The Vivekachudamani (Sanskrit: विवेकचूडामणि) is a famous Sanskrit poem composed by Adi Shankara in the eighth century. It expounds the Advaita Vedanta philosophy and is in the form of 580 verses in the Shardula Vikridita metre. In Vivekachudamani, Shankara describes developing Viveka—the human faculty of discrimination—as the central task in the spiritual life and calls it the crown jewel among the essentials for Moksha. The title Vievekachudamani translates to Crest Jewel of Discrimination. Apart from the Vivekachudamani, Shankara wrote commentaries on the Brahmasutra, the Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Sahasranamam and the Upanishads. Through the centuries, the Vivekachudamani has been translated into several languages and has been the topic of many commentaries and expositions.
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Vivekachudamani consists of 580 verses in Sanskrit. It has the form of dialogue between the master and the disciple, where the master explains to the disciple the nature of the Atman and the ways to research and know the Atman. The book takes the disciple on a step by step instructions to reach Brahman.
The text begins with Adi Shankara's salutations to Govinda, which can be interpreted either as referring to God or to his guru Sri Govinda Bhagavatpada. It then expounds the significance of Self Realisation, ways to reach it, and the characteristics of a Guru. It criticizes attachment to the body and goes to explain the various Sareeras, Kosas, Gunas, Senses and Pranas. It teaches the disciple the ways to attain Self realisation, methods of meditation (dhyana) and introspection of the Atman. The Vivekachudamani describes the characteristics of an enlightened human being (Jivanmukta) and a person of steady wisdom (Sthitaprajna) on the lines of Bhagavad Gita.
There are two Sanskrit commentaries on this work. Sri Sri Sacchidananda Shivabhinava Nrusimha Bharati, the pontiff of Sringeri, wrote a commentary titled Vivekodaya (Dawn of Discrimination) on the first 7 verses of this work. His disciple, Sri Chandrasekhara Bharathi has written a Vyakhya or commentary on the first 515 verses of this work.
This work has been repeatedly translated into various languages, often accompanied by a commentary in the same language. English translations and commentaries include those by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, Swami Madhavananda, and Swami Chinmayananda. Tamil translations and commentaries include those by Ramana Maharshi. Swami Jyotihswarupananda has translated the Vivekachudamani into Marathi.
 Famous verses
- "To be born as a man, to have longing for release (from bondage) and the association with great souls— these three are difficult to obtain"
- Brahma satyam jagat mithya, jivo brahmaiva naparah—"Brahman is the only truth, the world is unreal, and there is ultimately no difference between Brahman and individual self"
 Notes and references
- Usha 1990, pp. 71–72
- Espín & James B. Nickoloff 2007, p. 1471
- Madhavananda 1926, p. 1
- Worthington, Vivian (1982). A history of yoga. Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-7100-9258-8. http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=5aI9AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA91&dq=viveka+chudamani.
- "Bondage and release". The Hindu. 2008-03-18. http://www.hindu.com/2008/03/18/stories/2008031850740900.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- "Man of wisdom". The Hindu. 2005-06-29. http://www.hindu.com/2005/06/29/stories/2005062900070900.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- "State of liberation". The Hindu. 2009-02-18. http://www.hindu.com/2009/02/18/stories/2009021859851100.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- Nagpur, India: Ramakrishna Math; 2009
- "Aim of human life". The Hindu. 2005-05-09. http://www.hindu.com/2005/05/09/stories/2005050901620900.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- Rosen, Steven (2007). Krishna's Song. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-313-34553-1. http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=9HbFbhJcdXIC&pg=PA70&dq=vivekachudamani.
- Usha, Brahmacharini (1990). A Brief Dictionary of Hinduism. Vedanta Press. ISBN 978-0-87481-048-6. http://books.google.com/books?id=vU63wJv4YrsC&pg=PA72.
- Espín, Orlando O.; James B. Nickoloff (2007). An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies. Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-0-8146-5856-7. http://books.google.com/books?id=k85JKr1OXcQC&pg=PA1471&dq=vivekachudamani.
- Madhavananda, Swami (1921). Vivekachudamani of Sri Sankaracharya. Advaita Ashrama. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Vivekachudamani_(Swami_Madhavananda).
- Prabhavananda, Swami; Christopher Isherwood (1970). Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination. Vedanta Press. ISBN 978-0-87481-038-7.
- Ranganathananda, Swami (2008). The Message of Vivekachudamani. Advaita Ashrama. pp. 624. ISBN 81-7505-308-9.
- Sri Chandrashekara Bharati; P.Sankaranarayanan (1999). Vivekachudamani (4 ed.). Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
 Further reading
- Prabhavananda; Christopher Isherwood (1978). Shankara's crest-jewel of discrimination (3 ed.). Vedanta Press. ISBN 978-0-87481-038-7.
- Chatterji, Mohini M. (2004). Viveka Chudamani Or Crest Jewel of Wisdom of Sri Sankaracharya. Kessinger Publishing. pp. 212. ISBN 978-1-4179-8207-3. http://books.google.com.sg/books?id=oVHpJ2TPwnAC&printsec=frontcover.
- Vivekachudamani – Swami Madhavananda's Translation
- Complete audio with eng meaning part 1
- Part - 2
- part - 3
- part - 4