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Adi [first] Sankaracharya in the eighth century wrote Mohamudgar especially for the renunciates. A few lines read as follows:
Anandamanandakarang prasanang jnanaswarupang nijabodharupam.
True Self-Understanding [nijabodh] is the embodiment of Knowledge which brings eternal Bliss and Happiness.
Ka taba kanta kaste putra sangsaroyayam atiba bichitra.
Who is your wife? Who is your son? This world is a very mysterious one (atiba bichitra).
[From a Vedantist’s point of view or from the point of view of true Realization and Knowledge (Atmajnana), the world simply does not exist.
[The consummation of wisdom is the knowledge that there is nothing real in this world. It is like a goblin imagined by children in the dark. It is nothing but a bundle of our imaginations presented by our delusive mind that stretches the visible world in front of us. It is like a magical scene; in reality, it has neither substantial existence nor intrinsic value; yet it appears to be real, and that is why the world is verily a mysterious one (atiba bichitra).
[The Lord has Himself become manifested in time and space, yet He is beyond time and space. The existence of the world depends on the existence of the Lord.
[Understanding that this world is a magical scene and that all that glitters in the world is nothing in reality, one should not inquire how and when the world came into existence; nor should one be interested in material things for Happiness. It is a waste of time; instead, one should engage in the pursuit of Atmajnana, Self-Knowledge.
[Finally, in regard to wife, sons, relatives and properties, one must practice detachment because separation from them are certain.]
Kasya tvang ba kuta ayatastvatang chintaya tadidang bhrata.
Brother [a fellow seeker]! Always think of who you are and where you come from.
[As mentioned in the first verse, Nijabodha rupam, Understanding the nija (Self), is the only way to attain absolute Knowledge or Atmajnana (Self-Knowledge), which alone has the capacity to provide eternal Tranquility or Brahmisthiti).]
Artham anartham bhabaya nityam nasti tata sukhalesa satyam.
Always consider money and material things harmful and the root of all troubles for there is no true happiness in them at all.
[Spiritually speaking, money and material things are not the root of trouble; rather one’s asakti, or “attachment” to these things including holding post and position, are hindrances to spirituality. An example was King Janaka, who lived like a rajarsi (royal sage) completely detached to his kingdom.]
Khanamiha sajjana sangati reka bhabati bhabarnaba tarane nouka.
Association [sanga] even for a little moment with a true sajjan [realized person] acts as a boat to cross the vast ocean of world [the world of attachments and bondage].
In this connection, for the readers convenience, the First Sankarachaya’s Mohamudgar is reproduced here.
Mohamudgar of Sankaracharya
Translated by Swami Satyeswarananda Maharaj from the original Sanskrit
(The club that strikes down attachment)
1. True self-understanding [nijabodh] is the embodiment of knowledge,
that brings eternal Bliss and Happiness.
The Yogi is the king of doctors [Baidyas]
for the worldly disease [bhabaroga], or attachment.
So, I meditate on my Master [Sri Guru, Govinda].
2. Give up thirst of gaining wealth.
Oh man of little conviction! generate spirit of renunciation.
Whatever wealth you get by your own honest action,
Be contented with the same wealth.
3. Who is your wife and who is your son?
This world is a mysterious one.
Oh brother! Think on essence of these questions:
Whom you belong to and wherefrom have you come?
4. Day and night, evening and morning,
Winter and spring come and go.
Time passes by so does longevity.
Yet the man does not give up hope.
5. Body weakens, so is the head.
Teeth have fallen, so is the beauty of the body.
Stick trembles on the hand while walking;
Yet the man does not give up desire.
6. In you and I is the same Lord [Visnu].
Why then losing patience you become angry?
See every body's self in your self.
Forget the difference in all beings.
7. The boys are busy playing.
The youths are after the young ladies.
The old men are absorbed in worldly concern;
So none thinks about Brahma [absolute Self].
8. Give up pride of wealth, relatives, and the strength of youth;
Death takes away these by twinkling of an eye.
Give up the illusory world,
And take the shelter on the feet of Brahma.
9. Whenever there is birth, there follows death;
Then back to the mother's womb again.
Clearly this rule is established in the world.
So where is contentment [in this cycle]?
10. Either you stay in the temple or under the tree,
Lying on the earth or on the deer skin,
Giving up relatives and enjoyments,
Who isn't happy upon such a renouncing?
11. Eight mountains and seven seas
Brahma, celestial chief, Siva and the Sun,
You and I, the whole world is but a dream.
Why then are you in grief?
12. Think always that money is the root of all troubles.
Certainly wealth can't deliver true Happiness.
Even a wealthy man is afraid of his son.
This is the rule known to the world.
13. As long as man earns money,
So long as the family obeys and abides.
In the old days when the body becomes weak,
No one in the family even asks, 'how is he?'
14. Give up pleasure, anger, greediness, and attachment.
Think for a while, 'Who am I?'
A fool, devoid of Self-Knowledge,
Rots deep down in the hell.
15. Enemies, dear ones sons, and friends,
Do not crave on these matters.
If you desire quickly to attain the feet of the Lord [Visnu].
Always treat all beings equally.
16. As water is restless on the lotus-leaf,
So is the life very restless.
Know that body develops disease
And so people suffer from sorrows.
17. Meditate in your heart on essence [tattva].
Forget the thoughts about transitory worldly things.
Association with a sage even for a moment,
Acts as a boat to cross the vast ocean of worldly attachment.