john grimes grimesj at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Thu May 7 01:07:44 CDT 1998

>Namaskarams Ravi.
> Unfortunately I have but a very brief introduction to Sanskrit. I'd
>really appreciate it very much for the English translation also. Please
>do try and find time to write the translation also.
>Thanks you very much.
>On Tue, 5 May 1998, Ravi Mayavaram wrote:
>> sarva vedaanta siddhaanta gocharaM tam.h  agocharam.h .
>> govindaM parama aanandaM sad.hguruM praNataH asmi aham.h .. 1..
>> jantuunaaM nara-janma durlabhaM ataH pu.nstvaM tato viprataa
>>                                  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> tasmaat.h vaidika-dharma-maarga parataa vidvattvaM asmaat.h param.h .
>> aatma anaatma vivechanaM sva anubhavo brahma atmanaa sa.nsthitiH
>> muk{}tirno shatajanmakoTisukR^itaiH puNyairvinaa labhyate .. 2..
>> durlabhaM trayaM evaitad deva anugraha hetukam.h .
>> manushhyatvaM mumukshutvaM mahaapurushha sa.nshrayaH .. 3..
>> lab{}dhvaa kathachin{}narajanma durlabhaM
>>     tatraapi pu.nstvaM shrutipaaradarshanam.h
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^.
>> yas{}tvaatmamuk{}tau na yateta muuDhadhiiH
>>     sa hyaatmahaa svaM vinihan{}tyasad.hgrahaat.h .. 4..
>> itaH ko n{}vasti muuDhaatmaa yastu svaarthe pramaadyati .
>> durlabhaM maanushhaM dehaM praapya tatraapi paurushham.h .. 5..
Here is my translation for these first 5 verses of the Vivekacudamani:
I have omitted the commentary for now - except for the Introductory one
which may also shed some light on Vyas' query:

I offer my salutations to Govinda, the Divine-Master, the embodiment of the
highest bliss, who is beyond thought and speech, and who is the culmination
of all wisdom. (1)

    Traditionally, Indian philosophical treatises begin with an invocation
to God and/or to one's Guru.Sankara, in this invocation, ingeniously,
insightfully, and subtly reveals the non-duality of Advaita even as he
offers his obeisance simultaneously to both God and Guru. He was able to do
this because one of the names for God is Govinda and the name of Sankara's
Guru was also Govinda. Intriguingly, this stanza simultaneously admits of
both interpretations. Underlying this play of language is the insight that
God, Guru, and the goal of life for the individual are not different.
    The Vedic injunction, "Only that person who obeys, can command"
provides the rational for first invoking God and Guru. Why are you looking
for God in town after town, temple after temple? God dwells in the heart
within. Why look in the East and in the West. Don't look for God, look for
the Guru. God dwells within you, in truth, you are God. You don't need to
find God; you need to find a Guru who will guide you to yourself. By
offering reverence to God and the Guru, one pays respect to: 1) the Creator
of all that is created; 2) one's tradition, which is both ancient and
authoritative; 3) the time-honored pre-requisites for a spiritual life,
e.g., humility, devotion, respect, and discipline.
In this introductory verse, Sankara affirms the time-honored wisdom that
from the ultimate point of view, God has no name: "Words return along with
the mind, not attaining It" (yato vaco nivartante, aprapya manasa) saha -
Taitt. Up. 2.4.1). As representative of but numerous Upanisadic passages
which echo this wisdom, "The eye does not go there, nor speech, nor mind.
The Absolute is not to be known as such and such" - Kena Up. 1.3-5. And
yet, mysteriously, these same Upanisads declare, "Name is the Absolute" Br
Up. 4.1.2; "This Absolute indeed shines forth, when one speak with
language" - Kaus Up. 2.13; "The ultimate abode of language is the
Absolute." - RV 1.1.164.

For all things subject to birth, birth in a human body is rare. Even rarer
to obtain are strength of body and mind. Rarer still is purity. More
difficult than these is a desire to live a spiritual life. Rarest of all is
to have an understanding of the scriptures. As for discrimination between
the Self and the not-self, direct Self-realization, continuous union with
the Absolute, final and complete liberation are not to be obtained without
meritorious deeds done in a hundred billion well-lived lives. (2)

Rare and difficult to obtain are these three: a human birth, a burning-
desire-for-liberation, and association with great-beings. They are the
results of divine grace. (3)

That person, having somehow obtained a rare human birth, together with
bodily and mental strength and a correct understanding of the scriptures,
who does not strive for liberation, is a fool. Verily, such a person
commits suicide, clinging to things unreal.(4)

What greater fool is there than a person who, having obtained this rare
human birth, together with bodily and mental strength, fails, through
delusion, to realize their own highest good? (5)

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