Panchadasi – Verse 1

Panchadasi – Verse 1

~ (Understandings from the Webinar series of Chinmaya International Foundation on Panchadasi)

The main focus of Panchadasi is Tattvajnana (Knowledge of the Supreme Truth) and that its culmination is see in Jeevan Mukti Viveka1.

Every text in the Vedic literature, be it spiritual or material, begins with a Mangalacharana (literal meaning: invocation verse). Usually the Mangalacharana will carry a literal meaning and an inner meaning. First let us discuss the meaning of the word Mangalacharana.

Mangala – auspiciousness

Charana – to walk

Guru walks himself and shows the students how to walk. Meaning: The Guru might be realized and it might not be necessary for him to display external devotion. But for the sake of the students, he himself offers the invocation and sets an example to his students.

Acharana – Aachinoti hi shastrartaan

Aachinoti means one who really dwells into it deeply or one who collects it.

Verse 1:

Namah shrishankarAnanda gurupAdAmbujanmane

SavilAsa mahAmoha grAhagrAsaika karmaNe

Namah – Pujya Gurudev used to say that Namah means Na Mama (I am not anymore mine…I am yours) which refers to total surrender.

Shri – Wealth (in Guru) is the wealth of Knowledge.

Shankarananda – Swami Shankarananda was the Sanyasa Guru of Swami Vidyaranya. Some say it was Shankaranandaji who gave who gave him the name Swami Vidyaranya, and some say it was Veda Vyasa. Since Swami Vidyaranya was a polymath, he had many Gurus. Shrikantha and Sarvajna Vishnu were two other Gurus of Swami Vidyaranya.

GurupAdAmbujanmane – The lotus feet of the Guru. Lotus is a very special flower and that is why we see the mention of lotus in many places in the scriptures. Lotus is a flower that blooms completely. It represents Jnana vikasa (Complete unfoldment of Knowledge). It lives in the mud but is never affected by the mud or water. Hence it represents detachment. The people who are benefitted by the lotus are not the fishes or frogs that live under it, but the bee which senses the nectar in the lotus from far away and comes and relishes it. Usually great people are not acknowledged in their surroundings but the right disciples come to them from far and wide sensing their great knowledge.

SavilAsa – VilAsa represents AbhimAn, Ahamta, sukhabudhi. The prefix of sa means ‘good’.

MahAmoha – Greatest Moha (delusion). Being in a delusion itself is sad. MahAmoha is the greatest of delusions. MahAmoha is that ignorance that destroys life after life.

grAhagrAsaika karmaNe ­– The one who destroys the crocodile (grAha) (of MahAmoha).

Above is the literal translation of the MangalAcharaNa. Before we discuss the inner meaning, let us discuss about Anubandha ChatuShTaya.

Anubandha ­– closely connected

ChatuShTaya – four preliminary or preambulated factors

Anubandha ChatuShTaya is normally given in the first one or two verses of any Vedantic texts. The four factors that clarified in the beginning of any text are:

  1. AdhikAri: is the target audience for the text. In the scriptures, it is always mentioned who will be benefitted from the text. Whether the text is for beginners or for those who have advanced in their studies, and so on.
  2. ViShaya: The subject matter.
  3. Prayojana: result that can be gained from the knowledge shared in the text.
  4. Sambandha: tells what is the connection between the text and the subject matter. It will tell whether the text is complete in itself or not.

With the inner meaning, Swami Vidyaranya makes Anubandha ChatuShTaya clear in the MangalAcharaNa.

Namah – says that the Adhikari of this text is the one who is ready to surrender. Surrendering itself requires a high level maturity. So it is meant for an audience who has maturity in intellect.

ShankarAnanda – Sham (good) karoti (doer) iti (is) shankara – doer of good is called Shankara. Here it refers to the Lord Himself. Ananda is the bliss aspect of the Self. In the text, ShankarAnanda is the viShaya (subject) which indicates Jeevabrahma Aikya (Oneness of Jeeva – the soul; and the Brahman – Supreme Consciousness).

Destruction of MahAmoha is the prayojana of studying this text. And connection between the Jeeva (Soul) and Brahman (Supreme Reality) is the sambandha.

Thus, through the first verse, Swami Vidyaranya does the MangalAcharaNa as well as Anubandha ChatuShTaya.

  1. Jeevan Mukti Viveka is another text written by Swami Vidyaranya. Refer to the earlier post on the life & works of Swami Vidyaranya.

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