Sunday, 3 February 2013


On the all embracing banks of the mighty Ganges River 
Where wisdom and hope flow along with the sacred water
Flowing freely for everyone!
 Freely for everyone, who does not cling to his egoic self! 
Where unity and diversity; life and non life
Purity and disparity; mystical and the ritual
All flow together as one!
Having bathed himself in this holiest of holy waters
Having bathed off, the grit and grime of Maya! 
The great sage, Shankara of Kaladi
Master of the four Vedas
Inheritor of the virtuous birth of a Brahman
Walked along in peace and contemplation! 

Just as a misguided thought intrudes into an unsettled mind
A man of ill form, as an obstacle, appeared across his holy trail
An outcaste, a chandala, a lower life!
Happy with life, his dogs and all his strife
Walking across the banks of the mighty Ganges
On the same path, leading to the holiness of the strolling sages

The great one, having seen the lowly man and his unworthy trajectory
Pondered as he loathed in his unrealised glory
Great is my birth as a Brahman!
Great is my knowledge and enlightenment!
But, a chandala, an outcaste, a lower life form!How can this creature, ever cross my path!

So with curtains of disdain, descending upon his eyes of wisdom
Standing tall and still, in his glorious trail! Stop he chided!
Go away you ignorant fool!
Don’t you know whose hallowed path you are obstructing! 
So go away! While the Lord still has mercy; save your unworthy flesh!
How is it Oh chandala that you dare to come in the way of wisdom?

Even as his dogs  barked , on hearing the  tone of the great sage

The  passing  chandala calmly stopped  and thus spoke 

Oh mighty sage! Master of the four Vedas!

Inheritor of the virtuous birth of a Brahman
What is it, you command to go away?
Is it my body   evolved from matter and energy?
Is it my mind, made of thought and conditioning?
Or is it my eternal essence of conscious awareness?
Which of these; Does the great one command to go away?
Is the Brahman in you asking this worthless chandala?
Is the intellect in you asking this seemly ignorant fool?
 Or, is it your formless consciousness asking mine?
Tell me oh great one?

The omni-illuminscent sun shines impartially in the heavenly sky above 
And its reflection in the humble earth below
Whether, if it is the mighty flowing Ganges or a chandala’s dirty ditch
Is there a difference in the suns reflection?
A vessel of pure gold; another one made of clay
Each one carrying the purest water of the Ganges
Does the water in it change value with the virtuous vessel?
Tell me Oh great sage
Does the content matter or the container?

Moved by his wisdom and wit; moved by his understanding
The mighty sage Shankara spoke
Oh Chandala!  The one who has brought wisdom to my path of pride!
Having realized, the mystical self of “I”
Invariant in silent meditation! 
Invariant in the states of wakefulness, dream and deep sleep
Purest in understanding; Purest in awareness
Thus Is the ultimate awareness of “I am “
Free of form and contamination
Unaffected by the entanglements of thought
The ever eternal! Ever blissful
The observer and yet the observed
The self, The “I”, the eternal!
The Brahman! 
Thus  spoke the great shankara of Kaladi
The atman is the Brahman
And Brahman is the Atman
Thus is the ultimate realization
Thus is the ultimate truth
To know this is understanding
To feel this bliss
And to live this is true enlightenment!

So oh chandala! The wise one!
Form may vary, but the essence remains the same
The one who realizes this; whether he is a chandala, dog or a tiny ant
He  truly is an enlightened being
He is a part of me and I am a part of him
He and I are none other than the Brahman
And the Brahman is none other than the Lord himself!

You, Oh great Chandala! I realize now!
Is the manifestation of the Lord Himself!
And  your tail wagging canine companions!
Are none other than  the four formidable Vedas!
Oh mighty lord! This is my late realization!
For my pride in form has  hidden the essence of your infinite truth
Forgive me Oh Lord for my ignorance and disdain!
Oh mighty lord!  Maker of form and master of the formless!
I bow before you! Accept my humble repentance!
So the mighty Shankara of kaladi  
Prostrated before the wise Chandala and his four formidable dogs
You too friend!
If you can see the magnificent Lord in the simple life of a beggar
If you can hear the four Vedas in the bark of the mongrel dogs
Either while Awake, dreaming or in deep sleep
Wise or otherwise; you my dearest friend, have realized the ultimate truth of reality!

1 comment:

  1. Inspired by Manisha Panchakam by Shri Adhishankara.

    The poems states the traditional story of Sri Adhishankara in a new light. It states the basic principles of advaita philosophy with adaptations to the modern scientific understanding of matter and the mind

    In the original sanskrit composition by sr. Adishankara - manIShA panchakam, he expounds
    his Advaita philosophy in all its glory . as per Advaita, the non-dualistic philosophy sees no
    differences between people based on caste, creed, religion, gender etc
    since we are all the manifestations of the same Brahman(universal self).

    The scene is set in Varanasi (Kashi/Benaras), the ancient sacred city of India.
    Adi shankara the expounder of the advaitic, non-dualistic
    philosophy, was on the way to the temple after finishing his bath . Suddenly
    he saw a chandAla (an outcaste), on the way, and beckons to him to keep a
    distance, as per the practice and custom in those days. As per the legend the outcaste is
    none other than the Lord Shiva Himself!