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Maneesh Panchakam

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Shankaraachaarya-1 (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

Shankaraachaarya Meets Shankar (Maneesh Panchakam)
Once on a hot summer noon, Aadi Shankar was going to Kaashee Vishwanaath temple after taking bath in Gangaa River with his some disciples, that he saw a Chaandaal (a lowest caste of India) coming towards him with his wife and four dogs. Since he had taken bath and was proceeding towards the temple, he said to the Chaandaal - "Gachchha, Gachchha" (move away, move away). At this Chaandaal asked him - "By asking to move away, do you want the body which is made of food to move away from another body which is also made up of food? OR Do you want consciousness to move away from consciousness?"

This simple question of the Chaandaal compelled Aadi Shankar to give five verses to this world, now called as "Maneesh Panchakam" which elaborated the Vedaantik ideas. Even a low caste person rekindled the light of wisdom in the greatest among the greatest of the teachers. The Chaandaal had posed two questions and Aadi Shankar replied to them in five verses. Maneesh means conviction and Panchakam means five verses.

Maneesh Panchakam, in essence, captures the Mahaa Vaakya (great sentences) of all the four Ved --
Pragyaanaam Brahm - Consciousness is Brahm (Aitareya Upanishad -Rig Ved)
Aham Brahmasmi - I am Brahm (Brihadaaranyak Upanishad - Yajur Ved)
Tat Twam Asi - You are that (Chhaandogya Upanishad - Saam Ved)
Ayam Aatm Brahm - This Self is Brahm (Maandookya Upanishad - Atharv Ved)

Chaandaal's Questions and Aadi Shankar's Answers
Now what were the Chaandaal's two questions?
One - By asking to move away, do you want the body which is made of food to move away from another body which is also made up of food?
Two - Do you want consciousness to move away from consciousness?

Is there is any difference between the reflections of the Sun seen in the Gangaa waters and the water of a gutter in the house of an outcaste? Is there any difference between the space in a gold pot and in a mud pot? What is the illusion of difference in the form? That this is Braahman and this is outcaste?

Aadi Shankar gives their answer in five verses --
If a person has attained firm knowledge that he is not an object of perception, but is that pure consciousness which shine clearly in the states of waking, dream and deep sleep; an which dwells in all bodies of the Universe, from that of Creator Brahmaa to an ant, as a witness; then he is my Guru - this is my conviction.

I am Brahm (pure consciousness). it is the pure consciousness which appears as this Universe. All this is only something conjured up by me because of A-Vidyaa (nescience) which is composed of the three Gun (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas). One who has attained this definite realization about Brahm which is bliss itself, eternal, supreme and pure, is my Guru, whether he is an outcaste or a Braahman - this is my conviction.

Verse 3
Having come to the definite conclusion, under the instructions of his Guru, that the entire Universe is always perishable, he who, with a calm and pure mind constantly meditates on Brahm and who has burnt his past and future sins in the fire of knowledge, submits his present body to the operation of his Praarabdh Karm - this is my conviction.

Verse 4
The Self or Pure Consciousness is experienced clearly within by animals, men and gods as I‟. It is by the reflection of this pure consciousness that the mind, senses and body which are all insentient appear to be sentient. External objects are perceived only because of this consciousness. This Self is however, concealed by the very mind, senses and body which are illumined by it, just as the sun is concealed by clouds. The yogi who with a calm mind always meditates on this Self is my Guru - this is my conviction.

Verse 5
The Self, which is Brahm, is the eternal ocean of supreme bliss. A minute fraction of that bliss is enough to satisfy Indra and other Gods. By meditating on the Self with a perfectly calm mind the sage experiences fulfillment. The person whose mind has become identified with this Self is not a mere knower of Brahm, but Brahm himself. Such a person, whoever he may be, is one whose feet are fit to be worshipped by Indra himself - this is my definite conviction.

After hearing the above replies Lord Shiv and Paarvatee who were in the disguise of Chaandaal showed their real form to Aadi Shankar, blessed him and disappeared miraculously. It is said that the Lords came there to test the depth of Shankar's spiritual understanding.


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