[Advaita-l] ***UNCHECKED*** Vivekachudamani - Summary - Part I

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 6 09:58:56 CST 2014

This summary is provided based on the talk by Swami Paramarthanandaji on Oct. 26, 2014.  I was fortunate to be there in time when the text was completed. After the talk, I mentioned to Swamiji that I will be doing series of talks for Advaita Academy taking the Vivekachudamani text, not sloka by sloka, but the essential contents, in the order presented. Swamij was very happy to hear that and blessed me with best wishes. This summary therefore is very helpful for my own study. As usual it is not the verbatim of his talk but written based on his presentation. It is presented in four parts. 

Vivekachudamani can be considered as the magnified version of Tatva bhodha. It is an important Vedantic text not only for the understanding the Vedantic teaching but also for nidhidhyaasana. The authorship is attributed to Shankara. 

Looking from the Bird’s eye-view, we find eight topics that were discussed in this text. We will present brief outline of each. 

Topic 1: Introductory portion or upodghaatam. 

Versus 1-71 deal with this. First, it glorifies the birth in the human form. There are supposed to be 82 thousands life forms of which birth in the human form is considered as supreme both from the Darwin’s theory of evolution as well as from the spiritual evolution. While Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on anatomical evolution, Vedanta considers on the basis of spiritual evolution.  From the Vedantic consideration a soul can take any life form in the anatomical evolution depending on its vaasanaas. Human life is considered supreme from the Darwin’s theory due to the development of Conceptual thought, while from the point of Vedanta human life is considered as supreme since he has been blessed with intellect or buddhi which can be trained to discriminate what is real and what is ephemeral – nitya anitya vastu viveka. Vedanta considers that the human life is due to merits of many past lives – puurvajnama sukRitam. The reason that it is
 superior is that it has the capacity to go after moksha or liberation or freedom from continuous cycle of births and deaths. For this, one has to develop a discriminative intellect, an intellect that can see oneness that pervades the apparent divergent plurality. To accomplish this, what is needed is sUkshma buddhi or subtle intellect than thEkshNa buddhi or sharp intellect. In objective sciences, sharp intellect or analytical mind is required to emphasize differences in the system that is being analyzed, and to classify the system into categories or groups or phylum. The sUkshma buddhi involves an integrating mind, a mind that synthesizes than analyzes, that integrates than differentiates and that sees the one reality that pervades the divergent plurality. Hence life in human form is gloried, and it is said that even Devas or divine beings would like to be born as human beings so that they can get liberated from the continuous cycle of samsaara. If
 being born as a human being and being given the highest gift of life, namely buddhi or intellect, and if one does not use it then that life is considered as waste. Animals do not have the intellect and therefore they cannot use it, while man having it and still do not use it then he is same as animal  – says BhartRihari.

aahaara nidhraa bhayamaithunaca 
saamaanya metat pashubhiH naraaNaam|
buddhirhi teShaa adhiko visheShaH 
budhyaa viheenaaH pasubhi samaanaaH|

Eating food, sleep, fear, bearing children are same for both humans and animals. What makes human different is the buddhi or intellect. If that intellect is not used properly then he is equal to animal. 

Having a human birth with intellect, and the use that intellect in pursuit of moksha or liberation from the cycle of births and deaths is again rare indeed. It is only due larger merits of previous lives that one has that desire to pursue moksha. Many are satisfied with their day to day living with possessions, professions, transactions, and relationships with worldly accomplishments in terms of wealth, power, name and prodigy. Only very few are interested in the spiritual pursuits. Krishna says 

manushyaanaam sahasreshu kaschit yatati siddhaye|
yatataatapi siddhaanam kaschin maam vetti tatvataH||

Of the thousands of people very few are interested in spirituality and of those few, who are interested, very few really make an effort to know the highest truth, says Krishna.
Continued in part II

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