Manisha Panchakam Lyrics in English:
Manisha panchakam was written by Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya.
A biography of Shankara and his other compositions of vedic literature can be found in the shankara.itx document. Shri Shankara has been criticized by modern western scholars for propounding sectarian beliefs in his commentary (bhashya) of Brahma sutra where he restricts the recitation of Vedas to the upper castes only. However, one should note that one is handicapped when writing a commentary on a text . Thus in independent compositions like the upadesasahasri and this short text, Manisha panchakam he expounds his Advaita philosophy in all its glory . Advaita, the non-dualistic philosophy expounded in detail by Shri Shankara, does not recognize differences between people based on caste, creed, religion, gender etc since we are all the manifestations of the same Brahman. The scene is set in Varanasi (Kashi/Benaras), the ancient sacred city of India, and the home to the famous kashi visvanatha temple.
Adi Shankaracharya, 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 outcast), on the way, and beckons to him to keep a distance, as per the practice and custom in those days. That outcaste is none other than the Lord Shankara (Shiva) Himself! At such beckoning, the Lord addresses his devotee Sankaracharya, in the first two stanzas (the prologue), as under:
॥ manīṣāpañcakaṃ ॥
annamayādannamayamathavā caitanyameva caitanyāt ।
yativara dūrīkartuṃ vāñchasi kiṃ brūhi gaccha gaccheti ॥
O great ascetic! Tell me. Do you want me to keep a distance from you, by uttering ‘go away’ ‘go away’ taking me to be an outcast? Is it addressed from one body made of food to another body made of food, or is it consciousness from consciousness — which, O, the best among ascetics, you wish should go away, by saying “ Go away, go away”? Do tell me.
vipro’yaṃ śvapaco’yamityapi mahānko’yaṃ vibhedabhramaḥ ।
kiṃ gaṅgāmbuni bimbite’mbaramaṇau cāṇḍālavīthīpayaḥ
pūre vā’ntaramasti kāñcanaghaṭīmṛtkumbhayorvā’mbare ॥
Answer me. While the Supreme Being is reflected in every object as the sun’s reflection could be seen in the placid waveless water bodies why this doubting confusion and differentiation i.e. whether one is a brahmin or an outcast? who is the superior one etc ?. Is there any difference in the reflection of the sun in the waters of the Ganges or in the water present in the street of an outcast?
Likewise, is there any difference when the water- containers happen to be golden vessels and earthen pots ?
(Immediately Shankaracharya realises the presence of the Lord Shankara before him (who has apparently shown Himself with a view to removing the last vestige of imperfection in His devotee) and reels off the following 5 stanzas-constituting ‘Manisha Painchakam’-ending with a further stanza in the form of an epilogue).
jāgratsvapnasuṣuptiṣu sphuṭatarā yā saṃvidujjṛmbhate
yā brahmādipipīlikāntatanuṣu protā jagatsākṣiṇī ।
saivāhaṃ na ca dṛśyavastviti dṛḍhaprajñāpi yasyāsti ce-
ccāṇḍālo’stu sa tu dvijo’stu gururityeṣā manīṣā mama ॥ 1 ॥
If one is convinced firmly, that he is that very Soul which manifests itself in all the conditions of sleep, wakefulness and dream, in all the objects from the great Brahma (the creator) to the tiny ant and which is also the vibrant, but invisible, witnesser of all, then as per my clear conclusion, he is the great teacher/preceptor, be he a twice-born (i.e higher castes) or an outcast.
brahmaivāhamidaṃ jagacca sakalaṃ cinmātravistāritaṃ
sarvaṃ caitadavidyayā triguṇayā’śeṣaṃ mayā kalpitam ।
itthaṃ yasya dṛḍhā matiḥ sukhatare nitye pare nirmale
cāṇḍālo’stu sa tu dvijo’stu gururityeṣā manīṣā mama ॥ 2 ॥
I am quite convinced that he is the great Master, be he a Brahmin or an outcaste, who, dwelling on the pure and infinite Brahman thinks of himself as that very Brahman, of whose manifestation the whole Universe is, though apparently the Universe is assumed to consist of different things, due to ignorance and the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas).
śaśvannaśvarameva viśvamakhilaṃ niścitya vācā guro-
rnityaṃ brahma nirantaraṃ vimṛśatā nirvyājaśāntātmanā ।
bhūtaṃ bhāti ca duṣkṛtaṃ pradahatā saṃvinmaye pāvake
prārabdhāya samarpitaṃ svavapurityeṣā manīṣā mama ॥ 3 ॥
I am fully convinced by the Preceptor’s words that the entire Universe is a transitory illusion and that the human body is given to constantly meditate on the infinite and supreme Being with a serene and unquestioning mind and thus to burn in that sacred Fire the sins with which the human is born.
yā tiryaṅnaradevatābhirahamityantaḥ sphuṭā gṛhyate
yadbhāsā hṛdayākṣadehaviṣayā bhānti svato’cetanāḥ ।
tāṃ bhāsyaiḥ pihitārkamaṇḍalanibhāṃ sphūrtiṃ sadā bhāvaya-
nyogī nirvṛtamānaso hi gururityeṣā manīṣā mama ॥ 4 ॥
In my considered opinion that Yogi is great who has clearly grasped within himself the truth and quality of the Supreme Being through which all our activities are performed and whose effulgence is hidden by ignorance [of an ordinary person] even as the sun’s halo is covered/hidden by the clouds.
yatsaukhyāmbudhileśaleśata ime śakrādayo nirvṛtā
yaccitte nitarāṃ praśāntakalane labdhvā munirnirvṛtaḥ ।
yasminnityasukhāmbudhau galitadhīrbrahmaiva na brahmavid
yaḥ kaścitsa surendravanditapado nūnaṃ manīṣā mama ॥ 5 ॥
I am convinced that whoever has his mind dwelling upon the Great Being who is being worshipped by Indra and other gods and is thus completely at peace with himself has not only understood Brahman but he is himself that great Brahman!
dāsaste’haṃ dehadṛṣṭyā’smi śaṃbho
jātasteṃ’śo jīvadṛṣṭyā tridṛṣṭe ।
tyevaṃ me dhīrniścitā sarvaśāstraiḥ ॥
Oh Lord ! In the form of body, I am your servant. In the form of life, O three-eyed one, I am part of yourself. In the form of soul, you are within me and in every other soul.I have arrived at this conclusion through my intellect and on the authority of the various scriptures.
॥ iti śrīmacchaṅkarabhagavataḥ kṛtau manīṣāpañcakaṃ sampūrṇam ॥
Thus ends the ‘manIShApa~nchakam’ composed by the Adi Shankaracharya.
The Harijan asked:
(Maneesha Panchakam . Brihatstotram)
Which should get away from which, whereto and how? What is your intention? Is it that one frame made of bone and flesh and itself a product of food, should get away from another frame of same composition and same origin? Or, that the soul (atma) resident in a frame should not come near another soul (atma) similarly resident in another frame? Oh! The best among Brahmins, please answer me, what is that which should get away?.
(Maneesha Panchakam . Brihatstotram)
The sun.s light falls both on the waters of the Ganges as well as of those of drains. The sun.s image gets reflected from both these surfaces. Is there any difference between the two images? Similarly, is there any difference in the images of the sun reflected in the water contained in a vessel whether the
latter is made of gold or of mud?
There is a permanent reality (paramatma) in our bodies. Paramatma, which is all perfect has the innate attributes of both bliss and knowledge. There are no differences in it. It is omniscient like the ocean. Even this comparison is not fully correct. In the ocean there are many waves. But in the paramatma there are no waves. The physical ocean has atmosphere standing upon it. This causes the waves in the ocean. But paramatma exists everywhere. There is no place without it. In view of its omnipresence, there are no waves in it. It is both unexcellable bliss and limitless knowledge. In the paramatma which is of such nature, how can there be differences?.
The question being in the nature of highest knowledge, evoked reply in the same vein. Adi Sankara said, .If you are such a knower of Brahmam (supreme reality), then you are indeed my Guru (revered teacher).. Adi Sankara.s reply is in five slokas known as ManeeshA Panchakam. Maneesha means firm conviction and Panchakam means five-fold. Adi Sankara sets out these as his firm convictions.
Adi Sankara replied:
(Maneesha Panchakam . verse 1)
If this type of firm self-knowledge is found in anyone. the knowledge that from the great Brahma (the creator) to the tiny ant, in all animate and inanimate things there is the supreme Brahman that is .I.; that the things which knowledge perceives as .I. are not .I.; then whether he be a Harijan or a Brahmin, that one alone is my Guru. This is my deep conviction and faith. How are we to look at all living things in the world as identical with ourselves? This self-knowledge is indeed hard to attain. There are three states of experience: waking (jagrat), dream (swapna) and deep sleep (sushipti). Although the states differ and the mental attitudes during these states differ, the person who experiences there is one and the same. Similarly, we should be firmly convinced that one and the same .I. prevails in various things and in various places in the three states of experience. Although we perform or experience in different states acts and mental attitudes distinct from one another and although these acts and attitudes seem to be the work of distinct bodies and minds, we know that it is one and the same person that performs these acts or experiences these attitudes. Likewise, the acts and mental attitudes, seemingly of other persons, are in reality our own. Bodies alone are separate but the inner self (the .I.) is the same. We should thus look at the entire world in this unitary view and not be misled by apparent
We see an article. The act of seeing has both an object (the particular article seen) as well as the subject (one who does the act of seeing). These two states (object and subject) are separate and distinct from one another. The body is seen. so it is the object. Atma (soul) sees. so it is the subject. This analogy can be extended to other acts such as perception or consciousness. The body is perceived. so it is the object. Atma (soul) does the act of perceiving. so it is the subject. Thus the body and the soul are separate from one another. He who considers the soul as that which is seen (that is, confuses the object for the subject) can only be termed as an aggyani (ignorant of reality/truth).
(Maneesha Panchakam . verse 5)
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