Vivek Chudamani


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The Vivekachudamani (Sanskrit: विवेकचूडामणि) is a famous work by Adi Shankara that expounds Advaita Vedanta philosophy.[1] InVivekachudamani, Shankara describes developing Viveka—the human faculty of discrimination—as the central task in the spiritual life and calls it the "crown jewel" among the essentials for Moksha.[2] 'Viveka' means discrimination, 'Chuda' is crest, and 'Mani' means jewel. Hence the title means 'Crest-jewel of discrimination'.[3] Sankara wrote commentaries on the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. His principal work is the Vivekachudamani.[4]




Vivekachudamani consists of 580 verses in Sanskrit. It has the form of dialogue between the master and the disciple,[5] where the master explains to the disciple the nature of the Atmanand the ways to research and know the Atman. The book takes the disciple on a step by step instructions to reach Brahman.

The text begins with Adi Shankara's salutations to Govinda, which can be interpreted either as referring to God or to his guru Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada.[3] It then expounds the significance of Self Realisation, ways to reach it, and the characteristics of a Guru. It criticizes attachment to the body and goes to explain the various SareerasKosasGunasSensesand Pranas. It teaches the disciple the ways to attain Self realisation, methods of meditation (dhyana) and introspection of the Atman. The Vivekachudamani describes the characteristics of an enlightened man (Jivanmukta)[6] and a man of steady wisdom (Sthitaprajna) on the lines of Bhagavad Gita.[7]


There are two Sanskrit commentaries on this work. Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati, the pontiff of Sringeri, wrote a commentary titled Vivekodaya (Dawn of Discrimination) on the first 7 verses of this work. His disciple, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi has written a Vyakhya or commentary on the first 515 verses of this work.

This work has been repeatedly translated into various languages, often accompanied by a commentary in the same language. English translations and commentaries include those by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood (Vedanta Press), Swami Madhavananda (Advaita Ashram), and Swami Chinmayananda. Tamil translations and commentaries include those by Ramana Maharshi.

[edit]Famous verses

  • "To be born as a man, to have longing for release (from bondage) and the association with great souls— these three are difficult to obtain"[8]
  • Brahma satyam jagat mithya, jivo brahmaiva naparah—"Brahman is the only truth, the world is unreal, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self"[9]

[edit]Notes and references

  1. ^ Usha 1990, pp. 71–72
  2. ^ Espín & James B. Nickoloff 2007, p. 1471
  3. a b Madhavananda 1926, p. 1
  4. ^ Worthington, Vivian (1982). A history of yogaRoutledge. p. 91. ISBN 9780710092588.
  5. ^ "Bondage and release"The Hindu. 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  6. ^ "Man of wisdom". The Hindu. 2005-06-29. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  7. ^ "State of liberation". The Hindu. 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  8. ^ "Aim of human life". The Hindu. 2005-05-09. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
  9. ^ Rosen, Steven (2007). Krishna's Song. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 70.ISBN 9780313345531.


[edit]Further reading

[edit]External links

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