Jul 2020



Hindu religion is accurately known as Sanatana dharma. Bhagavan Veda Vyasa and Shankara Bhagavat Pada have contributed immensely for the Sanatana dharma. Vyasa, an avatara of Vishnu, in every Dwapara Yuga classified the Vedas. Adi Shankaracharya is Parma Siva himself. The contributions of these two to our Sanatana dharma is beyond description. Adi Shankaracharya re-established the essence of Santana Dharma at a time when its essence was lost due to non-Vedic dharmas taking root along with ritualism.

Adi Shankaracharya had spread what Vyasa Bhagavan wrote and expanded them and using his immense knowledge and power of argument to defeat all those pASaNDa (non-Vedic) practices.

In his short span of 32 years, Adi Shankaracharya wrote immense literature- prasthan trayam, bhaashyam or commentaries on Bhagvat Gita, Vishnu Sahasranamams etc. besides many books on bhakthi like Sivanadalahari, Soundaryalahari etc.

After 32 years when Adi Shankaracharya was about to leave this abode, his disciples prayed to him to show a short path for the elevation in the sadhana.  In answer to that the acharya is supposed to have written “Sadhana Pancakam”.

 Sadhana pancakam consists of only five slokas - each sloka with four padas. Each pada has two simple phrases of dos and don’ts. Thus, whole sadhana is simplified into forty simple dos and don’ts. On the face of it these appear to be simple but if one goes through complete meaning of these – one can definitely say the essence of the writings of Shankar Bhagavat Pada and Veda Vyasa is condensed in these five slokas. The five slokas are given below with meaning for each phrase of dos and don’ts in each sloka.

vedo nityamadhiyatam taduditam karma svanusthiyatam
tenesasya vidhiyatamapacitih kamye matistyajyatam |
papaughah paridhuyatam bhavasukhe doso nusandhiyatam
atmeccha vyavasiyatam nijagrhatturnam vinirgamyatam || 1 ||

वेदो नित्यमधीयतां तदुदितं कर्म स्वनुष्ठीयतां
तेनेशस्य विधीयतामपचितिः काम्ये मतिस्त्यज्यताम्‌।
पापौघः परिधूयतां भवसुखे दोषोऽनुसन्धीयतां
आत्मेच्छा व्यवसीयतां निजगृहात्तूर्णं विनिर्गम्यताम्‌ ॥ १ ॥


A1 Vedo nityamadhIyataaM : “वेदो नित्यमधीयतां”

Daily study/ follow the Vedas: This teaches us how to conduct ourselves in daily life. In the Gurukulam style of learning, the education was not complete till the following 18 scriptures (at least 14) are studied viz:  4 Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Vedas), 6 Vedangas (Shiksha, Chandas, Vyakarana, Nirukta, Kalpa and Jyotisha), 4 Upavedas (Dhanurveda, Sthapatyaveda, Gandharvaveda, and Ayurveda ), and 4 Dharma sastras (Apastamba, Gautama, Baudhayana, and Vasistha).

 Besides the above the following are also important scriptures:                

  • Upanishads: There are many, but 108 are said to know and out of them 12 are important
  • Brahma sutras
  • Puranas – 18
  • Upa-puranas -18
  • Itihasas (Mahabharata & Ramayana) 
  • Manusmruti
  • Patanjali yoga sutras
  • Gitas - Bhagavad-Gita, Yoga Vasishta, Ashtavakra Gita


The Vedas are the breath of God or God himself. So daily adhyayanam (reciting/study) and adhyApana (teaching) and at least supporting the study of the scriptures is essential, as a daily duty. Brahma vidya is taught and passed on in Guru paramparA. As exemplified by sage Suka Chandra Sarma to Sri Gauḍapādācārya, one who studied brahmavidya and does not teach to others in continuation of guru paramparA will become brahma rakshasa. 

 The Vedas have three parts viz   1. Karma-khanda (ritualistic portion), 2. Upasana khanda (bhakthi portion) and 2. Jnana-khanda (knowledge portion). All these, they teach us how to conduct ourselves in daily life by following dharma.

A2 taduditaM karma svanuShThIyataam : “तदुदितं कर्म स्वनुष्ठीयतां”

Perform diligently the duties (sva dharma) laid down in the scriptures. Scriptures laid down the karmas or duties to be performed by human beings.  Some of the important karmas are:

  1. Nitya Karama: To be done daily like Agni karma, Deva puja and Pitru Yajna
  2. Naimittika (special) karmas like for festivals, Vratas, Vivahaadi shodas karmas
  3. Kamya karma – to fulfil our desires
  4. Prayachitta karma as repentance for papa karmas committed
  5. Nishidha karma which are prohibited (homicide, being untruthful, promiscuity and alcohol consumption etc.)

As said in Lalitha Sahasranama, “Pancha yajna priya”, “Panchami” there are five yajnas to be done by every human being daily, viz:

  1. Deva yajna – Puja/Homa to Devathas to bestow us with rains, peace etc. (as described in mutual dependence in karma yoga of Gita). Performing this yajna in course of time may lead to jivanmukti.
  2. Pitru Yajna for the departed elders of the family. These are particularly important and affects the progeny and future generations.
  3. Rushi Yajna: by learning/teaching/supporting scriptures; which in turn helps every one of us to do the right action; as said in Gita: “śhreyān swa-dharmo vigua para-dharmāt sv-anuhhitāt | swa-dharme nidhana śhreya para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ || (श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् | स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह:)”
  4. Manava or Athidhi yajna: to treat all humans as God and treat them equally.
  5. Bhuuta yajna: to treat all things as God irrespective of their Upadhi.

A3 teneshasya vidhIyataam:” तेनेशस्य विधीयताम”

Dedicate all the actions thus performed (as above) to God (Ishvara arpanna buddhi). Every karma whether good or bad, carries with it a Punya or Papa result which every upadhi must enjoy or suffer. These results are carried to next Janma, one enjoys or suffers the result of that karma. Gita says “yasya sarve samarambhah kama-sankalpa-varjitah jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam tam ahuh panditam budhah”. Only Jnaani can burn the result of karma. The only way of escaping the result of karma is to perform every karma as being done by God and not by self. This is “nAham Karta” (I am not the doer). That is the meaning of Gita sloka “Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma phaleshou kada chana Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani”. One can aspire for anything and do all karmas needed for that and should accept the result with a total submission that God is the doer of every karma.

A4 apachitiH kaamye matistyajyataam:”अपचितिःकाम्ये मतिस्त्यज्यताम्”

Gradually give up doing selfish acts. This means avoid all selfish and bad actions. The scriptures have defined clearly good and bad actions. Scriptures divide the bad actions as:-

  1. Pancha mahapatakas (5 Sins)
  • Suvarna-steya: stealing Gold which means any valuable  thing not beloging to oneself
  • Surapanam: Drinking alcohol
  • Go(Cow) or Brahma hatya: Killing or violence (against cows or Brahma)
  • Guru talpecha: illicit relationship, especially with guru patni and
  • Association with anybody indulging in any of the above papis.
  1. Sapta Vyasanas (7 addictions)
  • gambling
  • maamsa: eating by violence
  • drinking (alcohol)
  • prostitution
  • kheta or hunting for pleasure
  • stealing and
  • paraangan: Desiring some others spouse.
  1. While above two are to be totally discarded – every day one must fight with six foes which are called “Ari shad vargas” – they are kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, maatsarya. Until one gains victory over these six enemies, there will not be any progress in one’s sadhana. As Gita says, “kāma eṣha krodha eṣha rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ mahāśhano mahā-pāpmā viddhyenam iha vairiṇam”. All the enemies are born out of kama or desire. If one’s desire is fulfilled it leads to many other desires. If it is not fulfilled it leads to krodha / anger. Gita continues, “krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah smrti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati”. Anger eventually leads to forgetfulness or discrimination of what is good and what is bad. This discrimination of budhi or intellect is next destroyed by losing smruti. The final result is total destruction of sadhana. Thus, it is everyday fight for sadhaka to win over desire. While one can and should enjoy what God has created for us, one should not indulge but offer what is given by God to him – with nAham Karta one can overcome these Arishatvargas.

A5 paapaughaH paridhuuyataaM: “पापौघः परिधूयतां”

This tells us to throw away all sinful acts. Our scriptures tell us what is sin and what is punya. With above steps of “nAham Karta” and willfully avoiding papa karmas one can avoid sinful acts. None of the actions one does should be related to “I” or mine. God has blessed us with some vibhuti or ability – thus one should attribute his actions as God’s vibhuti and feel “nAham Karta”.

A6 bhavasukhe dosho.anusandhIyataam: “भवसुखे दोषोऽनुसन्धीयता”

 In sadhana, one should reflect and analyze the limitation of worldly pleasures. Ultimately these leads only to attachment and to more desires and to arishadvargas. True Ananda does not come from worldly pleasures. One should know and analyze the difference between aanandam and worldly pleasures. Progressively, one should learn to be happy and satisfied with what God has given us as for our past Karmas rather than craving for worldly pleasure.          

A7 aatmechchhaa vyavasIyataaM: “आत्मेच्छा व्यवसीयतां”

One should contemplate on real self or jivatama. The purpose of life is to recognize the identity of jivaatma and paramaatma. Contemplating regularly on every action one does leads to this fundamental aim of life, in turn slowly correcting oneself will lead us to the real purpose. In reality one loves oneself dearly and hence struggles for all material things and also does not easily leave the upadhi. This attachment to material and temporary things is the obstacle for the sadhana – leaving the real permanent aim of recognizing and realizing aham bramasmi.

A8 nijagR^ihaattuurNaM vinirgamyataam: “निजगृहात्तूर्णं विनिर्गम्यताम्”

In daily lives one craves to do things which will bond us with surrounding material and living things. These bondages are the real reason for doing bad karmas and not progressing in sadhana. Getting rid of these bondages does not mean leaving the house and material things but Ishvara arpanna – submitting everything to God and enjoy things as nAham Karta. “I am not the doer but God is the doer and I am only enjoying his prasadam.”  Hereafter, live eternally as Brahman.


.... Sarve Jana Sukhinobhavantu ....