select category_id from item_category_relation where item_id='405' Crown Jewel of Sagacity: Adi Shankara’s Viveka Chudamani: part 7

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Crown Jewel of Sagacity: Adi Shankara’s Viveka Chudamani: part 7

Adi Shankaracharya

Part 7/7

The proof of adviteeya brahma

Brahman is paripoorna, full, complete. It has no beginning, no end, it cannot be measured, it is indivisible, it is one, it is solid sat, solid chit, ever solid bliss ananda. It is pratyagatma, it is all around, without upadhi, without guna, micro, with such atternative, ever peaceful and has a form that can not be proved. It is beyond the comprehension of manas or speech. It is full of sat. It is self-born; pure, peaceful and invisible. The world seen in many ways is not at all different from brahman.

Those who give up affection for vishayas, those who renounced the experience of vishayas, those with shama and dama are all yatis. They learn paratatwa very well and acquire unity with brahman and obtain parama sukha, absolute bliss or comfort.

Upadesha - Teaching or message

O, Shishya! you too think about this paratatwa, about the atman your form of solid bliss, dispel the ajnaana in you caused by manas and get fulfilled by getting liberation form sansara by attaining brahmajnaana.

See the atmatatwa with the eye of jnaana with a stable and pure manas while being in nirvikalpa samadhi. The brahmatatwa you have listened about  would not change. It is experienced. By getting liberation from the bonds of ajnaana you would attain brahman which is the form of truth and jnaana, knowingness. In this matter the upadesha of guru is a standard. Besides this the experience you will have in you innermost feeling, antahkarana is a standard too.

Bonds of sansara and liberation contentment, worry, health and hunger are all known by experiencing personally. The jnaana about these can only be imagined by others. Gurus too like the declarations and statements in the Vedas would be neutral white teaching brahma tatwa the nature of brahman. The learned one must cross sansara with the prajna, blessings from Eshwar's grace. The learned one must realize that he is the form of the indivisible pratyagaatma and stay in the atman in great comfort and joy.

This is the essence of the statement of the Veda. The entire creation and jeeva too are brahman. Salvation or mukti is staying in the indivisible parabrahman. The statements in the Veda are proof to determine that brahma is second to none.


vedanta siddhanta niruktireshaa

brahmaiva jeevah sakalam jagachcha

akhandha roopasthitireva mokshah

brahmadviteeye shrutayah pramanam  479

With this kind of the guru's teaching, with the proof in the declaration of the Vedas the sishya has calmed down his senses, obtained atma tatwa and dedicated himself to atman. Having stayed thus in the atman for some time in bliss, he said to the guru:

"Gurudev! Attaining unity with brahman, my buddhi, born of vishayas, got extinct. The senses have lost their use. I am now not seeing the evident or the non-evident, pratyaksha or paroksha I experienced absolute bliss. I am not able to describe how I feel.

"It is impossible to describe or consider the magnificence of this ocean of parabrahman which has been filled with the streams of the nectar of bliss my own. Like hail absorbed in the sea, my manas lost itself and got submerged in parabrahma. My manas being thus transported is full of bliss and comfort therefrom.

"Where did the world go? Who is taking it away? Where is it merging? It was visible in moment ago; now it is not to be seen! what a miracle!

"In the ocean of parabrahman full of the indivisible whole nectar of bliss, there is everything that is to be taken, grasped and held and nothing to be left out. In the same way there is nothing different from it, nothing unique than that. I am not able to see anything here. I am not able to hear anything. I am not learning anything. I have become the ever living form of bliss. I have become unique.

"My salutations to the preceptor, the gurudev whose compassion flowed down to me as cool and thick moonlight removing all my hardship, and whose grace it was that in a trice gave me the experience of the magnificent grandeur of my own form of bliss. My salutation to the form of parabrahman in my guru, who is a constant ocean of compassion, the embodiment of absolute bliss and a mahatma, a noble soul.

"Guroottama! Best of preceptors! With your grace I am fulfilled. I am accomplished. I have been liberated from sansara. I could become the form of the ever blissful one. Now I am un attached, without body - with no signs of either a male or a female. I am one without decay or destruction. I am the form of peace, I am endless and without any fatigue. I am the deedless form of pure jnaana, just sadashiva. I am different from the seer, the listener, the speaker, the one who eats or the doer. I am of the form of true, endless, limitless, unattached and the full shape of bliss. I have no discrimination between the macro and micro worlds. But it illumines all. I am brahman, the ultimate, the pure, the complete, the empty and second to none. I am incomparable, beginningless atmatatwa. I am above all imagination and division of you and me, this or that. I am the second to none, brahman, the only everlasting nectar of TRUTH.

"I am Srimannarayana, Srikrishna who slew Naraka the demon, Paramashiva who killed the demons of Tripura and pusashottama too. I am the form and shape of solid, indivisible jnaana. I am witness to all. I am one who has none above me to order me about. I am devoid of myness and egosense. I am in all living beings. I am the refuge, resort as one known both inside and outside. I am the eater and the thing eaten, What appeared different earlier is me only.

"From me many words emerge as waves with extraordinary movements of the air of maya the indivisible ocean of bliss. Many of these waves rise and fall again from me into me. I am without any form any activities. It is only with the super imposition of illusion there are feelings like micro and micro. That is something like creating time length liker year, eon season in endless continuous TIME.

Ajnaanis (ignorant ones) condemnable for the flawed mati, attribute deha and the worldly supperimposing it on parmatman. By such an act of attributing, brahman is not demeaned. The water flow in the mirage cannot irrigate the dry land. I am one far from these creations or imginations like the sky. I am different from irradiating other things like the sun. I am stable, unmoving like a mountain. I am endless like the ocean. I have no connection with body just as there is no connection between the cloud and the sky. How can the states of wakefulness etc. be mine? The body is upadhi; it comes and goes. That performs deeds and that enjoys or suffers the fruit as consequence. That lives and that dies but I am ever like the great mountains always stable.

"I have no pravriti, changeful nature. Since I have no organs and I have no liberation too since I am not bound. The paramatma, which like the sky is single, everlasting and pervading, does not perform any deeds. How can it? I have no senses and so no changes of the six types. I have endless, everlasting bliss. For me how can there be paap, sin or punya (merit)? Even the Veda says this: "ananvaagatam punyena, ananvaagatam paapena teerno hi tadaa sarvaan shokaan hridayasya bhavati" (Brihadavanyaka Upanishad). It crosses all griefs relating to the heart without having any connection with paap or punya.

When cool or hot water is touched they are not felt by the 'purusha' since it is the shadow that feels them. The properties, qualities of witness do not touch the person who is a witness. The witness is without change, avikari; he is neutral. While the lamp shines the affairs in the house take place. The deeds or the affairs do not touch the lamp. In the same way the body functions are dipressed by atman. It is unique. They do not touch the atman.

"The sun is witness to all. But the karmas, deeds, do not touch him. When iron meets with fire, it becomes bright owing to its quality of shining when heated to a particular extent. The probates (dharmas) of the inactive (jad) iron do not touch fire. (agni). when the serpent is superimposed on the rope, the properties or qualities

of the serpent do not touch the rope.

"I am not the doer not even the inspirer or motivator. I am not the eater: not even the person who makes one eat. I am not the seen, not even the one who shows. I am self effulgent. I am atman which can not be described or directed that it is like this. Ajnaanis seeing the image of the sun in the moving water say that the sun is moving. While in upadhi, in the deha, one feels that he is doing, experiencing etc. but the atma does not feel it. Many mistake the body for atman.

"The deha which is jad (lifeless) though immersed in water does not get wet. The property of water or earth does not touch me. Wetting or staining would never attain me, the form of atma.

Doership, eatership etc. are all alternatives of buddhi only. I am not dual. In me, parabrahman, there are none of these. There may be a hundred or thousand changes (vikaras) of prakriti. What have I, one the form of chit and with no attachement, have to do with changes at all. The clamour of the cloud does not touch the sky. Does it?

"I am the advaita brahman non-dual brahman. From the unmanifest to the gross body what appears as a result of abhaasa is me. I am without beginning or end. I am equal to the sky. I am th at which is the base for all the universe, the one who irradiates all, present in all shapes and all and empty of all, true, everlasting, pure, stable and one without alternative. I am that advaita parabrahman. In me all and everything made of maya would coalesce. I am the form of pratyagaatma. I am that advaita parabrahma. I am not to be obtained with the jnaana of the senses.

"I am deedless, changeless, without organs or limbs, without shape, everlasting permanent-with no base, nondual, one with all atmas, and all forms and shapes. I am the everlasting, absolute bliss, the form of undivided total jnaana.

"This is the grandeur of the empire of the self effulgent parabrahman, with the affluence of your wealth of compassion I could obtain this. O great soul! My salutations to you! Salutations again and again! Noble preceptors! You have awakened me from deep sleep; saved me from the cruel tiger of ahankara, egosense and this sansara, the wilderness through which I have been roaring about suffering all tribulations and enduring all kind of "heats" taapaas and worries, gurudev! My pranams again and again. Your effulgence is form of sat. Solid chaitanya, second to none. that itself is shining in the universe."

Seeing the disciple thus bent offering obeisance on obtaining the bliss of self-realization, the moon of the guru, extremely pleased spoke to him again.

Guru's words

"All this world is the flow of jnaana from the form of brahman: so it is brahman. You see everywhere with you manas in all states only the sat. For the one who has the eye of jnaana there could be nothing else to see except brahman. What is there for one who knows brahman to promenade in except sat. Which man would learn that blissful experience for the empty things? Who would look at the picture of the moon, when the moon shines overhead in glorious radiance. There could be no contentment in experiencing something which is asat. Grief too coud not be driven away by that. Be always in great comfort experiencing the bliss of sat which has nothing as second.

"O, great mind! Be ever having the joy of the audience of joy own form of parabrahman and thinking of that and enjoying the bliss therefrom spend your time. Creating or imagining the world in the indivisible form of jnaana, the nirvikalpa parabrahma is imagining a city in the sky. So be the form of absolute bliss and always experience absolute bliss in maintaining silence.

"The state where the buddhi is neutral is considered absolute peace, paramopashanti (Buddhi) is the reason for creation of asat and all kinds of alternatives. Great men who have known brahman would always obtain the comfort of ananda, bliss. There is nothing better than the best of experiencing ones own nectar of bliss obtained from the jnaana of atmananda, the knowingness of the abs olute bliss. The learned muni takes it everywhere he goes and lives happily even in the experience of bliss all the time.

"Restraining the chitta and knowing the tatwa, for the one who has been fulfilled, the great man would not have any interest in place, time, seat or the rules of yama etc. When once one knows himself why any rules or niyamas? To know a pot seeing it, why would one need rules? None would care for them when so accomplished. To know paramatman the strength of pramana, standard, is necessary and nothing else.

"Rules regarding place and time are not desirable. Shruti, the Veda says the atman is self-effulgent. This is not related to place, time and pure of the body etc. The conciousness that "I am Devadatta" does not require anything. Without any consideration, the knowledge of atman would be available to the one seeking it.

"The sun irradiates all. In the same way only the atman irradiates it. Anatma or asat. How can it irradiate the filthy body etc.? Vedas, Shastras and Puranas, all are becoming meaningful and accomplished because of the paramatma. Can these give radiance to the allknowing parabrahman?"

The state of the one who knows brahman

Paramatma is self-effulgent. It has limitless strength and power. It is immeasurable. It is the form of all experience. Among those in the brahmavettas (those who know Brahman) the best is liberated from the bond of sansara only after knowing the atman. He shines effulgently.

Brahmavetta, always drinking deep at the springs of absolute bliss would never be in grief owing to vishayas. He would not feel joy either. He would neither be attached nor unattached. He would ever be playing in the form of his own atman. He would even he contented and happy. The little kid would forget even hunger and be playing with his favourite plaything. In the same way the knowing one of the atman would be above egosense and myness. He would always be enjoying comfort.

Brahmavetta without wretchedness or worry would eat what he gets by way of biksha charity. He drinks off the river. He would be independent and without any limits of power. He would never be afflicted with fear. He would sleep in a graveyard or a garden. He wears a cloth which is neither washed nor dried. He would go about naked. The earth is his bed. He would be ever wandering in the streets of metaphysics. He would be ever playing in the parabrahman.


chintaashoonya madainya bhaikshamashanam paanam saridvarishu

swaatantrena nirankushaa sthitirabheernidra shmashane vane

vastram kshalana shoshanaadi rahitam digva astu shayya mahee

sanchaaro nigamaanta veedhishu vidaam kreeda pare brahmani  539

Giving up or shedding moha, following the desire of everyone, he experiences all the vishayas like a little child. He would never reveal or show his feature of varna or ashrama. He would not share any interest in external matters. Sometime he wears a cloth, sometimes he is goes about naked. He would be wandering about like a little boy, a madman or a spirit.


digambaro vaapi cha saambaro vaa tuagambaro vaapi chidambarasthah

unmattavadvaapi cha baalavadvaa pishacavadvaapi charatyavanyaam  541

The muni being in advaita paramatma would be experiencing desires without kama, desire. He would be content with his own experience of atman. He is in the feeling and belief that he is all in all by and in himself. He would be wandering or going about sometimes like an idiot, sometimes like a learned man, sometimes like a king in glory, sometimes like a madman, sometimes calm, sometimes like one taking the way of a python and sometimes like a very deserving man and sometimes like one insulted and sometimes like an unknown stranger.

kvachinmoodho vidvan kwachidapi maharaja vibhavah

kvachit bhraantah saumyah kwachidajagarachaara kalitah

kvachitpratree bhootah kvachidavamatah kvaashyavidita

scharatyevam prajnah satata paramaananda sukhitah 543

Even though without riches a brahmajnani would always be cheerful. Though aidless he would he very powerful. He would ever be egalitarian; though he is unique though performing deeds he is one unacting. Though experiencing the fruit of karma he is not the 'eater' - bhokta.

Though he has body he is like one who does not mind it. Though limited to the upadhi, the base, of his body he is like one who is all in himself. Likes and dislikes, auspiciousness, and unauspiciousness, would never touch him. For those with sthoola sareera and feel that they are their bodies, there would be joys and griefs.

For one who severs connection with body (ignores it) there is no fruit, either auspicious or inauspicious. Though the sun is not swallowed by Rahu, the ignorant, without knowing the nature of things, tell others that the sun is swallowed. A brahmajnaani is one who does not consider that the body is he.

One who severs the connection with the body, like a snake skin would be slightly moving when the wind blows. The flow of water takes a piece of wood above and below. In the same way the body of a brahmavetta is swayed as per his deeds by God. The siddha, the accomplished one, who is freed from the bonds of body would behave like a house holder while experiencing the fruit of his deeds. While undergoing the experience of the fruit of his actions, he remains neutral. Though the wheel moves, the axle does not move. Like that the jnaani, is without any intention or non-intention; drunk with the bliss of his own atman, he would just remain a witness without turning his senses towards vishayas, sense attractions. In the same way he wouldn't divert his attention from vishayas either. He does not have any concern or care for the fruit of his deeds.

Shedding goals and non-goals, he who lives only as parabrahma is Shiva Himself. He is the best among brahmavettas, those who know brahman. He is the fulfilled one. One liberated from the bonds of body while alive, when the upadhi of body is destroyed, he becomes brahman and enjoys brahman which has none second. Though not donning the robes, just as he is a man, whether he has costume or not of an actor, he remains brahman only.

The fall of the body of  the brahmavetta

The yellowed leaf of the tree falls somewhere. In the same way the body of ayati who has become brahman somewhere, sometime, falls down. His body has already been burnt in the fire of jnaana. There would no waiting for the muni to wait for time or place or auspicious moment since he is already filled with bliss. The body made of skin, flesh, excreta and urine is of no consequence at all.

Leaving the body is not moksha or attaining salvation. It is not even throwing away the appurtenances like danda and kamandalu of the seeker. Moksha comes, when the hridaya grandhi, heart cord, of ajnaana is severed.

dehasya moksho na moksho na dandasya kamandaloh

avidya hridaya grandhi moksho moksho yatastatah 559

Would the tree get any fruit either auspicious or inauspicious if its leaf falls either in a drain, in a river at crossroads or on the seat of Shiva? In the same way the destruction of the body with senses, buddhi and prana is like the destruction of a tree's fruit or flowers

Atman is everlasting. It is the form of bliss: it can not be destroyed. Atman is like a tree which lives even if the leaves etc. of a tree die.

Prajnaanaghana is given as a description of atman in the Veda, indicating that it is true and everlasting. Though not stated, the upadhi of atman, like body, is destructible. The Veda, while saying "avinashee vaareyamaatma", declares that deha etc. die, while atman has no decay. Trees etc. come out of mud and finally mix in the mud. In the same way the body, senses, buddhi etc. are burnt in the fire of jnaana and become brahman again. Since it has come from brahman it coalesces in brahman again.

As darkness coalesces in the sun's radiance, all visible things lose themselves fully in brahman. When the pot is broken into pieces, the sky becomes clearly sky. In the same way the body which is only an upadhi, after the body is gone, the brahmavetta becomes brahman himself. Milk in milk, oil in oil and water in water are all miscible. The one who knows atman loses himself in atman. He becomes atmans only. Thus, the body etc., the asat gone, the yati becomes the form of brahmajnaani and would never get into sansara.

With avidya burnt, with awareness and jnaana of the unity with paramatman and along with avidya, his body too, the yati becomes brahman. For such a one how can there be another birth?

It is only maya which creates bondage and liberation.

In fact they are not there in the atman. It is only bhranti that makes a rope a serpent and with that bhranti gone only the rope remains. The covering of ajnaana, avarana is bondage. That being gone what remains is only liberation or mukti. For that reason the elders said: avidyaastamaye mokshah saa cha bandha udahrutah. For parabrahma there is no avarana. The Veda does not accept any. Both bandha, (bondage) and moksha (liberation) are untrue. Only moodhas, unknowing ones, superimpose the feature of buddhi or atman. When the cloud covers the sun, it is like saying that the cloud has covered the sun. The atman is one- non-dual-unattached, everlasting! How can it have bondage or liberation!

Seeing the bond of sansara or not seeing the bond both are the attributes (gunas) of buddhi. They do not touch atman, the everlasting. There could be no creation of such things to the sky like paramatma, the one which is second to none, endless, peaceful and so on as already described in several places.

Deluge, creation, bondage sadhaka and mumukshu, none of these are there. That is the absolute truth.

"O, disciple! This is the form of the entire theory of Vedanta. This is transcendental, most secret. I explained and taught you this. Constantly contemplate on this, with a desire for liberation with your buddhi without any desire, being free from all the defects of kali, this eon."

Thus while the explained, the disciple with great humility offered him his salutations and obtaining his permission, took his leave. the guru too totally immersed in the ocean of everlasting bliss went about sanctifying the entire earth.


Thus with a view to preaching all seekers and aspirants the comfort giving jnaana, the quality of atman is described through the dialogue between the preceptor and the disciple. May all the yatis who have successfully washed off all the effects in chitta, those who have no desire for the comfort of sansara, those with peaceful minds who are interested in the declarations of the Veda grasp these.

This preaching of the most exalted and the holy Bhagawatpada is an ocean of nectar for those being scorched in the way of sansara and suffering the pangs of thirst. This gives comfort. This reveals the non-dual state of brahman. It gives moksha. It shines effulgently.

sansaaraa dhvani taapabhaanukirana prodbhoota daahavyadhaa khinnaanaam jalakaankshayaa marubhuvi bhraantyaa paribrahmyataam aatyaasanna sudhaambhudhim sukhakaram brahmaadwayam darshayam


tyeshaa shankara bharatee vijayate nirvaana sandhaayinee 582


Jagadguru Shree Shankara Bhagavatpaada's Viveka chudamani

as explained in Telugu


Acharya Saravabhauma Professor Vedula Subrahmanya Shastry

in selective exegesis as

Viveka Chudamani Prakasam.

This is the rough and reader rendering


Dr V.V.B.Rama Rao

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7

Dr V.V.B. Rama Rao (b.1938) is a retired ELT, English Language teaching, professional with more than sixty books in all genres both in English and Telugu besides hundreds of
essays, articles and book reviews in both the languages. He can be accessed on

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