Summary of Maneesha Panchakam
One day Adi Sankara along with his disciples after having a refreshing bath in the Ganges at Kasi were on the way to the sacred temple when a Chandala comes in their way. And then Sankara says "gacha gacha" . To this the Chandala asks Bhagavan Sankara as to who should go away from whom, as there is oneness both at the level of Consciousness as well as matter. There is no difference in the Sun and its reflection or a space in a mud pot and gold pot. All differences are only due to medium and conditioning which itself is illusory.
Hearing this, Bhagavan Sankara in an outburst of joy gives five Slokas called as Maneesha Panchakam.
In Sloka 1, the Upanasadic statement prajnam Brahma is expounded. It uses the methodology of drig-disya viveka, to go to the ultimate seer of all our experiences. All that is seen is not our true nature, but we are the ultimate seer be of everything in the world including our thoughts, as well as the three states of our experience - waking, dream and deep sleep. This Seer, this Life spark also pervades everything - from Brahma ji to an ant. One who realizes this is my Guru, this is my conviction.
In Sloka 2, the Upanasadic statement "Brahma Satyam jagat Mithya" is expounded.The seen is all false, only the seer is true. So here karma-karana viveka is used, by seeing the effects and inquiring on it, we go to the cause, only to arrive that the Seer is true, and whatever is seen is only a projection of our Consciousness brought about by Maya. One whose abidance is this, Bhagavan Sankara says is my true Guru, this is my conviction.
In Sloka 3, the Upanasadic statement "tat tvam asi" is expounded. Here a load of instructions is given. One who has based upon his teacher's instructions has reflected long and developed viveka and vairagya - he comes to the conclusion that this world is impermanent and false, and is able to quieten his mind on that Brahman having destroyed his vasanas in the fire of knowledge. Such a Yogi, who remains with this knowledge living his life till Prarabhda plays out, such a Yogi is my Guru, this is my firm conviction says Bhagavan Sankara.
In Sloka 4, the Upanasadic statement "ayam atma Brahma" is expounded. This "I" which we call as "Atma" is the Brahman. This "I" alone illumines the mind, which in turn illumines all the objects of the world which are inert. This "I" the Self in Me is the same Self in all creatures. A Yogi who lives meditating on his Self, the "I" with such knowledge as described above, is my Guru, this is my firm conviction says Bhagavan Sankara.
In Sloka 5, talks about the bliss aspect of Brahman. The joy experienced in the world, as well as those of the higher joyful beings like Indra, is only a fraction of that bliss which the Yogi experiences in utter quiet moments of meditation. Such a Yogi has ended his individuality and experiences Bliss Absolute, which is as though all the bliss of everyone put together at the same time! That rare Yogi, who is most worshipful alone is my Guru, this is my form conviction says Bhagavan Sankara.
With these 5 Slokas the text concludes. Om tat sat.