Tuesday, 25 September 2012


Kaupénapaïcakam eulogises a Sannyäsi, who has abandoned everything to pursue the knowledge of Brahman – rather to understand the equation tat tvam asi’. That requires study of the Advaita texts at least for 12 years, living in a Gurukulam, service to the Guru, other Acäryas, Gurukulam, Temple, developing values and attitudes (sädhana-cauñöaya – viveka, vairägya, çamädi-ñaöka-sampatti, mumukñuttvam. That’s quite a lot, not to speak of studying Päëini, which is considered lohe kä chanä.

Kaupéna is a loincloth worn by the Sannyäsi/s, more not to embarrass the society (since they do not have body-identification/body-consciousness anyway. In recent times, we have seen, how the priests of Arunächal Temple forced young Ramana (Ramana Maharshi) to put on a loincloth at least, when he settled down there. Kaupéna here is a liìga (distinguishing feature) denoting a Sannyäsi, just as a stethoscope denotes a physician, or a black-coat denotes a lawyer, or the sindüram/kumkum/mangalasütra denotes a married woman, or a çikhä (tuft) and white clothes denotes a brahmacäri.

I would like to believe that this Païcakam (of five verses) is meant for a Sannyäsi who has studied the Advaita texts, and not for those who have taken this as a life-style for what-so-ever reason (nañöaräjya or  dérgharogé). My understanding is based on the terms ätmänam-ätmani-avalokayantaù and  ahar-niçam-brahmaëi ye ramantaù, which is not possible unless one has studied the Upaniñads.

 Text in Roman and Free Translation

vedänta-väkyeñu sadä ramantaù, bhikñänna-mätreëa ca tuñtimantaù|
açokavantah karuëaikavantaù, kaupénavantaù khalu bhägyavantaù||1||

Always reveling in the Upaniñadic statements, content with the alms received, devoid of any grief/affliction and full of compassion, the Sannyäsi is indeed a blessed one.(1)

mülam taroù kevalam-äçrayantaù, päëidvaye bhoktum-amatrayantaù|
kanthäm-api strém iva kutsayantaù, kaupénavantaù khalu bhägyavantaù ||2||

Dwelling under a tree, eating with bare hands (does not even possess a begging-bowl), treating even a rag with dispassion like a woman, the Sannyäsi is indeed a blessed one. (2) (I find the trace of male chauvinism here; but I let it pass, not to offend the composer and the paramparä. Study of Advaita Vedanta is available to the eligible women now.)

dehäbhimanam parihåtya dürät-ätmänam-ätmani-avalokayantaù|
ahar-niçam brahmaëi ye ramantaù, kaupénavantaù khalu bhägyavantaù ||3||

Leaving the body identification since long, seeing himself/herself within, reveling in the Brahman day and night (knowing oneself as the cause of the jagat, identifying oneself with Brahman), the Sannyäsi is indeed a blessed one. (3)

svänanda-bhäve parituñöamantaù, svaçänta-sarvendriya-våttimantaù|
näntam na madhyam na bahis-smarantaù, kaupénavantaù khalu bhägyavantaù ||4||

Reveling in oneself (understanding the non-difference between the Self and Brahman), keeping all the sense organs under control, not consciously aware of anything inside, outside, the Sannyäsi is indeed a blessed one. (4)

païcäkñaram pävanam-uccarantaù, patim-paçunäm hådi bhävayantaù|
bhikñäçanä dikñu paribhramantaù, kaupénavantaù khalu bhägyavantaù ||5||

Chanting the auspicious five-syllabled mantra (om namas-çiväya) , keeping the Lord (Saguna-Brahman/Içvara) inside his/her heart (mind), sustaining on the alms, traveling in all directions (not growing roots in any particular place), the Sannyäsi is indeed a blessed one. (5)


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