Reflections Along The Way

The Nine Blessings

I feel so amazed whenever I finish creating a piece of art. Seeing the canvas filled up with something that didn’t exist before seems surreal. It is astonishing that this came to life with a thought that just popped into the mind expressing itself via this medium. Art can be so contemplative.

There is always something to create as inspiration is everywhere. Last month I bought a bunch of canvasses to paint on because they were on sale 🙂 I unwrapped those to kick off with this painting titled ‘The Nine Blessings.’ This artwork is inspired by the 2nd verse of Adi Sankaracarya’s Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, where he explains the nine rare blessings of a highly evolved human being.

Verse 2 of Vivekacūḍāmaṇi

जन्तूनां नरजन्म दुर्लभमतः पुंस्त्वं ततो विप्रता
तस्माद्वैदिकधर्ममार्गपरता विद्वत्त्वमस्मात्परम्
आत्मानात्मविवेचनं स्वनुभवो ब्रह्मात्मना संस्थितिः
मुक्तिर्नो शतजन्मकोटिसुकृतैः पुण्यैर्विना लभ्यते
jantūnāṃ narajanma durlabhamataḥ puṃstvaṃ tato vipratā
tasmādvaidikadharmamārgaparatā vidvattvamasmātparam
ātmānātmavivecanaṃ svanubhavo brahmātmanā saṃsthitiḥ
muktirno śatajanmakoṭisukṛtaiḥ puṇyairvinā labhyate

This verse emphasizes the rare opportunity we have as human beings to evolve and awaken to the divinity within us here and now through right understanding.

Sankaracarya is one of the most revered thinkers and philosophers of the 7th century. Vivekacudamani translates to ‘The Crown Jewel of Discrimination.’ It expounds the knowledge of Advaita Vedanta poetically as a conversation between a student and his spiritual teacher.

I find philosophy to be very engrossing. This led me to start studying Vivekacudamani sometime in the fall of last year, with the help of commentary by Swami Chinmayananda. It has been an organic progression following the completion of the Foundation Vedanta Course. It is a complementary text to study along with the Advanced Vedanta Course that I am currently doing.


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