.. Atma Bodha ..

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namaH shrIsha NkarAnandagurupAdAmbujanmane . savilAsamahAmohagrAhagrAsaikakarmaNe .. – pa nchadashI ‘I bow at the lotus feet of the Guru, Shankara, whose function is to eliminate the alligator of delusion (moha) with all its branches.’ Atma Bodha, meaning self knowledge, was composed by Adi Shankara sometime in the 8th century. To quote Sri Radhakrishnan ‘The Advaitism of Shankara is a system of great speculative daring and logical subtlety . Its austere intellectualism, its remorseless logic, which marches on indifferent to the hopes and beliefs of man, its relative freedom from theological obsessions, make it a great example of a purely philosophical scheme . It is impossible to read Shankara’s writings, packed as they are with serious and subtle thinking, without being conscious that one is in contact with a mind of a very fine penetration and profound spirituality . With his acute feeling of the immeasurable world, his stirring gaze into the abysmal mysteries of the spirit, his unswerving resolve to say neither more nor less than what could be proved, Shankara stands out as a heroic figure of the first rank in the somewhat motley crowd of the religious thinkers of medieval India .... Shankara taught us to love Truth, respect reason and realize the purpose of life . Twelve centuries have passed, and yet his influence is visible.’ His influence on Indian philosophy is so enormous that most of the later philosophies that evolved in India had either to agree with him or disagree with him, quoting him nevertheless. Shankara, in his indisputable style, allows a place for Karma and Bhakti while emphasising the prime necessity of j nAna for the realization of the Self . For example, while commenting on Bhagvadgita 18.45, he takes Bhakti to be identical to j nAna by quoting 7.16-18 of the gItA where Krishna says that a j nAni is one of His Bhaktas. In Vivekachudamani, he goes on to say that Bhakti is one of the most conducive causes for liberation . Similarly, in the third verse of

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the triple cannon).’ the supreme being. Shankara embraces within his fold all pantheism while maintaining the principle of non-duality.atma bodha. circumstances. the knowledge of the Self is described in an unique and simple style . As Sri Radhakrishnan says ‘People in our society have resolved to renounce nothing. the sanskrit commentator. but wish to enjoy the fruit of renunciation. Undoubtedly a great religious reformer and philosopher.’ The vedanta kesari puts it ‘The goal we desire (should be) to reach the ideal society of the prophets. though it can not destroy ignorance . brahmasUtra-s. ‘Aham Brahmasmi’. a place for nothing but love and fellow feeling. and elucidates the fruits of Self-realization and the state of the jivanmukta (liberated soul). The text of Atmabodha avoids the technicalities found in the vedas. he has composed a large number of stotra-s (hymns in praise of various gods) and also brief expositions in prose and verse (prakaraNa-s ). moral and spiritual development . If there is no effort. morally and intellectuially progressive community of non attached and responsible individuals. Then only the real age of millennium will dawn wherein one feels that the whole world is one’s family of kith and kin. and Parthasarathy. In a short compendium of sixty eight stanzas.h (universe as a family). the influence of mAyA and the superimposition of Atman . He describes the meditation technique based on aphorism ‘I am Brahman. peaceful. to name a few. he says that karma is not opposed to ignorance. The intense desire to liberate and the effort required by the sAdhaka (aspirant) is emphasized . environment. and mental. Shankara insists on the necessity of instruction by a Self-realized Guru (teacher). Shankara starts with the requirements of the aspirant. Out of great ¾ . remarks that Sri Shankaracharya composed the three great bhashyas (of the upaniShads. TMP Mahadevan. but conveys the message of jnana yoga (the path of knowledge) to the layman . A rare but an excellent commentary of this work in Sanskrit has been provided by Swami kRiShNAnandAshramI and has been translated in to english by Vidyaratna Menon . in short a vasudhaivakuTumbakam. gItA. Though Shankara is famous for his commentaries (bhAShya-s) on the three major texts considered as ‘launching pad’ for liberation (prasthAnatrayI. Atma Bodha falls into the last category . a society of just.’ Commenting on the first verse of Atma Bodha. Other noteworthy translations of the text are by Swami Chinmayananda. and goes on to explain the nature of world -Samsara. Since the realization of the Self can not be had from books or scriptures. the embodiments of the soul. and brahma sUtra) for the guidance of people qualified by birth. there can not be a result . Swami Nikhilananda. the means we adopt therefore must be worthy of the ends . Swami kRiShNAnandAshramI. namely bhagvad gItA. and upaniShad-s.

shraddhA (faith). titIkShA (indifferent endurance) f .compassion for the rest of the masses. discrimination between real and unreal (viveka) 2. various sharIra-s (embodiments) (13-19). the six fold qualities. one of the greatest persons to grace this planet. sAma (restraint of internal senses) b . devoid of attachment and are persons desirous of liberation (i. AtmabodhaH . 1. means for emancipation (2-5). mumukShu-s desirous of mokSha). sAdhanA (37-39). who are calm. The qualified are those who have the four fold requisities. adhyAsa (15-19). dAma (restraint of external senses) c .e . self-realization (40-46). ØÔÓ ¸ ÔÔÒ ¦Ø Ò Ú ØÖ Ñ º Ñ Ñ  ¡ ÑÔ ÝÓ ÝÑ ´Ñ Ó Ó Ú ÝØ ½ £ £ Ó Ó ¦Ý× £ ÝÓ Ò × ¦ÑÓß × ÒÑ º Ô ¹Ý Ú Ú · Ò ÚÒ ÑÓ Ó Ò ×Ý Ø ¾ ÚÖÓ ØÝ Ñ­ Ò Ú Ú ÒÚØ­ÝØ º £ Ú Ú Ò ¦´ÝÚ Ø ¹Ø ÑÖ×ûÚØ ¿ £ £ Ô ÖÉ Ú·Ò £ × Ø £ Úи º var Ú É ¹ÚÝ £ í ´Ñ Ñ Ô Ý   Ñ ÒÚ Ø £ £ · Ò Ð Õ Ú · Ò Ý × â ÒÑ­ÐÑ º ¿ . doctrine of neti-neti (31-36). and finally the nature of Brahman (54-68). The treatise of the knowledge of self. Atmabodha. Shankara. is meant for those whose sins have been destroyed by religious austerities. ´Ñ Ó ¸ .nsAra (6-12). samAdhAna (mind constantly on the Self) e ... desire for emancipation (mumukShu-s) and 4. uparati (control of senses. a . Shankara composed Atmabodha for explaining the knowledge of the Self. aha. without jumping from one object to another) d . sa. vision of a j nAnI and characteristics of a jivanmukta (47-53). make us aware of His grace. The rest of the sixty seven verses may be roughly classified in to the following subjects. non-attachment (i. May the great AchArya.e indifferent to the results of one’s action) 3.nkAra (26-30).

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Comments by Giridhar giridhar@chemeng.dk). TMP Mahadevan. David Lyttle dhlyttle@hotmail.uky.à Ҧ Ñ Ý Ø ì £ £´ÝÚ ÖÝØ £ à Ҧ Ô¹Ý Ø¹Ý Ò¦ ÐÚ Ø ¸ º ì ¹Ø ÖØÅÝÒ Ú¦´Ý Ò ¦ ÒÓ ÃÐ ¸ £ Ø   ØÑ ÃРڹؠ ²ÝÚ Ö¹Ø ¦Úظ º var ²ÝÚ Ö æ ¦Úظ Ø¹Ñ ´×Ú­ Ø ì £ × Ô­ ÖÚ ÃÐ Ö £ Ò Ú¹Ì¡ÐÑ ¹ÚÑ ­Ñ ѲÝÝÑ º Ô   Ú ­ÀÝ Ø ì £´ÝÚ ÖÝØ £ ¼ Ý × ¹ÝØ ­ £ ¹ÝÝ­   Ò ¹ÝØ º ß £ ÝÒ ×Ú­ Ñ £ ØØ ì £´ÝÚ ÖÝØ £ ½ ¹ÚÝÑ¦Ø ­ ²Ý­ Ý ×Ý ÃРغ ì £ Ú Ø Ø Ý× Ô ÚØ Ø ¾ âÐ ì ì Ó ¦Ý Ò º ì ¦Ý Ø ¦ÑÄÝ ÝÌ ÑÞÑÖ £ ¿ £ £ ì Ó ¦Ý Ø £ Ø º Ú ¢ ÝØ ¡ ÝØ Ý Ø Ú· Ò É Ø ì × É Ò¦ ÑâÝÑ ×Ú­ × É ´Ñ Ò · Ò   Ò­Ö Ø º £ · Ò   Ò­£Ø ¹Ú¦Ø ҠѦ ÚØ £ Ú Þ Ø· Ò ÒÔ ÖØ Ôظ º Ú¸ ×Ú­ÑÐ ¦Ñ  ظ ¹Ú ­Ú ÓØØ ¹ÚÝÑ £ Ó ØÓ í ´Ñ Ó Ò ¹ØÑÓ Ô Ø º ×Ú­²Ý Ô ×Ú­ Ö Ø ×ÝØ ÃÐÑ £ £ Ð ÒÔ Ý ×Ú­ £ Ø ´Ý× Ã ÒÖ ÒÑ º ݸ ¹Ú ´ÑØ Ì­ £ Ø Ú Ò © ݸ × ×Ú­ Ú´×Ú­ ØÓ ÑØÓ £ Ø Ú ¢ Ø Ö Ý­ ÚÖ Ø ´Ñ Ó ¸ ×Ñ Ø¸ References in introduction include notes from the translations by Swami Nikhilananda. and the sanskrit commentary by Swami Krishnanandashrami .Isc.edu.com. Transliteration is by Kim Poulsen (poulsen@dk-online.com Please send corrections to sanskrit@cheerful.ernet.com Last updated November 7. and Sunder Hattangadi sunderh@hotmail.in Additional proofreading by Avinash Sathaye sohum@ms. 2009 . Vidyaratna Menon.

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