Dharma1. I am unable to think of or understand
them by listening to Vedas2. I am also unable to ponder and meditate
upon You. So what is the use of daily learning?
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 5
ध्यात्वा चित्ते शिवाख्यं प्रचुरतरधनं नैव दत्तं द्विजेभ्यो हव्यं ते लक्षसङ्ख्यैर्हुतवहवदने नार्पितं बीजमन्त्रैः । नो तप्तं गाङ्गातीरे व्रतजननियमैः रुद्रजाप्यैर्न वेदैः क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ८॥
Never did I give much money to Brahmins with thought of Lord Siva in my mind.
Never did I perform fire sacrifices chanting millions of Mantras.
Never did I meditate on the banks of the Holy Ganga4.
Never did I perform penances based on Vedas3.
And never did I chant the Rudram10.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 8
Nagno nihsanga-suddhas, trigunavirahito, dhvasta-moha-andhakaaro,
Naasaagre nyastadrishhtir, viditabhavaguno, naiva drishhtaha kadaachith,
Unmanyaa-avasthayaa, tvaam vigata-kalimalam, sankaram na smaraami,
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 10
नग्नो निःसङ्गशुद्धस्त्रिगुणविरहितो ध्वस्तमोहान्धकारो नासाग्रे न्यस्तदृष्टिर्विदितभवगुणो नैव दृष्टः कदाचित् । उन्मन्याऽवस्थया त्वां विगतकलिमलं शङ्करं न स्मरामि क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ १०॥
Never have I concentrated on the tip of my nose16 and try to personify
You – Who is unattached, Who is ever pure, Who is free from the three Gunas14 –
Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. And Who is capable of dispelling delusion and ignorance.
I did not worship You, Lord Siva.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho..10
Sthithwa sthane saroje, pranavamaya-marut-Kundale sookshma-marge,
Santhe swanthe praleene, prakatitha-vibhave, Jyothi rope parakhye,
Lingagne brahmavakye, sakala-thanu-gatham, Sankaram na smarami,
Kshantavyo me aparaadhaha, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 9
स्थित्वा स्थाने सरोजे प्रणवमयमरुत्कुम्भके (कुण्डले) सूक्ष्ममार्गे शान्ते स्वान्ते प्रलीने प्रकटितविभवे ज्योतिरूपेऽपराख्ये । लिङ्गज्ञे ब्रह्मवाक्ये सकलतनुगतं शङ्करं न स्मरामि क्षन्तव्यो मेऽपराधः शिव शिव शिव भो श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ ९॥
Never did I sit in a lonely place in a meditation posture, and send the Kundalini11
and the Breath of the form of Pranava12 through the subtle path to reach
the ever shining Para Brahma13. And never did I calm my mind and meditate
on ParamaSiva0 Who transcends the physical body and Who is the essence of Vedas3.
Please pardon and forgive my faults, Siva Siva Siva Bho, Sri Mahaadeva Sambho – 9.
Chandrod-bhaasita-shekhare smarahare gangaadhare shankare
Sarpair-bhuushhita-kantha-karna-yugale (vivare) netrottha-vaishvaanare
Dantitvak-krita-sundara-ambara-dhare trailokya-saare hare
Moksha-artham kuru chitta-vrittim-achalaam-anyaistu kim karmabhihi – 11
चन्द्रोद्भासितशेखरे स्मरहरे गङ्गाधरे शङ्करे सर्पैर्भूषितकण्ठकर्णयुगले (विवरे) नेत्रोत्थवैश्वानरे । दन्तित्वक्कृतसुन्दराम्बरधरे त्रैलोक्यसारे हरे मोक्षार्थं कुरु चित्तवृत्तिमचलामन्यैस्तु किं कर्मभिः ॥ ११॥
Oh Lord, Who wears the moon-ornamented crown, Who is the enemy of the God of Passion,
Who carries Ganga4 in His head, Who gives peace to His devotees, Who wears
snakes on His neck and ears, Who has fire in His eyes, Who wears the hide of the elephant,
And Who is the Lord of the three worlds.
Please show me the Path of Liberation, for what is the use of any other path? – 11
Kim yaaanena dhanena, vaajikaribhihi, praaptena raajyena kim,
Kim vaa putra-kalatra-mitra,-pasubhir-dehena, gehena kim,
Gyaatvai-tat-kshana-bhanguram, sapadi re tyaajyam, mano duurataha,
Svaatmaartham guruvaakyato, bhaja bhaja shriipaarvatiivallabham – 12
किं वाऽनेन धनेन वाजिकरिभिः प्राप्तेन राज्येन किं किं वा पुत्रकलत्रमित्रपशुभिर्देहेन गेहेन किम् । ज्ञात्वैतत्क्षणभङ्गुरं सपदि रे त्याज्यं मनो दूरतः स्वात्मार्थं गुरुवाक्यतो भज मन श्रीपार्वतीवल्लभम् ॥ १२॥
Oh Mind, what is the use of charity, riches, horses, and getting a kingdom?
What is the use of children, wife, friends and cows? What is the use of this house and this body,
for all these can be destroyed in a second. Keep them all away. And for the sake of redemption
of the soul, meditate on the consort of Goddess Paarvathi15, according to the lessons
taught by Your Teacher – 12
आयुर्नश्यति पश्यतां प्रतिदिनं याति क्षयं यौवनं प्रत्यायान्ति गताः पुनर्न दिवसाः कालो जगद्भक्षकः । लक्ष्मीस्तोयतरङ्गभङ्गचपला विद्युच्चलं जीवितं तस्मात्त्वां (मां) शरणागतं शरणद त्वं रक्ष रक्षाधुना ॥ १३॥
Please listen. Daily span of Life decreases, Youth daily dissipates,
the Days that are past never return. Time swallows the world. And Life
and Wealth are not permanent, because they are like the tide and lightning.
Therefore, I am surrendering at Your Holy Feet.
Please protect this devotee of Yours forever – 13
करचरणकृतं वाक्कायजं कर्मजं वा श्रवणनयनजं वा मानसं वाऽपराधम् । विहितमविहितं वा सर्वमेतत्क्ष्मस्व शिव शिव करुणाब्धे श्री महादेव शम्भो ॥ १६॥
Whatever faults or mistakes I have committed so far with the help of my hands,
legs, speech and body; also due to my actions; also by seeing and hearing;
or may be mentally; or by failing to follow the injunctions of Veda;
for all these, Siva Siva, All-Merciful and Compassionate, please forgive me.
You are the Lord of all Deities and One Whose nature is to Bless All – 16
This is a prayer called Siva Aparaadha Kshmapana Stotram composed by Adi Sri Sankaracharya.
0 Siva: Auspicious, The primary name of the Lord of Cosmic Balance, one of the many Names of the Lord Siva.
1 Dharma: Righteous behaviour according to one’s inherent nature.
2 Vedas: Hindu Scriptures.
3 Brahmins: Those who abide in Brahman, the Real Being of the nature of Existence, Awareness and Bliss.
4 Ganga: The Holy Ganges River.
5 Bilva: A certain kind of leaf that is offered for Worship.
6 Puuja: The process of Worship.
7 Abhishekam: A kind of worship where different kinds of aromatic and delicious items are placed or poured on the Idol of the God or Goddess Who is symbolic of the Higher Power.
8 Siva-Lingam: A specific symbol of Lord Siva.
9 Sandal wood: An aromatic wood whose paste is smeared on the body for its fragrance.
10 Rudram: Divine and Sacred Poetry offered to Lord Siva. Rudra is a name of Siva.
11 Kundalini: It is an energy that exists in everyone’s body, usually in a dormant state.
12 Pranava: The Divine Mantra AUM (OM).
13 Para Brahma: The All-Pervading Self.
14 Gunas: Qualities of the Mind. They are typically three: Sattwa (Purity), Rajas (incessant activity) and Tamas (dullness and inertia).
15 Paarvathi: One of the Holy Names of Goddess Uma, the consort of Lord Siva. 16Concentrating on the tip of the nose: This does not mean literally exerting oneself strenuously to try and stare cross-eyed at the tip of the nose. It means the inward turning of the mind, and keeping the mind away from external distractions.