Before you read further,
– Relax and deep breathe for a few minutes.
– Then, try to slow down and keep a calm mind.
– Offer obeisance to Adi Shankara Acharya.
– Thank him for the wisdom he imparted.
– Absorb this verse with that attitude.
वाक्यार्थश्च विचार्यतां श्रुतिशिरःपक्षः समाश्रीयतां
दुस्तर्कात्सुविरम्यतां श्रुतिमतस्तर्कोऽनुसन्धीयताम् ।
ब्रह्मास्मीति विभाव्यतामहरहर्गर्वः परित्यज्यतां
देहेऽहम्मतिरुज्झ्यतां बुधजनैर्वादः परित्यज्यताम् ॥३॥
budhajanairvādaḥ parityajyatām ॥3॥
17: Reflect upon the statements (of the Shruti Shira)
18: Internalize the Shruti Shira’s proposition
19: Cease all inferior arguments
20: Adopt the discriminative reasoning of the Shruti
21: Develop a mindset of ‘I am Brahman’
22: Work on giving up your egotism
23: Win over the delusive idea of ‘I am my body’
24: Avoid arguments with learned people
- The first verse gave us the eight foundation steps of spiritual life, and the second verse presented the eight beginner-level steps. The current verse lists out the eight intermediate-level steps to Sadhana.
- Step 16 of the previous verse prompted us to listen to the Shruti Shira or Upanishad’s teachings. Step 17 and Step 18 of this verse direct us to reflect upon and internalize those teachings. Listening or Shravana, Reflecting or Manana and Internalizing or Nididhyāsana is a popular methodology in Jnana Yoga, the Path of Wisdom to self-realization.
- Step 19 proposes that we avoid petty arguments, and Step 24 reaffirms that we refrain from arguing even with learned people. Every seeker needs to remember that nobody can change anyone. Even the greatest of Gurus can only guide those who strive to change themselves. Hence, arguments with anyone on any topic are merely a waste of our time and energy.
- In Step 20, Sage Adi Shankara suggests that we follow the process of discriminative reasoning as indicated in the Shruti (Vedas and its accompanying texts). In other words, if we must argue with someone, it must be with ourselves. If we wish to persist on the path of spirituality, we must learn to reason and negotiate with the mind.
- Step 21, 22, and 23 gives us some recommendations to train our mind.
- In science, a researcher must believe in their hypothesis before starting any research. Similarly, a seeker must have some level of trust in the Vedic teachings if they wish to walk the path. Hence, we must convince ourselves about the declarations of the Upanishads – We aren’t inferior beings. Instead, we’re an abode of the Divine.
- Now, the moment we view ourselves as Divine, we may feel egoistic. So, we must also remember that we may have a Divine aspect to us, but we aren’t invincible. Nature can throw us out of the picture at any time!
- Finally, we must understand (at least intellectually) that we can be more than the physical body if we so wish.
You can read the next verse here: Verse 4.