booklist volunteer - VivekachUdAmani

Vaidya Sundaram Vaidya_Sundaram at I2.COM
Sat Mar 27 16:03:37 CST 1999

From: Vaidya Sundaram at I2TECH on 03/27/99 04:03 PM

The VivekachUdAmani is a philosophical treatise expounding the cardinal truths
of Advaita vedanta, according to which, liberation or moksha can be secured only
through jnana, which in the first instance, begins with the discrimination
between the eternal and the transient, nityAnitya vastu viveka. Literally the
Crest jewel of Discrimination, this text is of paramount importance to all
advaita vedantins and emphasises the importance of viveka in the quest for
liberation, and is to be revered as the Bhagavad Gita itself. Sri Adi
SankarAcharya in his compassion has clearly taken the sisya (in my opinion,
every reader) step by step, slowly and surely, to that ultimate destination.
 Sri Jagadguru Chandrasekara Bharati, himself a jivanmukta, former pontiff of
Sringeri, realised that even this excellent work could do with some explanation,
and has written an excellent commentary on it.

Of all births, that as a human being is rare to obtain Like the verse in the
bhagavad Gita: ashocyAnanvashocastvam praj~nAvAdAmsca bhAsase |
gatAsUnagatAsUmsca nAnusocanti paNditAh: || "Thou grievest for those who should
not be grieved for; thou speakest like wise men; but those who have attained
Atmaj~nAna are not concerned either with the state of death or of being alive",
this verse in the vivekachUdAmani beginning with jantUnAm ... gives in a
nutshell the entire substance of the work.  An Astika alone is qualified to
embark on the study of VedAnta sAstra. An Astika is  one who believes in the
existence of the Atman apart from the body. By saying that birt as a human being
is difficult to obtain, the fact of the exixtence of the Atman apart from the
body is conveyed by implication.

 TO begin with, the Guru says "You are really the paramAtman. Your involvement
in the bondage of samsArA is due to your understanding being clouded by ajn~Ana.
This bondage to the anaatman is itself samsra. The fire of the discrimination
between the Atman and the anaatman will completely burn out the effect of

 The sisya then asks seven questions of the Guru.
 1. What is bondage?
 2. How did it arise?
 3. How does it continue?
 4. How is one released from it?
 5. What is this anaatman?
 6. Which is the paramAtman?
 7. How to distinguish between the aatman and the anaatman?

 The Guru starts answering, taking up the fourth question first, and slowly
leads the sisya step by step to liberation.

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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