book list volunteer - Panchadasi

Vaidya Sundaram Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Tue Mar 9 21:19:02 CST 1999

 As Vivek said he would slowly (and surely! :-)) make a collection of Advaitic
works, I have made a short "intro" of one of the books. This one is on the
panchadasi; I have posted it to the list for a few reasons: Those who are
thinking of helping in making this book reference will not have to dupilicate
it; and knowledgable list members can correct any errors there may be in this.
As much as possible, I have tried to stick to the introdcution (by T.M.P
Mahadevan)  to the monumental work. and also, if possible, I request members to
let every one else know the work they are trying to summarize. My next posting
on this thread will be on the VivekachUdAmani.

 I have tried to classify the books on a scale of 1 - 10, one for beginer, and
10 for funda guys :-)! Ofcourse, it is my opinion alone, and needs suggestions
from members.

bhava Shankara desikame sharanam|

Panchadasi: (scale 3)

 A post Shankara Advaita VedAnta classic, by Sri VidyAranya Swami, former
Pontiff of Srngeri. (Approximate time period: 1370's AD). He is also said to
have  authored Drk-Drsya-Viveka, Sarvadarsana Samgraha, Sri Sankara-Digvijaya,
jIvanmukti Viveka, AnubhUti prakAsa, Vivarna-prameyasamgraha, Upanishad DIpikA
and a few others.
 The Panchadasi can be considered a manual of Advaita VedAnta. In general, there
are two types of Advaita-works:
   those that are intended to serve as books of instruction for the follower,
   those that seek to show through dialectics that the philosophical positions
   that oppose Advaita are not tenable.

 The panchadasi belongs to the first type. As Sri VidyAranya says at the outset,
the aim of his work is to explain the supreme truth in an easily understandable
manner to those whose hearts have been purified through the worship of the lotus
like feet of the Guru. It is a book of guidance to the seeker through
instruction.  It indicates the various methods by means of which the
discrimination could be gained. The Panchadasi is so named because it consists
of fifteen chapters (panchadasa-prakaraNa). The fifteen chapters are grouped
into three quintads: viveka-pancaka (dealing with the discrimination of the real
from the non-real), dIpa-pancaka (exppounding teh nature of the Self as pure
consciousness), and Ananda-pancaka (dwelling on the bliss nature of Brahman). It
is, for the sake of convenience, stated that the three quintads have for their
theme, the three aspects of Brahman - sat (existence), cit (consciousness) and
Ananda (bliss) respectively.  The concepts of jIva, mAya and others are directly
dealt with in the Panchadasi. And each is analysed from different standpoints,
to show their essesntial unreality. Also, what some people may consider as
(alternative?) immediate instruments of release are also analysed.

 Just as the individual soul and its states could be analysed with a view to
discovering the Self, the external objective world could also be analysed with
the same end in view. Beginning with the grossest element, earth, we have
progressivley subtler elements: water, fire, air and ether ...

 The Self is of the nature of pure Consciousness; it is unfailing light; ever
present awareness. In Chap 7, there is an exposition of the nature of immutable
Self which is the witness-consciousness, unchanging, flawless, and eternal.
Quoting from different Upanishads, Sri VidyAranya says: "UddAlaka Aruni
describes Brahman as existence (sat) bby nature; in the Aittareya upanishad of
the Rgveda, the nature of Brahman is indicated as prajn~Ana (consciousness); and
SanatkumAra refers to Brahman as of the nature of Ananda (Bliss). Existence,
consciousness, and bliss are not parts of Brahman, or its attributes; they
constitute its essesntial nature (svarUpa) ...

Pörnam adah` pörnam idam pörnaat pörnam udach`yaté |
Pörnasya pörnam ädaya pörnam éva avasish`yatè ||

The Absolute[adah] remains Perfect [poornam]as before, while the derivatives are
also Perfect [idam, poornam,]. Even though a Perfect is derived from the
original Whole, Perfect[poornasya, poornam, aadaya], the Original Perfect remain
Whole and Perfect.[poornam, eva, avasishyate.]

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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