काशीपञ्चकम् Kashi Panchakam – Sri Adi Shankaracharya Verse – 5

काशीपञ्चकम् – श्रीमच्छंकरभगवत्पादविरचितम्

With the commentary Tatva Prakasika
by Swami Tattvavidananda Sarasvati

Kashi Panchkam Verse – 5

काशीक्षेत्रं शरीरं त्रिभुवनजननी व्यापिनी ज्ञानगंगा,
भक्तिः श्रद्धा गयेयं निजगुरुचरणद्ध्यानयोगः प्रयागः।
विश्वेशोऽयं तुरीयस्सकलाजनमनस्साक्षिभूतोऽन्तरात्मा,
देहे सर्वं मदीये यदि वसति पुनः तीर्थमन्यत्किमस्ति ॥५॥
KashiKshetram sharirm tribhuvanjanani vyaptini Jnanaganga,
BhaktiH Shraddha gayeym nijgurucharandhyanyogaH prayagH,
Vishveso’yam turiyH-sakaljanamanaH-sakshibhuto’ntratma,
dehe sarvamadiye yadi vasati punH tirthmanytkimasti..5

Translation :

शरीरं shariram – body, काशीक्षेत्रं kasikshetrm – the pilgrimage centre of Kasi, त्रिभुवनजननी tribhuvanajanani – the mother of the three worlds, व्यापिनी vyapini – all-pervading, ज्ञानगंगा Jnanaganga – the Ganges of knowledge, भक्तिः bhaktiH – devotion, श्रद्धा sraddha – faith, ईयं Iyam – this, गया gaya – Gaya, निजगुरुचरणद्ध्यानयोगः nijagurucaranadhyanayogaH – the communion of meditation on the feet of one’s preceptor, प्रयागः praysgaH – Prayaga, अयं ayam – this, विश्वेशः visvesaH – Lord of the Universe, तुरीयः तुररुयाह्य turiyaH turruyaH – the fourth, तुरीयस्सकलाजनमनस्साक्षिभूतोऽन्तरात्मा – saskalajanamanassakhibhutaH, – obtaining as the witness of the mind in all living beings, अंतरात्मा antarätmä – the inner ruler, यदि yadi – if, मदीये madéye – belonging to me, देहे dehe – in the body, सर्वं sarvam – everything, वसति vasati – abides, पुनः punaH – so, अन्यत् Anyat – other, तीर्थम् Tirtham – pilgrimage center, किम kim – which one, अस्ति asti – is?

Body is the pilgrimage center of Kasi. The all-pervading flows of knowledge is the Ganges, the mother of the three worlds. Devotion and faith are this city of Gaya. The communion of meditation on the feet of one’s preceptor is the city of Prayaga..5

Atman, the fourth, is this Lord of the universe. It obtains in all living beings as the witness to the mind and the inner ruler. As everything exists in my body, where is the need for any other pilgrimage center?

This verse is in the metre called sragdhara. In Vedanta, there is a nyaya called nyaya nahi ninda nyaya, the logic of non-censure: nahi ninda nindyam ninditum api tu stutyam stotum; the intent of the censure is not to censure one, but to glorify the other. Superficially, the poet seems to censure something, but is intent is to highlight the glory of the thing under consideration. The intent is to glorify the higher, not to fensure the lower. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was once asked if he would go on pilgrimage to Kasi. He replied that he was not interested because he sees Siva in his own heart. He urged his disciples to have motiveless devotion in the heart, rather than visiting places. He was highlighting what is important rather than putting down pilgrimage.

Pilgrims usually visit Prayaga and Gaya in addition to visiting Kasi. Sri Shankara included all the three places in the symbolism. The sacred city of Kasi is body. Just as the Ganges flows in Kasi, so also the manifest consciousness flows in this body. According to mythology, Ganges is called triloka sarit, the river of three worlds, as it flows in heaven as well as the nether world also. It is called Mandakini as it flows in heaven. Atman, the Awareness Absolute, manifests in the body-mind as the witness of the three states ofr waking, dream and sleep.

Sraddha, the love for knowledge is Gaya. In Gaya, people perform sraddha, the ritual propitiating the manes. Sraddhayaa kritm srardham, the ritual is called sraddha because it is performed with love and devotion. Generally people perform this ritual without fail, but there is a misconception that it is inauspicious, unlike temple worship. The origin of this misconception could be the general fear that people have for death. Anything connected with death is abhorred. But death is as real as life. Once a bereaving woman prayed to Lord Buddha to revive her son. He told her that he would indeed bring the dead body to life if she could get a fistful of rice from a home that had no experience of death. Sraddha is as auspicious as ny prayer. In it, we worship God in the form of manes.

Meditation is Prayaga. Prayaga is the confluence of the three sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati the unseen. Similarly, in meditation, as one contemplates upon Isvara’s feet, the body, mind and ego resolve in Siva, the Awareness of Being. Isvara alone appears in the form of preceptor and then as Atman, the sadguru, the preceptor in the form of the inner Being. Ultimately, Isvara and guru resolve in Atman. Meditation on the feet is symbolic of Siva saranagati, self-surrender.

The seeker surrenders to the awareness of being and abides in the inner silence. It is dhyana yoga. It is yoga because it is the communion of the body-identified persona with the Reality that reflects in the body-mind. This communion is Prayaga.

Atman is turiya, the fourth. It lights up the entire content of the waking, dream and sleep, and yet transcends them. The content of the waking consciousness does not affect Atman. Atman is never ever attached to the content. These states happen; they do not happen to Atman. Nothing ever happens to Atman just as the day and night do not happen to the sun. That turiya is Siva. The moment you watch the mind, you become the witnessing awareness. Already, you are not the persona any more; you are the impersonal intelligence which is Siva.

Siva is Visvesvara, the overlord of Visva, the universe. Visva is also the one who identifies with the content of the waking consciousness. Vividha pratyayagamyam visvam. What we taste, touch, smell, see and hear is the Visva. Who is the master of this Visva? The Awareness Absolute is the master. That Kasi, Siva, is you. Siva is obtaining in our hearts as antaratma, the innermost reality.

How does one realize the antaratma, the inner Reality? By realizing, “I am not the body, I am not the organs of action, I am not the sense organs, I am not the mind (emotions), I am not the intellect, I am not the ego”. Abide as pure ‘I am’. That is the gateway to the truth. As we abide in the pure ‘I am’, we would resolve into the pure awareness of the being, which is the antaratma. That antaratma is the saksi of the entire movement of the mind, not only in one’s heart but also in the hearts of every living being. It is the same Atman that reflects in the body- minds of all the living beings, like one sun reflecting in a billion dewdrops or one electrical energy shining in a million bulbs. Siva, Bhavani, Ganga, Kasi, Prayaga, Gaya – all are here in this body. What else is needed to purify it? Tirtham is that which sancgtifies. There is no other place that is supposed to purify us. Atma tirtham param tirtham, says the Suta samhita. People roam all around in search of a shrine or river that could purify them. But, they do not realize that the greatest shrine of all is Kasi shining in the heart as Atman. Taking a tourist bus and visiting various pilgrimage fcenters with a group of people is not an end in itself. It is good for national integration, but not enough for Self-realization. The striver should discover silence, peace and happiness, in oneself by yoga or by assimilating the truths enunfciated in this encomium. That is the real pilgrimage.

|| ईतिश्री मच्छंकरभगवत्पादविरचितम् काशीपञ्चकम् संपुर्णं ||
Harih Aum tat sat Srikrsnarpanamastu

HariH Aum __/\__
Courtesy and Credit :
– Swami Tattvavidananda Saraswati Ji
– Arsh Vidhya News Letter(2012)


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