मनीषा पञ्चकम् – Manisha Panchakam
Pujya Adi Shankaracharya
Manisha Panchakam is again a small treatise by Sankara. It contains only five verses and narrate a ‘story’ that happed in Kasi. Sankara took a bath in Ganges and was going towards Viswanatha Temple. On his way, he met an ‘untouchable’ and he asked him to get away from his path, since he was an untouchable! (go away, go away -” gaccha, gaccha”) Siva is said to have come in the disguise of that untouchable. To Sankara’s order, the untouchable asks: ” Oh! the great among Brahmins! This body made of food came from a body that was made of food. This Chaitanya (the Self) is from another Chaitanya. Which one, do you want me to clear off?” This Sun is reflecting as on the waters of Ganges and also on the waters of the gutter near my house. It reflects in the golden pot as well as in mudpot. This great bliss is there in every living being, whether there is any difference between a Brahmin and a lowly dog-eater?”
Maneesha Pancakam is a group of five verses dealing with the subject of Maneesha, which means Nischaya / conviction / firm understanding. This word has two parts, Manasa & Esha. Esha means the power or function. Thus this word also means the power or the function of mind, which is nothing but knowledge / conviction / Nischaya Jnanam. Such a title is given since in most of the verses, Adi Shankara ends with esa mama Maneesha – this is my firm conviction.
It is a conviction that human beings superiority does not primarily depend on his birth or caste. Birth or caste can give certain advantages. But, advantages are not everything. Similarly karma or occupation does not give greatness to a person.
Only Satva guna, the character and wisdom determines the superiority of a person. It is the Sadhana Chatusthya sampatti or amanitvaha guna or abhayadi guna, the virtues + the character which determine the superiority irrespective of birth or the caste. When the virtues are capped by the wisdom it is worth cherishing.
Shankara was touring all over India bare foot. He went to Kashi. He bathed in Ganga and was walking towards the temple when Lord Shiva comes in the form of a low caste person or a chandala. A chandala is a person of mixed birth (no advantage by virtue of birth) and whose habits are wild. He is uncultured and animalistic. He is a prakruta purusha (as opposed to samskrata purusha). It is said that Lord Shiva wanted to test Adi Shankara to see if he has actually transcended deha abhimana. The story goes that Adi Shankara for a moment forgot this wisdom and got identified with this body as a superior Brahmana. His immediate reaction was ‘gaccha’ ‘gaccha’, don’t come in my way. Then Lord Shiva(in the form of Chandala) asks him two questions.
अन्नामयादान्नमयम्थ्वा चैतन्यमेव चैतान्यात ।
द्विजवर दूरीकर्तु वाञछ्सी किं ब्रूहि गच्छ गच्छेति ॥1॥
Hey Dvijavara, which one do you want to distance yourself from? Do you want to distance your annamaya (physical body) form my annamaya? Or, Do you want to separate my consciousness from your consciousness? Which one do you desire by using the expression “go away’? Please clearly tell me what you want.
किं गंगाम्बुनी बिम्बितेओम्ब्र्मनौ चंदाल्वातिपयः
पूरे चंत्रमस्ती कच्च्न्घतिम्रित्कुम्भ्योवोर्म्ब्रे।
What gradation exists in the sunlight reflected in the sacred Ganga and the pool of water in the Chandala Street? Or what gradation exists in the space in golden pot or the earthen pot? The indwelling truth in everything is of the nature of SatChitAnanda, is of the nature of an absolute, blissful, division- less, resolute ocean. Oh great one why this illusion of discrimination between a learned Brahmin and the one who eats dogs meat?
- The Reply of Adi Shankara
After these words struck like a lightning in Sankara, he replies in five verses, where he states about 3 states of waking etc.,in which the Brahman is the Witness. This great Bliss is all pervasive and I misunderstood it due to my 3 gunas, sattva etc., I have understood this by the great words of my Guru (that is the untouchable). This great bliss is an ocean, from the drop of which Indra and other devas are satisfied and the great sages are feeling complete.”
Manisha Panchakam Begins
जग्रत्स्वप्न्सुषुप्तिषु स्फुत्तारा या संविदुज्ज्रुम्भ्ते
या ब्रह्मिदिपिपीलिकान्त्त्नुशु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी ।
सैवाहं न च दुश्यवास्त्विती दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्यास्ति चेत
चन्दलोअस्तु स तु द्विजोअस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ १ ॥
That one Consciousness which shines ever evidently in all beings in Wakeful, dream and deep sleep states, right from Brahma to the ant, that one consciousness which is witness to all the worldly activities, I am that, and not what I perceive. Whoever so has this firm conviction whether he is a chandala or a dvija, he is as adorable as my Guru, this is my firm conviction.
रह्मैवाह्मिदम जगच्च सकलं चिन्मत्रिविस्तारितं
सर्वं चैताद्विध्य्या त्रिगुनायोशेषं मया कल्पितम ।
इथं यस्य दृढा मतिः सुखतरे नित्ये परे निर्मले
चन्दलोअस्तु स तु द्विजोअस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ २ ॥
I am Brahman, this universe is Consciousness alone, fully projected. Everything without exception is born of Maya shakti by the play of the three Gunas and are imagined by me. Whosoever has the firm conviction of this understanding of the Consciousness, which is absolute, pure, eternal and blissful, whether he is a chandala or a dvija, he is as adorable as my Guru this is my firm conviction.
शास्वन्न्स्वरमेवा विश्वमखिलं निश्चित्य वाचा गुरोः
नित्यं ब्रह्म निरंतरं विमृशता निव्याज्शान्तात्मना ।
भूतं भावि च दुष्क्रुतं प्रदहता संविन्मये पावके
प्ररब्धाय समर्पितं स्वव्पुरित्येशा मनीषा मम ॥ ३ ॥
Having gained the firm conviction that this entire universe is perpetually perishing (KY), having developed a tranquil and open mind (UY), one must continuously do Mananam of nityam Brahma with the help of Guru Upadesha (JY). Having thus gained Jnanam, the sanchita papa-punya is burned, the agami is avoided and the Jnani submits his body to prarabdha. Such a Jnani, whether he is a chandala or a dvija he is as adorable as my Guru. This is my firm conviction.
या तियार्न्ग्नार्देव्ताभिराह्मित्यांतः स्फुटा गृह्यते
यभ्दासा हृदयाक्ष्देहविश्या भांति स्वतोअचेतनाः ।
तां भास्यैः पिहितार्क्मंदाल्निभां स्फूर्ति सदा भावयन
योगी निवृत्मंसो हि गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ४ ॥
With the light of Consciousness, the mind, the senses, the sense objects appear sentient, although, by themselves they are insentient. That consciousness possessed in all – animals, humans and devatas is also clearly evident within in me as the witness, in and through every experience. The illumined organs covers the illuminator consciousness ‘as though’ just as the solar disk is covered ‘as though’ by the illumined clouds. The Yogi always dwells in the consciousness and is contented. Such a Yogi whether he is a chandala or a dvija is as adorable as my Guru. This is my firm conviction.
यात्सौख्याम्बुधिलेश्लेशत इमे श्कद्यो निव्रुता
याच्चित्ते नितरां प्रशान्त्कालने लब्ध्वा मुनिनिर्व्रुतः ।
यस्मिन्नित्यासुखाम्बुधाऊ गलित्धिब्रह्मैव न ब्रह्मविद
यः कश्सित्सा सुरेंद्रव्न्दित्प्दो नूनं मनीषा मम ॥ ५ ॥
Even the Gods like Indra enjoy a small reflected portion of the Brahmananda (Bimbananda) which is like an ocean. However, the wise own up the Brahmananda as himself in his mind which is free from all disturbances. Such a wise person who is immersed in Brahmananda is no longer a Brahma Jnani but Brahma himself. Whoever has discovered this fact; his feet are adorable even to Indra. This is my firm conviction.
॥ इति श्रीमच्छङ्करभगवतः कृतौ मनीषापंच्चकम सम्पुर्णम् ॥
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