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Crest-Jewel of Discrimination (Viveka-Chudamani)

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Separated by intervals of a thousand years, like three tremendous mountain peaks, Buddha, Shankara (686-718 A.D.) and Ramakrishna dominate the range of India's religious history.

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Publisher's Synopsis

The basic teaching is that God alone is the all-pervading reality; the individual soul is none other than the universal soul. Shankara was under no illusions about this world. For this reason, he is able to describe so powerfully the complete transformation of the universe that takes place before the eyes of the illumined seer, when the world indeed becomes a paradise.

A classic text of Vedanta regarding the path to God through knowledge.

Reviews
"The main current of Hinduism - if not the only one - which became formalized in a way that approximates to an ecclesiastical structure was that of Shankara."       ~Christophe Jaffrelot (1998), The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India

"In his short life of thirty-two years Sankara achieved that union of sage and saint, of wisdom and kindliness, which characterizes the loftiest type of man produced in India. Born among the studious Nambudiri Brahmans of Malabar, he rejected the luxuries of the world, and while still a youth became a Sannyasi, worshipping unpretentiously the gods of the Hindu pantheon, and yet mystically absorbed in the vision of all-embracing Brahman. It seemed to him that the profoundest religion and the profoundest philosophy were those of the Upanishads. He could pardon the polytheism of the people, but not the atheism of Sankhya, or the agnosticism of Buddha.

Arriving in the north as a delegate of the south, he won such popularity at the assemblies of Benaras that it crowned him with its highest honour, and sent him forth, with a retinue of disciples, to champion Brahmanism in all the debating halls of India. At Banaras, probably, he wrote his famous commentaries on the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and Brahma Sutras in which he attacked with theological ardour and scholastic subtlety all the heretics of India, and restored Brahmanism to the position of intellectual leadership from which Buddha and Kapila had deposed it."       ~Dr. Will Durant, The Story of Civilization

Excerpt
"Even if beginningless, something originally non-existent is seen to come to an end. In the same way the living organism which is thought to belong to oneself through its identification with the intellect, does not really exist. On the other hand, the true self is quite distinct from it, and the identification of oneself with the intellect is due to misunderstanding.

The cessation of that wrong identification is achieved by right understanding, and by no other means. Right understanding is held by scripture to be the recognition of the oneness of God and oneself.

This recognition is achieved by right discrimination between what is truly oneself and what is not, so one must develop this discrimination between the conventional self and one's true self."        ~Verses 200-203

Biography

Sankara (also called Shankara, Sankaracharya, or Shankaracharya) is one of the two most famous philosophers and teachers of enlightenment in Indian history (the other is Buddha).

According to tradition, in the eighth century he wrote the canonical books on Advaita Vedanta (nondualism) and established the ten monastic orders of Indian swamis which continue to this day - and managed to do these things before dying at age 32.

Author Shankara
Translator Prabhavananda, Swami
Cotranslator Isherwood, Christopher
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 139 pp.
Publisher Vedanta Press 1978
Gold Medal

Gold Medal

 
 

  Gold Medal Essential Reading

Browse these categories as well: Vedas, Sutras and Gitas, Hinduism: Gurus and Advaita Vedanta, Gold Medal Essential Reading

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