[Advaita-l] Upadesha Panchakam

Abhishek RK rkabhi at gmail.com
Sat Jul 29 04:54:35 CDT 2006

Upadesha Panchakam


In the archives, I saw that a member has already posted this
composition but without the sanskrit original. In these posts I will
follow the introduction and translation of Vimarshananda, from an
article included in "shankaraH and shAnkaraH" a book  published by
vedAnta bhArati, Mysore. Regarding the article, I am not so sure of
the translation. I would welcome the members correcting me and also,
adding their valuable commentary to the shlokas.

upadeshapa~nchakaM was composed by AchArya Adisha~Nkara bhagavatpAda
to enable those who were not erudite enough to understand the bhAShyas
to reach mukti. It is called upadesha pa~nchakaM because it is in the
form of instructions to disciples. Because of its inherent excellence,
it is compared to five gems and is called pa~ncharatna. It is also
called sopAnapa~chakaM (the five steps of the ladder) because it
narrates the steps by which a brahmAchAri can ultimately attain mukti.

Each of the verses contains eight pieces of instruction and thus the
five shlokas together contain forty seperate steps of advice.

In the first shloka, the dharma for the brahmAchAri, the gR^ihastha
and the vAnaprastha is enumerated, together with a final exhortation
to leave hearth and home to become a sannyAsi. In the second shloka,
certain dharmas which the sannyAsi has to follow are mentioned.
Reference is also made to shravaNa. This refers to the oral
instruction from a Guru. In the third shloka, the importance of manana
and nididhyAsana is enjoined. In the next, as well as the final
shloka, is mentioned the the way in which a j~Nani lives on to the
extent of his prArabdha.

These five verses should be related to the four Ashramas through which
a dvija has to pass. The emphasis is undoubtedly on the last Ashrama,
entering which alone, according to the AcArya, can lead to mukti.



satyena dhAryate pR^ithvi satyena tapate raviH|
satyena vAti vAyushca sarvaM satye pratishThitam||

calA lakShmIshcalAH prANAshcalaM jIvita yauvanaM|
calAcale ca saMsAre dharma eko hi nishcalaH||

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