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The Vivekachudamani (Sanskrit: विवेकचूडामणि) is a famous work by Adi Shankara that expounds Advaita Vedanta philosophy. 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. 'Viveka' means discrimination, 'Chuda' is crest, and 'Mani' means jewel. Hence the title means 'Crest-jewel of discrimination'. Sankara wrote commentaries on the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. His principal work is the Vivekachudamani.
Vivekachudamani consists of 580 verses in Sanskrit. It has the form of dialogue between the master and the disciple, 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. 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 Sareeras, Kosas, Gunas, Sensesand 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) and a man of steady wisdom (Sthitaprajna) on the lines of Bhagavad Gita.
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.
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