Prabodhasudhakara: The Nectar-Ocean of Enlightenment

Prabodhasudhakara: The Nectar-Ocean of Enlightenment

Item Code: IDG442
Author: Sri Sankaracarya Translated and Notes by Samvid
Publisher: Samata Books
Language: (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 8185208506
Pages: 112
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7" X 4.7"

About the Book:

PRABODHASUDHAKARA has been translated for the first time into English by Samvid and it is published on the birthday of Sri Sankaracarya. The Acharya's commentaries are better known than his original writings and this title is one of the lesser known works.

Prabodhasudhakara, like other works of Sri Sankaracharya, is complete in itself. It is a poem in nineteen sections consisting of two hundred and fifty-seven verses, taking the human being as he is through a spiral of eighteen steps, to the doors of the Divine Grace.

Apart from the literary grace which marks all the works of the Acharya, Prabodhasudhakara is a compendium of Sadhana synthesizing Jnana, Yoga and Bhakti in its sweep.


Prabodhasudhakara (The Nectar-ocean of Enlightenment) is one of the lesser-known works of Sri Sankaracarya, the greatest exponent of monistic Vedanta. It consists of 257 verses divided into 19 sections, which present a lucid exposition of the philosophy of monistic Vedanta and the way leading to the realisation of Ultimate Reality

In the clarity and directness of its treatment of the subject and in the numerous homely analogies that are employed to expound the principles of Vedanta, it is perhaps unequalled even by the other popular works of the great author. But what makes it outstanding is the fact that it completely reconciles knowledge (jnana) and Devotion (bhakti) as equally valid methods for the direct experience of Ultimate Reality. The devotional fervour of the author shines through the last four sections of the work containing some exquisite and unforgettable verses. Further, the author consistently recognises the need for the cessation of the thought-waves of the mind and its absorption into the Source which is pure Being-Consciousness, for the attainment of jnana or Intuitive Knowledge.

This work does not appear to have been translated into English so far, though a number of translations in the vernacular are available. The translator has attempted a literal translation, without sacrificing the sense and spirit of the original. This attempt had many constraints because of the profound nature of the subject and the radical differences in idiom between Samskrta and English. It was found necessary to take some liberties with English idiom at places, so that the import and spirit of the original could be faithfully presented. In the opinion of the translator, this would be a better course than compromising with the sense of the original, in order to present an English version which is meticulously idiomatic and possesses literary excellence. We should not forget that we are trying to understand the sublime thoughts of the great author and the philosophy and practice of Vedanta as expounded by him. Notes have been added to many verses to achieve this end. In the translation, implied words and alternative meanings are given within brackets.

The translator hopes that this presentation of this great work of Sri Sankaracarya, will help many spiritual seekers to understand and practise the most essential disciplines for Perfection and Liberation, viz., contemplation on the Self and God-love.



"Samvid" has done it again. The translation of Yogavasistha-sangraha is followed now by this rendering of Prabodhasudhakara of Sri Sankara Bhagavatpada.

Vasistha was the kulaguru of the Solar race of kings, raghuvansa. Sri Sankara is the Guru of the whole world, jagatguru. Their advent into this terrestrial world is in answer to the prayerful aspiration of the Earth-consciousness to the Supreme Isvara, the Creator, for the guidance and enlightenment of her ignorant creatures.

The Guru is a transmitting medium, a transporting agent and transparent embodiment of the Divine Grace and Compassion, the focal point of the timeless Eternity and finite time. He not only points the direction to the goal but takes the consciousness of the surrendered disciple into his consciousness and makes the inflow of the Higher into the lower continuously, till the three consciousness of the Isvara, the Guru and the Atman of the disciple become one undifferentiated whole, isvarogururatmeti. Devotion to the Isvara isvara upasana ushers the guru into one's field of vision. Gurubhakti leads to parabhakti, which gives the vision of the Transcendent Reality where the Isvara, Guru and all have their being and of which all are formations. The Guru can achieve this miraculous alchemy because his personality is completely integrated in the Supreme's Impersonal Awareness. Thought, imagination, feeling and the very physical being, having reached the acme of development, are in a state of complete balance, reflecting and embodying the Supreme. The metaphysical mind, the aesthetic imagination and the emotional heart have blended harmoniously and attuned themselves to the mystical and spiritual heights. The razor-sharp intellect marshals its compelling logical acumen in the service of the Intuitive World of the Truth-consciousness, srutimatastarka, with the utmost brevity and economy of language. The purified imagination has shed the luxurious fancy of even the great poets and takes the colour of the Divine Beauty instead of colouring with its even brilliant hues the Divine Splendour. Its work here is to show to the creatures of time, through the familiar terms of actual experiences, analogically, the unfamiliar Empyrean. The chastened emotion has given up its habit of enthusing concentratedly to an aspect and widened itself to contain the Beatitudes of the Eternal. "When we have sacrificed all forms into the formless, then all forms become at once negligible and infinitely precious." "What is the value of the Formles unless it has stooped to Form" And, on the other hand, what truth or value has any form except on the other hand, what truth or value has any form except to represent as in a mask the Indefinable and the Invisible?"

The saguna and the nirguna, the Personal and the Impersonal meet, mate and merge in the Guru. So He is the bhagavatpada not only at the Feet of the Lord Always, but is actually the Feet of the Lord, the instruments of walking into the hearts of His creatures and spreading His consciousness and working His divine work.

The hallmark, foundation and underlying characteristic of His work is the destruction of our darkness by the resplendent light of His knowledge, jnanadipena bhasvata, the light which becomes within us the increasing glory of His own self-revelation.' The whole movement and the path are best described by the term prabodha, Awakening from the sleep of Ignorance – (which is the product of the human way of thinking) and getting the true Illumination – (which is the result of seeing in the Light of the Eternal Truth). 'The lotus of the eternal knowledge is a bud closed and folded up within us'. It opens petal by petal by basking in the rays of the Light of the Guru's Teaching and every movement is attended with and leads to a state of delight. So prabodha is sudha, the nectar which makes one Immortal. And prabodha is the only sudha, not any intoxicating substance. For, all intoxicants are toxic in the extreme, systematically damaging the brain and making it a victim of subjective fancies of heavens, to be inevitably followed by hells of despondency. The doping of the drug-addict of any form is not the way to taste the true delight which is the reward of illumination.

Again, prabodha is a progressive movement. Each assimilation of a ray creates an appetite for more and more of the rays, till one stands before the Supreme Sun and becomes one with Him, losing one's separative consciousness. So prabodha is sudhakara, an ocean of nectarine sweetness. Prabodha is giving up the externalizing movement of consciousness, till one drowns in the Infinite, tasting Joy all the way to the End, which is the Ananda Brahman. This path is one of vairagya – Non-identification of Consciousness with its de formations. Consciousness petrified is sensation (indriya) which runs after the objects of this finite world. Consciousness coagulated is mentation (manas) which pursues the objects in the subtler worlds or heavens. Consciousness reflected is the relatively pure understanding (buddhi) which seeks contact with itself, a reflection as the object. All are only getting excited and mistake the excitement for the Delight. Get frustrated, leave one object and try another or vainly hope, the reflection or its products will some day yield the true happiness. This vicious circle comes to an end when the non-identification becomes complete and total. For, when the energy of consciousness is withheld in itself, there is no deformation at all. Then the Atman or Brahman or the pure Delight of consciousness is, always, eternally.

This is the path of negative comprehension.

There is the other path of Positive Awareness or increasing identification with the Atman, the Impersonal Delight, atmabodha. This Divine Delight of Existence has its own vibration or anahatananda, which is not the product of the contact of the deformed finite subject with its corresponding deformed object, ahati. One can listen to this unstruck, self-revealing and self-absorbing Positive Vibration with all one's consciousness which will take all the energies of sensation, mentation and understanding into its Infinite bosom and then they will cease to be and only the Divine Delight of the Atman will be, eternally. The great spiritual athletes take to one or both of these paths, like duck to water. But, what of the majority of even seekers, leave along the vast populace who are so totally committed to the completely externalizing deformations?

Fortunately for them and even for the Athletes, the very Supreme Impersonla nirguna ananda Brahman becomes saguna in the Avataric Person, whose personality has none of the limitations of the deformed consciousness, but on the other hand, mysteriously but tremendously embodies and radiates the Divine Ananda. His form is a condensation and crystallization (not a deformation) of the Ananda, anandacinmayasadujjvalavigraha. The Love of the Supreme Brahman has assumed this Form out of infinite compassion for the finite formations. It is the divine strategy of Blessing and bringing the All-dissolving grand Positive Vibration of Grace, anugraha in every movement of His divine Body, Senses, Mentation and Understanding. The creature has only to allow all his deformed formations (sensation, mentation and understanding) to turn and dwell on this Divine Personality of Krsna. This is a captivating, enthralling and all-ravishing experience for them. the divine Form is calculatedly created to infuse the divine nectar of delight into them and alchemically transform them into its own nature. One can and will have all forms of relationship with this Divine Person. "Discipleship to God the Teacher, sonship to God the Father, tenderness to God the Mother, sonship to God the Father, tenderness to God the Mother, Clasp of the hand of the divine Friend, laughter and sport with our comrade and boy-playfellow, blissful servitude these are the seven beatitudes of life in the human body." One can 'unite all these in a single, supreme and rainbow-hued relationship.' Even hate directed to Him emancipates if it is done with exclusive concentration. But it is left only anugraha. Man's consciousness is so formed that its way to the Lord is love and through love. And the love grows always He is syamasundara, trailokyamohana. The One has become the Many for the very purpose of tasting the joy of mutual and collective union among the multitudinous centres and forms of the manifestation. For Vasudeva is the soul and form of all these becomings in the world and to meet Him in every form and contact and worship Him in every soul and as the All-soul are the lofty consummation of love and the Supreme ecstasy for the God-lover and God-knower. "And what is the end of the whole matter? As if honey could taste itself and all its drops could taste each other and each the whole honeycomb as itself, so should the end be with God and the soul of man and the universe.

His Love has brought the melody of even the anahatanada nearer home when He plays on the flute. "His flute calls the physical being to awake out of the attachment of the physical world and turn to the divine Love and Ananda that he embodies. It is the music of the call which seeks to transform the lower ignorant play of mortal life and bring into it and establish in its place the lila of His divine Ananda." He seems to pour all Himself into the music and listening to it one becomes aware of an overmastering and inordinate longing, passion, on His part for union with all the souls on earth and all the parts and beings evolved in and by the earth. The tunes of His music are not so much melodies produced by a divine ingenuity but the spontaneous outpourings of a heart of infinite and ardent love which cannot endure separation from His beloved creatures, so that one hearing His flute hears not a tune but feels the throb of the passionate heart of the Divine Lover.


"Come then to Brindavan, soul of the joyous;
faster and faster
Follow the dance I shall teach thee
with Shyama for slave and for master.
Follow the notes of the Flute
with a soul aware and exulting;
Trample Delight that submits
and crouch to a sweetness insulting.
Then shalt thou know what the dance meant.
fathom the song and the singer,
Hear behind thunder its rhymes,
touched by lightning thrill to his finger,
Brindavan's rustle shalt understand
and Yamuna's laughter,
Take thy place in the Ras
and thy share of the ecstasy after."

The divine Artists who composed the saundaryalahari, the anandalahari, and the sivanandalahari has given this prabodha-sudhakara, the krsnanandalahari to the world

We are grateful to 'Samvid' for making our exposure to the bhagavatpada and bhagavadanubhava possible and easy by his publication of the orginal text and translation.




3. THE MIND 14
7: THE SELF 25
8: MAYA 29


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