Vivekachudamani

includes modern movements; ISKCON, SRF, TM, etc.
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Nicholas
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Vivekachudamani

Post by Nicholas »

Often translated as the Crest Jewel of Wisdom is one the best known works by Shankara. Whether it was by the Adi or First Shankara I leave to others. There are almost 600 verses. Here is how Chatterji's version begins:
I prostrate myself before the true teacher—before him who is
revealed by the conclusions of all systems of Vedantic philosophy, but is
himself unknown, Govinda the supreme bliss. (1)

Among sentient creatures birth as a man is difficult of attainment,
among human beings manhood, among men to be a Brahmana, among
Brahmanas desire to follow the path of Vedic Dharma, and among those,
learning. But the spiritual knowledge which discriminates between spirit
and non-spirit, the practical realization of the merging of oneself in
Brahmātman and final emancipation from the bonds of matter are
unattainable except by the good karma of hundreds of crores of incarnations. (2)

These three, so difficult of attainment, are acquired only by the
kindness of the (Devas) Gods, humanity, desire for emancipation, and the
guidance of (spiritually) Great Men. (3)

One who, having with difficulty acquired a human incarnation and
in that manhood a knowledge of the scriptures, through delusions does
not labour for emancipation, is a suicide destroying himself in trying to
attain illusive objects. (4)

Who is there on this earth with soul more dead than he who, having
obtained a human incarnation and a male body, madly strives for the
attainment of selfish objects? (5)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas
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Re: Vivekachudamani

Post by Nicholas »

Swami Madhavananda handles these verses like so:
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.

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

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

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.

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?
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Nicholas
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Re: Vivekachudamani

Post by Nicholas »

He may study the scriptures, propitiate the gods (by sacrifices),
perform religious ceremonies, or offer devotion to the gods, yet he will
not attain salvation even during the succession of a hundred Brahmayugas,
except by the knowledge of union with the spirit. (6)

The immortality attained through the acquisition of any objective
condition (such as that of a god) is liable to end, as it is distinctly stated
in the scriptures (śruti) that Karma is never the cause of emancipation. (7)

Therefore the wise man strives for his salvation, having renounced
his desires for the enjoyment of external objects, and betakes himself to
a true and great teacher and accepts his teaching with an unshaken soul. (8)

And by the practice of right discrimination attained by the path of
Yoga he rescues the soul—the soul drowned in the sea of conditioned existence. (9)

After giving up all karma for the purpose of removing the bonds of
conditioned existence, those wise men with resolute minds should
endeavour to gain a knowledge of their own Atman. (10)

Actions are for the purification of the heart, not for the attainment
of the real substance. The substance can be attained by right
discrimination, but not by any amount of Karma. (11)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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