Monday 8 August 2011

Prassnnothara Ratna Malika

Jagadguru Adi Sankara’s “Prassnnothara Ratna Malika”
Translation by Prof. N. Ramachandran
Jagadguru Adi Sankaracharya has discussed very issues of vital importance to mankind, in a very simple, lucid question and answer style, in his work “Prassnnothara Ratna Malika”.  These thought-provoking explanations are highly useful to mankind for leading a righteous life.
Presented below are his question and answers for many of life’s problems.
  • Who is a Guru?One who is interested in the welfare of his disciples / followers.
  • Which is necessary for reaching heaven?
    Good knowledge / abundant wisdom.
  • Which is good for the soul?
    Steadfastness in the principles of Dharma.
  • Who is a pure man?
    A man who is pure at heart.
  • Who is a truly educated person?
    One who has the vision, wisdom and vivacity.
  • Which is akin to poison?
    Showing disrespect to one’s Guru / parents.
  • Which is to be desired by all?
    Helpful nature to fellowmen at all times.
  • Who are the thieves?
    Those who indulge in worldly pleasures.
  • Which is our enemy?
    Lacking perseverance to pursue goals.
  • Which is dreadful to mankind?
  • Who is a blind person?
    A person who ignores his faults; yielding to world by desires.  An atheist; a person who does not see good things.
  • Who is real hero?
    One who pursues his goals relentlessly.
  • Which is a feast to one’s ears?
    Sadhu’s discourses / Bhagavath NamasanKirtan.
  • How to safeguard one’s dignity?
    Avoid seeking the help of unholy.
  • Which leads to grief?
    Discontented mind / Desire to amass wealth illegally.
  • Which is a mean act?
    Acting with selfishness.
  • Which is an ideal life?
    A life devoid of sinful actions.
  • Which is not wisdom?
    Reading without putting into practice what one has read.
  • Which is like a water on a leaf?
    Youthfulness, wealth, earthly life.
  • Who is as cool as a moon?
    Sadhus with wisdom.
  • Which is heinous act?
    Slavery-serving unholy men.
  • Who is a wise person?
    A person with abundant wisdom.
  • Which gives real happiness?
    Severing all our worldly connections.
  • What is Sathya?
    To shower kindness and compassion to mankind.
  • Which is most harmful to mankind?
  • Which gives happiness?
    Company of the wise.
  • Who wards off all our problems?
    The omnipotent God.
  • Which is harmful to life?
    Committing sins.
  • What should engage our thoughts day and night?
    Realisation that life is uncertain and stay in this world is temporary.
  • Who is a lame person?
    One who has not undertaken pilgrimage to holy places.
  • What should we desire?
    Compassion and kindness towards the poor, devotion towards Sadhus, Respect towards parents, Guru.
  • Who is a Sadhu?
    A person of upright character, highly well versed in all shastras.
  • Who is a mean minded person?
    A person of bad character.
  • Who has conquered the world?
    One who practices Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema.
  • Who deserves to be worshipped?
    A person having compassion towards humanity.
  • Who can conquer mankind’s affection / attention?
    One who speaks truth, practices good character, shows kindness to all.
  • Which path do we need to follow?
    Righteous path.
  • Who is deaf?
    One who does not care to hear Sadhu’s discourses / NamasanKirtan.
  • Who is a dumb person?
    One who utters lies; one who cannot speak kind words.
  • What is charity?
    Giving alms to deserving persons with all humility and expecting nothing in return.
  • Who is a true friend?
    One who keeps us away from sinful acts.
  • Which is like a flash of lightening?
    Our life in this mundane world.
  • Which is rarest in the world?
    Charity with kindness, knowledge without haughtiness, unwavering courage; share the wealth with others.
  • Which quality is to be hated?
    No mind to share wealth.
  • Which is an ideal quality?
    Giving – giving – giving to the needy / poor.
  • Who will be respected by a wise man?
    People with simplicity and humility.
  • What will bring credit to one’s creed?
    Living a simple life with humility.
  • Who can succeed in this world?
    People with kind mental disposition and following the path of Sathya and Dharma.
  • Who will be liked by Goddess Lakshmi?
    One who works hard without laziness; one who follows the righteous path; one who respects parents, guru and God. 
  • With whom should we live?
    Live in a company of righteous people – Avoid the company of miser and unholy.
  • Who is lowly person?
    A person who has amassed wealth through illegal means;
    A person who does not have the mind to share his wealth.
  • Which should engage our thoughts day and night?
    God’s golden feet.
  • Which is a sacred water?
    One that clean the body and mind.
  • Who is an undesirable person?
    One who has faultfinding nature.
  • What should people desire in this world?
    Good education, sound physical and mental health;
    Doing good to all; Paying respects to Gurus, God.
  • Which will bring discredit to a person?
    Anger, avariciousness; greedy nature; selfishness; haughtiness; jealousy, pride.
  • In which job do we need to bestow care and attention?
    While serving in government service where public money is involved, bestowing care with honesty and integrity.
  • Which is Kamadhenu?
    Providing education to a good student.
  • Which is like a banyan tree?
    Timely help rendered to a deserving person.
  • Which are precious assets?
    Acting with presence of mind and using common sense – mental alertness an dphysical fitness.
  • Which is equal to a mother?
  • Which gives strength to a person?
  • Which is cruel?
    Causing harm to good people.
  • Who will be liked by God?
    People who avoid anger.
  • How can we achieve excellence?
    Commitment towards one’s goals; executing jobs with utmost devotion, dedication with an eye on perfection.
  • Which is the reason for our suffering?
    Evil thoughts – hatred, anger, jealousy, haughtiness, envy, pride.
  • Who will become rich?
    One who prays to God with devotion and attachment and one who serves his fellowmen.
  • Who can’t be relied upon?
    One who utter lies.
  • Which is wealth?
    Enjoying good health.
  • Who is a full fledged person?
    A person blessed with children; one who engages himself in the service of society.
  • Which is a difficult thing?
    Controlling our wavering mind.
  • What is heaven on earth?
    A person with a contented mind.
  • Which safeguards our body?
    The good deeds we do to mankind- prayer to God with devotion.
  • Who should be worshipped?
    Parents, Guru, God – His wonderful avatars.
  • Who is an embodiment of God?
    A person with good education and performing duty with devotion and helping his fellowmen, believes / thinks that it is through God’s grace every achievement is possible.
In short, the following messages permeate the work of Jagadguru Adi Sankara: (It is a handy guide to better living)
Ø Acquiring education and living up to its ideals.
Ø Purity of thought, word and deed – Action to match words.
Ø Avoiding jealousy, anger, hatred, selfishness, greed, avariciousness, pride, laziness, slander, prejudices, etc.
Ø To be truthful, never to utter lies; be a man of upright character.
Ø Avoid indulging in sinful acts; not to cause injury to mankind through harsh words.
Ø Living with a contented mind – not to be enamoured of worldly pleasures.
Ø Work with a calm mind, pursuing a profession with honesty, sincerity and integrity.
Ø Leading a simple, austere life – be humane, humble.
Ø Realisation that life in this world is uncertain and every one ought to do maximum good to maximum number of people.  (Principle of maximum social advantage as outlined in public finance)
Ø Practise sathya, dharma, shanthi, prema always.
Ø Help the needy, poor and lowly with kindness, love and compassion.
Ø Love and care your fellowmen; share the wealth with the needy.
The messages can be compared to a pendant bedecked with the rarest of gems and jewels.  Let us read, re-read and pave the way for better living.
Article by : Prof. N. Ramachandran
Source: Bhavan's Journal 31 December 2008
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