Vivekachudamani: The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination | 1-50

sarvavedāntasiddhāntagocaraṁ tamagocaram।
govindaṁ paramānandaṁ sadguruṁ praṇato'smyaham॥ 1॥

1. I bow to Govinda, whose nature is Bliss Supreme, who is the Satguru, who can be known only from the import of all Vedanta, and who is beyond the reach of speech and mind.

jantūnāṁ narajanma durlabhamataḥ puṁstvaṁ tato vipratā
tasmādvaidikadharmamārgaparatā vidvattvamasmātparam।
ātmānātmavivecanaṁ svanubhavo brahmātmanā saṁsthitiḥ
muktirno śatajanmakoṭisukṛtaiḥ puṇyairvinā labhyate॥ 2॥

2. For all beings a human birth is difficult to obtain, more so is a male body; rarer than that is Brahmin-hood; rarer still is the attachment to the path of Vedic religion; higher than this is erudition in the scriptures; discrimination between the Self and not-Self, Realisation, and continuing in a state of identity with Brahman – these come next in order. (This kind of) Mukti (Liberation) is not to be attained except through the well-earned merits of a hundred crore of births.

durlabhaṁ trayamevaitaddevānugrahahetukam।
manuṣyatvaṁ mumukṣutvaṁ mahāpuruṣasaṁśrayaḥ॥ 3॥

3. There are three things which are rare indeed and are due to the grace of God –namely, a human birth, the longing for Liberation, and the protecting care of a perfected sage.

labdhvā kathaṁcinnarajanma durlabhaṁ
tatrāpi puṁstvaṁ śrutipāradarśanam।
yastvātmamuktau na yateta mūḍhadhīḥ
sa hyātmahā svaṁ vinihantyasadgrahāt॥ 4॥

4. The man who, having by some means obtained a human birth, with a male body and mastery of the Vedas to boot, is foolish enough not to exert himself for self-liberation, verily commits suicide, for he kills himself by clinging to things unreal.

itaḥ ko nvasti mūḍhātmā yastu svārthe pramādyati।
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ dehaṁ prāpya tatrāpi pauruṣam॥ 5॥

5. What greater fool is there than the man who having obtained a rare human body, and a masculine body too, neglects to achieve the real end of this life?

vadantu śāstrāṇi yajantu devān
kurvantu karmāṇi bhajantu devatāḥ।
ātmaikyabodhena vināpi muktiḥ
na sidhyati brahmaśatāntare'pi॥ 6॥

6. Let people quote the Scriptures and sacrifice to the gods, let them perform rituals and worship the deities, but there is no Liberation without the realisation of one’s identity with the Ātman, no, not even in the lifetime of a hundred Brahmas put together.

amṛtatvasya nāśāsti vittenetyeva hi śrutiḥ।
bravīti karmaṇo mukterahetutvaṁ sphuṭaṁ yataḥ॥ 7॥

7. There is no hope of immortality by means of riches – such indeed is the declaration of the Vedas. Hence it is clear that works cannot be the cause of Liberation.

ato vimuktyai prayatetvidvān
saṁnyastabāhyārthasukhaspṛhaḥ san।
santaṁ mahāntaṁ samupetya deśikaṁ
tenopadiṣṭārthasamāhitātmā॥ 8॥

8. Therefore the man of learning should strive his best for Liberation, having renounced his desire for pleasures from external objects, duly approaching a good and generous preceptor, and fixing his mind on the truth inculcated by him.

uddharedātmanātmānaṁ magnaṁ saṁsāravāridhau।
yogārūḍhatvamāsādya samyagdarśananiṣṭhayā॥ 9॥

9. Having attained the Yogārūḍha state, one should recover oneself, immersed in the sea of birth and death by means of devotion to right discrimination.

saṁnyasya sarvakarmāṇi bhavabandhavimuktaye।
yatyatāṁ paṇḍitairdhīrairātmābhyāsa upasthitaiḥ॥ 10॥

10. Let the wise and erudite man, having commenced the practice of the realisation of the Ātman give up all works and try to cut loose the bonds of birth and death.

cittasya śuddhaye karma na tu vastūpalabdhaye।
vastusiddhirvicāreṇa na kiṁcitkarmakoṭibhiḥ॥ 11॥

11. Work leads to purification of the mind, not to perception of the Reality. The realisation of Truth is brought about by discrimination and not in the least by ten million of acts.

samyagvicārataḥ siddhā rajjutattvāvadhāraṇā।
bhrāntoditamahāsarpabhayaduḥkhavināśinī॥ 12॥

12. By adequate reasoning the conviction of the reality about the rope is gained, which puts an end to the great fear and misery caused by the snake worked up in the deluded mind.

arthasya niścayo dṛṣṭo vicāreṇa hitoktitaḥ।
na snānena na dānena prāṇāyamaśatena vā॥ 13॥

13. The conviction of the Truth is seen to proceed from reasoning upon the salutary counsel of the wise, and not by bathing in the sacred waters, nor by gifts, nor by hundreds of Prāṇāyāmas (control of the vital force).

adhikāriṇamāśāste phalasiddhirviśeṣataḥ।
upāyā deśakālādyāḥ santyasminsahakāriṇaḥ॥ 14॥

14. Success depends essentially on a qualified aspirant; time, place and other such means are but auxiliaries in this regard.

ato vicāraḥ kartavyo jijñāsorātmavastunaḥ।
samāsādya dayāsindhuṁ guruṁ brahmaviduttamam॥ 15॥

15. Hence the seeker after the Reality of the Ātman should take to reasoning, after duly approaching the Guru – who should be the best of the knowers of Brahman, and an ocean of mercy.

medhāvī puruṣo vidvānuhāpohavicakṣaṇaḥ।
adhikāryātmavidyāyāmuktalakṣaṇalakṣitaḥ॥ 16॥

16. An intelligent and learned man skilled in arguing in favour of the Scriptures and in refuting counter-arguments against them – one who has got the above characteristics is the fit recipient of the knowledge of the Ātman.

vivekino viraktasya śamādiguṇaśālinaḥ।
mumukṣoreva hi brahmajijñāsāyogyatā matā॥ 17॥

17. The man who discriminates between the Real and the unreal, whose mind is turned away from the unreal, who possesses calmness and the allied virtues, and who is longing for Liberation, is alone considered qualified to inquire after Brahman.

sādhanānyatra catvāri kathitāni manīṣibhiḥ।
yeṣu satsveva sanniṣṭhā yadabhāve na sidhyati॥ 18॥

18. Regarding this, sages have spoken of four means of attainment, which alone being present, the devotion to Brahman succeeds, and in the absence of which, it fails.

ādau nityānityavastuvivekaḥ parigamyate।
ihāmutraphalabhogavirāgastadanantaram
śamādiṣaṭkasampattirmumukṣutvamiti sphuṭam॥ 19॥

19. First is enumerated discrimination between the Real and the unreal; next comes aversion to the enjoyment of fruits (of one’s actions) here and hereafter; (next is) the group of six attributes, viz. calmness and the rest; and (last) is clearly the yearning for Liberation.

brahma satyaṁ jaganmithyetyevaṁrūpo viniścayaḥ।
so'yaṁ nityānityavastuvivekaḥ samudāhṛtaḥ॥ 20॥

20. A firm conviction of the mind to the effect that Brahman is real and the universe unreal, is designated as discrimination (Viveka) between the Real and the unreal.

tadvairāgyaṁ jihāsā yā darśanaśravaṇādibhiḥ।
dehādibrahmaparyante hyanitye bhogavastuni॥ 21॥

21. Vairāgya or renunciation is the desire to give up all transitory enjoyments (ranging) from those of an (animate) body to those of Brahmāhood (having already known their defects) from observation, instruction and so forth.

virajya viṣayavrātāddoṣadṛṣṭyā muhurmuhuḥ।
svalakṣye niyatāvasthā manasaḥ śama ucyate॥ 22॥

22. The resting of the mind steadfastly on its Goal (viz. Brahman) after having detached itself from manifold sense-objects by continually observing their defects, is called Śama or calmness.

viṣayebhyaḥ parāvartya sthāpanaṁ svasvagolake।
ubhayeṣāmindriyāṇāṁ sa damaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
bāhyānālambanaṁ vṛttereṣoparatiruttamā॥ 23॥

23. Turning both kinds of sense-organs away from sense-objects and placing them in their respective centres, is called Dama or self-control. The best Uparati or self-withdrawal consists in the mind-function ceasing to act by means of external objects.

sahanaṁ sarvaduḥkhānāmapratīkārapūrvakam।
cintāvilāparahitaṁ sā titikṣā nigadyate॥ 24॥

24. The bearing of all afflictions without caring to redress them, being free (at the same time) from anxiety or lament on their score, is called Titikṣā or forbearance.

śāstrasya guruvākyasya satyabuddhyavadhāraṇam।
sā śraddhā kathitā sadbhiryayā vastūpalabhyate॥ 25॥

25. Acceptance by firm judgment as true of what the Scriptures and the Guru instruct, is called by sages Śraddhā or faith, by means of which the Reality is perceived.

sarvadā sthāpanaṁ buddheḥ śuddhe brahmaṇi sarvadā।
tatsamādhānamityuktaṁ na tu cittasya lālanam॥ 26॥

26. Not the mere indulgence of thought (in curiosity) but the constant concentration of the intellect (or the affirming faculty) on the ever-pure Brahman, is what is called Samādhāna or self-settledness.

ahaṁkārādidehāntān bandhānajñānakalpitān।
svasvarūpāvabodhena moktumicchā mumukṣutā॥ 27॥

27. Mumukṣutā or yearning for Freedom is the desire to free oneself, by realising one’s true nature, from all bondages from that of egoism to that of the body – bondages superimposed by Ignorance.

mandamadhyamarūpāpi vairāgyeṇa śamādinā।
prasādena guroḥ seyaṁ pravṛddhā sūyate phalam॥ 28॥

28. Even though torpid or mediocre, this yearning for Freedom, through the grace of the Guru, may bear fruit (being developed) by means of Vairāgya (renunciation), Śama(calmness), and so on.

vairāgyaṁ ca mumukṣutvaṁ tīvraṁ yasya tu vidyate।
tasminnevārthavantaḥ syuḥ phalavantaḥ śamādayaḥ॥ 29॥

29. In his case, verily, whose renunciation and yearning for Freedom are intense, calmness and the other practices have (really) their meaning and bear fruit.

etayormandatā yatra viraktatvamumukṣayoḥ।
marau salīlavattatra śamāderbhānamātratā॥ 30॥

30. Where (however) this renunciation and yearning for Freedom are torpid, there calmness and the other practices are as mere appearances, like water in a desert.

mokṣakāraṇasāmagryāṁ bhaktireva garīyasī।
svasvarūpānusandhānaṁ bhaktirityabhidhīyate॥ 31॥

31. Among things conducive to Liberation, devotion (Bhakti) holds the supreme place. The seeking after one’s real nature is designated as devotion.

svātmatattvānusandhānaṁ bhaktirityapare jaguḥ।
uktasādhanasaṁpannastattvajijñāsurātmanaḥ
upasīdedguruṁ prājñyaṁ yasmādbandhavimokṣaṇam॥ 32॥

32. Others maintain that the inquiry into the truth of one’s own self is devotion. The inquirer about the truth of the Ātman who is possessed of the above-mentioned means of attainment should approach a wise preceptor, who confers emancipation from bondage.

śrotriyo'vṛjino'kāmahato yo brahmavittamaḥ।
brahmaṇyuparataḥ śānto nirindhana ivānalaḥ
ahetukadayāsindhurbandhurānamatāṁ satām॥ 33॥

33. Who is versed in the Vedas, sinless, unsmitten by desire and a knower of Brahman par excellence, who has withdrawn himself into Brahman; calm, like fire that has consumed its fuel, who is a boundless reservoir of mercy that knows no reason, and a friend of all good people who prostrate themselves before him; -

tamārādhya guruṁ bhaktyā prahvapraśrayasevanaiḥ।
prasannaṁ tamanuprāpya pṛcchejjñātavyamātmanaḥ॥ 34॥

34. Worshipping that Guru with devotion, and approaching him, when he is pleased with prostration, humility and service, (he) should ask him what he has got to know:

svāminnamaste natalokabandho
kāruṇyasindho patitaṁ bhavābdhau।
māmuddharātmīyakaṭākṣadṛṣṭyā
ṛjvyātikāruṇyasudhābhivṛṣṭyā॥ 35॥

35. O Master, O friend of those that bow to thee, thou ocean of mercy, I bow to thee; save me, fallen as I am into this sea of birth and death, with a straightforward glance of thine eye, which sheds nectar-like grace supreme.

durvārasaṁsāradavāgnitaptaṁ
dodhūyamānaṁ duradṛṣṭavātaiḥ।
bhītaṁ prapannaṁ paripāhi mṛtyoḥ
śaraṇyamanyadyadahaṁ na jāne॥ 36॥

36. Save me from death, afflicted as I am by the unquenchable fire of this world-forest, and shaken violently by the winds of an untoward lot, terrified and (so) seeking refuge in thee, for I do not know of any other man with whom to seek shelter.

śāntā mahānto nivasanti santo
vasantavallokahitaṁ carantaḥ।
tīrṇāḥ svayaṁ bhīmabhavārṇavaṁ janān
ahetunān yānapi tārayantaḥ॥ 37॥

37. There are good souls, calm and magnanimous, who do good to others as does the spring, and who, having themselves crossed this dreadful ocean of birth and death, help others also to cross the same, without any motive whatsoever.

ayaṁ svabhāvaḥ svata eva yatpara
śramāpanodapravaṇaṁ mahātmanām।
sudhāṁśureṣa svayamarkakarkaśa
prabhābhitaptāmavati kṣitiṁ kila॥ 38॥

38. It is the very nature of the magnanimous to move of their own accord towards removing others’ troubles. Here, for instance, is the moon who, as everybody knows, voluntarily saves the earth parched by the flaming rays of the sun.

brahmānandarasānubhūtikalitaiḥ pūrtaiḥ suśītairyutaiḥ
yuṣmadvākkalaśojjhitaiḥ śrutisukhairvākyāmṛtaiḥ secaya।
saṁtaptaṁ bhavatāpadāvadahanajvālābhirenaṁ prabho
dhanyāste bhavadīkṣaṇakṣaṇagateḥ pātrīkṛtāḥ svīkṛtāḥ॥ 39॥

39. O Lord, with thy nectar-like speech, sweetened by the enjoyment of the elixir-like bliss of Brahman, pure, cooling to a degree, issuing in streams from thy lips as from a pitcher, and delightful to the ear – do thou sprinkle me who am tormented by worldly afflictions as by the tongues of a forest-fire. Blessed are those on whom even a passing glance of thine eye lights, accepting them as thine own.

kathaṁ tareyaṁ bhavasindhumetaṁ
kā vā gatirme katamo'styupāyaḥ।
jāne na kiñjcitkṛpayāva māṁ prabho
saṁsāraduḥkhakṣatimātanuṣva॥ 40॥

40. How to cross this ocean of phenomenal existence, what is to be my fate, and which of the means should I adopt – as to these I know nothing. Condescend to save me, O Lord, and describe at length how to put an end to the misery of this relative existence.

tathā vadantaṁ śaraṇāgataṁ svaṁ
saṁsāradāvānalatāpataptam।
nirīkṣya kāruṇyarasārdradṛṣṭyā
dadyādabhītiṁ sahasā mahātmā॥ 41॥

41. As he thus speaks, tormented by the afflictions of the world – which is like a forest on fire – and seeking his protection, the saint eyes him with a glance softened with pity and spontaneously bids him give up all fear.

vidvān sa tasmā upasattimīyuṣe
mumukṣave sādhu yathoktakāriṇe।
praśāntacittāya śamānvitāya
tattvopadeśaṁ kṛpayaiva kuryāt॥ 42॥

42. To him who has sought his protection, thirsting for Liberation, who duly obeys the injunctions of the Scriptures, who is of a serene mind, and endowed with calmness – (to such a one) the sage proceeds to inculcate the truth out of sheer grace.

mā bhaiṣṭa vidvaṁstava nāstyapāyaḥ
saṁsārasindhostaraṇe'styupāyaḥ।
yenaiva yātā yatayo'sya pāraṁ
tameva mārgaṁ tava nirdiśāmi॥ 43॥

43. Fear not, O learned one, there is no death for thee; there is a means of crossing this sea of relative existence; that very way by which sages have gone beyond it, I shall inculcate to thee.

astyupāyo mahān kaścitsaṁsārabhayanāśanaḥ।
tena tīrtvā bhavāmbhodhiṁ paramānandamāpsyasi॥ 44॥

44. There is a sovereign means which puts an end to the fear of relative existence; through that thou wilt cross the sea of Samsāra and attain the supreme bliss.

vedāntārthavicāreṇa jāyate jñānamuttamam।
tenātyantikasaṁsāraduḥkhanāśo bhavatyanu॥ 45॥

45. Reasoning on the meaning of the Vedanta leads to efficient knowledge, which is immediately followed by the total annihilation of the misery born of relative existence.

śraddhābhaktidhyānayogāmmumukṣoḥ
mukterhetūnvakti sākṣācchrutergīḥ।
yo vā eteṣveva tiṣṭhatyamuṣya
mokṣo'vidyākalpitāddehabandhāt॥ 46॥

46. Faith (Śraddhā), devotion and the Yoga of meditation – these are mentioned by the Śruti as the immediate factors of Liberation in the case of a seeker; whoever abides in these gets Liberation from the bondage of the body, which is the conjuring of Ignorance.

ajñānayogātparamātmanastava
hyanātmabandhastata eva saṁsṛtiḥ।
tayorvivekoditabodhavanhiḥ
ajñānakāryaṁ pradahetsamūlam॥ 47॥

47. It is verily through the touch of Ignorance that thou who art the Supreme Self, findest thyself under the bondage of non-Self, whence alone proceeds the round of births and deaths. The fire of knowledge, kindled by the discrimination between these two, burns up the effects of Ignorance together with their root.

śiṣya uvāca
kṛpayā śrūyatāṁ svāmin praśno'yaṁ kriyate mayā।
yaduttaramahaṁ śrutvā kṛtārthaḥ syāṁ bhavanmukhāt॥ 48॥

48. The Disciple said: Condescend to listen, O Master, to the question I am putting (to thee); I shall be gratified to hear a reply to the same from thy lips.

ko nāma bandhaḥ kathameṣa āgataḥ
kathaṁ pratiṣṭhāsya kathaṁ vimokṣaḥ।
ko'sāvanātmā paramaḥ ka ātmā
tayorvivekaḥ kathametaducyatām॥ 49॥

49. What is bondage, forsooth? How has it come (upon the Self)? How does it continue to exist? How is one freed from it? What is this non-Self? And who is the Supreme Self? And how can one discriminate between them? -- Do tell me about all these.

śrīguruvāca
dhanyo'si kṛtakṛtyo'si pāvita te kulaṁ tvayā।
yadavidyābandhamuktyā brahmībhavitumicchasi॥ 50॥

50. The Guru replied: Blessed art thou! Thou hast achieved thy life’s end and hast sanctified thy family that thou wishest to attain Brahmanhood by getting free from the bondage of Ignorance!