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This text is prepared by volunteers and is to be used for personal study and research. The file is not to be copied or reposted for promotion of any website or individuals or for commercial purpose without permission.
Please help to maintain respect for volunteer spirit. 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. For example, while commenting on Bhagvadgita In Vivekachudamani, he goes on to say that Bhakti is one of the most conducive causes for liberation. Similarly, in the third verse of atma bodha, he says that karma is not opposed to ignorance, though it can not destroy ignorance. Undoubtedly a great religious reformer and philosopher, Shankara embraces within his fold all pantheism while maintaining the principle of non-duality.
Atma Bodha falls into the last category. The text of Atmabodha avoids the technicalities found in the vedas, but conveys the message of jnana yoga the path of knowledge to the layman. In a short compendium of sixty eight stanzas, the knowledge of the Self is described in an unique and simple style.
Shankara starts with the requirements of the aspirant, and goes on to explain the nature of world -Samsara, the embodiments of the soul, the influence of mAyA and the superimposition of Atman.
Since the realization of the Self can not be had from books or scriptures, Shankara insists on the necessity of instruction by a Self-realized Guru teacher. The intense desire to liberate and the effort required by the sAdhaka aspirant is emphasized. If there is no effort, there can not be a result.
Then only the real age of millennium will dawn wherein one feels that the whole world is one's family of kith and kin, a place for nothing but love and fellow feeling, in short a vasudhaivakuTumbakam universe as a family. Out of great compassion for the rest of the masses, Shankara composed Atmabodha for explaining the knowledge of the Self. The treatise of the knowledge of self, Atmabodha, is meant for those whose sins have been destroyed by religious austerities, who are calm, devoid of attachment and are persons desirous of liberation i.
The qualified are those who have the four fold requisities, 1. The rest of the sixty seven verses may be roughly classified in to the following subjects, means for emancipation , sa.
May the great AchArya, one of the greatest persons to grace this planet, Shankara, make us aware of His grace. Transliteration is by Kim Poulsen poulsen at dk-online. Comments by Giridhar giridhar at chemeng. Giridhar giridhar at chemeng.
Self-Knowledge: Sankara's "Atmabodha"
This text is prepared by volunteers and is to be used for personal study and research. The file is not to be copied or reposted for promotion of any website or individuals or for commercial purpose without permission. Please help to maintain respect for volunteer spirit. 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.
Atma Bodha by Sri Sri Adi Shankaracharya
I bow down to the lotus feet of my teacher Shankarananda, whose only function is to consume the mighty shark of delusion and its retinue. Without Knowledge there is no liberation. Compared to all other practices, Knowledge of the Self alone is the one direct means for liberation, just as fire is the direct cause for cooking. Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not opposed to ignorance. Knowledge on the other hand verily destroys ignorance, like light destroys deep darkness. The Self appears to be finite because of ignorance.
Just as the fire is the direct cause for cooking, so without true knowledge no emancipation can be had. Compared with all other forms of discipline knowledge of the Self is the one direct means for liberation. Action cannot destroy ignorance, for it is not in conflict with or opposed to ignorance. Knowledge does verily destroy ignorance as light destroys deep darkness.