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काशीपञ्चकम् – श्रीमच्छंकरभगवत्पादविरचितम् KASHI PANCHAKAM OF SRI SANKARACHARYA With the commentary Tatva. The name Kashi or Varanasi brings a feeling of spiritual bliss in our minds. This is the case with all the Hindus of India and abroad. Whether. Coming to Sankaracharya’s Kasi Panchakam, he, being an whatever name you may call the place, Kasi, Prayaga etc., it exists within him.

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I am that city of Kasi in the form of my own pure awareness. The supreme peace that is the quietude of the mind is that Manikarnika ghat, the holiest of the holy. The flow of the waking consciousness kassi the divine Ganges.

काशीपञ्चकम् Kashi Panchakam – Sri Adi Shankaracharya Verse – 1

Kasika means Kasi, one of the holiest pilgrimage centres of India. KasaH prakasaH asya asti iti Kasi. Kasi means Atman, the Awareness Absolute, in which everything shines. Everything — pleasure, pain, religion, God etc. Vedantins are upadanaikasarana meaning that the matrix is the most important for Vedantins. This extreme duality is against the tenets of Vedanta and science.

We have to understand that consciousness is the matrix of the universe. The universe is the content of waking consciousness, an appearance in the consciousness. It is the primordial intelligence. There is no truth in such notions. That self-shining awareness is the Kasi. How do we know the existence of a pot? It does not declare its existence by itself.

A conscious being has to validate its existence through the agency of the eyesight and the mind. Shining is of two kinds. One is shining of the outside light. But, there is knowledge of the pot only when the pot shines in the knowingness. Thus, a pot is not svayamprakasya, self-shining; it is paraprakasya, shines by the light, by the eyesight and by the mind as the content of the waking consciousness.

Time and space are categories of the mind. There is time only when there is a thought and there is space only when we identify with the body. As we identify with the body, we are limited in space, and as we identify with the mind, we get caught in the flow of time. It is Kasi, the space-less timeless self-shining conscious presence.

Puranas tell us that Kasi is the centre of the universe. The infinite has centre everywhere. God is the Infinite centered in every human heart. The entire universe springs up from the waking consciousness, is in the waking consciousness, is sustained in the waking consciousness, and resolves in the same.

Sa tirthavarya manikarnika ca. The manikarnika ghat in Kasi is the popular cremation ghat and yet the most sacred. Most dead bodies in and around Kasi are brought there for cremation. The pious take bath there and conduct their prayers.


This ghat symbolizes the negation of identification with the body. One has to die to the body to kasl awake to panhakam truth. As long as we take the body to be ourselves, the truth remains far off in spite of what we say or do.

Intellectualizatilon of the truth is not the truth. The truth will reveal itself only when we prepare ourselves for the revelation, and the preparation is the negation of the identification with the body.

The body identification is three-fold: We practise karma yoga, selfless service, to neutralize mahyam. The body is put to rightful action without seeking results; the results are surrendered to Esvara or the society at large. Just as the wind does not blow for its own sake, but for the sake of the entire manifestation, so also the faculties of the body and mind function not for our benefit alone, but for the welfare of the entire humanity.

The mama identity is neutralized by bhakti yoga, motiveless devotion. In the context of devotion, namah, prostration, is very important.

It means na me, not mine. Everything of this creation, including the body, belongs to Isvara. Then, the ignorance that I am the doer is negated by discernment of Self as distinct not different from the body, which is the non-self.

This is sankhya yoga. Upasantih, the dousing of the fire, the fire of affliction. There are three kinds of tapa, affliction: The heart lasi at peace when these three fires are doused. When we sleep, all the afflictions are gone and when we wake up, the three types of afflictions come back. It is as if they are waiting for us to wake up.

Thus the santi, that we experience during sleep is brittle, not parama. In the waking state too, there are many methods to reduce the agitation of the mind, e. The agitation however comes back once the effect of the drug wears away. In fact, we often become more distressed after such temporarily acquired peace of mind. It is like lightning, which briefly lights up objects in the dark and disappears quickly.

We want panchamam real peace of mind, not the ephemeral one. We seek permanent cessation of all suffering and pain and that is moksa, also called nirvana. Vana is suffering and nirvana is freedom from suffering. Freedom is mostly described in negative terms. What it is cannot be described. It is not what is described in words. Therefore, what it is not alone is described.

It is freedom from afflictions.

It is conscious presence that transcends all divisions. It is not the silence per Se that is important. The flow of thoughts is harmless if and only if ,asi content of the mind is realized as unreal. And then, we try to manipulate the content as we seek pleasure and avoid pain. This is nothing but deeply ingrained ignorance and bondage.


Kasi Panchakam – Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

The flow of thoughts acts as a screen that covers up panchakan truth. The mind creates a world panxhakam us and presents it to us on a platter every morning, and we accept that as real and take ourselves to be a small part of that world. Unless we negate this projection of the mind, we cannot discover the truth. This subject-object division and plurality projected by the ignorant mind is mithya, unreal.

To know the truth, we have to step away from the mind and watch it; then, it automatically becomes calm and quiet. As we identify with the mind, we give a reality to the object of its thoughts. While paying attention to and investing interest in the objects of the world, we cannot realize it as kas. Withdraw your attention, withhold your interest and draw back from the mind.

Watch the mind constantly. Be kind to it, but in an uninvolved way. Initially, the progress is slow in yoga, and therefore, perseveringly withdraw from the thoughts. Be a witness to the mind, and the mind becomes pure. For instance, we talk while taking food, and eating becomes mechanical. Stop talking and experience fully the taste of the dish. That is also yoga. Similarly, watch yourself while walking.

As we identify with the mind, we remain trapped in it. As we withdraw from the mind and start watching it, we realize that we are the knower of the mind.

The mind is kshetra, field, and all the objects of thought are part and parcel of this field. In yoga, one should not contradict oneself. One should not increase the impurities of the mind or work at cross-purposes.

As we purify the mind by pranayama or control of the mind through regulated breathing, meditation, listening to the scriptures etc. Once the mind is pure, we will realize that we are not the mind, but a witness of the mind. Since the mind is filled with the six-fold enemy such as greed, anger, jealousy, etc. We have to know deep within that we are not the mind, and thus transcend the mind. We will be able to transcend the mind if and only if the mind is pure.

An impure mind that is attached to the world holds us back. AntaHkarana suddhi or purification of the mind, is the most crucial starting point.