॥ मनीषापञ्चकं ॥Introduction ManIShA panchakam was written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya. A biography of Shankara and his other compositions of vedic literature can be found in the shankara.itx document. Shri Shankara has been criticized by modern western scholars for propounding sectarian beliefs in his commentary (bhashya) of Brahma sutra where he restricts the recitation of Vedas to the upper castes only . However, one should note that one is handicapped when writing a commentary on a text . Thus in independent compositions like the upadesasahasri and this short text, manIShA panchakam he expounds his Advaita philosophy in all its glory . Advaita, the non-dualistic philosophy expounded in detail by Shri Shankara, does not recognize differences between people based on caste, creed, religion, gender etc since we are all the manifestations of the same Brahman. The scene is set in Varanasi (Kashi/Benaras), the ancient sacred city of India, and the home to the famous kashi visvanatha temple. Adi shankarAchArya, the expounder of the advaitic, non-dualistic philosophy, was on the way to the temple after finishing his bath . Suddenly he saw a chandAla (an outcaste), on the way, and beckons to him to keep a distance, as per the practice and custom in those days . That outcaste is none other than the Lord sha.nkara (Shiva) Himself! At such beckoning, the Lord addresses his devotee sha.nkarAchArya, in the first two stanzas (the prologue), as under: मनीषापञ्चकं अन्नमयादन्नमयमथवा चैतन्यमेव चैतन्यात् । यतिवर दूरीकर्तुं वाञ्छसि किं ब्रूहि गच्छ गच्छेति ॥ O great ascetic! Tell me . Do you want me to keep a distance from you, by uttering 'go away' 'go away' taking me to be an outcaste ? Is it addressed from one body made of food to another body made of food, or is it consciousness from consciousness --- which, O, the best among ascetics, you wish should go away, by saying `` Go away, go away''? Do tell me. प्रत्यग्वस्तुनि निस्तरङ्गसहजानन्दावबोधाम्बुधौ विप्रोऽयं श्वपचोऽयमित्यपि महान्कोऽयं विभेदभ्रमः । किं गङ्गाम्बुनि बिम्बितेऽम्बरमणौ चाण्डालवीथीपयः पूरे वाऽन्तरमस्ति काञ्चनघटीमृत्कुम्भयोर्वाऽम्बरे ॥ Answer me . While the supreme Being is reflected in every object as the sun's reflecion could be seen in the placid waveless water bodies why this doubting confusion and differentiation i.e . whether one is a brahmin or an outcaste ? who is the superior one etc ?. Is there any difference in the reflection of the sun in the waters of the Ganges or in the water present in the street of an outcaste? Likewise, is there any difference when the water- containers happen to be golden vessels and earthen pots ? (Immediately shankarAcharya realises the presence of the Lord Shankara before him (who has apparently shown Himself with a view to removing the last vestige of imperfection in His devotee) and reels off the following 5 stanzas-constituting 'manIShApa.nchakam'-ending with a further stanza in the form of an epilogue). जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तिषु स्फुटतरा या संविदुज्जृम्भते या ब्रह्मादिपिपीलिकान्ततनुषु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी । सैवाहं न च दृश्यवस्त्विति दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्यास्ति चे- च्चाण्डालोऽस्तु स तु द्विजोऽस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ १॥ If one is convinced firmly, that he is that very Soul which manifests itself in all the conditions of sleep, wakefulness and dream, in all the objects from the great Brahma (the creator) to the tiny ant and which is also the vibrant, but invisible, witnesser of all, then as per my clear conclusion, he is the great teacher/preceptor, be he a twice-born (i.e higher castes) or an outcaste. ब्रह्मैवाहमिदं जगच्च सकलं चिन्मात्रविस्तारितं सर्वं चैतदविद्यया त्रिगुणयाऽशेषं मया कल्पितम् । इत्थं यस्य दृढा मतिः सुखतरे नित्ये परे निर्मले चाण्डालोऽस्तु स तु द्विजोऽस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ २॥ I am quite convinced that he is the great Master, be he a Brahmin or an outcaste, who, dwelling on the pure and infinite Brahman thinks of himself as that very Brahman, of whose manifestation the whole Universe is,though apparently the Universe is assumed to consist of different things, due to ignorance and the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas). शश्वन्नश्वरमेव विश्वमखिलं निश्चित्य वाचा गुरो- र्नित्यं ब्रह्म निरन्तरं विमृशता निर्व्याजशान्तात्मना । भूतं भाति च दुष्कृतं प्रदहता संविन्मये पावके प्रारब्धाय समर्पितं स्ववपुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ३॥ I am fully convinced by the Preceptor's words that the entire Universe is a transitory illusion and that the human body is given to constantly meditate on the infinite and supreme Being with a serene and unquestioning mind and thus to burn in that sacred Fire the sins with which the human is born. या तिर्यङ्नरदेवताभिरहमित्यन्तः स्फुटा गृह्यते यद्भासा हृदयाक्षदेहविषया भान्ति स्वतोऽचेतनाः । तां भास्यैः पिहितार्कमण्डलनिभां स्फूर्तिं सदा भावय- न्योगी निर्वृतमानसो हि गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ४॥ In my considered opinion that Yogi is great who has clearly grasped within himself the truth and quality of the supreme Being through which all our activities are performed and whose effulgence is hidden by ignorance [of an ordinary person] even as the sun's halo is covered/hidden by the clouds. यत्सौख्याम्बुधिलेशलेशत इमे शक्रादयो निर्वृता यच्चित्ते नितरां प्रशान्तकलने लब्ध्वा मुनिर्निर्वृतः । यस्मिन्नित्यसुखाम्बुधौ गलितधीर्ब्रह्मैव न ब्रह्मविद् यः कश्चित्स सुरेन्द्रवन्दितपदो नूनं मनीषा मम ॥ ५॥ I am convinced that whoever has his mind dwelling upon the Great Being who is being worshipped by Indra and other gods and is thus completely at peace with himself has not only understood Brahman but he is himself that great Brahman! दासस्तेऽहं देहदृष्ट्याऽस्मि शंभो जातस्तेंऽशो जीवदृष्ट्या त्रिदृष्टे । सर्वस्याऽऽत्मन्नात्मदृष्ट्या त्वमेवे- त्येवं मे धीर्निश्चिता सर्वशास्त्रैः ॥ Oh Lord ! In the form of body I am your servant . In the form of life, O three-eyed one, I am part of yourself . In the form of soul, you are within me and in every other soul.I have arrived at this conclusion through my intellect and on the authority of the various scriptures. ॥ इति श्रीमच्छङ्करभगवतः कृतौ मनीषापञ्चकं सम्पूर्णम् ॥ Thus ends the 'manIShApa~nchakam' composed by the AdishankarAcharya.
Encoding by Narayanaswami at swami at math.mun.ca Translation by Shri S. V. Ganesan
Shri Kanchi MAhaswami Discourse (English translation of discourse by P N Ramachandran pnramchandran at gmail.com) The Mahaswami (late Shri Chandrashekharendra Sarasvati Swami) is considered a saint of recent times. His discourses on various topics while on a visit to Madras in 1930's are indeed the benchmark.) The Harijan asked: ANnmyadNnmymtvacEtNymev cEtNyaT (Maneesha Panchakam . Brihatstotram) Which should get away from which, whereto and how? What is your intention? Is it that one frame made of bone and flesh and itself a product of food, should get away from another frame of same composition and same origin? Or, that the soul (atma) resident in a frame should not come near another soul (atma) similarly resident in another frame? Oh! The best among Brahmins, please answer me, what is that which should get away?. pratyagvastuni (Maneesha Panchakam . Brihatstotram) The sun.s light falls both on the waters of the Ganges as well as of those of drains. The sun.s image gets reflected from both these surfaces. Is there any difference between the two images? Similarly, is there any difference in the images of the sun reflected in the water contained in a vessel whether the latter is made of gold or of mud? There is a permanent reality (paramatma) in our bodies. Paramatma, which is all perfect has the innate attributes of both bliss and knowledge. There are no differences in it. It is omniscient like the ocean. Even this comparison is not fully correct. In the ocean there are many waves. But in the paramatma there are no waves. The physical ocean has atmosphere standing upon it. This causes the waves in the ocean. But paramatma exists everywhere. There is no place without it. In view of its omnipresence there are no waves in it. It is both unexcellable bliss and limitless knowledge. In the paramatma which is of such nature, how can there be differences?. The question being in the nature of highest knowledge, evoked reply in the same vein. Adi Sankara said, .If you are such a knower of Brahmam (supreme reality), then you are indeed my Guru (revered teacher).. Adi Sankara.s reply is in five slokas known as ManeeshA Panchakam. Maneesha means firm conviction and Panchakam means five-fold. Adi Sankara sets out these as his firm convictions. Adi Sankara replied: jAgratsvapna (Maneesha Panchakam . verse 1) If this type of firm self-knowledge is found in any one . the knowledge that from the great Brahma (the creator) to the tiny ant, in all animate and inanimate things there is the supreme Brahman that is .I.; that the things which knowledge perceives as .I. are not .I.; then whether he be a Harijan or a Brahmin, that one alone is my Guru. This is my deep conviction and faith. How are we to look at all living things in the world as identical with ourselves? This self-knowledge is indeed hard to attain. There are three states of experience: waking (jagrat), dream (swapna) and deep sleep (sushipti). Although the states differ and the mental attitudes during these states differ, the person who experiences these is one and the same. Similarly we should be firmly convinced that one and the same .I. prevails in various things and in various places in the three states of experience. Although we perform or experience in different states acts and mental attitudes distinct from one another and although these acts and attitudes seem to be the work of distinct bodies and minds, we know that it is one and the same person that performs these acts or experiences these attitudes. Likewise the acts and mental attitudes, seemingly of other persons, are in reality our own. Bodies alone are separate but the inner self (the .I.) is the same. We should thus look at the entire world in this unitary view and not be misled by apparent differences. We see an article. The act of seeing has both an object (the particular article seen) as well as the subject (one who does the act of seeing). These two states (object and subject) are separate and distinct from one another. The body is seen . so it is the object. Atma (soul) sees . so it is the subject. This analogy can be extended to other acts such as perception or consciousness. The body is perceived . so it is the object. Atma (soul) does the act of perceiving . so it is the subject. Thus the body and the soul are separate from one another. He who considers the soul as that which is seen (that is, confuses the object for the subject) can only be termed as an aggyani (ignorant of reality/truth). yatsaukhya (Maneesha Panchakam . verse 5) Encoded by Narayanaswami at swami at math.mun.ca Translation by Shri S. V. Ganesan