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Advaita Pancharatnam Of Adi Shankaracharya – What It Is About?

Advaita Pancharatnam is a composition of Adi Shankaracharya. Advaita Pancharatnam (five gems of Advaita), is traditionally believed to be the last composition of Adi Shankaracharya. The work is so named because, in five verses, it contains the basics of advaita sadhana (perseverance in Advaita mode), which have emerged like jewels from the ocean of prasthana-trayi, i.e. Upanishads, Brahmasutra and the Bhagavad Gita.

As the work is cast in the nature of teachings, it is also called Upadesha Panchakam or Sadhana Panchakam. The instructions are arranged in an ascending order, the elementary teachings followed by the more profound ones. Hence the work also bears the name sopana panchakam. It enumerates important rules of conduct to be followed during the course of one’s life, from childhood to one’s end. Forty steps are laid out for the aspirant towards self-realization wherein the first thirty-two are for the initiates in spiritual knowledge and the last eight are for the wise. Starting with its stress on the study of the Vedas, it goes on to elaborate the performance of karma (action) without attachment, avoidance of sins like desire, anger, etc., and embarking upon the path of spiritual endeavor. It then prescribes the practice of devotion, renunciation, approaching a preceptor for knowledge about Brahman, sravana (listening to Upanishadic texts), manana (introspection) complemented by absence of hostile reasoning, and nididhyasana (contemplation on the idea “I am Brahman”). The cultivation of qualities like vairagya (detachment) and titiksha (power to endure opposites like heat and cold) are emphasized. It concludes by exhorting one to say firmly established in Brahman.

  • The work comprises the following commentaries
  • Kiranavali by Krishnananda Saraswati
  • Siddhanta Panchaka Vyakhya by Vimalabhudhara
  • Commentary by Didhiti
  • Pancharatna Karikah by Sadashiva
  • Pancharatna Vivritti by Nityananda Saraswati