Manisha Panchakam (मनीषापञ्चकम्)
Manisha Panchakam (मनीषापञ्चकम्)

Manisha Panchakam (मनीषापञ्चकम्)

Manisha Panchakam is a stotra containing five verses (slokas) composed by Shri Adi Shankaracharya.

The word Manisha means firm conviction, and Panchak means five. So the name of the stotra can be translated as “Five verses of firm conviction”. Adi Shankara wrote the Manisha Panchakam at Varanasi.

Manisha Panchakam – story and origin

Adi Shankaracharya, was on his way to the temple after finishing his bath in Ganga. Suddenly he saw a Chandala (an outcaste) and his four dogs on the way, and moved away from him, as per the custom in those days.

The Chandala then asked him questions which form the substance of two verses which are a prelude to the main work. Among the questions asked, the significant one was like this- “Whether My body should give way to you or my Soul?”.

On hearing this question, Shankara replied to these questions in five verses and touched the feet of Chandala, as a way to show respect towards him.

Question 1 of Chandala

अन्नमायादन्नमयमथवाचैतन्यमेव चैतन्यात् ।
यतिवर दूरीकर्तुं वाञ्छसि किं ब्रूहि गच्छगच्छेति ॥

पदछेद – अन्नमायात् अन्नमयम् अथवा चैतन्यम् इव चैतन्यात् ।
यतिवर दूरीकर्तुं वाञ्छसि किम् ब्रूहि गच्छ गच्छ इति ॥

O great among the twice-born! What is it that you want to move away by saying, ”Go, go”? Do you want the body made up of food to move away from another body made up of food?
Or do you want consciousness to move away from consciousness?

Question 2 of Chandala

किं गङ्गाम्बुनि बिम्बितेऽम्बरमणौ चाण्डालवीथीपयः पूरे वाऽन्तरमस्ति काञ्चनघटीमृत्कुम्भयोर्वाऽम्बरे ॥
प्रत्यग्वस्तुनि निस्तरङ्गसहजानन्दावबोधाम्बुधौ विप्रोऽयं श्वपचोऽयमित्यपि महान् कोऽयं विभेद भ्रमः ।

पदछेद – किम् गङ्गाम्बुनि बिम्बिते अम्बरमणौ चाण्डालवीथीपयः पूरे वा अन्तरम् अस्ति काञ्चनघटीमृत्कुम्भयो वा अम्बरे ॥
प्रत्यग्वस्तुनि निस्तरङ्ग सहजानन्द अवबोध अम्बुधौ विप्र: अयम् श्वपच: अयम् इति अपि महान् क: अयम् विभेद भ्रमः ।

Is there any difference between the reflection of the sun in the waters of the Ganga and its reflection in the water in a ditch in the quarters of the outcastes? Or between the space in
a gold pot and in a mud pot? What is this illusion of difference in the form, “This is a Brahmana and this is an outcaste” in the indwelling self which is the ripple-free ocean of bliss and pure consciousness?

Manisha Panchakam ( मनीषापञ्चकम् )

Verse 1

जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तिषु स्फुटतरा या संविदुज्जृम्भते या ब्रह्मादिपिपीलिकान्ततनुषु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी ।
सैवाहं न च दृश्यवस्त्विति दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्यास्ति चेत् चाण्डालोऽस्तु स तु द्विजोऽस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ १ ॥

पदछेद – जाग्रत्स्वप्नसुषुप्तिषु स्फुटतरा या संवित् उज्जृम्भते या ब्रह्मादि पिपीलिकान्ततनुषु प्रोता जगत्साक्षिणी ।
स एव अहम् न च दृश्यवस्तु इति दृढप्रज्ञापि यस्य अस्ति चेत् चाण्डाल: अस्तु स तु द्विज: अस्तु गुरु इति एषा मनीषा मम ॥ १ ॥

If a person has attained the firm knowledge that he is not an object of perception, but is that pure consciousness which shines clearly in the states of waking, dream and deep sleep, and which, as the witness of the whole universe, dwells in all bodies from that of the Creator Brahma to that of the ant, then he is my Guru, irrespective of whether he is an outcaste or a Brahmana. This is my conviction.

Verse 2

ब्रह्मैवाहमिदं जगच्च सकलं चिन्मात्रविस्तारितं सर्वं चैतदविद्यया त्रिगुणयाऽशेषं मया कल्पितम् ।
इत्थं यस्य दृढा मतिस्सुखतरे नित्ये परे निर्मले चण्डालोऽस्तु स तु द्विजोऽस्तु गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ २ ॥

पदछेद -ब्रह्म एव अहम् इदम् जगत् च सकलम् चिन्मात्रविस्तारितम् सर्वम् च एतद् विद्यया त्रिगुणया अशेषम् मया कल्पितम्।
इत्थम् यस्य दृढा मति: सुखतरे नित्ये परे निर्मले चण्डाल: अस्तु स तु द्विज: अस्तु गुरु इति एषा मनीषा मम ॥ २ ॥

“I am Brahman (pure consciousness). It is pure consciousness that appears as this universe. All this is only something conjured up by me because of avidya which is composed of the three gunas (sattva, rajas and tamas)”. One who has attained this definite realization about Brahman which is bliss itself, eternal, supreme and pure, is my Guru, whether he is an outcaste or a Brahmana.

Verse 3

शश्वन्नश्वरमेव विश्वमखिलं निश्चित्य वाचा गुरो- र्नित्यं ब्रह्म निरन्तरं विमृशता निर्व्याजशान्तात्मना ।
भूतं भावि च दुष्कृतं प्रदहता संविन्मये पावके प्रारब्धाय समर्पितं स्ववपुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ३ ॥

पदछेद -शश्वन् नश्वरम् एव विश्वमखिलम् निश्चित्य वाचा गुरो: नित्यम् ब्रह्म निरन्तरंम् विमृशता निर्व्याजशान्तात्मना ।
भूतम् भावि च दुष्कृतम् प्रदहता संवित् मये पावके प्रारब्धाय समर्पितम् स्ववपु: इति एषा मनीषा मम ॥ ३ ॥

Having come to the definite conclusion, under the instruction of his Guru, that the entire universe is always perishable, he who, with a calm and pure mind constantly
meditates on Brahman, and who has burnt his past and future sins in the fire of knowledge, submits his present body to the operation of his prArabdha karma. This is my

Verse 4

या तिर्यङ्नरदेवताभिरहमित्यन्तः स्फुटा गृह्यते यद्भासा हृदयाक्षदेहविषया भान्ति स्वतोऽचेतनाः ।
तां भास्यैः पिहितार्कमण्डलनिभां स्फूर्तिं सदा भावयन् योगी निर्वृतमानसो हि गुरुरित्येषा मनीषा मम ॥ ४ ॥

पदछेद -या तिर्यङ्नरदेवताभि अहम् इति अन्तः स्फुटा गृह्यते यत् भासा हृदयाक्षदेहविषया भान्ति स्वत: अचेतनाः ।
ताम् भास्यैः पिहितार्कमण्डलनिभाम् स्फूर्तिम् सदा भावयन् योगी निर्वृतमानस: हि गुरु इति एषा मनीषा मम ॥ ४ ॥

The Self or pure consciousness is experienced clearly within by animals, men, and gods as ‘I’. It is by the reflection of this pure consciousness that the mind, senses and body, which are all insentient, appear to be sentient. External objects are perceived only because of this consciousness. This Self is, however, concealed by the very mind, senses and body which
are illumined by it, just as the sun is concealed by clouds. The yogi who, with a calm mind, always meditates on this Self is my Guru. This is my conviction.

Verse 5

यत्सौख्याम्बुधिलेशलेशत इमे शक्रादयो निर्वृता यच्चित्ते नितरां प्रशान्तकलने लब्ध्वा मुनिर्निर्वृतः ।
यस्मिन्नित्यसुखाम्बुधौ गलितधीर्ब्रह्मैव न ब्रह्मवि- द्यः कश्चित्स सुरेन्द्रवन्दितपदो नूनं मनीषा मम ॥ ५ ॥

पदछेद -यत् सौख्य अम्बुधि लेशलेशत इमे शक्रादयो निर्वृता यत् चित्ते नितराम् प्रशान्तकलने लब्ध्वा मुनि: निर्वृतः ।
यस्मिन् नित्यसुख अम्बुधौ गलितधी ब्रह्म एव न ब्रह्मवित् य: कश्चित्स सुरेन्द्र वन्दितपद: नूनम् मनीषा मम ॥ ५ ॥

The Self, which is Brahman, is the eternal ocean of supreme bliss. A minute fraction of that bliss is enough to satisfy Indra and other gods. By meditating on the Self with a perfectly calm mind the sage experiences fulfillment. The person whose mind has become identified with this Self is not a mere knower of Brahman, but Brahman itself. Such a person, whoever he may  be, is one whose feet are fit to be worshipped by Indra himself.
This is my definite conviction.


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