Happiness Through Wise Discrimination, Detachment – Viveka Chudamani

By Dr M S Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu) PhD.
Happiness is the aim of every individual. We constantly seek and search for different ways to achieve a continuous state of happiness. The text Viveka chudamani written by Master Shankara narrates bondage of life with worldly attachments in a meaningful way. 


A thorough review of the verses codified by Acharya Shankara, hides out the mystery behind every ones sorrow. Today everybody is caught by the ignorance in every respect of life. It is the reason why truth is not perceived in its naked form and colors are given for every worldly object.
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Sanskrit verse

Fantasy, exaggeration, magnification etc are the factors which have masked the proper understanding of truths of this universe. So individual is confused. He is not ready to travel either in the path of truth or the way our forefathers have traveled.

He goes in front row, stands aside, takes a U turn path and moves in different paths without proper guidance. So, he is confused and his constant search of happiness becomes a mirage. In fact, pleasure is in the present and not in future.
The bondage of every individual in the universe is explained as below in Vivekachoodamani.
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Ignorance, bondages

According to Acharya Shankara, ignorance (Tamas) is the seed of the tree of Samsara (family attachments). Every minute we ignore the mutual relations, commitments, endeavors, immediate necessities of the life, being a member of family. Instead, we act as if this life is long lasting and we take our time for granted thinking we have lot of time for ourselves to achieve or enjoy.

The uncertainties of life are never understood in the presence; man is not living in the present moment; instead his mind is going behind the relative entitles of the ongoing deeds and fruits.

Further Adi Shankaracharya makes it clear – identification with this body is the ankura (sprouting) of the worldly living. How one gets the identity of a being is a big question left unanswered. In fact, if one gets the Jnana (truth, knowledge, realization) about the law of Karma and our past deeds, he will move ahead in the path of truth, with the strong will and conviction.
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Life related attachments are the leaves of a tree. Countless leaves appear beautiful from far to the spectator. Without the leaves the tree does not look good. The life is similar. Due to attachment with friends, relatives, colleagues, life appears busy. But in reality leaves may wither during winter to leave the tree dry and cold.
Similarly the attachments of relatives will remain for certain period of time and on fulfillment he is behind some more needs!
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Karma (deed) is the water which is essential for the growth of the tree. Like the karma, experience of our life is taking the longer path; insufficient nourishment will lead to inappropriate growth of the body. Body surface of an individual is correlated with trunk of the tree.

The individual is denoted by his appearance, like the girth of the tree determines the age of the plant. Prana is the branches and senses are sub branches. Always these are linked together and for the formation of fruit or perception of the usefulness, these two are very essential. Mere trunk will not yield the fruits; the subdivided branches bear the fruits.
As per the verse, the objects are flowers and miseries originated out of Karmas are the true fruits.

So, every tree has an object of flowering; but, its usefulness depends on its qualities.
Many flowers even though look beautiful they are neither offered to the goddess nor worn by  ladies. It does not mean that they are useless.They will surely decorate the garden. But if it is useful, in those respects also it is really worth in every respect and angle.

It is essential to know the later part of the previous sentence; miseries are the fruits, which means, every deed we do intentionally or unintentionally leads to origin of infinite seeds which may extend whole life. If so, philosophically it causes pain to the body and hence the word ‘misery’ is mentioned here.

The Jeevatma – Human soul is co related to the bond which is perching on these fruits (miseries).
So, as a matter of fact every minute Jeevatma trembles with discomforts and feels difficulty to adjust these worldly affairs.

Further Acharya Shankara makes it clear with the following verse-

This kind of bondage is due to the result of ignorance. This ignorance is also effect of default beginning less and endless (infinite).This long continuing bondage (originated due tom ignorance) is responsible for birth, death, disease, old age etc.
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To overcome this kind of non destructive bondage, one should attain the consciousness or power of perfect discrimination (viveka-vijnana). This discriminative knowledge can smash the innumerable Karmas too.

Then, the question remains-how the power of perfect discrimination has to be achieved? Single word answer to this is ‘Swadharma nishtha’ which means strong commitment to follow the duty of this existing life or else one should live ‘consciously with the presence’. Because when the man is conscious with the presence his mind will be pure and free of dilemma or bias.

When the individual surpasses all the five sheaths (koshas) by his consciousness of self and purity, he will be joyful through out. Also his noble soul will experience immaculate, eternal, blissful supreme reality by the inner purity.
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Thus when the bondage of the self and not self is removed, our scope will extend to infinite and the joy too extends infinitely. When he attains the noble bliss due to conscious existence, no hurdle or blockage is felt to his pleasureful ways. That is the pathway to attain-‘Sacchidananda swaroopa’ – permanent enlightenment.
Contact Dr MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD

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