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Shankara: The Shattering of Illusion

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Shankara: The Shattering of Illusion
 
 
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Photo: 'The East Gopuram of the Great Pagoda' from the photographic album, Photographs of Madura by Capt. Linnaeus Tripe. South India; 1858.

 

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Who is thy wife?
Who is thy son?
The ways of this world are strange indeed.
Whose are thou?
Whence art thou come?
Vast is thy ignorance, my beloved.
Therefore ponder these things and worship the Lord.

Behold the folly of Man:
In childhood busy with his toys,
In youth bewitched by love,
In age bowed down with cares --
And always unmindful of the Lord!
The hours fly, the seasons roll, life ebbs,
But the breeze of hope blows continually in his heart.

Birth brings death, death brings rebirth:
This evil needs no proof.
Where then O Man, is thy happiness?
This life trembles in the balance Like water on a lotus-leaf --
And yet the sage can show us, in an instant,
How to bridge this sea of change.

When the body is wrinkled, when the hair turns gray,
When the gums are toothless, and the old man's staff
Shakes like a reed beneath his weight,
The cup of his desire is still full.

Thy son may bring thee suffering,
Thy wealth is no assurance of heaven:
Therefore be not vain of thy wealth,
Or of thy family, or of thy youth --
All are fleeting, all must change.
Know this and be free.
Enter the joy of the Lord.

Seek neither peace nor strife
With kith or kin, with friend or foe.
O beloved, if thou would attain freedom,
be equal unto all.

(Shankara)
  

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Source and Recommended Reading:

'Shankara's Crest Jewel of Discrimination'
By Swami Prabhavananda (Author), Christopher Isherwood (Author)

Purchase Book:

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Description:

A classic text on the path to God through knowledge. The basic teaching is that God alone is the all-pervading reality; the individual soul is none other than the universal soul.
According to Shankara, it is the ignorance of our real nature that causes suffering and pain. The desire for happiness is essentially a longing to awaken to who and what we truly are.


Through the path of self-knowledge, Shankara clearly teaches how to awaken from ignornce created by the mind, and abide in the peace of our true nature.
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