Panchadasi – Verse 2

Panchadasi – Verse 2

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

Verse 2:

TatpAdAmbaruh dvandva sevAnirmala chetasAm

sukhabodhAya tatvasya viveko-ayam vidhIyate ||2||

In the earlier verse the Guru’s feet was compared to a lotus that eats away the crocodiles that create MahAmoha. This might look not so sensible. But since it is the feet of a Guru it has got the power of doing such things…this is what is said in the verse. Of course, it should not be taken in the actual sense but one needs to look at it from the emotional feeling of the writer. Such ways of adding beauty to the poetry is called viruddha alankAra (viruddha means opposite) or parimANa alankAra.

This verse also forms a part of the mangalAcharaNa. Let us discuss the meaning of this verse in detail.

tat: means ‘That’. ‘That’ refers to the Supreme Reality.

pAdAmbaruh: means Lotus feet. ambaruh means sprung out of the water. Lotus is that which is sprung out of the water.

dvandva: two (referring to both feet of the Guru)

seva: service

nirmala: that which does not have any dirt

chetas: mind

sukhabodhAya tatvasya: making the understanding of identity between the Self and the Supreme Reality simple and easy to comprehend.

viveko-ayam vidhIyate: I am intending to discuss the discrimination (between the Self and the non-Self).

Once again, in this verse too, the author makes it clear as to what is going to be discussed in this text and for whom it is going to be beneficial. What is highlighted here is Guruseva (serving the Guru). Why is serving the Guru so important?

Only an empty vessel can be filled with water. Inorder to receive the highest knowledge (the knowledge of the Self) one’s mind should be pure (nirmala chetas). The easiest way of making the mind pure is surrendering unto the Guru and serving him.

One can serve his Guru in three ways:

  1. At the mental level one has to be humble. Where there is ego and pride in the mind, knowledge cannot be bestowed. An example that Swamiji gave in the webinar was of a typical teenager who thinks that his/her mother doesn’t know anything and only he/she knows what is right/wrong. After many years when he/she grows up and realises that his/her mother knew atleast ‘something’, he/she has someone else in his/her life who feels that the mother knows nothing. One has to develop humility in the heart to serve the Guru.
  2. At the intellectual level, it is the student’s duty to reflect and contemplate upon what the teacher is trying to teach him. He has to do meaningful enquiry and try to understand what the Guru is trying to say.
  3. At the physical level, one has to take care of the Guru by doing chores like cooking food for him, washing his clothes, etc. It might seem for a layman that the Guru is taking advantage of the student by making him work. But it is through such work that the ego gets reduced in the student and he becomes a fit instrument to receive the knowledge. It is also an opportunity for the teacher and taught to get to know each other so that the teacher can adopt the best pedagogy suitable for the student. Unfortunately, in the present times, due to lack of opportunities like Guruseva in the schools, many a times the teacher and student is unable to understand each other well which affects the process of education.

Apart from the above said things, what is utmost important is to follow the Guru’s teachings. This is the best Gurudakshina a student can give to the Guru. Through such Guruseva the mala (dirt) in the mind gets reduced. Rajas Tamas are the dirt that are referred to here. When RajasTamas are reduced, Satva increases thereby enabling the student to learn better. Absence of Ragadvesha (likes & dislikes) is nirmala chetas.

Adhikaritva comes from Sadhana ChatuShtaya which are the four essentials required by a seeker so that he can assimilate the knowledge that is bestowed upon him.

  1. Viveka: Viveka is the ability to discriminate between what is good and bad, right and wrong, dos and donts, etc. Today the word ‘discrimination’ is taken in a wrong sense by many. It doesn’t mean favouring a certain section. It means the ability to differentiate what is real and unreal, permanent and impermanent, self and not-self, and so on.
  2. Vairagya: Vairagya means detachment or non-attachment. Again, this is another word which is misunderstood often. Detachment doesn’t mean not loving. To understand detachment, let us try to analyse what’s the problem with attachment.
    Attachment to an object creates misery when the object is no longer available with us. But we can love an object without getting attached to it. Being detached is to hold but not to possess. The feeling of possession is bound to create misery because nothing in the world is permanent. Having a detached feeling sets one free.
  3. Shat-sampatti: Six qualities
    1. Shama – Cultivating an inner attitude of contentment
    2. Dama – Controlling the senses
    3. Uparati – Self-withdrawal. With shama and dama, uparati happens automatically.
    4. TitikshA – Forbearance
    5. ShraddhA – Faith
    6. SamAdhAna – Focusing the mind on balancing its thoughts and emotions
  4. Mumukshutvam – An intense urge for liberation.

Thus, a student who has got the above said qualities and is willing to serve the Guru will be benefitted from this text where the knowledge of the Self  is explained in a simple way.

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