Saturday, 6 December 2014

Manisha Panchakam - Traditional Vedanta Books - Nisargadatta Maharaj

Manisha Panchakam is a set of five verses composed by Shri Adi Shankaracharya, the Hindu philosopher. It is said that in these five verses Shankara brings out the essence of Advaita Vedanta. It is believed that Shankara wrote the Manisha Panchakam at Varanasi, the ancient sacred city of India, and the home to the famous Kashi Visvanatha temple.

According to the legend, Adi Shankaraachaarya, was on his way to the temple after finishing his bath. Suddenly he saw a chandaala (an outcaste) and his four dogs on the way, and gestured to him to keep a distance, as per the custom in those days. The outcaste then asked him some questions which form the substance of two verses which are a prelude to the main work. Among the questions asked, the significant one was like this-"Whether My body should give way to you or my Soul?". On hearing these questions, Sri Shankara realized that the person before him was no ordinary person but Lord Shiva himself, and the dogs, the four Vedas. Shankara replies to these questions in five verses.

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About Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism), and a Guru, belonging to the Navnath Sampradaya. Sri Nisargadatta, with his direct and minimalistic explanation of non-dualism, is considered the most famous teacher of Advaita since Ramana Maharshi. In 1973, the publication of his most famous and widely-translated book, "I AM THAT", an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers.

According to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the purpose of spirituality is simply to know who you are. His discussions are not for academic scholars. He is a rebellious spirit, abrupt in his style of discussion, provocative, and immensely profound, cutting to the core and wasting little effort on inessentials. He talked about the 'direct way' of knowing the Final Reality, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through mental discrimination, breaking the mind's false identification with the ego, knowing that "You are already That".

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