Saturday, 11 October 2014

Vivekachudamani 1

Allow me to propose some selections from a classic world spiritual text, championed in the early days of the TS. Sankara's Vivekachudamani or Crown Jewel of Discrimination, a world spiritual classic of which the Theosophical Society helped popularize in English:

There's a very good recent translation by: John Grimes The Vivekacudamani of Sankaracarya Bhagatpada Ashgate, England 2004:

Here's a quick, sketchy summary of the whole work - the whole work framed as a dialogue between teacher and student.
1- Basic aspects of the path of liberation (1-32)
2- Seeking a teacher (33-73)
3- Discrimination of body (3 bodies) (74-111)
4- Five sheaths, three gunas (112-132)
5- The nature of the Self, discrimination between real and unreal, ignorance and knowledge, superimposition of the mind (113-193)
6- Question from student – the nature of delusion (194-213)
7- Question – what is consciousness, perceiver and perceived, pot and clay, reality and existence, the universe not different from the absolute, non-duality, slaying of residual impressions, establishing mind in Self, destroying false self, giving up attachment, egoism (214-360)
8- Meditation, detachment (361-389)
9- The Self, the mature of supreme reality, realization of bliss (390-424)
10- Liberation, merging in the absolute while in body (425-453)
11- Accumulation of past actions (454-479)
12- Student becomes established in supreme absolute (480-581)

Below is a translation by Mohini Chatterji:

"Among sentient creatures birth as a man is difficult of attainment, among human beings manhood, among men to be a Brahmana, among Brahmanas desire to follow the path of Vedic Dharma, and among those, learning. But the spiritual knowledge which discriminates between spirit and non-spirit, the practical realization of the merging of oneself in Brahmatman and final emancipation from the bonds of matter are unattainable except by the good karma of hundreds of crores of incarnations. These three, so difficult of attainment, are acquired only by the kindness of the Devas (Gods), humanity, desire for emancipation, and the guidance of (spiritually) Great Men." (Verse 2)

Grimes gives a more liberal translation to Brahmana, rendering it as 'having a strong constitution'.