Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti

 

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti is a series of nididhyasanas. In a calm and quiet mind rooted in faith in God, the man with a strong will to virtue reads these verses one by one and realizes their meaning in his own spirit. He dwells on them single-mindedly and lets their sense permeate the whole of his mental life.

It is not a purely logical treatise. People often ask what to meditate on, what to contemplate. Here is a treatise by the greatest of our Acharyas, Shri Bhagavadpad Shankara. It is an invaluable gift of the holy master, and anybody who practises contemplation in the spirit of these verses will have peace within and goodwill towards all living beings and finally spiritual illumination, which will break the bonds of all limitations.

A man can gauge the extent of his spiritual awakening

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 51 "All-limitations of cause and effect having ended, unconditioned by the subtle and the gross bodies, no longer attached to the chain of action, the disciple is immediately liberated from nescience." Commentary This verse...

A real Guru must be a teacher of the holy Shruti

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 50 "When the conviction of the truth of the holy dictum is attained by the grace of the teacher, and the holy Shruti, then the aspirant is wholly freed from the limitations of sansara and its cause, nescience." Commentary The...

The attributes of time and place have to be excluded

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 48 ’’The only possible interpretation of sentences such as 'That Thou Art* is an interpretation based on the omission of inconsistent qualities just as with the words that compose the sentence 'He is this’." Note: In the...

The identity of jiva and Brahman

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 42 "Sentences such as 'That Thou Art' teach the identity of jiva and Brahman by the use of the indirect meanings of 'That' and 'Thou'." Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 43 "Thus by rejecting the two direct meanings we...

Brahman is infinite bliss in its own nature.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 41 "The indirect knowledge of 'That' will also come to an end. How can you explain this? The answer is that the innermost consciousness in man is by nature the infinite bliss". Commentary In some Shrutis Brahman is pronounced...

An intellect set on sattva (light) is essential

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 40 'When the identity of jiva and Brahman is firmly grasped by the intellect, then the erroneous conception that 'Thou' means anything other than Brahman will go for ever". Commentary For a long time the candidate to...

The nature of consciousness is infinity and bliss

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 39 "The innermost consciousness of man is the infinite bliss without a second ,and the infinite bliss without a second is none other than the innermost consciousness of man". Commentary It may be asked what is the nature of...

Man has to understand what is his own real Self

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 37 "So far the meanings of the words ’That' and ’Thou’ have been explained. Now we proceed to deal with the meaning of the whole sentence, which consists in the absolute identity of the words 'That' and ‘Thou '.” Commentary...

Life has to be studied on a very long-term view

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 36 "That which the holy Shruti declares to be the giver of the fruits of human actions and the cause of man's individual existence - that is Brahman. This you must understand”. Commentary Two further reasons are adduced to...

Over and above all man seeks liberation from limitations

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 34 "That which has been very carefully established in the Vedanta as the only goal for the seekers of final release - that is Brahman. This you must understand”. Commentary Here is a further explanation of Brahman to be...

The Yogi must meditate on Brahman as the infinite

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 33 "That to which the Vedas attribute infinity and of which they declare the universe to be the effect in order to bring an understanding of it to the people - that is Brahman. This you must understand”. Commentary Here the...

When Brahman is known, nothing knowable remains unknown

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  32 "That by whose knowledge all that is knowable is known, as the Shruti proves by the illustrations of the clay and the pot, is Brahman. This you must understand”. Commentary In this verse there are two statements. One is...

Man loves reality, and that reality is the Supreme Self

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  30 "That beyond which there is no higher bliss, which is of the nature of existence-knowledge, which is defined as truth and is perfect - that is the Supreme Self”.                                 . Commentary Here is not a...

The Self is not an object

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  29 "That which is completely free from the limitations of the phenomenal world and known by such descriptions as ’neither dense nor subtle’, which never has the characteristics of an object and is untouched by the taint of...

Why do we love the objects of the world?

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  24 "He for whose sake alone son and wealth are loved, the witness, the object of utmost endearment - that am I. This you must understand”. Commentary Why do we love the objects of the world? Because they add to the delight of...

No motion or action can he attributed to the real Self

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  20 '’The Self, the ultimate reality, in whose proximity the body, senses, mind and vital force, though by nature inert, appear to be conscious like the Self - that am I. This you must understand.” Commentary According to the...

The cardinal truth of the Advaita philosophy

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  19 "That innermost Self which, changeless by nature, puts in motion the intellect and so forth, as the loadstone, the iron - that am I. This you must understand”. Commentary Here is the cardinal truth of the Advaita...

The jiva has to be awakened to the spiritual wisdom

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  18 "That by whose proximity the body, the senses and other such objects acquire the power to act, to select and to differentiate - that am I. This you must understand". Commentary Having established by reasoning that the Self...

The Self is not a combination of the mind and the senses

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  17 "Neither am I the aggregate of the senses or the mind. Come to a clear conviction through reasoning (anumana) that the seer is distinct from the seen”. Commentary That the Self is a combination of the mind and the senses...

The subject is ever different from the object

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  15 The teacher said: ’'The seer of the pot is ever different from the pot, its object, and is never one with the pot. Similarly, the seer of the body is ever different from the body, its object. Therefore the truth is: I am...

It is a grievous mistake to think that the body is the Self

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  13 "The body is not the Self because, like a jar, it has a form and so forth and because, like an earthen pot, it is a modification of the five great elements smarting with ether”. Commentary It is a grievous mistake to think...

The Self of man is the same as the consciousness absolute

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  11 "Thou art the witness of thy mind (antahkarana) and its mutations (vrittis). Thou art of the form of pure consciousness. Being existence and bliss, how art thou not the Self?" Commentary The Advaita dictum 'Thou art...

Frankness is an essential element of studentship

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse  9 The disciple said: "O Lord, I do not yet fully understand the meaning of the words 'I am Brahman'. Will you be gracious enough to enlighten me so that I may grasp the meaning of the whole sentence?" Commentary Frankness on...

There are two phases of consciousness in man

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 8 The teacher said: ''Listen, I shall explain this to thee. Thou art jiva. That element in thee ' which asks: 'What am I?' is undoubtedly Brahman.” Commentary There are two phases of consciousness in man. One is the empirical...

Sincerity, gentleness and real spirit of enquiry

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 5 ’The teacher said: "Thy speech, as it appears to me, is good and gentle. I will tell thee the secret. I shall clearly explain all that thou needest know. Do thou give attentive hearing to me”.   . Commentary The master...

Man is not born to be the food of grief and woe

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 3 A certain aspirant who was conscious of the afflictions caused by the extreme heat of the threefold sufferings and was agitated and restless in his mind acquired the disciplinary qualifications of self-control and so forth,...

The final knot of nescience is cut by the grace of the Lord.

Shri Shankara Acharya’s Vakyavritti Verse 2 To Him by whose grace I realize that I am Vishnu (the all-pervading Lord), that the whole universe is imagined in me and that all this is nothing hut my own true Self in nature - before His lotus feet I prostrate myself all...

The highest ideal of life is the realization of God

The highest ideal of life is the realization of God, the ultimate reality, in one's own soul. Any other thing in the world is secondary and subsidiary. This is the only goal on the attainment of which all doubts cease forever and undisturbable peace within and without...

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