Vaidya N. Sundaram sundaram at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Wed Jun 17 20:14:38 CDT 1998

 The VivekachUdAmani is a philosophical treatise expounding the cardinal
truths of Advaita vedanta, according to which, liberation or moksha can be
secured only through jnana, which in the first instance, begins with the
discrimination between the eternal and the transient, nityAnitya vastu
viveka. Literally the Crest jewel of Discrimination, this text is of
paramount importance to all advaita vedantins and is to be revered as the
Bhagavad Gita itself. Sri Adi SankarAcharya in his compassion has clearly
taken the sisya (in my opinion, every reader) step by step, slowly and
surely, to that ultimate destination.
 Sri Jagadguru Chandrasekara Bharati, himself a jivanmukta, former pontiff
of Sringeri, realised that even this excellent work could do with some
explanation, and has written an excellent commentary on it.
 This list being one dedicated to the pursuit of advaita vedanta as taught
by Shankara, it is important that the VivekachUdAmani is discussed and
read. I am quite sure that several of the list members (probably all!)
have read it, and probaly re read it. However, I felt that it is worth
while to read it again, and hence I will try and post atleast one verse of
the VivekachUdAmani with His Holiness's commentary every day. Given the
fact that I have not the slightest education in Sanskrit, I will rely
entirely on the text I have with me. Undoubtedly, errors are prone to creep
in. Do point it out and correct the same. It will also greatly help if
list members can post some of their observations / other textual
references as well.
 I sincerely hope and pray that Sri Shankara Himself will guide us through
the path.

bhava Samkara desika-me saranam.


Briefly about the VivekachUdAmani:

 To begin with the Guru says: You are eally the paramAtman. Your
involvement in the bondage of samsAra is due to your understanding being
clouded by ajnana.This bondage to the anAtman is itself samsAra. The fire
of discrimination between the Atman and the anAtman will completely burn
out the effect of ajnana.

 Upon this, the sisya, reverently submits to the Guru and asks seven
 1) What is bondage?
 2) How did it arise?
 3) How does it continue?
 4) How is one released from it?
 5) What is this anAtman?
 6) Which is the paramAtman?
 7) How to distinguish between the Atman and the anAtman?

 The Guru takes up the fourth question first, namely how liberation is
achieved? The reason for this is stated by His Holiness thus: When a man
is trapped in a burning house, his first impulse is to quech the flames
and excape death, he will not linger to ask how the fire was caused, whar
is it's extent etc.
 The Guru tells the sisya, that to obtain liberation he should develop
vairAgya, acquire the virtues of sama, dama etc., adopt sanyasa, give up
all karmas, receive upadeas on the sruti texts from his Guru, contemplate
thereon, discriminate between whatever is the anAtman and the Atman by
unceasing mediation on the import of the scriptural texts, attain the
state of nirvikalpa samAdhi and realise his non difference as the Atman
from the ParamAtman.
 Next the Guru dwells on the fifth question, describing what is anAtman,
by describing the sthula, sUkshma and kArana sarIra's. He addresses the
sixth question next, then the seventh, then cycles back to the first,
second and third questions.
 He then once again answers the fourth question, in detail, and finally
confers some advice to the sisya on being slack in his practice and that
he should be constantly wary of being drawn into the samsara again by the

                      Vaidya N. Sundaram
 Kandavar Vindilar      : Those who have seen (Brahman) have not spoken
  Vindavar Kandilar     :   those who speak (about It) have not seen (It)
    satyakAma, satyasaMkalpa, Apatsakha, kAkutsa, shrIman nArAyaNa
        puruShottaMa, shrI ranganAtha, mama nAtha, namostute.

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