Upadesha panchaka of Shankara (Re: Advaita 1001)

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Fri Nov 8 21:07:25 CST 1996

On Fri, 8 Nov 1996, Anand Hudli wrote:

>    Consider what Shankara says in the upadesha panchaka
>    vedo nityamadhiiyataaM taduditaM karma svanushhThiiyataaM
>    teneshasya vidhiiyataamapachitiH kaamye matistyajyataaM  |
>    paapaughaH paridhuuyataaM bhavasukhe doshho .anusandhiiyataa-
>    maatmechchhaa vyavasiiyataaM nijagR^ihaattuurNaM vinirgamyataaM ||
>    Study the Vedas constantly; perform the karma's (rituals, at least
>    the nitya karma's) mentioned in the (vedas) well; by the performance
>    of those karma's, worship the Lord; abandon attachment to desire-driven
>    action; wash away the accumulated sins; reflect on the defects of
>    happiness derived from samsaaric existence; be firm in desiring the
>    (realization of) the Self; quickly leave your house (ie. take to
>    sannyaasa).

Is this also called Saadhana Panchakam ?

>   Some excellent material deleted for brevity

>   Near the end of the stanza, Shankara asks us to reflect on the defects
>   of happiness derived from the external world. Whatever material happiness
>   is gained is after great effort, and even after having achieved it, it
>  is only fleeting. It ends in sorrow. Reflecting on this again and again,
>   the mind is to be turned towards the Self. When one has a firm conviction
>   that he/she desires the Self and nothing else, one should renounce
>   the world.

Even when one has a firm conviction that he/she desires the Self and
nothing else, can one do it (renounce the world) ?

How about people that depend on the person who wants to renounce ?
Is the person duty-bound to wait until the dependents are no longer
dependents ? Can one just walk away from the committments ? But then,
when do the committments end ?

What is renouncing ? Does it mean going away to Himalayas or away from
the world ? Or just simply shun the worldly activities and be within
oneself ? Does taking a salary cheque mean the person has not
renounced ?

In the same Upadesa (Sadhana) Panchakam (verse 4), Shri Shankara says

"svadannam na tu yaachyatam,  vidhivasat praaptena santuushyatam"

Do not beg for delicious food,  live contentedly on whatever comes
your way as prompted by destiny

Can a person take solace in this statement by Shri Shankara that even
though one does not take sanyaasa (becaue of other duties), if one
has accepted what has come his/her way, is that a satisfactory
alternative ?

I believe Gita supports that view.

>   Anand

Gummuluru Murthy
Adau ante ca yan nAsti vartamAnepi tat tathA !
                                GaudapAda in Mandukya kArika
What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
 end is as good as non-existent even in the present.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list