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Kaupeen Panchakam

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Shankaraachaarya-4 (Events of His Life)
(1) Maneesh Panchakam, (2) Aatm Shatakam or Nirvaan Shatakam, (3) Kanakdhaaraa Stotra, (4) Kaupeen Panchakam,
(5) Saundarya Laharee, (6) Bhaj Govindam,  (7) Dakshin Moorti Stotra

Shankar's Kaupeen Panchakam
Shankaraachaarya left his disciple Govinda in Mount Abu with full instructions about Saadhanaa and proceeded to Vaaraanasee. Govinda knew pretty well the principles of Sanyaas and Vairaagya. He lived quite a simple life in a thatched Kutiyaa. One day, his Kaupeen was torn into pieces by the rats. He asked some villagers to provide him with a Kaupeen. They supplied him one. This was also damaged by the rats. He again asked the villagers for another one which was supplied to him readily. This sort of thing continued for some days. Then the villagers suggested - "O Govinda, To ask daily for a Kaupeen is very troublesome. Keep this cat in your Kutiyaa. Whenever it will see any rat, it will eat it." So Govinda took the cat.

Now as he went for his own Bhikshaa, he asked for a little milk for the cat too. Everyday he troubled them for milk. After a while the villagers advised him - "O Govinda, This is all troublesome to give you milk everyday. We will give you a cow. You need not come here daily for milk." Govinda understood the logic, took the cow from them and came to his Kutiyaa. Now when he went for his own Bhiksha to the villagers, he asked for some grass for the cow. For a few days it continued, but then the villagers said - "O Govinda, to supply you every day grass is very, very troublesome. Do one thing. You can have a small plot of land. You can till, put on paddy, vegetables and have plenty of grass also. Thus you will not only get the grass for your cow but your food also for yourself." Now Govinda had a plot of land.

Since he did not have any means to grow anything in it, he again asked the help of villagers for some laborers to plough the field and to manure the land. He got some labors, then he put up a big compound, erect a storehouse, central bungalow, sheds for cows, outhouses for servants, two wells, etc etc. He did everything. Now he was drinking plenty of good milk and taking Basmati rice. Gradually he had nice complexion and a stout body. He entirely forgot all the instructions of his Guru about Tyaag, Vairaagya, Jap, meditation, Mitaahaar, etc. He had a nice comfortable life.

After some time Shankaraachaarya Jee returned from Vaaraanasee. He was unable to trace Govinda's Kutiyaa, because Govinda is now living in a bungalow with a compound wall all its around. One of the villagers pointed out the bungalow as his residence. Shankaraachaarya went inside and could not recognize Govinda. Govinda was not the same lean Brahmchaaree who lived on alms. Shankaraachaarya found much ghee in Govinda's pot belly, which could only be removed by rigorous practice of Chaandraayan Krichchhra Vrat etc. Govinda prostrated before Guruji and said: "Guruji Mahaaraaj, It is all for the sake of one Kaupeen only." He narrated in detail the whole story. Shankaraachaarya pitied him as he was only a boy, and impressed in his mind that he ought to be very careful in future in the destruction of all Sankalp and desires which are the root causes of all misery, pain, delusion, birth and death.

Note carefully how a single desire for one Kaupeen multiplied into several desires for cat, milk, cow, grass, paddy, bungalow, servants, etc. This is known as Maayaa. Maayaa creates havoc through loopholes and weaknesses of men. One desire multiplies into" millions of desires. "It is insatiable like flame." These are the words from the Geetaa. A single craving multiplies into thousands of cravings. Crush them. Nip them in the bud. You will rest in Yogaaroodh state "Sarv Sankalp Sanyaasee Yogaaroodh astadochyate". He is said to be enthroned in Yog when he has renounced all thoughts." You should not allow any desire to crop up even though it may appear to be a sheer necessity and very simple in the beginning.

Shankaraachaarya's Kaupeen Panchakam
This is a very short poem with five stanzas written by Shankaraachaarya which glorifies the life of a Sanyaasee. A Saadhu renounces every thing before entering in to Sanyaas, and wears only a Kaupeen (loin cloth) - that too is for the sake of the world.

Vedaant Vaakyeshu Sadaa ramanto,  Bhikshannaamaatrena trishtimanta,
Vishok manta karane charanta,  Kaupeenavanta Khalu bhaagyavanta -1

Who is reveling in the thoughts of Vedaantik declarations, Whom does a meager portion of begged-food satisfy,
Who is walking around without a trace of sorrow, The man with just the loincloth is indeed the lucky one. -1

Moolam tharo kevalam aashrayanta,  Paanidwayam bhoktam mantrayanta,
Kandhamiva shreemapi kutsayanta,  Kaupeenavanta Khalu bhaghyavanta -2

Who rests (sleeps) at the roots of a tree,  Taking only two hands-full of food
Who is disregarding wealth as a torn piece of cloth, The man with just the loincloth is indeed the lucky one. -2

Swanand bhava paritushti manta,  Sushasnta sarvendriya vrstee manta,
Aharnisham brahma sukhe ramanta,  Kaupeenavanta Khalu bhaghyavanta - 3

Always contented in the joy of ones own self, Who is peaceful by curbing desires his senses
Who is immersed day and night in the bliss of Brahm, The man with just the loincloth is indeed the lucky one. -3

Dehaadi bhavam parivartayantaa,  Swaatmana aatmanyavalokayantaa,
Naanta na Madhyam na bahi smarantaa,  Kaupeenavantaa Khalu bhagyavantaa - 4

Always witnessing the changes of his own body, Who is seeing himself as the Self, the changeless,
And who never bothers to think about the end, middle and outside (of the world), The man with just the loincloth is indeed the lucky one. -4

Brahmaaksharam pavanamucharanto,  Brahmahamasmeeti vibhaavayantaa,
Bhikshaashano deekshu paribramayantaa,  Kaupeenavantaa Khalu bhaghyavantaa - 5

Always singing the sacred glory of Brahm, the eternal, Always contemplating that ‘I am Brahm’,
Who is wandering around just on alms obtained, The man with just the loincloth is indeed the lucky one. -5


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 03/04/14